Comandante C40 arrives
I’ve been on holidays for two weeks, our bush, camping. I came home to find my Comandante C40 had arrived, exciting. I’d received a few messages while I was away from fellow coffee dudes that there was some concern over the C40 with regards to quality control and operation.
Proud Mary stated that they were happy with their shipment here to AUS. I decided to not read too far in to it until I’d had a good play with my unit.
Previously I wrote about these grinders after having some hands-on at the expo in May. While the unit’s I was able to use were prototypes, they were a great insight in to what was coming our way. Both espresso and filter coffee was great at the expo from the C40 and C20.
I unpacked my unit and the first thing I did was inspect it. Checking bearing/shaft play, adjustment, cranking, etc.
The manual recommends breaking it in with rice. I broke mine in with 150gm of coffee at various settings.
I’m very please with my unit, it grinds very well, very fast, and the quality of the unit is what I would expect for this price (almost $200 delivered AU).
I ran off a few grinds after break in, comparing to my Baratza, pretty good, especially for a hand grinder.
Remember, this isn’t a Robur, or a Ditting, it’s a HAND grinder. It’s leaps and bounds better than almost all hand grinders available, especially in the price range. Friends of mine are comparing the grind quality to the OE Pharos. That has got to say something for this unit.
It’s very fast. I’ve just gotten back from two weeks of grinding for two coffee’s, three times a day, on my Porlex, Wow I have some serious arm muscles now. The C40 grinds probably 4x faster than the Porlex (at a guess). I can grind up 15gm in about as many seconds.
There is NOTHING better than the sounds of burrs cutting coffee, without a motor drowning out the sound. I love hand grinders, I sometimes bust out my old Spong because the sound is just so awesome.
Things that annoy me about the C40 but I can get over it:
- It’s heavy (like just shy of 600gm!) but that adds to the quality feel and makes it far easier to operate and grip
- Static build up in the glass jar (give it some taps, or swirl the grinds to free them up) and static build up on the burrs and adjustment nut (pack a very small brush with your kit)
- The leather pouch that is soon to be available. I’m annoyed that it’s probably (guessing) going to cost almost as much as the grinder hahaha, I want it.
Before you write the C40 off because of a negative thread on a forum, make sure you break it in and make adjustments.
One last thing, I found the plastic lid that is part of the crank was sitting crooked, I just rotated it a little and now it sits perfectly flush.
This is a hand made product, I doubt any two unit’s are 100% identical.
Result in the cup has been excellent. I instantly noticed a far nicer extraction with excellent flavour and body compared to the porlex after returning from camping. I only wish the C40 arrived the week before I left on my trip!
Without being scientific on the grind distribution/particle size, I’d say it’s very good for a hand grinder and very good even compared to similarly priced elec grinders.
At particle sizes for filter brewing (med-fine to coarse), it’s excellent. I brew mostly for Aeropress, CCD, V60 and syphon. It really is a good unit for these methods. I’ve not yet personally tried it for espresso. I will maybe give it a go, but it’s certainly not why I bought this grinder. I bought it for travel.
The C20 is probably going to ship next. This uses the same size burr from memory, and will fit inside your aeropress just as the porlex does. It uses a unique “top of grinder” adjustment method and has a really lovely adjustment feel, precision.
While it is unfortunate that some C40’s have some issues, I have no doubt that Comandante will be looking in to it right now. Proud Mary in AUS have stated that if anyone has a problem with their C40 to return it for a refund. Easy as that.
Happy brewing, I’ll have more up soon.. James
Comandante hand grinders
I’m back home after the Melbourne International Coffee Expo and WBC, and WAC, and DrBC (drunken brewers cup) phew! Just want to talk quickly about something awesome. These hand grinders. I’m a heavy user of hand-grinders, I take my porlex everywhere, I even brew on the plane.
I bumped in to Comandante at the show, not only are these guys excited, and awesome, but they are super keen to show their wares. This grinder is seriously next-level.
Think precision components, precision fit, and flawless operation. Steel, race bearings, classy design, amazingly easy to use.
The first thing I notices is the handle has a LONG shaft coupling. No more wobbly handles! Then the magnetically attached timber handle knob, which can stow away inside the grinder. Bean hopper lid, removable grinds canister/jar, all steel construction.
Secondly, I picked it up and could spin the grinder whilst holding the handle, seriously, like skateboard wheels. You could paint walls with this thing.
Feels so solid, well made, and just exceptional to look at. The burrs are hardened steel with optional titanium coming. The adjustment is so extremely precise it’s almost a fantasy. Lovely notched adjustments on an amazingly engineered main shaft (on the C20 in the bean hopper) and traditional notched adjustments on the C40 (under the burr).
The C40 is the bigger of the two models, it’s ‘fatter’, has a stunning timber veneer wrapped around the housing (choice of timbers coming) and laser etched “Comandante” logo. Solid timber handle grip (custom sizes to suit your hand/grip will be available), large 40gm capacity hopper, 40gm capacity ‘glass’ and threaded grinds container (jar).
The C20 is the smaller, thinner, all-steel-looking unit (looks kind of like a grenade of some sort), easy to grip and operate. SAME burr set as will be avail in the C40, almost everything the same, except the burr adjustment is in the top under the hopper lid, an easy to adjust collar with amazing notched feel. No screwy settings here. I know what you are wondering…. and yes… it fits inside the aeropress (like a porlex does).
The bottom grinds canister just slides inside and is easily removed after grinding.
Actual grinding on these is a pleasure, I tried both and was shocked at how much easier it was than any other hand grinder I’ve used (yeah I’ve used a LIDO too). As you grind you can hear and ‘feel’ the cutting, rather than just a bunch of breaking/smashing/crushing like on a porlex or similar ceramic burr hand grinder.
I’m really very excited for these guys. Their product is exceptional. For someone that is very much in to attention to detail and quality, you won’t go further than these grinders.
Price was labelled as around $120. Twice as much as the current plastic, wobbly, ceramic burr grinders on the market, or maybe as much as two (2) kg of roasted specialty coffee.
They will be available from Proud Mary in Australia in around six weeks. First shipment will be around 1000 units, I do not expect to see them on shelves for very long.
If you are in Perth and are keen, get in touch, perhaps we can organise a group buy.
More avail from their site: http://comandantegrinder.com/
and their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/ComandanteGrinder
The first rule of Filter Club…
Is… always talk about Filter Club.
More and more roasters and retailers are putting up a ‘filter club’. Pay a certain amount of money for a subscription and receive delicious treats, delivered to your door (or pick them up). Fortnightly, maybe monthly.
There are several subscriptions available. You might be familiar with Market Lane or Sensory Lab, but over here in Perth, we have “Grand Central Coffee Roasters”.
Grand Central run a filter club which gets you such delicious treats, selected and roasted by Mr Luke Bates, delivered to your door (or pick up from the roastery).
This week I experienced the stunning Nicaragua Finca La Esperanza. Gently roasted for an ultimate filter brew. I’ve brewed V60, Aeropress and Clever Dripper and just can’t screw this coffee up, it’s brilliant.
Luke is the kind of bloke who will only put up a coffee which he would enjoy personally. It’s in the fine details. The packaging even hosts some roasting params, like drop time and temp (among other things).
Get on board, check out Grand Central Coffee Roasters filter club. Oh, you can order any number of blends or singles too!
Aeropress recipe used:
18gm med-coarse (go a slightly finer grind for paper)
300gm water @ 96C
bloom for 30 sec, pour in the rest, plunge at 1m30 to 2m finish.
CCD recipe used:
60gm bloom @ 94C
Fill to top, steep for 2m30, drop
enjoy with friends
v60 recipe used:
50gm bloom for 30s with a ‘swirl’ (thanks @gwilymbarista)
drain and enjoy (2m20 total)
Robot Blend, new from, well, me.
1/3 El Salvador El Moises
1/3 Guatemala Ceylan
1/3 Sumatra Wahana Estate
Expect a bold, rich, cup of chocolate, nuts, and some dark fruits cutting through. It’s creamy and leaves you wanting more. A kicker as espresso and ultra-sweet with milk.
3rd May public Brazil CoE Cupping
When: Fri 3rd May, 6pm
Where: Pony Express O - 21 Mayfair St West Perth
Refreshments will be provided
A few cool things (aka, an update)
A few cool things going on. My “33 cups of coffee” notebooks arrived. I gave one to Jono at Dimattina because he’s a top bloke and lets us come and mess up his cupping room every Friday. Speaking of, he’s created a new twitter account for the cupping crew. Aptly named “@dimcuppingcrew”.
Bombora (wholesaler) is now stocking everything ‘Bonavita’! http://clean-machine.com.au/BONAVITA/
Perth folk can order items through Luke Bates of Grand Central Coffee. He’s on twitter and FB. He’s a great roaster and a top bloke, so order some coffee with your new bonavita kettle! (Pro Tip: he run’s a filter-club subscription too!) more: grandcentralcoffee.com.au
It’s funny how we fancy a particular brewing device for a while then switch. At the moment I’m thrashing my aeropress again. I think it’s because of all the World Aeropress Championships buzz (WAC 2013). Check it out, it’s going to be in Melbourne this year during MICE2013/WBC! more: http://worldaeropresschampionship.wordpress.com
H2O is big on my coffee agenda at the moment, I’ve been experimenting with pure water (0-ppm). Mixing with different quantities of tap and filtered water and brewing. In the morning I brewed using a filter jug and enjoyed the cup, in the same arvo I brewed with the 0-ppm water and honestly thought I’d brewed the wrong coffee. The difference is mind blowing. More on this later.
Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE2013) / World Barista Championships is fast approaching. My flights are booked by my accommodation is not, I really should look into it. I’m pretty excited about the trip. Lots to see and many places to visit.
Sharing is caring. I’ve been roasting a lot of coffee lately, more than ever before. Demand has been increasing. I don’t have a lot of offerings at the moment, but what I do have, I try to roast the best way I can for that coffee. I hope to have some more variety available soon. If you have something you’d like to share, let me know, I’m always up for swapsies!
Other Perth-related news off the top of my head: Gordon St Garage just opened in Perth (west?). I’ve not been yet but I hear it’s flashy. Essence of Coffee are seeking out a marketing expert, Brazil Late-harvest CoE was recently cupped at Gordon St. Di Bella Coffee (of eastern states fame) is opening a roastery in South Fremantle! “Chalky’s" is a new espresso-bar in Freo. Our office espresso machine has a new boiler. yayz!
til next time
Why is it so good? I’ve written about it before, even more detailed with regards to filter paper selection which is very important.
This brewer is awesome because:
The design is just right. Look at that cone, it’s just right for coffee extraction with ‘fins’ and shape
It can brew 1-3 cups (up to 450gm of H2O will fit)
It’s easy, just tip grinds in and fill it with water from any kettle/source
You control the immersion brewing / steep time then drop the brew out with a one-way valve
Light-weight, plastic, solid
Excellent for travelling!