Then, I’d recommend you spin up your local Kafka cluster in Docker containers so it does not mess up with your other things running on your machine. You can then play around with creating topics, producing some simple non-Avro messages and consuming them, all from your command line interface. I have written a tutorial about this here if you’re interested.
Once you are pretty comfortable, then, you can try to build a simple application that connects to it. Again, I have written a comprehensive guide for this here. It walks through how to build a Kotlin Spring Boot application that connects to Kafka cluster.
Then, you should be able to build your own app or integrate Kafka to your current apps. Feel free to drop me any questions you have.