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Kafka console tools

Kafka offers command-line tools to manage topics, consumer groups, to consume and publish messages and so forth.

Important: Kafka console scripts are different for Unix-based and Windows platforms. In the examples, you might need to add the extension according to your platform.

Linux: scripts located in bin/ with .sh extension.

Windows: scripts located in bin\windows\ and with .bat extension.


This tool lets you produce messages from the command-line.

Send simple string messages to a topic:

kafka-console-producer --broker-list localhost:9092 --topic test
here is a message
here is another message

(each new line is a new message, type ctrl+D or ctrl+C to stop)

Send messages with keys:

kafka-console-producer --broker-list localhost:9092 --topic test-topic \
        --property parse.key=true \
        --property key.separator=,
key 1, message 1
key 2, message 2
null, message 3

Send messages from a file:

kafka-console-producer --broker-list localhost:9092 --topic test_topic < file.log


This consumer is a low-level tool which allows you to consume messages from specific partitions, offsets and replicas.

Useful parameters:

  • parition: the specific partition to consume from (default to all)
  • offset: the beginning offset. Use -2 to consume messages from the beginning, -1 to consume from the end.
  • max-messages: number of messages to print
  • replica: the replica, default to the broker-leader (-1)


kafka-simple-consumer-shell  \
    --broker-list localhost:9092 \
    --partition 1 \
    --offset 4 \
    --max-messages 3 \
    --topic test-topic

displays 3 messages from partition 1 beginning at offset 4 from topic test-topic.


This tool let's you consume messages from a topic.

to use the old consumer implementation, replace --bootstrap-server with --zookeeper.

Display simple messages:

kafka-console-consumer --bootstrap-server localhost:9092 --topic test 

Consume old messages:

In order to see older messages, you can use the --from-beginning option.

Display key-value messages:

kafka-console-consumer  --bootstrap-server localhost:9092 --topic test-topic \
    --property print.key=true \
    --property key.separator=, 


This tool allows you to list, describe, or delete consumer groups. Have a look at this article for more information about consumer groups.

if you still use the old consumer implementation, replace --bootstrap-server with --zookeeper.

List consumer groups:

kafka-consumer-groups  --bootstrap-server localhost:9092 --list

Describe a consumer-group:

kafka-consumer-groups  --bootstrap-server localhost:9092 --describe --group octopus
octopus        test-topic      0          15              15              0         octopus-1/
octopus        test-topic      1          14              15              1         octopus-2_/

Remarks: in the output above,

  • current-offset is the last committed offset of the consumer instance,
  • log-end-offset is the highest offset of the partition (hence, summing this column gives you the total number of messages for the topic)
  • lag is the difference between the current consumer offset and the highest offset, hence how far behind the consumer is,
  • owner is the of the consumer (if not specified, a default one is displayed).

Delete a consumer-group:

deletion is only available when the group metadata is stored in zookeeper (old consumer api). With the new consumer API, the broker handles everything including metadata deletion: the group is deleted automatically when the last committed offset for the group expires.

kafka-consumer-groups --bootstrap-server localhost:9092 --delete --group octopus


This tool let you list, create, alter and describe topics.

List topics:

kafka-topics  --zookeeper localhost:2181 --list

Create a topic:

kafka-topics  --create --zookeeper localhost:2181 --replication-factor 1 --partitions 1 --topic test

creates a topic with one partition and no replication.

Describe a topic:

kafka-topics  --zookeeper localhost:2181 --describe --topic test

Alter a topic:

# change configuration
kafka-topics  --zookeeper localhost:2181 --alter --topic test --config max.message.bytes=128000
# add a partition
kafka-topics  --zookeeper localhost:2181 --alter --topic test --partitions 2

(Beware: Kafka does not support reducing the number of partitions of a topic) (see this list of configuration properties)