I know, it is just a knock box. Something to contain your spent pucks. Until you are ready to dispose of them. Aren’t they all the same?
Well, I don’t think so. For starters they come in all shapes and sizes. Vary dramatically in price and frankly some are quite impractical. So, what have we on review today?
The original Crema Pro knock-box as you may have guessed by the heading. It comes all the way from Australia. Now, our antipodeans cousins have quite a reputation for high quality knock boxes (and indeed all sorts of decent espresso gear) and the review item is no exception.
The “Been” as it shall henceforth be known in this review because it is the knock-box with the longest name known to mankind. Stands about 18cm high (or 7 inches in old money). The 10cm (4 inches) diameter opening at the top is smaller than the base diameter of 16cm (6.25 inches) as the Been widens at the bottom. Its body is made of a strong plastic type material which appears very durable. It is adorned by an attractive moulded bean logo on the front.
There is a rubber ring around the base to prevent the box slipping during use. The knock bar appears to be stainless steel with a rubber sheath providing shock absorption during use.
PRACTICAL COMPARISON – knock box.
So how does the Been hold up against other knock-boxes? I am not a big fan of drawers for home use simply because I feel they are too big for the volume passing through them and they are not particularly easy to keep clean.
Similarly, I don’t like metal boxes because they are prone to scratching and rust – especially if they are not kept clean and dry – and they are frequently more expensive for something that is less durable than a plastic composite type.
My own knock-box of choice to date has been another Australian masterpiece, the Grindenstein. Like the Been, a tub shaped box fabricated from a form of heavy duty plastic composite. Both are highly durable, though the Been is made from thicker diameter material.
There are two obvious differences between the boxes; the Been is twice the height, and the Grindenstein has no metal components at all, preferring to employ a knock bar made of the same composite material as the main body The stein is specifically designed to fit on the drip tray, under the average espresso machine’s brew group when not in use in order to save space.
It works well, but does need to be emptied after every couple of uses, which is not really an issue for low volume home users The Been on the other hand is more than capable of holding several days worth of pucks in a domestic environment should you wish it to do so, and I like the way it rids of them in its bulbous base.
Somehow, the waste just disappears into the darkness, out of mind until it is time to dispose of the contents. I like that over the stein’s all too obvious content that is very close to the knock bar after three or four pucks have been collected.
Knock box variations.
The knock bars themselves vary somewhat too. The Grindenstein bar is of a greater circumference and is sheathed in a rubber material that appears to have slightly more give than that of the Been.
When the Grindenstein first arrived, I was concerned that the knock bar was positioned direct centre across the opening and feared there may not be enough room either side of it to dispose of the puck easily.
Others have commented similarly on first contact with this.. The positioning of the Grindenstein bar has not been a particular problem if care is taken, but I must say it has been a treat to use the Been with its more traditionally placed, slightly thinner circumference bar positioned nearer to the front edge of the opening.
The manufacturers state that it can be placed in a dishwasher, which is not something I would recommend with the Been because of its metal knock bar.
However, as both rinse off admirably under a warm tap, I can see little benefit of the dishwasher option in any case. Function. The Crema Pro knock box works very well.
The definitive test.
It is a simple concept banging the portafilter on the knock bar until the puck falls into the container, but how easily that can be achieved is the definitive test.
Pucks are ejected from the Been with ease by a combination of the well balanced rigid, yet perfectly shock absorbent rubber material covering the metal knock bar, and the copious amount of space behind the bar for the pucks to fall into the container.
I like the feel of the knocking action, and although it is a very personal thing, I would be surprised if anyone was disappointed with the functionality. The manufacturer has clearly gone to a great deal of trouble to make sure the function is excellent. Cleaning is easy, a quick rinse after emptying leaves the box looking as good as new and there is no need to dry it, just let it drain and dry naturally.
I love my Grindenstein, but have to admit that the Been is more practical and functional for me because of its capacity and better positioned knock bar.
If I was buying a knock-box now, unless I was so short of space that it was absolutely necessary to store the box on the drip tray when not in use, I would buy the Been with no hesitation.
For me, it has managed to be all things to all men and would be suitable for both low volume home users and those that have traditionally used a knock drawer for greater capacity.
The Crema Pro knock box is highly recommended. SO MATE DO I HAVE TO FLY QUANTAS TO OZ IN ORDER TO GET ONE?
No, not at all. Scott at www.happydonkey.co.uk has them in stock, so you can save yourself the air fare! Scott knows his stuff. He offers excellent value for money and superb customer service, so I am happy to review items in order for others to know.
Knock box review – Update 2019
A decade or so further on and older too. I have to say that this little knock-box is ageing better than us all.
It’s still the only knock-box we have used since it arrived and that’s on a daily basis, it looks new, the rubber cover on the knock bar is barely marked and the non slip rubber around the base is perfect too.
In fact it’s incredible. Still highly recommended. Next update in ten years.
Review written by ‘Cakeboy’ a coffee forum member and respected home enthusiast.
Fancy reading more? Try our knock box and drawer post the big overview.