Post By JamesM
Comandante C40 Hand Grinder
So it's been a few weeks since the first production units of these grinders hit our shores and got some real use. I'm wondering what folks think of them.
It's no secret that the C40 has received some scathing reviews on another coffee forum and that the US distributor has withdrawn them from sale while awaiting further advice / replacements / who-knows-what from Comandante based on the feedback that they've had from their customers.
I would love to hear some feedback from users here in Australia.
enjoy black coffee
Been using mine exclusively for filter brewing instead of my Baratza Preciso lately.
I have a number of hand grinders, so have some experience with designs, use, etc. I take coffee everywhere, so carry a hand grinder most of the time.
I took an interest in the Comandante's when I met the guys at MICE this year and tried out their prototypes. They were in the Proud Marys booth brewing filter and espresso on the C40 and also demo'ing the C20 (which is smaller and can fit inside an aeropress).
My C40 arrived while I was away on holidays, camping in the bush. I took my Porlex, clever dripper, hario stove kettle and a variety of coffee with me. It was a joy pulling over on the trip, firing up the gas stove and brewing a coffee while the kids stretched their legs. After a few days of camping I became frustrated with the porlex. Camping with friends, I'd often be brewing 2x cup brews two or three times a day. Grinding 24'ish gm in a porlex is a real chore, but better than pre-ground!
When I got home, I unpacked the C40 and ground over 150gm through it at various settings. Checking the grinds, I was very happy with what I saw. The next morning I brewed some v60's and aeropress'es and was blown away by the results in the cup. I brewed the same coffee I'd been enjoying whilst camping. Basically a side-by-side comparo with the porlex. It was like drinking different coffee. Lovely extraction, more body, great flavour. Incredible.
At 'fine' settings, you can get some burr-burr rubbing depending how you are holding and operating the C40. This is where the thread on the other forum goes in to detail. Could be because there is a very small amount of "slop" in the bearings. I don't know exactly.
Fact is, when loaded, this grinder is pretty accurate and grinds like a boss. It's amazingly fast too (at least compared to the Porlex). I can grind around a gram a second without straining.
The unit screams quality, the parts are lovely, it looks lovely and it's nice to hold. Although at around 600gm unloaded, it's heavy for travel (depending on type of travel).
One of my snob mates in Melb has been comparing his to the OE Pharos with good results... remember, we're talking results in the cup. I'm not interested in sieves or microscopes here.
Nolan (proud mary) recently did an EK43 vs C40 and his staff blind cupped the brews. The C40 somehow beat the EK43. Interesting, this opens debate on grind consistency and relation to results in the cup, big time. Some may perceive this as bias, considering he is retailing the C40. I don't know.
Like me, guys I know that are using the C40 are getting really excellent brews from it. I think this is what really matters.
I like the build of it, the parts are nice, it packs down nicely. Really impressive features are things like the way the handle fits on the shaft (reverse to most hand grinders, NEVER comes off when grinding), the magnetic wood handle grip, glass grinds jar, brilliant adjustment mech.
The only thing annoying me at the moment is the grinds retention sitting statically on burr adjustment collar after grinding, I've been carrying a small paint brush to free and clean. You don't get this prob with Ceramic. They will be offering Titanium and Ceramic soon.
There is something very special about brewing coffee with a hand grinder. The feel and the sound I think. There's something grand about listening to those beans getting 'cut' without the motor sound ruining it.
A few days ago I took the grinder in to a mates roastery, we brewed some of his current filter offering on the Chemex (with kone) and the cup just blew him away. I brewed him another at my place a couple of days later (v60) and again he was surprised. He's very familiar with this coffee, so it was a great little test.
My experiences are real life. I have nothing to gain by praising or bashing any products. I consider myself experienced enough to offer an opinion which will almost always be based on the results in the cup.
I'm keen to see how this line of grinders develops. I try to chat regularly with the guys from Comandante. They are very passionate and very keen to stick around for the long haul.
You're in Perth, how about we meet up and I brew you some coffees?
In regard to hand grinders, has anyone had experience with the Zassenhauss Panama? A limited description is at commercial link removed per site posting policy
This seems to be very similar to the Comandante C20 (would fit in Aeropress piston), with steel burrs and appears to have ball bearings top and bottom which should deliver a very consistent grind.
Its only limitation might be a small capacity. The collection bowl seems very small.
Have only had chance to have fleeting look at one in a Hobart coffee shop.
Any comments on practical experience would be helpful. In meanwhile will wait for the C20, the prototype of which I was fortunate to see and handle at MICE.
Thanks in anticipation.
Last edited by Javaphile; 23rd October 2013 at 06:50 PM.
Reason: Commercial link removed