The espresso knock box is one of those devices that you never miss if you haven't used it before, but once you get used to it you can't live without. OK it’s a trivial plastic box, you might say, what’s the fuss about it. Yeah, you are right, a cheap plastic bin to dump your espresso puck, and that’s all. But I need mine to look neat on the counter, not an ugly object that I need to hide after use. And if you analyze closer, there are a lot of thing to consider when you buy the simple bash bin. Read on, I bet you can find a tip or two, and if you don’t, then leave a message in the comment section.
Some people call it simply knock box, some call it a bash bin, and it’s a simple device to help you empty your portafilter after brewing, and store the spent espresso grounds.
Why do you need one of those? Well, Mark Prince says in one of his articles, that he almost rates knock boxes with a higher priority than the tamper. Obviously, just a figure of style, but really, the message is that a knock box is more important than we realize. I personally realized that only when I started to use one. I got it as a gift from my wife, and now I couldn’t live without it. If you are sick of emptying your portafilter into your trash bin, this is for you. I know I wouldn’t go back to that.
The Dreamfarm’s Grindenstein is a great espresso knock box, with a decent size, though maybe not ideal for a commercial setup. Large 60 mm pucks can fit properly in the bin. The box is made of plastic, and purists might disagree with this, but I believe it is all part of the special, patented design, to reduce shock, and noise.
The box is durable, with a steel core, and its size it’s just perfect for any kitchen counter. Easy to clean, it fits on the top shelf of the dishwasher. The special design makes it less noisy than the rest of knock boxes.
The Best Espresso Knock Box
There are a few great knock box models out there, and it would be hard to declare a winner. Part of the reason is that the personal preference plays a major part in this. The aesthetics are probably as important as the functionality, because this item will take space on your counter every day.
The size of the knock box is probably less important for most people, especially that the bigger boxes look unappealing. Some people though, are in for functionality only, and the big size is a must.
Here are a couple of models on Amazon, which we like.
Cafelat makes a lot of good quality espresso accessories. Their Tubbi espresso knock box looks great, even if it’s made of plastic. In fact the material is a tough ABS plastic, practically indestructible. The plastic absorbs the vibrations and it is less noisy as a result.
The cross bar is easily removable and the rubber that covers it is food safe. The rubber further absorbs the vibrations, so the noise while operating the Cafelat knock box is decent, compared to other products. The box has also rubber pad to prevent slipping, and further reduce the noise. What really stands out about Tubbi, is the removable cross bar, which is not fixed into the box. The bar moves freely, and this doesn’t impede its functionality.
Because this is the smaller box, it works better with smaller diameter portafilters. Some people report splatting with the 58 mm portafilters. I had no problems with it.
The Cheap Espresso Bash Bin
Although there are a few really cheap models on the market, we don't recommend you buy one. If you are on a budget, you can probably make your own.
The small bin from Breville is really inexpensive and it does its job greatly. A little noisier than the plastic ones, but it does look great.
Breville has a couple of models of knock boxes, and this is their small model. This is called Knock Box mini, and it is rather a small box, but it is perfect for the typical home barista. The bash bin from Breville is a little noisier than the Grindenstein, but it is better looking. The other advantage is that the cross bar is removable for better cleaning. It has rubber grip for better stability on the counter, and the canister is made from stainless steel.
This box can take a lot of abuse, it is made for that. This is the smaller model, with a square profile. Because of its shape it looks better in my eyes.