Owner experience with Comandante C40 - Page 11

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
User avatar
TomC
Team HB

#101: Post by TomC »

The bad news just multiplies. I just got off the phone with Keith, the owner of Able Brewing. He's an exceedingly nice, helpful and easy going guy and I was glad it was a person such as him that I had to work with. He's offering me a full refund, obviously and was disturbed to find the same inherent flaw in the remaining stock he has on hand. He's starting to realize the trouble he's in with these grinders. He's the sole US distributor of them currently, even shipping them internationally. He opened up a sealed unit to examine it the same way I was, and found the exact same problem. The slop in the shaft is very, very noticeable and the inner burr never rotates evenly between the fixed outer burr. Can't speak for every single unit, but the random one he opened and examined shows the same basic flaw that Henry, Chris, and I have found in ours. You do the math on the odds of that..

There's a portion of the coffee consuming world that just wants a cool looking portable grinder that is easy to use, who wont care and will likely not return the grinder, but there's also a section of the market ( we coffee geeks) that expect more than what it currently is.

I told him to get back to me when he hears back from Comandante, as to whether I'll ask for a replacement or refund. I don't want another one, if it has the same basic flaws that mine currently has. The prototype unit he was basing his purchasing decision on, was a titanium burr unit that they gave him in Boston, not the stainless steel version. And it sounds like they are going to do away with the ceramic burr version because it was even worse.

ds

#102: Post by ds »

Its is sad that they missed quality target when they have actually positioned themselves through marketing as well built and precise grinder. Their marketing was perfect, execution seems far from it... I think he needs to measure it again:



I am wondering who are those "world-class" barista putting their name behind it?

User avatar
TomC
Team HB

#103: Post by TomC »

ds wrote:
I am wondering who are those "world-class" barista putting their name behind it?
Probably individuals who were given prototypes that were hand built to far better tolerances, fit and finish than the production models.

User avatar
uscfroadie

#104: Post by uscfroadie »

Tom,

I cancelled my order a while back when the initial reports came in that this thing was basically useless for espresso. I got an email from Keith (Able Brewing) and had a quick refund. His customer service is really first class, so his treatment of your case is not atypical.

Thanks for posting such extremely detailed photos of the production grinder. You have a great camera and skills to properly capitalize on its capabilities.

Cheers!
Merle

User avatar
longdi

#105: Post by longdi »

I have to cancel my order too, as I am using the grinder for espresso mainly!

alita

#106: Post by alita »

Spitz.me wrote:Basically, the grind output is just as bad as the grind output by my Zassenhaus Heidelberg espresso grinder. I use it for drip/pourover preps and the uneven grind is very similar to what I see in Tom's pictures. The last few beans without weight basically just crack into large enough chunks to fall through the space between the burrs. I paid $60 new, $150 for the C40 is overpriced if what Tom is seeing is legitimately how it functions.
Your Zassenhaus Heidelberg and the Comandante C40 could be more related than that...
The design company who developed the Zassenhaus Heidelberg (and also Lima, Panama, Guatemala and Quito http://zassenhaus.com/index.php?i=756) also developed another hand grinder available with stainless steel and titanium burrs (http://www.odin-products.de/produkte/_u ... an_74.html) which bears resemblance to the C40 as does the Zassenhaus Quito.

User avatar
TomC
Team HB

#107: Post by TomC »

The Comandante has been removed from the Able website until further notice, per Keith. I really hope Comandante does right by him. He's an exceptional guy and I can tell how bummed he is.

I contacted Comandante via Facebook a few days ago and have not received a reply.

User avatar
peacecup

#108: Post by peacecup »

It's disappointing to me to see new, expensive (relatively) hand grinders receive such poor reviews. Perhaps it was to be expected - at the price point the C40 was set at it's probably not possible to do proper quality checks and controls. Plus, there appears to have been a rather lot of resources set on marketing.

In retrospect, the market they were after was probably just people who want a pretty grinder that does an acceptable job of turning whole beans into grinds. After all, any freshly-ground coffee is a step up for some proportion of coffee drinkers (possibly a large proportion?).

PC
LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."

User avatar
Spitz.me

#109: Post by Spitz.me »

However...

I can hardly imagine people who are casual about coffee will go out of their way to spend $150 on a HAND GRINDER. To me, the execution is all wrong. It's priced awkwardly if the quality is that bad. If it turns out the quality becomes sufficient for espresso use, then $150 becomes realistic because of the capability. But, come on, $150 for a grinder that does what a $30 hand grinder does? Be realistic here... Casual and hand grinding don't really mix. Nor does Casual and knowing how grind quality impacts coffee.
LMWDP #670

User avatar
peacecup

#110: Post by peacecup »

Who knows? Did the designers really go through all that trouble to make a functional hand grinder and then totally forget about building it to tolerences? Or did they just say "let's make it look good"? My point was that any fresh ground coffee is better than it's stale pre-ground counterpart, and there is conceivably a market for people making that transition who want something that looks cool.

I do know that 50-year old hand grinders are capable of great espresso, so I don't know how the makers of the C40 could have gone so far wrong with all that effort.
LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."