Nonprofit, Pay-it-Forwad Tea Shop: Tea Equipment Recommendations

I’m working with a group to implement a recently approved nonprofit, pay-it-forward tea & coffee shop that provides job training for adults with disabilities ( At this point in time, we are trying to gather input/suggestions on high quality equipment for our tea shop. In particular, we could use some input on:

Tea mugs/cups
Tea brewing systems
Storage containers
Anything you can think of that we’d need.

We have everything costed out in our business plan located at The equipment we have priced out was for initial planning purposes. We are now seeking more specific recommendations. Also, if you have any leads on a company that might donate equipment, that’d be great. Remember, this is a nonprofit venture, so it’d be tax deductible for the company.

Thank so much for your help!!

5 Replies

I’m not quite following some of your cost projections. Do you really need to buy two iPads? Or the racks for sweeteners (54$) Quite a few of the projections seem quite high, (30 of the glass tea infusers from Teavana…why not just 10? You only have 4 tables that saw listed, and the majority of people in America prefer to drink coffee to tea anyway). I guess I would also question why you need such expensive infusers.

Maybe something like this
I just google searched them, sure you could find them cheaper than 10 bucks, plus if a customer drops one then you won’t have broken glass.

I guess I would also say maybe start with a smaller tea selection than the 12. Maybe just 4-5 and then judge what your customers like? Easier to expand then to deal with teas that people don’t want.

I’m not too familiar with the tax code when it comes to churches, but you should probably check with the church’s accountants because you are very much in a grey zone on qualifying for tax-exemption. Most churches don’t need to apply for 501©3, this might change things.

Are you just using the 4 tables? I could see this hindering total numbers of people.

I guess my feeling over all is that it is better to start small and grow, then to start big and suffer some die-back.

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Thank you for your input SFTGFOP. The items listed on the business plan are open to change (depending on the item of course). We had to make some guesses and decided to go on the high side of things for the financial calculations. I guess you could call us conservative in that regard. We’ll be purchasing used equipment for the big ticket items for example.

The tables and chairs are pretty much already covered thanks to a generous donation.

And in terms of the church/taxes issues, we already have 501©3 status and have consulted a tax attorney. All is good on that front, though property taxes on the % of the property occupied by the building is on the list for further exploration. We’ve also consulted w/ the City Planner and City Attorney for zoning. All check out. We’ve done our homework for this venture.

Btw, churches absolutely have to apply for tax exemption. Mosaic could retain its 501©3 status or apply for Flexible Purpose Corporation, Benefit Corporation or Cooperative designation. So, there are options. But after much research, it was determined that 501©3 status is the best fit for the mission.

We’re not seeking opposition to this venture, but input on equipment. It’d be helpful if you or other tea lovers have favorite equipment they use regularly.

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I’m not trying to provide opposition, but I use to work in a community run cafe, and have watched many fail. Just want to offer words of caution as often people get too gung-ho.

As for my favorite tea making implement, a tea pot! My favorite tea shop was actually very simple. One size, tea pot, with a cup. The customer decided how long to brew the tea for.

I guess my other question would be why you need a massive 9-gallon water heater. Buy a smaller 1 gallon electric “kettle” that way the water doesn’t get stale from being constantly boiled. You can pick up one of them at Target for 20 dollars.

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SFTGFOP, thank you for that. We’ve been through the fire a bit getting this put together over the last 3 years, which is a GOOD thing b/c questions like you raised were asked. I think we’ve covered our bases well, but it never hurts to have outside eyes take a look and ask questions. My apologies.

Simple tea put and cup… that’s what we’re looking for. I didn’t see the 9 gal water heater on our list. We do have, however, a 5 gallon hot water dispenser that will hold the water at a specific temp. Would that make the water stale? If so, we might need to revisit that item.


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