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If you are ever making an espresso or a latte and have finished pulling your shot you will find that you are left with the “puck”, or coffee ground remains, in the portafilter. The trip to the garbage can is a risky one, as you gamble dripping coffee remnants across your floor. Additionally, the grounds become caked into the filter and require some force to empty. 

It is this very reason that the coffee knock box was invented. A bin to hold used grounds once done with the machine, and the ability to act as a barrier in which to bang the puck out of. The coffee knock box is essential in any barista’s tool kit.

What Is An Espresso Knock Box?

A coffee knock box for your espresso machine is essentially a bin with a bar across the top of it. The reason for the bin is to dispose of and hold the used coffee grounds. The bar is used to bang the portafilter on in order to evacuate the grounds. This knock box can be found in virtually every cafe, usually set up near the espresso machine. (If you want to learn how to make an espresso, check out our how-to article here!)

Coffe grind

What Makes a Good Coffee Knock Box?

A good coffee knock box is one that is durable and that can hold up against the constant tapping during the course of a day. If you made 2 espressos in a day, that is 14 times you are banging the portafilter against the bar of the box and emptying the contents into it. If you do this 7 days a week that is 728 taps a year! Durability to any coffee knock box is key.

The most sought out and yet more pricey versions of a knock box are metal, usually with a rubber bar across the top. You can even see how it compares to other knock box options in this video by Lifestyle Lab.


The metal is durable and the rubber bar is softer so as to not put any dents into the edges of the portafilter. We found these two options below great options for durability and affordability. The Modern Knock Box is made of premium bamboo. Knock bar made of engineering grade polymers that reduces noise. Thanks to high-quality bamboo materials, our products are more stable and robust. The Breville BCB100 Barista Style Coffee Knock Box is made just in the fashion and is a popular choice for coffee enthusiasts.

Modern Knock Box
Modern Knock Box
Coffee knock box
Breville Mini Espresso Knock Box

How To Make Your Own Coffee Knock Box

For those who are crafty, making your own knock box can be a fun project that adds character to your barista station at home. There are plenty of wood based designs for a knock box at home and this also allows for your own customization as well. As long as you can create the bin with a bar going across the top, it is fairly simple. Here is an easy how-to to create your own using wood and a copper pipe!

The Coffee Knock Box: A Coffee Essential

In order to keep a clean and tidy coffee station, a knock box is an essential piece of equipment. A place to store used grounds and a way to empty the portafilter is needed whenever using an espresso machine. The knock box is a small, simple yet effective tool to keep the station organized and to help ease the process of making delicious coffee drinks. 

Coffee knock box
Source: Etsy

Meet the expert

Ray Delucci is a writer focused on the food industry and the many topics within it. With a background as a chef and recipe developer, Ray's passion is sharing the ins and out's of the food and beverage world throughout the topics he writes about.

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