Knock boxes are like the middle child of the espresso world– we’d never give them second thought unless they went missing. Perhaps this is a little harsh to readers with older and younger siblings, but the take home is knock boxes serve an essential purpose but are generally overlooked. A good coffee knock box is well worth the investment if you’re not already using one.
A Life of Hard Knocks
As the name implies, knock boxes live a life of knocks. They’re the go-to disposal place for espresso machine owners. Remove the portafilter, give it a hit over the knock box and you’re back in business to make another espresso drink. It’s much faster and cleaner than heading over to the trash can after each espresso. Most boxes include a lowered front for easy access and a handle for quick dumping (and something to knock against). A good box should hold a fair amount of grounds but not be too big as to take up half the counter.
Knock boxes are also a useful accessory for quickly disposing of Aeropress pucks (I’ve missed the rubbish bin more an a few times) and coffee grounds in general. There’s nothing worse than coffee splattered all over the sink!
You can also use place a larger knock box under the counter or next to a conventional drip coffee maker for easier disposal of coffee grounds. It’s far too easy to accidentally spill grounds on the way to the trash! They’re also handy for disposing of Keurig pods.
The Top-Rated Coffee Knock Boxes
Most knock boxes are fairly utilitarian. Unless you’re running a business operation and need absolutely efficiency, get something more stylish and fun instead. Sexy espresso machines deserve the full treatment (no pun intended). Check out our knock box picks.
1. Dreamfarm Grindenstein
The Grindenstein is one of the most exciting espresso accessories Coffee Krave has seen in a while. If it weren’t from the handle you might confuse it for a plant pot. A CoffeeGeek test shows that it holds up well and stays in place, though it small size limits it to personal home use only.
Useful features of the Grindenstein knock box include a rubber handle that absorbs much of the strike impact, which reduces noise and protects the box. We really like the red color, too.
2. Breville Knock Box BCB100
This die-cast metal knock box matches the stainless steel color of many espresso machines, including all Breville models. It’s also well-constructed but a bit bigger than the Grindenstein. One neat feature is a removable inner liner that you can clean in the top rack of the dishwasher.
At around $29.99, the Breville BCB100 is a bit more expensive than the Grundstein but still reasonable given the high cost of an espresso machine. I like how sturdy it looks and feels. Perhaps the Breville logo could be more discreetly placed as well.
3. Reg Barber Wooden Knock Box
This beautiful hardwood knock box is handmade in Canada. At $220 CAD, it’s the most expensive option on our list. We like that you can customize whether or not to include the RB logo. Custom text are logo engraving are also available for a small fee– perfect for a coffee shop looking to build a consistent brand.
4. Cafelat Tubbi Knockbox
This is another great choice for design fans. The Cafelat Tubbi is a medium-size box that holds up to 10 espresso pucks in style. Like the Grindenstein knock box, this model includes a rubber bar for protection and noise reduction. The bar is removable to make disposing of grounds easier.
Available color options include black, bright blue, orange, and red. Some users of this box have complained that it’s a bit on the small size, while others praise it for being so compact.
5. Rattleware Knock Box Chute
Embarking on a kitchen remodel? You can install this knock box chute (more details) directly into your counter and place a trash bin underneath. This is the fastest workflow for making espresso as there’s no need to constantly empty the box, but really only necessary if you’re opening a cafe. This is unless of course you’re building your dream kitchen and cost is no issue.
You could also mount this chute to a larger plastic box or a sealed wooden bin for an extra-large coffee knock box. See our DIY ideas at the end of the article.
6. Breville Knock Box Mini BES001XL
This smaller cousin of the BCB100 has the same stainless steel design in a rectangular shape. This lets it fit into more spaces. The rubberized knock bar is removable for cleaning, though the rubberized interior is not. It’s definitely not dishwasher-safe.
You can also find this model in the UK as the “Sage knock box.”
Alternative: Make a DIY Knock Box
It’s easy enough to make your own knock box with salvaged wood and/or plastic. Check out what this CoffeeSnobs forum user made. Make sure to add a water-resistant coating if using wood. You might also consider designing and 3-D printing your own box.
Of course, you can also repurpose multiple items around the house for your coffee knock box. A number of IKEA products, including the VARIERA utensil holder and BESTÅENDE (pictured), can easily be retrofitted as DIY knock boxes for less than $10.00. This also gives you a lot more options to customize the size and location of the box. The VARIERA’s slim design is especially good for small kitchens, but will require some holes and a metal tube.
The BESTÅENDE is best-suited for an immediate solution with minimal customization needed. Just add some weight to the bottom to prevent it from tipping over.
A Word of Caution: Is it Safe to Dump Coffee Grounds Down the Sink?
You might decide not to invest in a coffee knock or use the trash can. Dumping coffee grounds down the sink may be easy, but it can eventually clog your sink, particularly if the grounds mix with grease and other sticky substances. Coffee grounds are one of the most common causes of plumbing problems.
Whether you already own an espresso machine or just make coffee with an Aeropress, a sturdy knock box is a good thing to have around. So why not start knocking today?