What should I name my coffee shop?

The question surfaces with alarming frequency and urgency in social media. First things first: don’t panic! The trend in coffee shop names these days from cutesy to outright absurd: are you naming a business or a boat? Rather than come up with the latest coffee pun, consider something that captures the essence of your business.  It should also tell potential customers what they are likely to expect.

Let’s take a look at some of the popular categories of coffee shop names and their representative examples (these are REAL):

Side Effects

  • Trembling Cup
  • Permanent Addiction
  • Jitters (also, Jitter Bean, Jitter Java, Jumpin’ Jitters, etc.)
  • Diuretic Delights (okay, so I made that one up)

Coffee Puns

  • Bean Around the World
  • Daily Grind (also Back to the Grind, Nose to the Grind Stone, Breaking Ground, Sacred Grounds and so on)
  • Brewed Awakenings
  • Brews Brothers
  • He Brews (a Christian Coffee Shop – this one is growing on me)

The Crowd that Misspells Espresso with an “X”

  • Premium Expresso
  • Heavenly Expresso

The Unfortunately Named

  • Mud Puddle
  • River Brew
  • Java Trout Expresso Internet Bar & Gifts

(I attempted to contact this company and congratulate them on their naming achievement, but alas they were out of business or in hiding)

Ambiguous Australian Cafe Names (Bonus 2015 10th anniversary article addition!)

  • Dandelion and Driftwood
  • John Mills Himself
  • Slater Street Bench
  • Please Say Please

When Choosing Coffee Shop Names


Who are your anticipated customers? Are your customers morning commuters? Students? Couples out for an evening of entertainment? Office workers? All the above? Knowing who your customer is will help you to understand how your name will be perceived.

What is your business identity? What do you want your customers to think about when they read your name? (IN ADDITION TO COFFEE). This is a question only you can answer. Is it an emotion? a place? a memory? There are plenty of words other than “bean,” “cup” or “java” that you can use to get your point across.

Use imagery to express your product and ideals (coffee).  Keep the image of coffee present so that customers can quickly identify what you do. Picture driving by a business at 40 MPH and seeing the name or logo.  In the blink of an eye it should be clear that you serve coffee as a primary business. On the topic of logo: be certain that the logo is clear, not elaborate and has a crisp, easily identified color scheme.

Make it unique. Unless it is your intention to masquerade as part of some large chain (for example, a coffee shop named “Starbean,” written in bold green and white text), you’re going to want a brand name that can be uniquely associated with your company and product. Do a little search on Google for “Daily Grind.”

At the time of writing this article there are over 1.4 million mentions of the words Daily and Grind.  Nearly 700,000 for the phrase “Daily Grind.” How will your business be identified, recognized or remembered through all of the noise and confusion?

Also consider possible liability of having a name similar to your competitors. Daily Grind “A” is not going to be very happy when Daily Grind “B” opens down the street and will probably have something to say about.

Have your attorney research prospective name(s) for potential infringement on another existing trademark or business name. You can do a cursory search through the US Patent and Trademark Office website and the corporation or business division of your Secretaries of State offices.  Similar services exist in other countries.  Many are online.

There’s one more category that I failed to mention above:

Popular Culture and Literature Names

  • Bean Me Up
  • Hill of Beans
  • and of course Starbucks