The Comandante manual coffee grinder is already a modern legend. For a good reason! It is a very good grinder: solid, versatile, perfectly made, and, most importantly, it grinds coffee very well. After all, it’s no news that a grinder is the foundation of good coffee! Recently, a refreshed version of the MK3 model, the MK4, has been released. It’s worth checking what has changed in the new version!
At the beginning let’s recall what a Comandante grinder is. It is a manual burr grinder with a steel body, gradual grinding adjustment, and, what is most characteristic and is the backbone of this equipment, the burrs made of a special steel alloy of very high resilience and impeccable geometry.
The thing that both home and professional baristas love in Comandante so much is its versatility. It is one of a few manual grinders that provide high-quality grinding both for an espresso machine and overflow methods.
Depending on the assumed axles – standard or Red Clix – the change of grind from espresso to filters takes several dozen clicks with the adjustment knob, which is very intuitive since it’s repeatable – a feature not evident with many models of manual grinders.
The stabilization of the axles and the use of bearings are also important. The lack of axles deviation during grinding makes for the perfect rotation of the burr, and so the coffee beans, wherever they fall, will be ground very evenly. If you are interested in this grinder you have probably seen videos in which Comandante was spun without coffee, and it spun like mad without any rubbing against external burrs. That says a lot about the stability of the axle mount on this model. If the body was covered with a sponge or bristles, it could easily be used as a small paint roller!
You can say that the Comandante MK3 is an almost perfect grinder, but the MK4 has just been launched. It is worth taking a look at the differences between these models.
Comandante MK3 and MK4 – differences
When you place both versions of the grinder next to each other, it is impossible to tell them apart. Only a jar may give a hint, because in the new version, instead of two glass containers, you will find one glass and one polymer jar. The latter is not an ordinary plastic jar. As you can see on the Comandante social channels and at some coffee enthusiasts’, the new polymer container is virtually indestructible. It’s impervious to very strong hammer blows, falls or attempts to crush it. You can also see more static electricity of the coffee, which is to help remove the dust from the ground beans and makes for a slightly cleaner taste. Therefore, it may happen that with a polymer jar the coffee will need to be ground one or two clicks finer to maintain the correct brewing time. The great advantage of the polymer container is its light weight. It’s good to slim down a half-kilogram grinder! The jar is perfect for transport.
The second, very important change, which does not affect the taste of the coffee, but the comfort of use, is the redesigned mounting of the upper bearing and axle. Anyone who has used the earlier Comandante model so far knows how annoying it can be if a bean gets stuck in the exact center of the grinder, where the lid and the crank are attached.
Seems like a minor detail, and yet in the morning it could have caused a scowl. In addition, particles of ground coffee accumulated there and so, cleaning this nook required using an ear stick or other technologies.
This is no longer a problem in Comandante MK4. Really, it makes life easier. The differently profiled arms of this celebrity make pouring coffee into the grinder much more ergonomic. At the same time, the bearing mount and protection against dirt were improved, which slightly increased the capacity of the grinder, giving a practically imperceptible difference of a few grams.
The heart remained the same – the Nitro Blade burrs, known from the MK3 model, with their perfect geometry.
To change or not to change?
So, the changes are not revolutionary but evolutionary. Those who expected huge changes and an almost newly created grinder may be disappointed. However, the MK4 model is a breath of fresh air!
The advantage of such small changes is the fact that all previous accessories are compatible with the new model – cases, cranks, Red Clix axle or polymer jars.
If you haven’t owned a Comandante grinder so far and you plan to buy it, choosing the MK4 is absolutely right. Those who hate beans being jammed in the top of the grinder may also consider upgrading to a newer model. However, if you’re not into these changes, take it easy! MK3 will serve you for many years to come and you will have nothing to complain about anyway!
You can learn more about the Comandante grinder from our articles: