In life, it’s the small daily rituals that often have some of the biggest impact on our sense of wellbeing and overall contentment. And as coffee aficionados have long known, savoring a delicious morning blend can simultaneously be a deeply uplifting and grounding (no pun intended) experience.
But what if you’ve finally made the dive into coffee culture and have invested in a barista-grade espresso machine, only to find you keep staining your counters — or even burning yourself — when throwing out used espresso pucks?
The simple solution is that you need a good espresso knock box. One that sits right next to your espresso machine, and that’s heavy and sturdy enough to not slide around your counter (even when empty). That’s strong enough to not break as you knock out used coffee grounds. That’s big enough to not need emptying after each use. And that’s easy to clean when required.
Here’s a look at some of the best espresso knock boxes out there today.
Top 4 Best Espresso Knock Boxes
*Price at time of publishing
How to Choose the Best Knock Box
First, you’ll need to decide which style works for you.
There are three main styles: Bin (or bash bins), drawers, and chutes. The latter two are most often used in a commercial or professional coffee shop setting.
- Bin knock boxes: Typically the cheapest option, they are available in a variety of colors and shapes and are preferred for home use due to their compact design. While it will vary based on their shape, most look like a miniature trash can with a bar across the top.
- Knock box drawer: These look exactly like they sound – drawers with a built-in knock bar. They fit under the espresso machine or grinder to save counter space, and your used pucks are kept hidden away, for an overall less cluttered look. The downside is they tend to be expensive.
- Knock box chutes: Chutes can be built into a countertop, making them the most popular in commercial coffee shop settings. If you are making a lot of espresso at home, you’ll likely find they are the most efficient means of disposal for your coffee grinds. They are more efficient than a drawer and less expensive. Chutes are the most durable, too.
Next, you’ll need to determine what design features are most important. The design of espresso knock boxes is simple, but choosing the wrong one for your espresso shot brewing experience can lead to a frustrating brewing experience.
These little boxes are meant to be knocked around, so you’ll want to make sure you pick a durable one.
You won’t want your knock box sliding around when you hit it, so keep an eye out for knock box features that offer non-slip grips.
The bar is the part of the box that absorbs the knocks when removing your spent coffee grounds. Some sort of rubber padding that will absorb noise and protect your portafilter from scratches or dents is also important. Look for rubber coating around stainless steel or hard plastic for your knock box’s bar design.
A larger surface, like a thicker bar, will be the most effective at removing coffee grinds from the portafilter. That said, larger bars typically cannot be removed from the box making cleaning quite frustrating.
If you are using a cheaper knock box, a full replacement may be the easiest course of action if a part becomes damaged or cracked. If your knock box does start to fall apart, however, some companies will offer replacement parts including non-slip pads, bar replacements and more. Either way, it should be years before you’ll be confronted with this dilemma.
Opening size determines the ease with which your espresso pucks can be knocked out of your portafilter without causing a mess. If you’re new to brewing espresso, a wider opening is recommended.
Knock boxes come in different sizes and shapes. Depending on the volume of espresso shots being consumed in a day you may opt for larger capacity knock boxes like the Big Grindenstein. If not, you might want to prioritize other features like counter space and opt for the Breville BES001XL Knock Box Mini instead.
Speaking of counter space, in many kitchens, it is at a premium. This is especially true if you have a large espresso machine already taking up some of that counter space. If that’s the case, you will want the smallest coffee knock box possible.
If you have an espresso machine, you’ve likely already invested a decent sum. This consideration is more about choosing between that perfect accessory to go along with the initial investment or deciding to choose a more budget-friendly option like the Homeffect Knock Box to minimize the impact of that investment.
Style may be important, but practicality is key. Most people choose a knock box that is made from plastic or stainless steel. Some are simple while others are designed to match a specific coffee machine. This ultimately comes down to how important design/style is to you.
Ease of Cleaning
It’s likely you’ll need to clean your knock box frequently so the obvious first consideration here is – it is dishwasher safe. If not, look for features that make cleaning a bit easier like a removable bar and or insert.
Best Overall: Breville BCB100 Barista Style Knock Box
The Breville BCB100 knock box is widely considered the king of espresso knock boxes by many coffee aficionados around the world, and there are some very clear ways in which it outpaces the competition.
First and foremost, Breville’s flagship knock box is about as large as any you’ll find, with a capacity of 1.8 liters. This means that even if you have multiple caffeinated espressos each morning, and multiple decaffeinated ones each evening, you’ll still only need to empty this knock box every few days.
Additionally, the Breville BCB100 features an easily removable and dishwasher-friendly inner plastic compartment, which is a significant benefit in and of itself. Many of the most popular knock boxes out there — whether made of plastic or stainless steel — are not dishwasher friendly.
The size of The Knock Box, the weight of its polished metal canister, and its anti-slip rubber feet, all ensure that it won’t tip over or slide under vigorous use and heavy blows — even when it’s completely empty.
For those who like to knock out in-tact espresso pucks to reduce mess, there’s another benefit to using The Knock Box: namely, that its a large bin and off-center knock bar makes it easy to knock intact pucks into the bin compartment, instead of breaking them onto the bar itself.
For anyone who happens to already have a Breville espresso machine — or even a full suite of Breville kitchen appliances — this coffee knock box will also perfectly match the existing modern aesthetic.
Unfortunately, the size of this knock box is simultaneously its key drawback. It will simply be too large for many kitchens, especially when placed next to an already space-consuming espresso machine.
In addition to taking up a lot of valuable kitchen real estate, the size of this knock box may prove to be visually unappealing for some — as it potentially draws the eye away from other features of the kitchen and stands out disproportionately.
Finally, the Breville BCB100 does not feature a removable knock bar, which could potentially make scraping out coffee grounds a bit more of a hassle — although the large size of the bin compartment would help to mitigate this issue.
Runner Up: Big Grindenstein by Dreamfarm
The Dreamfarm Grindenstein knock box is a perennial favorite among espresso fans on Amazon and has enjoyed great reviews from many corners of the coffee community at large, despite its very small capacity of only 450ml.
With the Big Grindenstein size option, Dreamfarm has kept the benefits that customers found so appealing about the Dreamfarm Grindenstein, while also turning their beloved knock box into a brilliantly balanced contender for the number one position.
With a capacity of 825ml, the Big Grindenstein does a great job of straddling the midpoint between the weightiest knock boxes with the highest storage capacity on the one hand, and the most compact on the other hand.
Cleaning options for knock boxes are often a bit of a pain point, with many popular knock boxes not being dishwasher friendly — especially those at a budget price point. Not so with the Big Grindenstein, which is fully approved for dishwasher use.
On the topic of price point; the Dreamfarm Grindenstein and Big Grindenstein have the distinction of being among some of the most affordable knock boxes to be found on the market — while still retaining a robust design and commitment to quality.
For individuals just getting into the world of home coffee brewing, in particular, the Big Grindenstein is arguably the perfect beginner knock box to grab on a budget.
As part of its robust design, the Big Grindenstein boasts a rubber bar and proprietary shock-absorbent construction. These grant the knock box a long life and the ability to take a lot of force, while also supposedly having a noise dampening effect. Some reviewers, however, do debate how effective the noise dampening really is.
A clear downside of the Big Grindenstein that causes it to fall below Breville’s The Knock Box in the rankings, however, is its large and fully centered knock bar. The thickness of the rubber-coated steel bar, plus its dead-center position in the box, means that spillage and splashing are more of a risk.
The Dreamfarm Grindenstein also lacks a removable knock bar, which — particularly when paired with the bar’s size and positioning — can make it harder to scoop out coffee grounds. If you don’t have a dishwasher, this may prove to be particularly frustrating when washing the knock box by hand.
Best Budget Option: Homeffect Knock Box
The Homeffect Knock Box represents an innovative and completely different take on the standard coffee knock box design.
Instead of an espresso knock bar sitting over a bin compartment, the Homeffect Knock Box features a reinforced plastic “knock off shelf” (really a “column”) that goes all the way down to the bottom of the knock box, and which can take a forceful blow.
This “shelf,” combined with a raised back and sides, not only helps to minimize spillage but also means that the 600ml capacity of the knock box offers significantly more “bang for your buck” than many knock boxes of a similar size.
Thanks to these features, this knock box can essentially be filled to the brim without becoming difficult to use, and with a much-reduced risk of splashing.
As the Homeffect Knock Box features a uniform, robust plastic design without any removable parts, it’s easy to transport, is dishwasher friendly, and is very space-efficient.
When these factors are considered alongside the low price point and efficiency-enhancing design, the Homeffect Knock Box can be seen as one of the best and most convenient options for space-conscious buyers.
Despite of its slip-resistant base, however, the light plastic construction of the Homeffect Knock Box — plus its small size and slightly tapered design — does potentially make it more vulnerable to being knocked over.
The 600ml capacity of the Homeffect is also on the smaller end of the scale, which may be an issue for enthusiastic espresso coffee fans — even taking into account its otherwise space-maximizing design.
For some buyers, the appearance of the Homeffect — only available in black, and made entirely of plastic — may also be unappealing.
Best for Small Spaces: Breville BES001XL Knock Box Mini
Presumably recognizing the fact that their larger knock box wouldn’t fit in many kitchens, Breville decided to add the Breville BES001XL Mini to their range as well.
Although, in theory, a smaller version of Breville’s highly popular Breville BCB100 would be perfect for many — this mini knock box, unfortunately, falls short in certain key respects.
There’s a point where “mini” risks becoming “too small,” and with a capacity of only 500ml, The Knock Box Mini veers dangerously close to that territory. Depending on your espresso consumption, it’s likely that you will need to empty this knock box at least once every day — and the small size of the bin means mess and splatter are a significant hazard.
Despite these setbacks, however, The Knock Box Mini still has various significant points in its favor. As with the larger knock box from Breville, it features a visually appealing and modern brushed-metal finish that perfectly complements other products from the range.
The Knock Box Mini also benefits from an off-center knock bar like the larger version, which reduces the risk of spillage.
Also like its larger cousin, The Knock Box Mini comes with high-quality anti-slip rubber feet, and a sturdy design, meaning that it can withstand a lot of force without breaking or sliding all over your countertop.
In fact, there’s at least one advantage that The Knock Box Mini has over the larger model: it features a removable knock bar to allow coffee grounds to be easily scooped out, and for the compartment to be more easily cleaned.
As this knock box needs to be hand-washed, the removable knock bar is a big plus and makes the cleaning process significantly more seamless. In this way, in particular, it excels over other knock boxes of a similar size.
All in all, the Breville BES001XL Mini doesn’t quite match the great well-rounded profile of Breville’s larger offering. But with a robust and visually pleasing design, effective anti-slip feet, and a removable knock bar, it can still claim to be one of the best espresso knock boxes of its size.
Bottom Line on the Best Espresso Knock Box
Adding an espresso knock box to your home coffee set-up is a wise choice. This year, we are partial to the Breville BCB100 Barista Style Knock Box.
It has the capacity and durability to handle whatever you throw at it.
What is the point of an espresso knock box?
An espresso knock box is a small device with a rubberized bar that allows for easy removal of spent espresso grounds from your portafilter by knocking the coffee puck into the bucket
When should I empty my knock box?
To stop mold, I empty my coffee knock box every two days into my compost bin and give it a quick cleaning once a week which takes all of 2-3 minutes. When I have a particularly wet puck, I empty it at the end of that session.
How do you dispose of espresso grounds?
There are all sorts of ways to dispose of (or use) old coffee grounds. However, dumping your knock box espresso grounds into the trash or compost bin is probably the easiest option.