Owner experience with Comandante C40 - Page 9

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.

#81: Post by chang00 »

Compared to the Porlex, the Porlex actually feels more precisely made. Because the glass container and the plastic threads don't line up, I am also afraid of stripping the threads eventually. Given the price, I am a bit disappointed. :(

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#82: Post by TomC »

A few macros at the end, I didn't break out the tripod, so my depth of field isn't optimized, bit it gives an idea of what the burrs are producing.

Simply put, there really isn't any retention to worry about.

It's pretty evident just looking at the catch cup how vastly different the particle size is. Huge chunks are clearly visible just sitting on the top along with a lot of chaff from this particular coffee. I did not alter the grind setting for any of these pictures in this post.

A little over a gram and a half of pure fines that passed thru the 425 micron ( #40) sieve on this 20g sample.

Close up.

Varied particle sizes (not well captured, I'd need to break out the studio lights and tripod to do it properly, but there's boulders in there right next to very fine grinds). These last 3 are obviously the sifted coffee.

My burr seems to be perfectly parallel, but Henry and I will compare first hand in a week or two when we get together. I'd expect with a fair bit of use, they'd break in and be more even.

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#83: Post by chang00 »

Here is a macro shot similar to Tom's angle. The right side is at zero point.

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#84: Post by TomC »

That's definitely misaligned.

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#85: Post by TomC »

Houston, we have a problem.

I took a closer look at the burr. Sure enough, I had to bust out the camera again and share these images to get some input. I think the burrs are rather shoddily produced. Take a look at the following set of images.

Look at the thin edge of the inner burr, where the vertical "wall" burr edge meets the horizontal surface. It was easy to see with naked eyes, as I spun the burr, I noticed that it seemed to "wobble" but under closer inspection, the burr isn't mounted off axis, but appears to be poorly cut, the burr itself is off. On the first image, I included an arrow so you can see where I'm referring to. Follow it as I turn the inner burr and see how much it changes in thickness as it rotates. This looks like shoddy cutting and or poor quality control, but I'd defer to Doug or Frank, who've got a lot more expertise about burrs and metal cutting than I do.

This might be worth getting the tripod out tomorrow, since I had to manually focus, it wasn't easy without a tripod, some of them aren't as sharp as I'd like, but you get the idea.

What do you all make of this? Does it matter? If the burr rotates with perfect alignment, but the burr itself isn't perfectly true, then I'd think it would.

It might have been a snap judgement early on when I said that Doug's engineering and materials are far greater than the Comandantes, and I think I'm correct, at least when it comes to the burrs. It's so easy to use and the ergonomics and experience is otherwise so good. I'd hate to have to return the darn thing because of crappy burrs. I just wish Doug had his burrs and his level of quality in this exact design. I'd pay Rosco prices for that.

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#86: Post by TomC »

I think I'm going to be contacting Able Brewing and asking for them to pick up the cost of return shipping and send it back as defective. I think this whole thing is very poorly engineered and the tolerances are beyond sloppy. I have little hope for this thing ever being capable of producing a consistent, even grind at any grind range.

If I place the whole thing on a flat surface and spin the handle, the center shaft/cap that leads to the arm doesn't even rotate on proper alignment, its all over the place. I take the handle off, spin the shaft where it connects to the handle, it too, wobbles.

I flip the whole thing upside down again to examine the inner burrs location relative to the fixed outer burr. Although it doesn't wobble, it has a bit of play in it. But the real bummer is when I spin the burr and closely watch the gap between the edge of the inner burr and the outer burr, It's off axis too. And I mean big time. It's plainly visible to the naked eye. I cant imagine what the runout must be, but its as sloppy as a beat up old antique lap mill. Sure, it turns smooth as glass and is easy to use, but I doubt any amount or fiddling would fix these issues. Certainly not running rice thru it, like they say to on the insert that comes in the box.

Also, when I look down the inside of the barrel of it, there's a blue polymer section at the bottom that is molded, likely one piece (that also serves to accept the threads of the glass catch cup) block. It's inner diameter is either not perfectly circular, or the fixed outer burr that lies just underneath it isn't mounted properly ( it's not perfectly centered). There is a clearly thicker side of one the burrs sides showing. Hard to describe in words but I don't know if it will photograph properly, so I hope I'm making sense. When you look down the inside, you can see a bit more of the fixed outer burr on one side than the other. Like a crescent moon sort of thing.

Lesson learned? Not sure, but this thing is not at all what they are trying to represent it as. Every part of it is mis-alligned. I wanted this grinder because I needed one that had a removable handle and is compact, and the the LIDO 1 is a foot tall or more and their version 2 apparently doesn't have a removable handle either, so for me, it was ruled out as an option. I thought it would be possible to have this grinder serve as a portable drip-only grinder, but I guess to get something that is assembled with any modicum of precision, it's gotta be Doug or go with a $400 Rosco.

I would pay maybe $60 tops for this thing. It's clearly not engineered any better level than a Porlex. Tonight has been rather disappointing.

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#87: Post by Terranova »

peacecup wrote:Hmmm - I'm not too good with LMs but that looks like a GS-3? 45 sec pour after a little rice seasoning - sounds like espresso to me (looks like it too)
It seems to me that the GS-3 is doing the "trick".
I have always been looking for an espresso machine which is able to "compensate" the design flaws of a grinder 8)

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#88: Post by yakster »

I received the Comandante yesterday and ground some boil in a bag rice to season the burrs according to the instructions. Like Tom, I was also able to see that the burrs do not come to a zero point equally but rather that one point in the inner burr will start to touch the outer burr first. Hopefully Comandante's next production release will address this issue.

I haven't had a chance to try this grinder out with coffee yet. The grinder looks great, I think once the burr issues are addressed it will be a good travel grinder, but I'm not certain that it'll be able to match the performance of something like an OE Lido or Pharos and certainly not an HG-One, it'll more likely be in the class of a nice looking Porlex, Kyocera, or Hario hand grinder but with metal instead of ceramic burrs.

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#89: Post by chang00 »

Got an e-mail back from Able. Turns out the warehouse is local near where I live, in California.

The service from Able was excellent, so I am going to get the grinder exchanged. :D


#90: Post by sonnyhad »

Heck that little mis alignment ain't no thing! Crank it tight and smack it with a hammer, it will either fix it or break it. Of course remove all glass parts before trying this at home!
That mis alignment seems to be a consistent fault, or at least from everyone that's posted about it, seeing its just released.