Where the Magic Happens – Our Kitchen Coffee & Cocoa Bar

Today I’m sharing how I created a fun and functional kitchen coffee and cocoa bar.

Hello friends!

Prepare yourselves for some scintillating content.

I talk a lot about my morning hot cocoa routine.

But I’ve been remiss in not sharing where this morning magic happens.

So, today it’s a quick tour of our kitchen coffee / cocoa bar.

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Kitchen built-in buffet with green cabinetry and walnut countertop and coffee bar set up.

Images by Jessica Brydson Photography

When we renovated Snowberry, we added a built-in buffet at the far end of our galley style kitchen. It’s an amazing addition for many reasons. Storage … obviously. And it’s the perfect spot for a cute little coffee bar set up.

Kitchen built-in buffet under window with coffee bar set up.

I don’t drink coffee. But, Jim does and we’ll get to that later. First let’s talk about the important stuff. My morning cocoa.

Woman in kitchen pouring cocoa into mug.

I’ve been drinking hot cocoa in the morning for a long time. My gateway drug was Instant Breakfast. Who remembers that? This was pre-coffee culture. Once Starbucks and its ilk hit the scene I transitioned to hot cocoa which I bought in the lobby of my office building on the way to the elevator. Anyone else work at One Market Plaza in San Francisco? On weekends in the ‘burbs I rollerbladed to a local coffee shop in town for cocoa … and a muffin or scone. Quite honestly, my morning cocoa is the best part of my day. At least it’s the part I most look forward to.

Milk frother and white mugs on kitchen buffet.

Over the years I tried to replicate the deliciousness of barista made cocoa at home to no avail. I tried heating it on the stove and I bought every milk frother known to man. No dice. During the pandemic my desperation reached new heights and my research (ahem … Instagram scrolling) led to Breville’s Milk Frother. Queue angels singing. Well, suffice to say Starbuck’s sent a search party but I refused to go back.

I actually feel quite smug about this and Suze Ormon would approve. Did you hear her recent interview where she said she’d rather die than buy a cup coffee? Then she spouted off some stats about how much retirement savings one would accumulate if they’d just stop buying coffee. Yes, I’m saving tons of money which somehow seems to find its way to Nordstrom instead of our savings account. But that’s neither here nor there.

Kitchen built in buffet and coffee bar.

As for Jim, he prefers adult beverages. And coffee. In our Fidalgo Island house he went so far as to install a Miele built-in coffee maker. At the time it was the only fully plumbed option. He worshipped that machine, but there’s no room for that nonsense at Snowberry so he invested in the popular Breville Expresso Machine. He loves it. And before you say it, yes, I could froth milk with this contraption. But it requires a skill level way above my pay grade.

Breville Espresso Machine.

Breville Espresso Machine

Anyway, my beloved milk frother sits next to Jim’s fancy espresso machine. Last week I was forced to replace it with Breville’s newer, fancier model. It’s taken a bit of adjustment but I think it’s going to work out between us. Anyway, the frother upgrade seemed to call for an overall coffee bar update. By update I mean I bought a new tray. A hammered brass tray. It replaced a wooden tray and it’s a little bit smaller which has required some rearranging to ensure it’s both cute and functional. Jim needs more ‘stuff’ to make his morning latte and we’re still negotiating what does and does not belong on the new tray.

Recent Coffee Bar Upgrades ~

Breville Milk Frother | Hammered Brass Tray


Kitchen coffee bar.


Obviously we ‘decant’ our coffee beans and cocoa powder. We’re not savages.


How I make the best hot cocoa ~

Ok, so what you really want to know is how do I make my cocoa. I get asked this all the time so here it is for the permanent record.

2% milk (8-12oz) + Starbuck’s Classic Cocoa Powder (1-2 Tbsp)

As for milk, I try to stick with 8oz but some days just call for 12. If I really need to indulge I’ll use full-fat milk. Yum.

I buy Starbuck’s Classic Cocoa Powder on Amazon. It comes in a pack of two (usually dented) tins.

Two gold tins of Starbuck's Classic Cocoa Powder.

Classic Cocoa Powder

What are the components of a cute coffee bar?

Whatever you need to create your family and friend’s favorite morning beverages. Corral them on a tray and voila … you have a cute coffee bar.

This is what we keep on ours ~

  • Coffee beans
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Vanilla Syrup
  • Tea towels
  • Mugs
  • Spoons
  • Coasters


Good Morning graphic with coffee bar background.


Divider graphic.

So there you have it, our kitchen coffee / cocoa bar.

If you made it this far, thank you for reading this frivolous post.

And indulging my hot cocoa addiction obsession.

If you’re not following me on Instagram @makemineaspritzer, you’ll miss my cocoa making Reel.

Cheers from Snowberry!

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    • Yes! Jim uses it to make him morning latte. Espresso beans, almond milk, vanilla syrup! At Starbucks they use chocolate and vanilla syrup to make their cocoa. But, of course, I prefer the powder. Ha! Have a great day, Eileen! xo

  • Oh the joys of morning coffee (cocoa) they really elevate the start to the day! Your coffee / cocoa bar is gorgeous! I have serious envy…our small kitchen only has room for a few things on the counters….but I can make my Nespresso cup of coffee that is the most important start to my day.
    Love seeing your posts!

    Hostess of the Humble Bungalow

    • It’s important to get the day started right! And it’s the little pleasures that really count. I’m about to have my cocoa and hope hope there’s a Nespresso made cup of Joe in your hand. xo

  • Hi Juliet- This was a fun post. I drink regular drip coffee but lately have been adding a tablespoon of unsweetened Valrhona cocoa. I froth the (non-fat, most of the time) milk with the cocoa and then add the drip coffee. So delicious! No sugar! The teeny little frother really works and it’s super easy to travel with. I’ll send you a pic. Hope you are well!

    • Oh wow, Laurie … that sounds amazing. And very involved. I’ve got to admire you serious coffee people for your dedication to the craft! Funny you should mention travel, I’ve taken to traveling with my old Breville which Jim keeps limping along with parts ordered online. It’s so nice to be able to make our favorite drinks when we’re away from home, right?! xo

  • I definitely can’t start the day without my morning coffee! I love your whole coffee bar setup including that cute valance. I saw a link to your fabric source. Would you mind sharing if you use an online or local source to make your valances? I live in your area and need to have a few made.

    • Hi Lisa, thank you … I love how our roman shades turned out. They were made by an amazing woman in Rancho Cordova who has since moved to Southern California … which is a real bummer. Finding someone good for draperies is kind of like finding a good wallpaperer … not easy. I wish I had a good recommendation. 🙁 xo

  • Thank you, Juliet, for putting a smile on my face with your delightful wit. I always look forward to your posts.

  • Hi Juliet,
    I’m the same about my morning tea, and just received a very wonderful one-cup Rishi teapot with a strainer, which I somehow manage to get two cups from. So now I make loose leaf tea more often, and am fully caffeinated more than I ought to be!
    Your coffee/cocoa bar is a lot more elegant than my set up but hey, whatever works!
    Xo Heidi

  • Most definitely not a frivolous post. Some of us take our morning beverage ritual very seriously. I’m glad to know that you do, too, otherwise, I would’ve had to reconsider following you. LOL

    I actually love this post. My son’s inlaws just bought a Breville machine and made lattes for us. I was floored by how far frothers have come from the days when I sold them in the mall at Emporium. Now we have invested in a frother, as well. My family is all in love with it.

    And by the way, your new tray looks beautiful!

    • Janet! Ha … you’re so right. Morning beverages are the key to a good day and we can’t take any risks, can we?!!! xo

  • Love your coffee bar Juliet. So nice to have it in a separate space. We really like our built in Miele. Max can get drip from it and I can get an oat milk latte. I have one of your frothers we use up at the cabin and they work so well.
    So glad you perfected your drink. I so get that. I look forward to my latte more than anything!

    • Who knew that frothing was the answer to so many questions. Hope Starbuck’s doesn’t go bankrupt. Ha! xo

  • Hi, I’m Juliet … welcome to Make Mine a Spritzer where we talk about all things home décor, classic style and more! I’m so happy you’re here!

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