Setting Up a Kafka Consumer in Scala

What is a Kafka Consumer?

A Kafka Consumer is an integral part of Apache Kafka, a distributed streaming platform. It subscribes to one or more Kafka topics and processes the stream of records sent to those topics, allowing for real-time data processing and analysis.

Kafka Consumers are essential for applications that require scalable, reliable, and efficient processing of streaming data. They enable handling high volumes of data with low latency, making them ideal for modern, data-driven applications.

Use Cases:

  • Real-Time Analytics: Consuming data streams for instant analytics, like processing user activities for a recommendation engine.
  • Event-Driven Systems: Reacting to events or messages in a microservices architecture.
  • Log Aggregation: Processing logs from distributed services for centralized monitoring and analysis.

Setting Up a Kafka Consumer in Scala


  • Scala environment (preferably Scala 2.12 or higher)
  • Apache Kafka (Installation guide: Apache Kafka Quickstart)
  • SBT or similar build tool for Scala
  • Kafka Scala client library (like akka-stream-kafka or alpakka-kafka)

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Add Dependencies

Include Kafka and Alpakka Kafka (Akka Streams for Kafka) dependencies in your build.sbt:

libraryDependencies ++= Seq(
  "org.apache.kafka" %% "kafka" % "{kafka-version}",
  "com.typesafe.akka" %% "akka-stream-kafka" % "{alpakka-version}"

Replace {kafka-version} and {alpakka-version} with the appropriate versions.

Step 2: Create Kafka Consumer Configuration

Set up the Kafka consumer configuration in your Scala application:

import akka.kafka.{ConsumerSettings, Subscriptions}
import akka.kafka.scaladsl.Consumer
import org.apache.kafka.common.serialization.StringDeserializer
import org.apache.kafka.clients.consumer.ConsumerConfig

implicit val system = ActorSystem("kafka-consumer-system")
implicit val materializer = ActorMaterializer()

val consumerSettings = ConsumerSettings(system, new StringDeserializer, new StringDeserializer)
  .withProperty(ConsumerConfig.AUTO_OFFSET_RESET_CONFIG, "earliest")

Step 3: Consume Messages from a Topic

Define the logic to consume messages from a Kafka topic:

val done = Consumer
  .plainSource(consumerSettings, Subscriptions.topics("myTopic"))

Step 4: Run Your Scala Application

Compile and run your Scala application to start consuming messages from Kafka:

sbt run


Setting up a Kafka Consumer in Scala allows you to leverage the power of Kafka for processing streaming data. This guide helps you integrate Kafka into your Scala applications, enabling efficient and scalable data consumption.

For advanced consumer configurations and stream processing, explore Akka Streams and Alpakka Kafka documentation. This guide provides the basic steps to get started with Kafka Consumers in Scala.