Setting Up a Kafka Consumer in Spring

What is a Kafka Consumer?

A Kafka Consumer is a component of Apache Kafka, a distributed streaming platform, which reads messages from Kafka topics. It subscribes to one or more topics in the Kafka cluster and processes the stream of records produced to those topics.

Kafka Consumers are used for their ability to handle high-throughput and fault-tolerant read operations on the data streams. They are ideal for scenarios where applications need to process or act on streaming data in real-time.

Use Cases:

  • Real-Time Data Processing: In applications like real-time analytics, where immediate processing of data like click-streams is crucial.
  • Log Aggregation: For consolidating logs from multiple services.
  • Stream Processing: As part of complex event processing systems in scenarios like fraud detection or live dashboards.

Setting Up a Kafka Consumer in Spring


  • Java (JDK 8 or higher)
  • Spring Boot (2.x or higher)
  • Apache Kafka (Installation guide: Apache Kafka Quickstart)
  • Maven or Gradle (for dependency management)

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Add Dependencies

Add the Spring Kafka dependency to your pom.xml (for Maven) or build.gradle (for Gradle):




implementation 'org.springframework.kafka:spring-kafka:{version}'

Replace {version} with the latest Spring Kafka version.

Step 2: Configure Kafka Consumer

In your or application.yml, add the following properties:


Step 3: Create a Kafka Listener

Create a Kafka listener method in a Spring @Service or @Component class:

import org.springframework.kafka.annotation.KafkaListener;
import org.springframework.stereotype.Component;

public class KafkaMessageListener {

    @KafkaListener(topics = "myTopic", groupId = "my-group")
    public void listen(String message) {
        System.out.println("Received message: " + message);

Step 4: Start Your Spring Boot Application

Run your Spring Boot application. The Kafka listener will automatically start listening to the configured topic.

Step 5: Handling Messages

Implement logic within the listen method to process the incoming messages. This can involve data transformation, database operations, or triggering other business logic.


Setting up a Kafka Consumer in Spring is a straightforward process, enabling you to efficiently process streaming data within your Spring applications. By leveraging Spring's simplicity and Kafka's robustness, you can build powerful systems capable of handling real-time data streams.

For more advanced configurations, including error handling, message filtering, and concurrency, refer to the Spring Kafka Documentation. This guide provides the basics to get you started with integrating Kafka Consumers into your Spring applications.