A great cup of coffee often starts with the beans and how they are ground.
Coffee enthusiasts understand the importance of precision and consistency when grinding beans, and that’s where the Comandante C40 steps in.
This manual coffee grinder has gained quite a reputation for its craftsmanship and performance.
Are you curious about whether the Comandante C40 lives up to the hype? Whether it’s worth the investment in terms of both your coffee experience and budget?
In this comprehensive review, we’ll leave no grounds unturned as we explore the design, functionality, and overall coffee-grinding experience that the Comandante C40 has to offer.
|Grind Capacity||Up to 40g (4-6 cups)|
|Material||Stainless Steel, Wood Veneer|
|Burr Type||Nitro Blade Stainless Steel|
|Grind Adjustment||Stepwise, 30-micron increments|
|Dimensions||6.1cm (Diameter) x 16cm (Length)|
|Cleaning||Disassembles easily for cleaning|
|Espresso Capability||Excellent, adjustable for espresso|
|Price Range||$350 to $500 (depending on finish)|
|Portability||Compact and suitable for travel|
|Grind Speed||Slower compared to some competitors|
Comandante C40 MK3 Overview
The Comandante C40 MK3 is a top-notch manual coffee grinder loved by coffee enthusiasts and experts alike.
It’s designed for superb performance, featuring special nitro burrs that create a consistent grind.
This consistency leads to a clean and sweet taste in your coffee.
The grinder looks sleek and minimalist, with a stainless steel body and various finishes available, including real wood veneer.
However, it’s a bit on the wider side, which might not be the best fit if you have smaller hands.
Also, it’s a tad heavier than other travel-friendly hand grinders.
Now, when it comes to the price, it’s a bit higher compared to other manual grinders out there.
But, if you’re after quality and reliability, the Comandante C40 MK3 is hard to beat.
Just keep in mind those few downsides we mentioned.
- High-performance with nitro burrs
- Produces a clean and sweet taste
- Sleek and minimalist design
- Various attractive finishes are available
- Reliable and durable
- Wider body (not ideal for small hands)
- Heavier than some travel grinders
- Relatively higher price point
Design And Build Quality
The Comandante C40 boasts exceptional craftsmanship with a stainless steel body, axle, crank, and ball bearings.
Its stainless steel body is elegantly wrapped in wood veneer, offering six stylish variations.
This grinder combines form and function seamlessly.
While the exterior impresses with its aesthetic appeal, the internal stabilizing structure is made from plastic, which may feel less robust.
However, this sturdy plastic should endure the test of time.
The ergonomic handle also operates smoothly.
Its versatile and consistent grind settings, sharp and well-stabilized burrs, and high-quality construction establish it as one of the finest hand grinders on the market.
The wooden knob on the handle, crafted from German Oak, adds a touch of artisanal charm to this precision-engineered tool.
Uniquely, the Comandante features a glass ground jar, which is easy to clean but also more fragile.
However, replacement jars are readily available and affordable.
The brand now offers colorful plastic catch jars as well.
In terms of build quality, the Comandante shines as one of the best hand grinders.
Its weight and material options, including metal and wood, exude durability.
However, the grinder’s wider body may not suit those with smaller hands, and its weight might feel heavy for manual grinding.
Another minor inconvenience to note is that small debris can sometimes get stuck in the space where the handle locks in, especially if the grinder is already loaded with beans.
Despite these minor drawbacks, the Comandante C40 still has excellent build quality and a great-looking design.
The Comandante C40 MK3 excels in producing consistent grinds across a wide range of sizes.
With the latest MK3 version, the grinding process is both smoother and quicker compared to the MK2 version.
This grinder employs a stepped grind adjustment system that covers a wide spectrum, from finely ground Turkish coffee to a coarser grind suitable for French press.
It’s also an excellent choice for pour-over coffee.
While professional baristas focusing on espresso might prefer more precise adjustments, the Comandante offers ample accuracy and options to satisfy even the most discerning coffee lovers.
One potential downside of the stepped grind adjustment system used in the Comandante C40 MK3 is that it offers preset grind settings at specific intervals.
While these intervals cover a broad range of grind sizes, they may not provide the precise, fine-tuned control that some espresso enthusiasts desire.
If you want more precise control, a stepless adjustment system would be preferable, which the C40 doesn’t have.
However, for most coffee drinkers seeking versatility and consistency in their grind sizes, the Comandante’s stepped system delivers excellent results.
The Comandante’s burrs are truly exceptional, known for their sharpness and remarkable stability.
These burrs are set on a double-axle bearing system, ensuring that they remain in place, resulting in a consistent grind that enhances the flavor of your coffee.
Crafted from patented high-alloy, high-nitrogen stainless steel with a fine martensitic matrix, these burrs feature a conical shape, preventing obstructions during grinding and reducing friction and dust production.
Despite their compact size, these burrs exhibit impressive cutting power, making quick work of coffee beans.
They are highly resistant to wear and maintain their sharp edges exceptionally well.
Comandante’s commitment to the refinement of their burrs sets them apart from the competition, investing significantly in delivering a set of top-notch and long-lasting burrs.
The Comandante grinder’s adjustment process is user-friendly and straightforward.
Its grind selection dial, shaped like a three-legged star, clicks into place for each setting, making it easy to lock in your preferred grind.
Comandante users commonly refer to these settings as “clicks.”
Each click alters the particle distribution by about 30 microns, with a finer adjustment of 15 microns on the red clicks (which is an add-on).
Finding the ‘right’ grind setting depends on your personal taste, recipe, and the specific coffee you’re using.
In essence, you can grind finer to increase extraction or coarser to decrease it.
Here are some starting points for different brewing methods:
- Ibrik: 3-8 Clicks
- Espresso: 7-13 Clicks
- Bialetti or stovetop coffee pot: 14-20 Clicks
- Pour-over filter coffee (varies with dose and brewer): 18-35 Clicks
- Cupping and French Press: 25-35 Clicks
However, the system has its quirks.
If you lose track of your setting, you’ll need to return to zero and then readjust to your desired setting.
Additionally, the clicks for espresso can be quite large, so there’s a significant difference between, say, settings 12 and 13.
This means that precise counting is crucial to avoid mistakes that could affect your shot.
Achieving the right espresso setting can be tricky, particularly when the dial is close to zero, as the clicks become less distinct.
A simple numbering system on the adjustment dial could help address this issue.
When it comes to grinding speed, the Comandante is not among the fastest options and actually lags behind many of its competitors.
In a speed test, it took a full 50 seconds to grind 20 grams of coffee for an Aeropress.
By comparison, the standard Jx grinder managed the same amount in just 23 seconds.
The Comandante stands as one of the slower premium manual grinders, even being outpaced by the Lido 3, Kinu, and Helor 101.
While this might not be a significant issue when grinding for a single cup with an Aeropress, it can be a bit of a time-consuming task for espresso, which requires more effort and precision, taking approximately 1 minute and 10 seconds to grind an 18-gram dose.
The Comandante C40 MK3 can grind about 40g of coffee, which translates to roughly 4-6 cups, depending on how strong you like it.
While it may not be the top choice if you need to grind coffee for 7-8 cups all at once, it’s still quite impressive considering its compact size.
The Comandante C40 MK3 is a compact, portable hand grinder tailor-made for coffee enthusiasts and aficionados of specialty coffee.
This precision-built manual grinder is not only efficient but also easy to take apart and maintain.
Its dimensions are 6.1cm in diameter and 16cm in length, with a weight of 740g.
While we’ve discussed its design previously, it’s worth noting that the Comandante is a bit heavier compared to its competitors.
While it is indeed a portable grinder, it may be somewhat bulkier for those seeking a more compact option.
Nonetheless, it can still fit comfortably in a backpack or suitcase, as long as you plan your packing accordingly, especially for air travel.
The Comandante C40 grinder truly shines when it comes to making espresso.
Once you’ve found that sweet spot and nailed the extraction time, you’re in for some seriously flavorful shots.
However, achieving that perfect dial-in can be a bit tricky because the grind adjustments are quite substantial.
In the espresso range, you’ll typically find yourself in the 7-13 clicks range, depending on your espresso machine.
It’s amazing how a single click coarser or finer can change your shots by around 10 seconds.
As mentioned earlier, Comandante offers an add-on called Red Clix, which doubles the level of granularity.
This is great for espresso aficionados, but it might be a bit overwhelming if you’re brewing filter coffee because you’ll have to keep track of more “clicks.”
If you’re a heavy espresso drinker, an electric grinder might be more convenient, but if you’re looking for an occasional quick shot, the C40 could be the ideal choice.
Cleaning And Maintenance
Taking care of your Comandante C4 MKIII is pretty simple.
Thanks to its straightforward design, disassembling it is a piece of cake.
Just like with other manual hand grinders, we suggest giving the burrs a gentle brush every month or so to remove any lingering coffee grounds that might have accumulated.
The Comandante C40 MK3 Nitro Blade is a premium hand coffee grinder, and it comes with a relatively higher price tag when compared to other manual grinders.
The cost of the Comandante C40 MK3 Nitro Blade can vary based on the cosmetic finish and the seller, but it typically falls in the range of $350 to $500.
In comparison, it is notably more expensive than other hand grinders like the Hario Coffee Hand Mill, which is priced at around $100, and the Baccarat Brillante, available for around $50.
Should You Upgrade To The Comandante C40 MK4?
The decision to upgrade to the Comandante C40 MK4 from the MK3 should be considered carefully.
The MK4 does bring about some enhancements, including a polymer jar, an improved bearing mount, and added protection against dirt.
However, these changes are more of an evolution than a revolution, and both grinders retain the same form and functionality.
The burrs remain the same Nitro Blade burrs that were highly regarded in the MK3 model, known for their precision.
For existing MK3 owners, the improvements in the MK4 might not justify the cost of upgrading.
If you are new to Comandante grinders and planning to make a purchase, opting for the MK4 is a sound choice, given the added features.
However, if the MK3 suits your needs and preferences, there’s no need to rush for an upgrade.
We still stand by our verdict in this article and we still believe the MK3 should be more than good enough for most people.
The decision ultimately hinges on personal preference and whether the MK4’s improvements align with your priorities.
Comandante C40 vs 1Zpresso J-Max
Let’s quickly compare the C40 with one of its main competitors which is the 1Zpresso J-Max.
Let’s begin with the first significant difference between these two grinders: the price.
The 1Zpresso J-Max is much kinder to your wallet, costing more than $100 less than the Comandante C40.
As for design, it’s a matter of personal preference, but many tend to favor the 1Zpresso J-Max’s design over the Comandante.
The J-Max exudes a sense of sturdiness and premium quality.
However, it’s essential to note that the 1Zpresso J-Max truly excels as an espresso grinder.
It can outperform dedicated single-dose grinders that cost four times as much.
With over 400 click settings, each click adjusting by 8.8 microns, it provides precise control for fine to extremely fine grinds, even suitable for Turkish coffee.
Moreover, it’s often faster at grinding compared to the Comandante.
Nevertheless, the Comandante C40 holds onto its reputation, albeit narrowly.
There’s something genuinely exceptional about those nitro blade burrs, and the 1Zpresso J-Max burr set, as good as it is, can’t quite match their level of quality and clarity.
The Final Verdict
The Comandante C40 is a top-notch manual coffee grinder that excels in delivering precise and consistent grind sizes and is suitable for espresso lovers.
However, we’d still recommend the 1Zpresso J-Max over the Comandante for Espresso drinkers due to its ability to grind finer.
The C40 has exceptional build quality, aesthetic appeal, and ease of maintenance making it a great choice for coffee enthusiasts.
However, it may not be the fastest grinder on the market, and its price point is relatively high compared to some alternatives.
Despite these minor drawbacks, the Comandante C40’s performance and craftsmanship make it a reliable and worthwhile investment for those who prioritize the quality of their coffee grinds.
Is a Comandante worth it?
Absolutely! The Comandante C40 is a high-quality manual coffee grinder that offers precision and consistency in your coffee grinds.
While it comes at a higher price point compared to some alternatives, its exceptional build quality and performance make it a worthwhile investment for coffee enthusiasts who value the taste and quality of their brew.
Which Comandante grinder is best?
The Comandante C40 MK3, with its nitro blade burrs, is considered one of the best Comandante grinders.
It offers excellent grind consistency and is particularly well-suited for espresso preparation.
However, the choice of the “best” grinder depends on your specific coffee brewing needs and preferences.
Is C40 good for espresso?
Yes, the Comandante C40 is excellent for espresso grinding.
It delivers consistent and precise grind sizes, making it a popular choice among espresso enthusiasts.
With the right adjustments and dialing in, you can achieve flavorful and quality espresso shots.
Where is the Comandante grinder made?
Comandante grinders are designed and manufactured in Germany.
They are known for their meticulous craftsmanship and precision engineering, reflecting the high-quality standards associated with German-made products.
What is the difference between Comandante Red Clix and C40?
The Comandante Red Clix RX35 adjustment kit is designed as an enhancement for the C40 Nitro Blade and C40 Ironheart grinders.
Its primary purpose is to double the number of available grinding settings compared to the standard axle, thus increasing precision.
The Red Clix system incorporates ultra-fine precision threads on both the axle and grind adjustment dial, resulting in twice as many clicks when compared to the original threads.
With the Red Clix, the burr movement is halved, allowing for double the adjustment settings with a mere 15-micron shift per click.
These additional clicks significantly expand your grinder’s range, making it easier to fine-tune your espresso or perfect your pour-over coffee.
Is Comandante flat or conical?
The Comandante grinder is equipped with conical burrs.
These conical burrs result in the production of bimodal coffee particles, meaning coffee grounds of two different sizes are generated.
What grind size is Comandante click?
The Comandante C40 offers approximately 30 microns of grind size adjustment per click.
What grind range is Comandante C40?
The Comandante C40 boasts a grind range that spans from 0 to 1090 microns.