If you are new to making espresso at home, you may not have given much thought to knock box for espresso grounds. It may even seem like an unnecessary complication – Do you really need a special accessory to knock the pucks out of your portafilter when you already have a perfectly good garbage can?
However, there are good reasons for using a dedicated Knock Box for Espresso Grounds with your coffee maker. One is cleanliness: If you’re tapping your portafilter inside your garbage can or composter, you’re going to have to wash it before you use it again. Second consideration is that (depending on what your garbage can is made of) you may end up damaging either your portafilter or your garbage can when you whack the side of the can. Using your sink as a knock box is also not recommended, as the grounds can clog your drain (at the most crucial point of time may be). It can also be called a Bash Bin or a Puck Box by a good coffee user.
You need something fairly sturdy that can stand up to being whacked with a heavy portafilter and at the same time not damaging that portafilter. Rather than try to improvise something, the easiest solution to this problem is to simply Get a Real Knock Box. They are available for every budget and in a variety of sizes and styles. Here are our Picks:
Top 7 Knock Box for Espresso Grounds
#1 Dreamfarm Grindenstein 4-Inch Espresso Stein Puck Box
This little knock box is perfect for someone who pulls a few shots a day – more than that and you’re going to be emptying it pretty frequently. Otherwise, its small size has its advantages. It fits easily into the top rack of your dishwasher, and you can store it under the group head of most espresso machines when not in use, eliminating the need for more counter space.
The Grindenstein is made of ABS plastic with a rubber coated steel bar. The bar is sturdy enough to withstand quite a lot of knocking, and customers report that it stands up well to years of regular use. It comes in your choice of silver, black or red.
Some people are bothered by the fact that the bar is not removable, as it is with some other knock boxes. Others have said that the bar is too big relative to the size of the container, which can get messy if your portafilter is bigger than average. Also, for people who use their espresso maker a lot, this product is simply too small. But these are minor quibbles that come down to personal needs and taste. On the whole, the Grindenstein is one of the most popular choices out there.
#2 Breville BCB100 Barista-Style Espresso Knock Box
This model is too big to hide away under your group head, but with its stainless steel body it will look great on any countertop next to your espresso machine. At about 7 inches tall, it’s the perfect solution for somebody who pulls a lot of shots, or somebody who really doesn’t want to empty their knock box very often! It’s also big enough for light commercial use, for example in a restaurant where you only serve espresso a few times in a given shift.
The bar is made of engineering grade polymer. Together with the inside vessel, it lifts out for emptying and is safe in the top rack of your dishwasher. The external vessel features a polymer ring on the bottom surface to prevent slipping.
The bar is sturdy enough to hold up to repeated heavy use, and some people get pretty aggressive when knocking grinds out of their portafilters. The biggest complaint from customers was that the BCB100 is too big for some kitchens, but obviously this comes down to individual preference.
#3 Breville BES001XL Puck Box, Mini
If you love the look of the Breville BCB100 but are looking for something smaller, the Mini may be the right choice for you. It is one of the best knock box available in the market. This square design is almost a perfect 4 ½ inch cube, and has a stainless steel canister with a black interior to reduce the visibility of the coffee grounds. This unit is sturdy enough to stand up to the most aggressive barista.
There’s no official word on whether or not the Mini is dishwasher safe. However, the bar removes easily, allowing you to quickly dump out the grounds and give the interior a rinse and wipe. Cleaning doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.
The stainless steel canister has rubber treads on the bottom to keep it stationary when in use. Along with the rubberized bar, these treads also reduce the noise when you knock the portafilter.
There are few complaints with this model. The size is good for most casual home use. A few people find that the grounds can fly out of the box if you knock too aggressively, but the vast majority of buyers are very happy with the Mini.
#4 Rattleware 6-by-5-1/2-by-4-Inch Basic
This model is a good choice if you want to get the most solid, professional-quality and functional bash bin you can get without paying a premium price. Constructed of heavy duty stainless steel, this knock box is big and sturdy enough for commercial use. You can simply sit it on your countertop or recess it into your counter beside your espresso machine. Recessing it isn’t always the most attractive option in a home setting (you’re locked into always keeping your espresso machine beside that hole in your counter) but if you’ve got woodworking skills you could also build an attractive wooden box to fit it.
The knock bar is covered with a replaceable rubber cover to protect your portafilter and cut down on noise. At 5 ½ inches wide and 4 inches deep, it is big enough to hold a lot of espresso pucks before you have to empty it.
Although this model can be used as is on the countertop, some people prefer to set it on a rubberised mat to avoid slippage and to prevent scratching the countertop. If you’re not going to recess it or build a box for it, this is a quick and easy alternative.
#5 Cafelat Tubbi Knock Box
This knock box for espresso grounds is similar in design to the Grindenstein, though at 5 inches tall it has a bit more capacity. It is made of sturdy ABS plastic with a food-safe rubber bar. The bar comes out easily for fast cleaning. It is available in 4 different colors and has a playful, modern style. The back is taller than the front, acting as a mini-shield to prevent coffee grounds splattering all over your counter. The Tubbi also features a non-slip rubber pad on the bottom to stabilize the knock box and reduce noise.
The weak link in any box is going to be the bar, which literally takes a beating every time you pull a shot. If the bar is not removable, this means that you have to replace the entire product when the bar fails. With the Tubbi, the bar is easily removed and can be replaced if it gets damaged.
The only common complaint with this model is that it is too small for some households. The good news is that the Tubbi is now also available in a larger size.
#6 Joe Frex Knock Box Classic
This is another simple cube-shaped design. The 5 ½ inch box is made of wood and comes in your choice of brown, black or a light natural wood finish. The inside container is made of PVC and lifts out by lifting the knock bar. This container is not dishwasher-safe but still cleans up quickly and easily. The bar itself is somewhat unusual in that it is made of a hardwood dowel that matches the outer box.
This is a classic design (as its name suggests) that hasn’t changed much since it came out in 1996. It is economical and with its “organic” look it will suit almost any kitchen décor.
#7 RSVP Extra Large Stainless Steel Knockout
At 8 ¼ inches tall, this is a product for someone who really needs to go big. The high walls of the box act as a shield to keep your wet coffee grounds from splattering as you knock them out of your portafilter.
One feature that sets this model apart (other than its size) and one of the best knock box for espresso grounds is that the bottom of the box sits inside a heavy rubber non-slip base. This gives you the added security of knowing that you’re not going to send the box off the counter if you’re careless and in a hurry. It also acts as a damper to reduce noise.
The Knockout is made of stainless steel, and the removable bar has a rubber coating to protect your portafilter and to cut down on noise. Although the box is dishwasher safe, the manufacturer recommends hand washing it instead.
It’s not a necessary or compulsory thing to use a knock box, but it does makes few things easy and clean. Having separate things for separate tasks makes a less mess and that matters a lot to many. You make an espresso daily, but it’s a strange thing if you still haven’t used a knock box.