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Thread: Comandante C40 Hand Grinder

  1. #1
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    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 It's no secret that the C40 has received some scathing reviews on another coffee forum and that the US distributor has withdrawn them from sale while awaiting further advice / replacements / who-knows-what from Comandante based on the feedback that they've had from their customers.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.

  2. #2
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
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    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?

    Cheers
    matth3wh and Draeger like this.

  3. #3
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    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

  4. #4
    TC
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    Our Comandante C40 Nitro stock arrived today and it's on demo.

    A week old espresso roast of CS PNG Wahgi Valley made for a ripper shot per favour of the Linea Mini. Love the easy grind action on this one. You really could give it to a child to use. It's one impressive compact conical grinder- worlds ahead of the little cheapies. Here you have precision kit.

    c40_frontal.jpgcomandante.jpg

  5. #5
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Would love to own one of these.

  6. #6
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    Comandante C40 Hand Grinder

    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    Would love to own one of these.
    Click here then Alan: www.kbean.com.au/commandante
    You (and all Snobs) get a 10% discount off the web price on this one

  7. #7
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Ha. I don't have a spare $300 Paul :P that went on machine service at Jetblack and filter upgrade from Bombora my wife considers me to have spent plenty enough on coffee for the next few months.
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  8. #8
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    Offer rescinded.
    Last edited by TC; 20th October 2016 at 12:45 PM. Reason: updated

  9. #9
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Both great offers! Can't go wrong really.

    Do you know the burr size on these Chris? Not that it's an important statistic to know given the burr geometry is likely far more important... but I'm curious if the burrs were compared to a conical electric grinder, what would the ballpark be?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Click here then Alan: www.kbean.com.au/commandante
    You (and all Snobs) get a 10% discount off the web price on this one
    This is the cheapest offer I've seen in Australia. Albeit by a couple of dollars. Might just tempt me into getting one again.
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  11. #11
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    So who has used one of the new Mk3 units for filter? I'd love to hear from someone that had a Mk1, or even a Mk2.

    I returned my Mk1 and got a full refund. The build quality was not good. The adjustment mechanism on mine came apart, turning it into a "stepless" adjustment. That wouldn't have been a bad thing, although it meant that during a grind session (even as little as 14g), the grind got coarser and coarser with each turn.

    I also found the particle variance to be very significant when grinding for filter brewing. That said, I currently use a Rocky Doserless for my filter brew and can't claim that it has superb particle distribution. I will also add that, while your brain (and probably science) tells you that particle size should be even to achieve even extraction etc. I found that the Comandante Mk1 made a bloody good brew...easy as good or better than my Rocky. Nevertheless I returned mine and was using my Rocky happily for a long time. But I still lust after a great little hand grinder...maybe the Mk3 is the ticket.

    I found one reviewer online that put a bunch of cheap hand grinders, a Mk1 and a Mk2, and two budget friendly electric grinders into a showdown. The Mk2 produced results well ahead of the Mk1, and was pretty much at the top of the results even compared to the electric grinders.

    Can't wait to hear what people (especially those who have had experience with the previous models) think of the new units.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    Do you know the burr size on these Chris?
    Not so sure Al. Definitely smaller than that of the Lido gear and you can feel that in the effort and see it in the grind rate. Lower volume than the Lido as well. I think you might just get 2 x standardish doubles from a full jar dose.

    Bloody huuuuge (long) carton which I doubt will fit into a 5kg satchel to ship so post will be a nuisance .

    Looking forward to receiving my Kruve set so I can look over distribution. Fines were mentioned as an issue in early variants but by eye and feel, I think they have been worked out.

    Regardless, the result in the cup was excellent. I'll try it on manual methods tomorrow.
    Last edited by TC; 20th October 2016 at 03:40 AM. Reason: typo

  13. #13
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    Hi Chris, will it handle day to day espresso well given it's stepped? Also, does it give anything like EK43-style shot (read something somewhere that suggests it's similar to EK), or was it closer to a good conventional espresso grinder? Curious little grinder especially regarding their 'improved' burrs design...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by samuellaw178 View Post
    Hi Chris, will it handle day to day espresso well given it's stepped?
    Dunno Samuel. Today is day one and I'm unlikely to use it every day- so perhaps it may be best to search for someone who uses one every day. The engineering is top notch though, so there is no reason to assume it wont.

    Also, does it give anything like EK43-style shot (read something somewhere that suggests it's similar to EK), or was it closer to a good conventional espresso grinder?
    Not in my opinion. Flavour profile has more in common with conicals to my palate.

    Curious little grinder especially regarding their 'improved' burrs design...
    I wouldn't call it curious. Love the design and and presentation. I think I'd actually use it as a traveller over the Lido if it was going in luggage rather than in the car boot.
    samuellaw178 likes this.

  15. #15
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    We only supply freebie single origin coffee to anyone who wants to buy one.
    Love your coffee mate....
    Some of the best I've ever had.

    Mal.
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  16. #16
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Bloody huuuuge (long) carton which I doubt will fit into a 5kg satchel to ship so post will be a nuisance .
    Perhaps the contents could removed and bubble-wrapped (or similar) and the carton broken down into a 'flat-pack'...

    Might help...

    Mal.
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  17. #17
    TC
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    Thanks for your kind words on the coffee Mal. Much appreciated.

    We won't break up the product as the glassware component is well protected by it. Pack is 53 x 12 x 8 cm.

    We actually have the item in stock for immediate delivery.
    Last edited by TC; 20th October 2016 at 08:16 AM.
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  18. #18
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    Comandante C40 Hand Grinder

    I really love this grinder. I'm going to make it $325 including shipping for the first 8 units. This is a Snobs only special, not shown on my website I noticed a sloppy typo in my link above. The correct link is www.kbean.com.au/comandante
    Last edited by K_Bean_Coffee; 20th October 2016 at 04:03 PM.
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  19. #19
    TC
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    Geez- I might have all 8 at that price Paul. Please ship them individually to my friends scattered across outback Australia. What discount do you offer on bulk purchases?
    Last edited by TC; 20th October 2016 at 12:44 PM.

  20. #20
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    How does it compare to the Lido 2/3?

  21. #21
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian88 View Post
    How does it compare to the Lido 2/3?
    As a result of first hand experience rather than speculation:

    • In terms of throughput? Much slower.
    • In terms of grind quality? Broadly similar.
    • Particle distribution? Dunno- call that one a job for one day when I get to indulge a hobby post the arrival of our Kruve...

  23. #23
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    Nice prices guys, would have grabbed one, but my Helor arrived a couple weeks ago, so very happy with that. Looking forward to reading some reviews!
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebookfreak58 View Post
    Nice prices guys, would have grabbed one, but my Helor arrived a couple weeks ago, so very happy with that. Looking forward to reading some reviews!
    Enjoy the Helor. Looks like a heloragood grinder. Hand grinders have come such a long way over recent years.
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  25. #25
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    We won't break up the product as the glassware component is well protected by it. Pack is 53 x 12 x 8 cm.
    Ah...
    Didn't realise there was glassware involved...

    Mal.

  26. #26
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    This is a seriously great hand grinder. Seriously pricey, but seriously good.
    I have been using it for espresso and the steps are small enough for everyday espresso use. The flavours are "conical" like so occasional use of this gives me a nice change from my everyday planar burr grinders.
    I can still get Lidos, but for me this is the winner so for now this will be the one on my website. It's a joy.
    Cheers, Paul
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  27. #27
    Site Sponsor K_Bean_Coffee's Avatar
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    Here's an amazing combo. The wood match is pretty very close. Almost as if it were planned....
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  28. #28
    Senior Member noonar's Avatar
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    Is there a package deal?
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonar View Post
    Is there a package deal?
    Of course there is - send me a PM

  30. #30
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    The wholesale price just went up so that's the end of the $325 Comandante. $360 now. I'm disappointed as well 5 sold to locals and 2 went to the USA. The 8th is now mine

  31. #31
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    Pretty excited, just ordered one of these to keep me occupied while I'm on the road. I've been drinking Moccona all year because my local coffee shop pulls an offensive brew, so probably 12 months too late but I'm interested to see how it goes.

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    I use my porlex at work. It drives me crazy. At least 100 revs to get 20gms through. Are these things way faster? Or just a bit?

  33. #33
    TC
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    Hello S_C.

    They're much faster than the Porlex, but still a fair bit slower than the Lido range.

    Regardless, the Comandante, Hellor and Lido grinders are in another league on grind quality and throughput is a bonus.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Hello S_C.

    They're much faster than the Porlex, but still a fair bit slower than the Lido range.

    Regardless, the Comandante, Hellor and Lido grinders are in another league on grind quality and throughput is a bonus.
    Thanks for clarifying Chris. So the Lido is still your recommended go-to?

  35. #35
    TC
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    Hard one Al,

    As a traveller, it's Comandante for me now as it's more compact and the action is also smoother. I wouldn't mind to see the glass jars go and be replaced by antistatic plastic though as they will inevitably lead to heartbreak.

    At home for manual methods, the Lido still wins for me due to the more rapid throughput and much larger capacity.

    It's a killer decision as they're all so good- but if I had to choose just one as my only hand grinder, I think for me it would have to be the Lido E-T.

    I am thankful that I don't have to choose!

  36. #36
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Ha! True. Compact (and wood style) would be the reason I'd go a Comandante - but I'm curious about the smoother action.. That surprises me. Is the larger handle part of that do you think? I've only had a hands on with a Lido, so I'm keen to get your impression on the difference in the arms.

    If (when if I'm honest) I end up with one of these lifelong hand grinders - I suspect it'll probably be a Lido, as much as I love the look of the Comandante.
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  37. #37
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    The great thing with the Lido is not having to take off the handle to fill it up - but that Commandante sure does look nice
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  38. #38
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    For me the Comandante wins because of aesthetics and feel. Solid, heavy, old school quality with great looks

  39. #39
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    Red is on the way...

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  40. #40
    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    And, just maybe, bamboo...


  41. #41
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    Comandante C40 Hand Grinder

    So cool Matt.

    That would match this Tiamo Bamboo dripper so nicely



    https://www.kbean.com.au/extras/tiamo-bamboo

  42. #42
    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    So cool Matt.

    That would match this Tiamo Bamboo dripper so nicely
    https://www.kbean.com.au/extras/tiamo-bamboo
    Mmm... or a custom Trinity One in Bamboo

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    So cool Matt.

    That would match this Tiamo Bamboo dripper so nicely



    https://www.kbean.com.au/extras/tiamo-bamboo
    Another post turned into an advert for you Paul? Did the pic need the link to your website
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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukemc View Post
    Another post turned into an advert for you Paul? Did the pic need the link to your website
    Paul is never one to miss an opportunity.
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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Paul is never one to miss an opportunity.
    Never ever Yelta

  46. #46
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    Back on topic though. I'll
    Pass on the Bamboo idea to Mark from Trinity. We had a chat last week about his ideas for the next run.
    Cheer, Paul
    Link to Trinity ONE:
    https://www.kbean.com.au/extras/trinity-one?rq=Trinity
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