Comandante C40 Coffee Grinder Review – Also Compare MK3 Vs MK4

If you’re a coffee aficionado, you’re likely to be aware of the Comandante coffee grinder. The premium grinder is hand-crafted in Germany, but it’s not just the build quality that lends it such a solid reputation in coffee circles. The grinder has also been on the market for some time and has become a firm favorite of specialty coffee lovers and professional baristas.

In short, if you’re on the lookout for a high-end manual grinder, this is one option that demands your consideration.

But precisely what sets the Comandante C40 coffee grinder apart from its rivals? We’ll answer that question in this review. We’ll also draw a comparison between the Mk3 and upgraded Mk4 Nitro Blade to establish which is the best option for you. Let’s get started.

Comandante Grinder Review

Last update on 2021-11-30 / As an Amazon Associate, if you buy via the links, Brewcoffeehome earns a commission at no extra cost to you.

Design And Build Quality

The Comandante C40 has a nicely sized oakwood pommel and veneer wrap boasting the Comandante logo. This gives the grinder beautiful textural details and an iconic appearance that will look impressive.

The nicely designed handle and lid combo with the pommel means the grinder optimizes the energy you expend on it. Not only that but gripping the device is an extremely comfortable experience.

There’s a clear lid that prevents any bouncing out. Meanwhile, the lid and handle unit securely attaches to the axle, so while you’re grinding, your hand won’t easily slip.

comandante-c40-design

The Comandante grinder has two screw-on grind catchers offering a 45g capacity. One is a transparent polymer jar, while the other jar is glass in amber. Meanwhile, there is one lid to use between the two jars. The earlier Mk3 model, on the other hand, has two glass ground coffee containers. We’ll examine the pros and cons of these further on.

Both the Mk3 and the Mk4 are available in several colors. So, each is available in the standard American cherry wood veneer, as well as cobalt, red, black, and green. Meanwhile, the newest model has additional colors to choose from.

There is stainless steel on the crank handle and the grinder’s main body, while the lid has hardened plastic. Meanwhile, there are support brackets in the grinder’s interior. As we mentioned earlier, the entire product is hand-built in Germany, which offers the reassurance that this is a high-quality build.

Burr Quality

The grinder has a steel drive axle and two steel ball bearings for driving the burrs, ensuring smooth and steady grinding.

The Comandante C40 uses 39mm conical high nitrogen martensitic steel burrs. This is an incredibly strong material that wears away extremely slowly. Meanwhile, the burrs have a high degree of edge retention, ensuring they’ll retain their sharpness far longer than standard steel or ceramic burrs.

The burr set benefits from extensive research and development. For example, it has longer-lasting and sharper blades on the cutting edge with specific geometry. Meanwhile, there is a consistent edge that spans the entire height of the burr’s seven flanks. The benefits of this are two-fold – it grinds more rapidly than you’d expect, and it maximizes the grinding output.

Mk4-burr-quality

Overall, the quality of the burr set is such that the Comandante C40 is significantly superior to many other premium manual grinders. Where it comes to the burrs, it doesn’t matter whether you choose the Mk3 or Mk4 either, as they have identical burr sets.

The top-quality engineering expertise and premium burr material also ensure that grinding is impressively quiet, which is important if you usually brew coffee when others are asleep. Meanwhile, the burrs feel beautifully aligned.

Grind Quality And Grind Settings

The Comandante grinder has an excellent reputation, thanks to its reliability and grind quality. Indeed, many coffee experts consider the grinder the best around for brewing filter coffee. In addition, the grind quality is so consistent that it produces an optimal balance of flavor notes while still offering plenty of sweetness and clarity.

comandante-c40-grind-quality2

The Comandante C40 is a stepped grinder with 35 settings. Nowadays many manual coffee grinders offer over 100 clicks for grind adjustment. Having these extra settings is an advantage for dialing in for espresso. However, for manual brewing methods, the emphasis is on quality over quantity.

There are many brands and models of hand grinders on the market. However, the Comandante C40 is many people’s base grinder for comparing grind settings when using other coffee grinders for their recipes.

comandante-c40-grind-quality

Below are the settings we recommend for all brewing methods when using the Comandante C40.

  • Turkish coffee: 5 clicks or under
  • Espresso: 7 to 12 clicks
  • Moka Pot: 12 to 15 clicks
  • AeroPress: 16 to 20 clicks
  • Pour-over: 18 to 28 clicks
  • French press: 28 to 34 clicks
  • Cold brew: 30 clicks and over

Grind Adjustment

As we mentioned earlier, the Comandante C40 is a stepped grinder. To adjust the grind size, you’ll have to remove the grinds catcher while keeping the crank handle attached. Then you will need to hold it firmly while rotating the dial beneath the burrs to alter the setting. A diagram near the burrs indicates which direction is for coarser or finer grinds, which is a useful addition.

One drawback of the grinder is that there aren’t any numbers to track its grind current setting, which makes moving between brew settings more hassle. Instead, you need to move it back to the zero point and count the clicks again to get around this issue.

comandante-c40-grind-setting

Thankfully there is a way of making this process less frustrating. Each rotation represents 12 clicks, and you can make approximately five full rotations for the workable grind settings. So, if you move the dial to the zero point, you can hold the dial firmly and turn the crank handle until it doesn’t move any further.

Now, let’s say you’re grinding for pour-over, which is 26 clicks. In this instance, you would make two full rotations of the crank handle (at 12 clicks each) and two more clicks to reach the desired grind size. Doing this is far easier and quicker than counting click by click.

User Friendliness

Because of the solidly built internal shaft, sharp blades, and double ball bearings, the grinder spins smoothly, making the process of grinding almost effortless.

We experimented with grinding 20g of light roasted beans on a grind setting of 19, which is suitable for AeroPress. The process was complete in 45 seconds, which is impressive for a manual grinder. However, while the grinding experience is almost effortless, it might not be the ideal grinder if you have small hands because of the large diameter of the grinder’s body.

One of the most overlooked aspects of the Comandante grinder is the coffee grounds jars. However, this is a shame as they are extremely practical.

Having two jars is particularly useful because you can weigh your coffee beans into one jar and dose easily into the top of the grinder. Meanwhile, you can grind out into the other jar. Furthermore, the diameters of the grinds catchers are compatible with several brewers. These include most of the 58mm portafilter baskets, Moka pot’s brew basket, and AeroPress. So, transferring the ground coffee into them is a hassle-free process.

One small issue is that the Comandante C40’s polymer grinds catcher attracts more static than the glass equivalent. Nevertheless, some users like this as they claim the static helps remove the fine dust to leave a cleaner taste. This makes sense. However, we still prefer the glass grinds catcher, which produces less mess. On the plus side, the polymer grinds catcher offers a lighter setup and is less susceptible to breakage.

Cleaning And Maintenance

Cleaning and maintaining the Comandante coffee grinder is mercifully straightforward, and you can easily take it apart to do so.

comandante-c40-burr-set

Firstly, unscrew the grind adjusting dial from the base, and the inner burr will come out. Next, gradually remove the axle from the top of the grinder and the washers sitting on the ball bearings. Finally, using a dry cloth, wipe everything and remove the coffee residue using a brush. Once you’ve done this, you can easily reassemble the grinder.

The Mk3 has a red o-ring, but it’s absent on the newer model, so this is one less part you need to concern yourself about losing.

We suggest cleaning the grinder regularly to avoid coffee oils from fine particles building up.

Comandante Grinder Accessories – Red Clix

The Comandante hand grinder offers limited scope for dialing in for espresso. However, one useful accessory that enhances that possibility is the Red Clix, which doubles the number of grind settings.

comandante-c40-red-clix

This enhancement is crucial for espresso brewing. The Comandante C40 without this accessory has an espresso range from 7 to 12 clicks with around five settings. However, the Red Clix upgrade improves that to 14 to 24 clicks and 10 grind settings.

When using the Red Clix accessory, the stepped grind adjustment system is as solid and robust as the standard model.

The following video tutorial from Comandante’s official YouTube channel explains how to attach the accessory.

Is The Comandante C40 Worth The Money?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering its quality, the Comandante C40 is an expensive hand grinder. However, it’s well worth the money for those looking for a great grinder offering premium consistency. Still, it costs more than a high-quality electric grinder.

There are cheaper manual grinders that offer a similar quality, including Timemore and 1Zpresso. However, Comandante grinders are revered among coffee professionals for several good reasons, including their build quality and consistency. So, if you can afford a Comandante coffee grinder, it won’t let you down in either reliability or grind quality.

The Comandante C40 Mk3 vs Mk4

The Mk4 Nitro Blade is the most up-to-date version of the popular grinder. However, at first glance, you might struggle to tell it apart from its predecessors. Nevertheless, when you hold the Mk4, you’ll notice it’s lighter than the Mk3 while offering at least the same level of craftsmanship.

Meanwhile, any accessories that work with the Mk3 are also compatible with the Mk4, including the Red Clix upgrade, replacement pommels, crank handles, and spare parts.

If you remove the lid and handle on the Mk4, you’ll notice the support bracket has a redesigned shape, which solves some of the issues that tarnished the older models. So, when dosing with the Mk4, the beans will fall straight through, avoiding the brackets without bouncing out or falling into the gaps.

mk4-vs-mk3

Finally, one of the Mk4’s grinds catchers uses polymer instead of glass, as we mentioned earlier.

Aside from these differences, we didn’t find any other significant upgrades in the burrs or other elements of the Mk4. Importantly, the grind qualities of these two grinders are identical, too.

Comandante Coffee Grinder Alternatives

1Zpresso JX or JX Pro

Last update on 2021-11-30 / As an Amazon Associate, if you buy via the links, Brewcoffeehome earns a commission at no extra cost to you.

In recent times, one of the more impressive coffee grinder brands to emerge is 1Zpresso. Several models represent excellent value for money while offering decent grind quality in different brewing methods.

Many coffee enthusiasts make comparisons between the JX, JX Pro, and the Comandante. Indeed, if you’re grinding for espresso, the JX Pro is superior to the Comandante C40 because it has more grind settings for dialing in and grinds more quickly.

On the other hand, if you’re grinding for filter coffee, the JX is a good option at just a third of the price of the Comandante C40.

For more information, feel free to take a look at our hands-on review of the JX Pro.

In short, though, the JX and JX Pro represent decent, more affordable alternatives to the Comandante C40 for those on a tighter budget.

Our Verdict

The Comandante C40 is a high-quality hand grinder that offers effortless grinding and impressively consistent results – particularly when grinding for manual brewing methods. Meanwhile, its build quality is equally eye-catching. In our opinion, the grinder’s reputation as one of the best manual hand grinders on the market is fully justified.

Nevertheless, the grinder is expensive, and in the last few years, the emergence of several alternatives that offer unique features at a lower price has given coffee lovers more choice.

Despite this, the Comandante C40 retains its reputation as a premium-quality manual grinder that is hard to beat. For anyone interested in producing consistent grinds effortlessly, this is one manual grinder that is well worth considering.