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How to Set Up a Three Tier Coffee Bar for Spring

How to Set Up a Three Tier Coffee Bar for Spring
This post on how to set up a three tier coffee bar is sponsored by International Delight. All thoughts, feelings and ideas are my own. #creamernation

Coffee bars will always be a fabulous addition to just about any party. There’s a hot trend not towards making coffee bars even more compact and even more stylish by using some interesting serve ware, and I’m going to show you today how to set up a three tier coffee bar for spring and (and really any other season!) with some International Delight Coffee Creamers for a special surprise for your guests!

Coffee Bar Basics

There are certain things you’re just going to HAVE to have on a coffee bar no matter what. We’ll get into what to do with these things in just a minute.

So first thing, make sure you have on hand:

  • Coffee mugs
  • Sugar
  • Creamer (gotta love International Delight flavored creamers for this!)
  • Spoons
  • Coffee
  • Coffee dispenser

finding a three tier stand

Our ultimate goal it to set up a coffee bar in a three tier stand, so we’re going to have to find a super awesome three tier stand to use! The one in these pictures I picked up at Hobby Lobby (see it here).  But if you want something a little more modern or a little more farmhouse, there are many many options out there. Here’s a few I like (affiliate links):

When you’re picking out a three tier stand, make sure the stand is fairly tall (photo stand is 26″ tall) so it can accommodate decorations and coffee mugs. The base of the largest tier should be at least 12″ wide. Any smaller and you won’t be able to fit much into it. Also, look for a stand that has a lip around the edge. This will keep all your items inside the trays and not falling out and breaking when your guests use the stand for coffee.

Coffee dispensers

In the end, you really only need something that is going hold, make and pour coffee. There is a wild range of price tags on dispensers, but what you pick has got to fit your budget and maybe your aesthetic.

  • Porcelain pourers. What you see in these pictures. The con is that you have to make the coffee somewhere else, pour it in the pitcher and the glass doesn’t keep the coffee warm for very long. This would be my last pick for a functional coffee bar, but it was super cheap. I picked it up at a thrift store for $12. Might want to use these more as decorative pieces!
  • Coffee pot. Keeps things warm and fresh, but the black can be a bit harsh on the eyes and on your coffee tablescape unless you can find one in a pretty color or in white (like these). There will be a few more drips and mess associated with having this on a bar, so pay attention at your event to keep it clean. Make sure if you use this option you have a place to plug in your coffee pot!
  • Thermal Caraffe. I think I probably like these the best for functionality. There is still the issue of make the coffee somewhere and pour it into another container, but the coffee will stay warm. And they even come in pink (see here)!
  • Coffee dispenser. If you do a lot of entertaining and serving of coffee a larger 90 cup size dispenser might be the answer to your entertaining needs. (like these). There’s a smaller version called an Airpot that works well, too. (see it here)
  • Single-cup coffee makers. This is my choice #2, but it’s got a nice price tag on it! I just LOVE the colors that the coffee machines come in now! (see the favorite in aqua here.)

Your coffee dispenser will sit alongside your three-tier coffee bar when you’re ready to serve up coffee.

Assembling your three tier coffee bar

Now for the super fun part! We’re putting our three tier coffee bar together. Most of this will be moving things around and making things work in the space that’s there. Find smaller containers that can hold things like sugar, spoons, etc. to organize the space on your stand. You can do it!

Place the coffee mugs in first. They’re going to take up the most room, so you’ll want to arrange things around the mugs.  After I had all my big pieces in added a little bud vase full of paper camellias. My flowers had to last an awfully long time this go-around, so I made instead of bought flowers.

The goal in assembling the stand is to make your levels fairly full–it’s much more pleasing to the eye than big empty spaces. I had the most room on the bottom level on my stand, so I put the sugar bowl and tossed a few coffee pods on the tray. The coffee pods I added last where there was room left on my tray; they’re small and easily squeezed into smaller spaces! No need for coffee pods? No problem! Add a decorative piece like a springy bird or a flower to fill in empty spots.

The second level  had a few more coffee mugs, and small cup for spoons. You can see a container of biscotti on this level, too, there in the back! The biscotti isn’t a must-have, but it makes a great decorative piece on the tray, and it’s edible, too. If you’re putting cream into another container for serving, the second level is a great spot for it to go. To visually tie the second level to the first level of the stand, I added a small bud vase with another paper Camilla.

The top of my stand I used more as a decorative accent that for serving things, but there was plenty of room up there to add something if it was a necessity. I made this little coffee quote out of a 5-inch canvas and some iron-on foil. Again, the camellia ties the levels of the stand together.

You can absolutely replicate this at  home. Grab up little containers and small bud vases to fill in spaces and a few decorative pieces to give the bar some flair. It’s just coffee mugs and coffee makings–there’s no one right way, so go be creative!

Giving your three tier coffee bar some personality

There are so many things you can do to customize a stand like this! Here are a few things I did:

Make custom coffee mugs.

I turned dollar store mugs into something much more fun with a few custom vinyl pieces to the fronts. The sugar bowl got the same treatment!

Make custom quote pieces to accessorize.

I believe wry coffee quotes are universally loved, and they’re a great addition to a coffee bar. I put one up top of my stand, and made another 8×10 sign with some gold foil to serve as a centerpiece.

Use flowers as a unifying element.

With everything else on the bar in very neutral shades of white, the flowers in shades of pink on the bar really popped.

Whether you use paper or real flowers largely depends your ability to get your hands on the flowers you want and prep time. Camellias always remind me of my southern grandmother – the variety she grew always bloomed in late winter/early spring…just not where I happen to live now. Paper was the best option here!

do something extra special on your coffee bar

Aside from personalizing and customizing your pretty pretty coffee bar, you can also do something special for it that will wow your guests! Like set them up with ingredients for an extra yummy coffee recipe; think signature party cocktail in coffee form for this one.

I like simple, so my coffee bar’s extra bit of specialness is to treat my guests to a few candy bar coffees using International Delight flavored creamers. They have a Reese’s peanut butter cup flavor (that I also used for peanut butter pie parfaits!) and a Hershey’s chocolate caramel flavor that are both spectacular.

Simple simple here, so all you need to make these is the creamer, whipped cream and a few chopped up candy bars. Sprinkles if you are feeling saucy. Completely uncomplicated and International Delight makes it so easy to add a bit of wow to your coffee bar. Pour in the creamer, add a little whipped cream, and sprinkle on some chopped up candy bar and voila! Extra special coffee that will warm up your guests.



If you go to the International Delight website (click here) you can join their #CreamerNation. I really love what a sense of humor they have! Joining up on their list will score you some coupons, creamer recipes and other fun stuff you’re going to be happy you subscribed for.

Go enjoy all those spring parties now and your new trendy ideas for a coffee bar!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

Paula Biggs

Owner at Frog Prince Paperie
Paula Biggs is a party planner, DIY crafter, and owner of Frog Prince Paperie, where you can find hundreds of party, craft and lifestyle ideas.

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Cherryl Ehlenburg

Saturday 7th of April 2018

I love these ideas! I'm not a coffee drinker myself, but I could use these ideas for my cocoa bar. Thank you!

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Nikki from Tikkido

Thursday 15th of March 2018

What a gorgeous setup! I love using tiered trays, but never tried setting up a coffee bar with one. It's perfect!