apache-kafka Producer/Consumer in Java SimpleConsumer (Kafka >= 0.9.0)


The 0.9 release of Kafka introduced a complete redesign of the kafka consumer. If you are interested in the old SimpleConsumer (0.8.X), have a look at this page. If your Kafka installation is newer than 0.8.X, the following codes should work out of the box.

Configuration and initialization

Kafka 0.9 no longer supports Java 6 or Scala 2.9. If you are still on Java 6, consider upgrading to a supported version.

First, create a maven project and add the following dependency in your pom:


Note : don't forget to update the version field for the latest releases (now > 0.10).

The consumer is initialised using a Properties object. There are lots of properties allowing you to fine-tune the consumer behaviour. Below is the minimal configuration needed:

Properties props = new Properties();
props.put("bootstrap.servers", "localhost:9092");
props.put("group.id", "consumer-tutorial");
props.put("key.deserializer", StringDeserializer.class.getName());
props.put("value.deserializer", StringDeserializer.class.getName()); 

The bootstrap-servers is an initial list of brokers for the consumer to be able discover the rest of the cluster. This doesn’t need to be all the servers in the cluster: the client will determine the full set of alive brokers from the brokers in this list.

The deserializer tells the consumer how to interpret/deserialize the message keys and values. Here, we use the built-in StringDeserializer.

Finally, the group.id corresponds to the consumer group of this client. Remember: all consumers of a consumer group will split messages between them (kafka acting like a message queue), while consumers from different consumer groups will get the same messages (kafka acting like a publish-subscribe system).

Other useful properties are:

  • auto.offset.reset: controls what to do if the offset stored in Zookeeper is either missing or out-of-range. Possible values are latest and earliest. Anything else will throw an exception;

  • enable.auto.commit: if true (default), the consumer offset is periodically (see auto.commit.interval.ms) saved in the background. Setting it to false and using auto.offset.reset=earliest - is to determine where should the consumer start from in case no committed offset information is found. earliest means from the start of the assigned topic partition. latest means from the highest number of available committed offset for the partition. However, Kafka consumer will always resume from the last committed offset as long as a valid offset record is found (i.e. ignoring auto.offset.reset. The best example is when a brand new consumer group subscribes to a topic. This is when it uses auto.offset.reset to determine whether to start from the beginning (earliest) or the end (latest) of the topic.

  • session.timeout.ms: a session timeout ensures that the lock will be released if the consumer crashes or if a network partition isolates the consumer from the coordinator. Indeed:

    When part of a consumer group, each consumer is assigned a subset of the partitions from topics it has subscribed to. This is basically a group lock on those partitions. As long as the lock is held, no other members in the group will be able to read from them. When your consumer is healthy, this is exactly what you want. It’s the only way that you can avoid duplicate consumption. But if the consumer dies due to a machine or application failure, you need that lock to be released so that the partitions can be assigned to a healthy member. source

The full list of properties is available herehttp://kafka.apache.org/090/documentation.html#newconsumerconfigs.

Consumer creation and topic subscription

Once we have the properties, creating a consumer is easy:

KafkaConsumer<String, String> consumer = new KafkaConsumer<>( props );
consumer.subscribe( Collections.singletonList( "topic-example" ) );

After you have subscribed, the consumer can coordinate with the rest of the group to get its partition assignment. This is all handled automatically when you begin consuming data.

Basic poll

The consumer needs to be able to fetch data in parallel, potentially from many partitions for many topics likely spread across many brokers. Fortunately, this is all handled automatically when you begin consuming data. To do that, all you need to do is call poll in a loop and the consumer handles the rest.

poll returns a (possibly empty) set of messages from the partitions that were assigned.

while( true ){
    ConsumerRecords<String, String> records = consumer.poll( 100 );
    if( !records.isEmpty() ){
        StreamSupport.stream( records.spliterator(), false ).forEach( System.out::println );

The code

Basic example

This is the most basic code you can use to fetch messages from a kafka topic.

public class ConsumerExample09{

    public static void main( String[] args ){

        Properties props = new Properties();
        props.put( "bootstrap.servers", "localhost:9092" );
        props.put( "key.deserializer", "org.apache.kafka.common.serialization.StringDeserializer" );
        props.put( "value.deserializer", "org.apache.kafka.common.serialization.StringDeserializer" );
        props.put( "auto.offset.reset", "earliest" );
        props.put( "enable.auto.commit", "false" );
        props.put( "group.id", "octopus" );

        try( KafkaConsumer<String, String> consumer = new KafkaConsumer<>( props ) ){
            consumer.subscribe( Collections.singletonList( "test-topic" ) );

            while( true ){
                // poll with a 100 ms timeout
                ConsumerRecords<String, String> records = consumer.poll( 100 );
                if( records.isEmpty() ) continue;
                StreamSupport.stream( records.spliterator(), false ).forEach( System.out::println );

Runnable example

The consumer is designed to be run in its own thread. It is not safe for multithreaded use without external synchronization and it is probably not a good idea to try.

Below is a simple Runnable task which initializes the consumer, subscribes to a list of topics, and executes the poll loop indefinitely until shutdown externally.

public class ConsumerLoop implements Runnable{
    private final KafkaConsumer<String, String> consumer;
    private final List<String> topics;
    private final int id;

    public ConsumerLoop( int id, String groupId, List<String> topics ){
        this.id = id;
        this.topics = topics;
        Properties props = new Properties();
        props.put( "bootstrap.servers", "localhost:9092");
        props.put( "group.id", groupId );
        props.put( "auto.offset.reset", "earliest" );
        props.put( "key.deserializer", StringDeserializer.class.getName() );
        props.put( "value.deserializer", StringDeserializer.class.getName() );
        this.consumer = new KafkaConsumer<>( props );
    public void run(){
            consumer.subscribe( topics );

            while( true ){
                ConsumerRecords<String, String> records = consumer.poll( Long.MAX_VALUE );
                StreamSupport.stream( records.spliterator(), false ).forEach( System.out::println );
        }catch( WakeupException e ){
            // ignore for shutdown 

    public void shutdown(){

Note that we use a timeout of Long.MAX_VALUE during poll, so it will wait indefinitely for a new message. To properly close the consumer, it is important to call its shutdown() method before ending the application.

A driver could use it like this:

public static void main( String[] args ){

    int numConsumers = 3;
    String groupId = "octopus";
    List<String> topics = Arrays.asList( "test-topic" );

    ExecutorService executor = Executors.newFixedThreadPool( numConsumers );
    final List<ConsumerLoop> consumers = new ArrayList<>();

    for( int i = 0; i < numConsumers; i++ ){
        ConsumerLoop consumer = new ConsumerLoop( i, groupId, topics );
        consumers.add( consumer );
        executor.submit( consumer );

    Runtime.getRuntime().addShutdownHook( new Thread(){
        public void run(){
            for( ConsumerLoop consumer : consumers ){
                executor.awaitTermination( 5000, TimeUnit.MILLISECONDS );
            }catch( InterruptedException e ){
    } );