What Is a Knock Box?

Do you love caffeine? If so, you probably know what a knock box is. However, do you know why it’s so valuable for a professional coffee shop? Learn the importance of the knock box and why it’s the best way to quickly and safely dispose of coffee grounds.

What Is a Knock Box?

A knock box is a device used by baristas to discard spent coffee grounds from an espresso machine. It consists of a rubberized cylinder with a bar across the top. Baristas use the bar to “knock” used coffee grounds into a collection bin below.

Close-up shot of an espresso machine with two stainless mugs and knock box

A typical box is about 12 inches wide, 10 inches tall, and 18 inches long. There are smaller versions for home kitchens or commercial purposes like food trucks or small businesses.

Why Is a Knock Box Necessary?

There are several different types of boxes available. Yet, they all serve the same primary function:

To Keep Your Surroundings Clean

With this tool, you don’t have to worry about getting your countertops, cabinets, or floors dirty. You also don’t have to worry about letting coffee grounds fall into the sink and clog it up.

Damage Control

A knock tool allows you to tap your portafilter against its walls in a gentle manner. The gentle tapping reduces the risk of breakage or chipping on its edges. This way, you don’t have to worry about damaging your espresso machine when cleaning it out after use!

To Eliminate Odors

Do you dread the smell of old coffee in your kitchen or office? A knocking box is a perfect solution! It traps the odor of coffee grounds, so you don’t have to worry about unpleasant smells spreading. Now you can enjoy the fresh smell of a new cup of coffee each morning.

They Are a Great Convenience

No more running back and forth between the machine and the trash can! Only knock out the used coffee pucks, and you’re done – no more portafilter cleaning. It’s a great way to save time and make your coffee-making process smoother not to feel nauseous.

What Are the Different Types of Knocking Boxes?

Looking for a knocking box? The type you choose will depend on your needs and budget. However, it’s important to be aware of all your options before making a final decision.


These are excellent for those who prefer a compact, enclosed option. These boxes feature a drawer-style design with a front-facing panel.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel boxes are a classic choice for coffee bars and restaurants. Stainless steel is durable and easy to clean, making it an excellent option for busy baristas. They have a curved, open-top design that contains the grounds and allows for easy disposal.


Plastic boxes are becoming popular in the coffee industry. These boxes are lightweight and also feature a curved layout to contain grounds. Plastic boxes are more affordable than stainless steel models. They are also mostly safe to put in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.

What Should You Look for When Buying One?

Finding the right knocking box is essential for all espresso lovers. With so many options out there, it can be hard to know where to start. No need to worry, though – here are some features to consider when shopping for one!


Coffee-knocking boxes are typically crafted from stainless steel, plastic, or wood. Steel is the most dependable and easy to sanitize. Maybe you don’t think steel is your style. Well, plastic and wood can be more cost-effective alternatives.

A silver espresso machine with different cups placed on top of it


These devices come in various sizes, from small to large. Choose one that can hold the number of coffee grounds you expect to use in a day.

Barista Comfort

Ensure the box is comfortable for you to use. Look for one with a rounded edge and an angled base to make it easier to knock out spent coffee grounds.

How to Maintain Your Knocking Box

Keeping your device clean and in good working order is essential.

  • Rinse the inside and outside of your device with hot water and let it air dry before using it again.
  • Use only a mild detergent when cleaning to avoid damaging it.
  • Ensure to seal the box well when not in use to keep it free from dirt and dust.
  • Replace the rubber gasket on your device often. This is to maintain a tight seal and prevent any grounds or debris from escaping.
  • Inspect the tool for any cracks or damage before each use. If you find any, replace the box immediately.

Related Questions

How Often Should You Empty a Knock Box?

Empty the knock box every day. You can also empty it when it’s about three-quarters full.

How Do You Clean a Knock Box?

First, remove the used coffee puck from the box to clean. Then, use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe the inside and outside of the box. Rinse the cloth or sponge with warm water and wipe the box again. Finally, dry the inside with a dry cloth or paper towel.


Knock boxes are an essential tool for any coffee lover. Baristas can clean and discard coffee grounds from an espresso machine fast. Different types of boxes are available. These range from drawer-style to stainless steel or plastic. You should choose these devices based on material, size, comfort, and price.