How To Make An Espresso Knock Box At Home? [DIY]

Learn how to make a knock box for your Espresso at home

Now, a few people might want to have a knock box of their own accord while also having the perfect compatibility to their coffee makers. And, if there is one thing that would stop you from banging the filter on the sink or dustbin, then it would surely be a knock box.

Sometimes, a knock box is regarded as a “bash bin”, slam piece, coffee column or bang bang. And generally, a knock box is used to for storing left out grounds or spent puck.

And so here it is your “Espresso Knock Box DIY”.

How To Make A Knock Box

Espresso Knock Box Diy [ Step by Step ]

Now, as that said, you can choose any type of container to go with like the wooden or PVC. But, do keep in mind that the wall thickness of it should be within 0.5 to 0.75 inches [ More thickness results to extra weight, so be sure to keep in mind.]

What You’ll Require

  • A container of sorts of your choice.
  • Copper pipe required about 5-inch length
  • 5-inch copper pipe caps
  • Two 0.5-inch rubber grommets
  • Clear reinforced tubing
  • For transferring cut lines, index card is required.

Tools Needed

  • A drill
  • Sand paper
  • A coping saw
  • A crosscut saw (you can use chop saw, if you want)
  • Gloves
  • Hacksaw or Dremel
  • File, rounded ones
  • Clamp (can be quick clamp or pipe ones)
  • 1-inch bit. Spade bit or paddle ones; depends on the outward diameter of inner ring grommets.

Now, as the tools been taken care of, let’s proceed to the action.

  • Step – 1: Take Appropriate Measurements and Cut

If you choose your knock box to catch drips and fit to your espresso, then measure the space between the thermal plat and the portafilter. It should give you an idea of the size of your knock box.

But, if you choose your knock box to just store puck or spent grounds, then cut the container according to your requirements. It will be an excellent choice to cut the tunnel in a way that it fits into the machine and doesn’t require you to worry much.

  • Step – 2: Drill for the Holes

Please, do practice drilling holes on a cupboard or scrap piece. Hold the scrap with clamp to keep it from moving. Wear mouth guard and glasses and drill slowly so that you don’t chip away too much or loose edge over it.

Take 1 & ⅜ inches down from top to mark it out for drilling on both sides. If you plan to fit it under portafilter measure out the height for the knock box so it can clear the spouts.

  • Step – 3: Cut and Shape the Mouth

Draw and measure an arc for knock box’s mouth. Take 4.25 inches across the arc of the mouth and 1.75 inches down. Cope down to cut or use jigsaw to cut. Finally, smooth out the edges with sandpaper and file.

  • Step – 4: Smooth out with File and Sandpaper

As you might see after the drilling and coping, the mouth and the holes are on the rough side. Use sandpaper and rounded file to smooth the holes and measure to keep the size of the hole in check. You can use the grommets to see if it fits the hole.

  • Step – 5: Place the Grommets

Start inserting the rubber grommets onto the holes. It should fit, if measurements were maintained from the start.

  • Step – 6: Place the Copper Pipes

Put the copper pipe through the holes. You can cut the pipes on both end leaving enough room for putting caps.

  • Step – 7: Place the Caps and Apply Final Touches

Size out the clear tubing so that it fits within the rubber grommets. Put the pipe through the tubing and place the caps. Use sandpaper to apply final touch as you see fit. And there you have it, Wala!

Types Of Espresso Knock Boxes

Types Of Espresso Knock Boxes For Threaded Portafilters

  1. A one-piece unit that screws onto your machine. Usually made from aluminum or stainless steel, they require frequent cleaning because the used coffee grounds get all over them. The best part of this type is that it’s easy to use, you just remove the portafilter holder and put the knock box on instead! You can also swap it between machines easily since it will fit multiple machines with standard portafilter threading. Great for traveling too since there are no separate containers to lose track of.
  2. A two-piece unit where you keep your container underneath while punching out used coffee grounds. The container is usually made from plastic or aluminum and there are different options as far as the size & type of portafilter holder it comes with. This option works best if you already have a container you want to use for spent coffee grounds since the knock box only fits the “standard” sized containers.
  3. A sliding or removable knock box which has a built-in receptacle where you pour used coffee grounds then slide/remove them to dump them out. These boxes require minimal space between your machine’s portafilter holder & where you place your cups but may not fit under some machines due to their width. They’re also easy to clean since all parts can be disassembled for thorough cleaning.
  4. A unit that fits your portafilter/portafilter holder & has a separate container for used coffee grounds.

Types Of Espresso Knock Boxes For Groups

  1. A one-piece unit that screws onto the machine with a portafilter or portafilter holder as part of it. Made from aluminum or steel, they require frequent cleaning because the used coffee grounds get all over them & there’s no way to keep them off since it’s just one piece. The best part of this type is that you can use it with machines that don’t have a built-in group knock box and swap it between machines easily too since most also fit multiple machines with standard portafilter threading. Great for traveling too since there are no separate containers to lose track of.
  2. A two-piece unit where you keep your container underneath while punching out used coffee grounds. The container is usually made from plastic or aluminum and there are different options as far as the size & type of portafilter holder it comes with. This option works best if you already have a container you want to use for spent coffee grounds since the knock box only fits the “standard” sized containers.
  3. A sliding or removable knock box which has a built-in receptacle where you pour used coffee grounds then slide/remove them to dump them out. These boxes may not fit under some machines due to their width requiring minimal space between your machine’s portafilter holder & where you place your cups but the container underneath can be of any size/type. They’re also easy to clean since all parts can be disassembled for thorough cleaning.
  4. A unit that fits your portafilter/portafilter holder, has its own separate container for used coffee grounds and screws onto your machine. This is the best type in my opinion since there’s no need to remove or change anything when swapping between machines and you just pour outspent coffee grounds into your regular wastebasket underneath.

Note: Sliding boxes with built-in receptacles usually work well if they’re attached directly to a countertop surface as shown below whereas those with removable knock boxes require their own waste container to catch spilled used coffee grounds when sliding it out.

What Is An Espresso Knock Box?

An espresso knock box is a must-have item for any serious coffee aficionado who enjoys fine espressos. A good espresso knock box will collect the grinds after you’ve pressed them out of your portafilter and dump them into a waste bin, keeping your countertop clean and avoiding the annoyance of grinds falling onto your tray or floor.

The best professional-grade knock boxes are made from medical-grade stainless steel and maintain their shine for years even with constant use – we think they’re worth every penny! Other knock boxes may look just as pretty or cool, but don’t be fooled: they’re often ill-fitting lids that don’t allow proper function when knocking out ground coffee. The worst ones feature insubstantial plastic construction, rendering them utterly useless to the coffee purist. We think you’ll find our list of recommendations below to be quite useful!

How To Make An Espresso Knock Box At Home?

Ok, so maybe you’re not yet ready to drop a couple of bucks on a proper coffee knock box – no problem. For those of us who don’t have the cash to burn, there is a cheap and easy solution – use what you’ve already got available! The next time you make espresso at home, simply set your portafilter down on a plate or bowl and lightly whack it with the backside of a spoon. Most people won’t be able to get away with this for long before they chip their plates or bowls but hey, beggars can’t always be choosers!

What Size Should An Espresso Knock Box Be?

When it comes to choosing an espresso knock box’s size, the answer is simple: however big you think you need it to be, get one at least ten percent larger. Nothing is more frustrating than having your garage full of coffee grinds each morning thanks to an undersized knock box or a portafilter that doesn’t fit! The best way for us to illustrate just how useful our top-rated espresso knock boxes are is for you to try NOT using them – trust us, you’ll change your mind right quick otherwise.

What’s The Best Material For An Espresso Knock Box?

The best material for making an espresso knock box is medical-grade stainless steel. It resists rusting and staining better than any other material while retaining its shine after years of regular use. Some knock boxes will feature plastic inlays or trays but avoid these items like the plague: they won’t last and will make your coffee taste like old car tires. Stainless steel is, we believe, one of the best materials for knocking out grinds into a waste bin with nothing more than a quick tap!

Why A Knock Box?

When making several espresso shots in succession – say, for a larger gathering – it can become tedious and irritating to have your recently-pressed coffee grinds fall onto the countertop or worse yet onto your desk or floor immediately after pressing. Not only that, but excess water sitting on top of your portafilter can seep into the dosed grounds and make them soggy, affecting their flavor as well as contributing to mold growth (gross). Most baristas recommend dumping out those grinds at the end of your final shot and also wiping down the portafilter with a cloth to remove excess water. This is where a proper knock box shines: simply place your portafilter into it and lightly tap out the excess coffee and you’re good to go! That’s all there is to it: no more worrying about countertops, floors, or dirty portafilters.

There are plenty of coffee knock boxes available in today’s market; many models feature sleek design elements such as easy-to-grip rubberized handles while others serve purposes such as catching run-off water from your brewed shots or grinding freshly dosed grounds directly into the bin. The problem we’ve found with most knock boxes, however, can be split into two categories:

  1. The knock box lacks a good balance of style and utility. Many units we’ve tested feature rubberized handles which feel nice in the hand but can cause dosed coffee grinds to stick, particularly if you’re knocking out a larger number of shots. Rubber grips also tend to harbor smells – especially over longer periods – and can even pick up stains from your freshly-dosed grounds. Other models we’ve seen feature large plastic bins that simply aren’t meant for heavy-duty usage; these models will look nice on occasion but their durability quickly wears away after months or years of use, leaving you with an expensive garbage bin rather than a useful tool for knocking out old grounds. Finally, many knock boxes feature metal construction but place their plastic portafilter holder and/or drip tray on top, leaving them exposed to stains and smells. For these reasons, we recommend using only knock boxes that feature 100% pure stainless steel construction for durability as well as ease of use.
  2. The knock box costs too much. Here at Grinder & Brew, we’re all about finding you the best value for your money; that’s why we’ve only included items that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. There are high-quality coffee knock boxes available today ranging anywhere from $20 to $50; however, if you look hard enough you’ll find plenty of options costing between $10-$25 which will still get the job done just as well as their pricier peers. We’ve found three great options in this price range listed below which should fit any barista’s needs perfectly!
  3. The knock box isn’t easy enough to clean. Finally, another problem we’ve found with some knock boxes is that their internals is too difficult to separate for proper cleaning after use; this becomes a major annoyance when your old grounds become stuck on the inside of your knock box without any way of reaching it for repeated use.

We recommend sticking with models which can be completely disassembled for simple washing in warm water after every use. A word of warning: make sure that your new knock box also disassembles into small enough pieces to fit inside your dishwasher; we don’t want you having to hand wash each piece for extended periods as they come out of the machine.

Which Coffee Knock Box Style Is For You?

On the left, we have the standard style of coffee knock box which has been around for decades. These models typically sit on top of your countertop and feature a large container with two compartments: one to collect excess coffee after knocking out your portafilter while the other catches running water or allows you to dispose of used grounds directly into it when preparing another shot. We recommend using these types when you’re hosting parties at home when you want something that stands out in terms of aesthetics (they look great!), or if you plan on grinding directly into it without transferring excess grounds into an external grinder bag.

On the right is our favorite style of knocks box which features a sleek matte black finish and 100% stainless steel interior construction. These knock boxes look and feel great upon our countertops, and we love the bright LED light illuminating the inside of the bin after knocking out a portafilter in low-light kitchen environments. Not only do they look great, however; we’ve found them to be extremely durable over time and easy to clean with a simple rinse under the faucet after every few uses. Finally, they’re also compact enough to fit inside smaller dishwashers for easier cleanup whenever necessary! These models are perfect if you want something that feels premium up on your countertop or if you plan on sharing it at work or other establishments where aesthetics count.

Knock Box Chutes Vs Drawers

Now that you’ve seen the knock box reviews, let’s take a moment to highlight one of the more important distinctions between some models. Specifically, we’re going to look at knock box chutes vs drawers.

Knock Box Drawer – This type of drawer is typically located in-between your portafilter and group handle. They are designed with an opening/chute on top so you can drop your spent puck inside without any fuss. There are dozens of options out there but the two most popular ones are made by Baratza and Knock Co. We recommend using them in commercial settings since it doesn’t require much effort to open/close them since they’re spring-loaded. Plus, many baristas often find themselves knocking out more than one shot at a time, so their hands can get in each other’s way when they’re trying to open the drawer.

Knock Box Chute – These are typically located right underneath your portafilter and group handle. They’re not as popular as knock boxes with drawers but they don’t require any extra effort since you can simply drop your spent puck inside with the push of a button. We recommend them for home espresso enthusiasts who will be using them fairly regularly (~1-2 times per day). There are only 3 models on our list that offer this style – namely Baristas Toolbox KnockBox CHUTE, Coffee Tamp CHUTE, & Motta CHUTE.

But wait! Most people want to know if they can get a drawer/chute combo. We did some digging and found two knock boxes that offer this type of option: Baristas Toolbox Chute Box & Knock Box Drawer.

Of course, there are dozens of other models out there but these are the most popular ones that both baristas & home users love! Thanks for reading our post on finding the best knock box.

*Please Note: While we regularly these at home with just 10-12 ounces of water we strongly recommend using filtered water instead – especially in areas where the tap water has high levels of sodium/calcium/chalk deposits in it.

How Often Do I Need To Clean My Knock Box?

This depends entirely on how often you use it but if your build-up is greater than 1/8″ then it’s time to break out the cleaning brush. For instance, if there are 10 ounces of oil built up on the walls then you’ll want to knock them out every 2-3 weeks. We know that this doesn’t fit into everyone’s schedule so we recommend having an extra bag of coffee around just in case you get caught off guard.

How often do I need to replace my espresso puck? The general rule of thumb is after 10-15 days of using your spent pucks should be replaced – no exceptions! Of course, if they start showing signs of rust, cracking, or splitting it might be a good idea to get a new one sooner rather than later. Plus, freshly roasted espressos can taste astringent and bitter after 1 week so this is another reason why we recommend replacing yours at least once a month. This will ensure that you’re pulling the best shots possible.

The other thing that we recommend doing is using your knock box parchment paper to pull multiple espressos without washing them in between. This will allow you to create a delicious blend while still maintaining high-quality extraction!

*Please Note: Use distilled water when flushing out your puck bin after making espresso. We use filtered water but this isn’t always available everywhere so make sure to get distilled/purified water if necessary.

The Most Common Materials For Espresso Knock Boxes

Stainless steel – This is the most common choice for coffee knock boxes because it’s easy to clean, lasts forever & doesn’t absorb any flavors. They can also handle being knocked with your hand so you don’t have to worry about breaking them, unlike wooden models!

Wood – These are nice looking but they’re more expensive than stainless steel knock boxes so we recommend trying out a cheaper model first before splurging on one that costs $100+. There’s nothing wrong with the more expensive ones but they’re pretty much overkill if you’re a home espresso enthusiast.

Plastic – We don’t recommend these since they warp easily and aren’t able to withstand heavy usage like stainless or wood. You’ll be better off with a cheaper model for home use!

Another thing to keep in mind is the twist-on method. If you get a knock box that doesn’t require twisting on & off we recommend trying it out. We’ve had problems with models that use this mechanism because they’re usually made from cheap plastic and don’t last long in cafes. On the other hand, stainless steel or wood knock boxes with a twist-on design never give us any problems and make knocking very easy since there’s no risk of breaking them like when using plastic ones!

When Should I Empty My Espresso Knock Box?

This isn’t an easy question to answer since it depends on the espresso machine you have, how much espresso you’re pulling per day, etc. You should empty your knock box when it’s full of spent espresso grounds but try not to let it get too full =) Some machines will start having problems if there are too many used grounds jammed in them so make sure to remove some out if necessary! We recommend emptying grinds every 2-3 days in cafes & once a week for home users depending on usage.

What Is The Best Way To Remove Spent Espresso Grounds From A Knock Box?

We recommend these 3 methods depending on the espresso machine you have:

  1. Plunger Method – This is popular with La Marzocco machines where you push a plunger down inside your knock box to force out used coffee grounds. It works well for removing everything in one shot but it’s not practical if you’re using a machine that doesn’t have a built-in plunger like an Expobar or Nuova Simonelli!
  2. Knockbox Waste Tray – Some machines come with a little tray on top of your knock box which helps make knocking easier and prevents some mess from getting everywhere. If your machine has this feature you could simply empty it every couple of days or whenever it gets full.
  3. Pulling The Knock Box Out – You should do this every day to remove any leftover espresso grounds from your knock box. Simply grab hold of the handle and shake out whatever’s left inside!

Is An Espresso Knock Box Challenging To Make An Espresso?

Making espresso with a knock box is easy! Just put your portafilter into the machine, lock it in place & start pulling shots. When you’re done make sure to remove the portafilter, push down on the knock bar to eject used grounds inside of your knock box, and pull out your drip tray if necessary =) We recommend taking this extra step for home users too since it’s best to keep things clean even when you don’t have customers.

What Espresso Knock Box Do You Recommend For An Espresso Machine?

We recommend checking out some knock boxes made by Baratza if you have an espresso machine. They make the Coava knock bar which works great with most home machines & is very easy to install. The Baratza Virtuoso coffee grinder also has a built-in side portafilter holder that can be used as a knock box for smaller-sized portafilters!

If you’re using a machine that doesn’t have one of these features then please read our article about how to choose an espresso knock box for recommendations depending on your needs!   If you don’t know what size portafilter your espresso machine takes check out this article on how to measure a portafilter.

How Do I Use A Portafilter As An Espresso Knock Box?

Many espresso machines today come with a built-in portafilter holder which you can use as an espresso knock box. If your machine doesn’t have one then we recommend getting the Baratza Coava knock bar because it’s really easy to install & works well for most home machines. The Virtuoso has a built-in side portafilter holder that can also be used as a knock box and is great for smaller-sized portafilters! For detailed instructions on using different types of knock boxes please read my article about how to choose an espresso knock box.

What Is The Ideal Height Of An Espresso Knock Box?

This depends on how tall you are & what type of machine you’re using. The wrong height can cause sore elbows and take up a lot of unnecessary space. On the other hand, an ideal height could make things easy for you to reach and won’t be in the way! There’s no perfect answer here but if you maintain your espresso machine regularly then it shouldn’t be too much trouble to come up with something that works well for your needs

What Are The Advantages Of Making Espresso With A Knock Box?

One advantage is that your baristas won’t be tempted to leave excess grounds behind in the machine if they know there’s a separate container for used coffee grounds. Another one is that making espresso with an espresso knock box allows for proper organization of equipment which simplifies maintenance & cleaning. It also makes it easier for all parts of your espresso machine to stay properly optimized rather than impacted by other sections or functions.

Some people also use a pre-ground container for their spent coffee grounds which makes clean up easier. This method allows them to just dump it all into a larger container that can easily be taken outside for disposal rather than dumping individual grounds. These containers should be cleaned between uses!

How To Use An Espresso Knock Box?

It depends on the machine you’re using and how it’s set up! As mentioned in the article, some espresso machines come with a built-in portafilter holder while others require separate knock boxes and/or different accessories. For detailed instructions please read my article about how to choose an espresso knock box, where I provide specific directions for using different types of knock boxes.

Which Is The Effective And Easy To Clean Steel Espresso Knock Box?

The Coava knock bar is my favorite! It takes two seconds to install and it’s effective at knocking the brewed espresso out of a portafilter. Another thing I like about this knock box is that it doesn’t take up too much space and is made from materials that are easy to clean & maintain.

Cleaning an espresso machine properly can be difficult but if you maintain your equipment regularly then it shouldn’t be too hard for you to keep things clean! For detailed instructions please read our article about how to care for an espresso machine.

What Are The Things You Need To Know Before Buying Espresso Knock Box?

If you have a built-in portafilter holder on your machine, make sure you buy a knock box that’s compatible with your machine! If you have a portafilter holder too, check to see how much space it takes up on the machine. You should also consider what materials are being used so that the knock box is easy to clean & maintain.

How To Choose The Best Espresso Knock Box?

If you already have a portafilter and/or portafilter holder and it’s compatible with your machine then I would recommend choosing a knock box that simply slides on & off. This allows you to use the same portafilter across all of your different espresso machines! It also means that you can just swap the knock bar from one machine to another as needed which makes maintenance easier.

Having separate containers for spent coffee grounds & pre-ground coffee is helpful too since it ensures minimal cross-contamination between flavors. You should however make sure these containers are cleaned regularly so they don’t acquire flavors from other products.

Another factor to consider is how much space a given knock box takes up, particularly if you’re using a built-in portafilter holder. This is because having too much space taken up can make proper organization & cleaning of equipment more difficult.

For detailed instructions please read my article about how to choose an espresso knock box, where I provide specific directions for using different types of knock boxes.

Where Can You Buy A Knock Box?

You can buy knock boxes from most retailers that specialize in espresso equipment. I recommend buying from Amazon since they have a huge selection, great prices, and come with free shipping.

What Is The Best Knock Box For Espresso?

The best knock box is the one that’s easy to use, fits your portafilter/portafilter holder, and of course is easy to clean. If you already have a machine with a built-in portafilter holder then I would recommend choosing one that simply slides on & off.

If you don’t have a portafilter holder though I would go for either a removable or sliding knock box since they’re easier to maintain when compared to boxes that require punching out used coffee grounds or having separate containers for pre-ground or used coffee grounds.

For more information about different types of knock boxes please see my article about how to choose an espresso knock box.

Can You Use An Espresso Machine Without The Knock Box?

Yes, this is possible, but it’s best if you use the same portafilter across all of your different machines. Cleaning an espresso machine properly can be difficult but if you maintain your equipment regularly then it shouldn’t be too hard for you to keep things clean! For detailed instructions please read my article about how to care for an espresso machine.

You should also consider what materials are being used so that the knock box is easy to clean & maintain.

What Is The Difference Between A Static And Dynamic Knock Box?

Static knock boxes (also known as brick boxes) are very sturdy but take up more space than dynamic knock boxes which aren’t quite as durable but take up less space. They’re both still great options, it’s just a matter of preference.

For detailed instructions please read my article about how to choose an espresso knock box, where I provide specific directions for using different types of knock boxes.

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Conclusion

A knock box is a container that holds the spent coffee grounds after they have been expelled from the espresso machine. These containers are usually made of stainless steel and can be found in various sizes, depending on how many cups of espresso you’d like to make at once. If you want your own knock box but don’t know where to start, this blog post will show you exactly what materials to buy and how to put it all together. We hope these instructions help!

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