COMANDANTE® was born out of necessity and a vision for performance and precision.
In 2005 and long before COMANDANTE®, Bernd Braune and his family founded their speciality coffee roastery Supremo just outside Munich, Germany. Striving for delicious coffee, the family made regular trips to meet coffee producers and source their coffees directly, and quickly became heavily involved in Cup of Excellence, both on the judging panel and in The Board of Directors.
As a result, Supremo had some truly amazing coffees available to their beloved customers. But there was a problem: those customers didn’t have access to the right tools for getting the very best out of those high valued specialty coffees. There were already some good electrical grinders out there, but these big, heavy, and expensive machines made no sense for the typical home user, nor for the sourcing trips that Bernd and his family were regularly making.
The idea to build expert travel grinders was the logical next step — a precise, high-performing and mobile tool. The grinder had to be the best out there in the field. After all, best coffee quality is found at the farm gate in origin and any good ad-hoc sourcing decision requires solid coffee quality assessment. Grind performance is key to discover extraordinary taste profiles.
As a passionate german engineer, Bernd had been working on specialty coffee grinding and specialty coffee extraction for more than a decade and he was fascinated how good coffee can taste, if you do all things right. A natural move for him to approach the leading grinder manufacturers and industrial burr makers and look for a partnership. Bernd approached grinder manufacturers with his vision, but none of them saw the market nor did they understand the need for a high-performance hand grinder. So he had to chase the vision himself.
Aside from delivering consistent and repeatable results, it was clearly essential for the grinder to be practical, easy and enjoyable to use. No stone was left unturned as they considered the ideal size and shape of all parts, as well as how they could make it beautiful and ergonomic at the same time.
The original clean design style was completed in a team work effort amongst friends and family, designed by Bernd Uwe Braune, Raphael Braune and Gerhard Scherbinski-von Volkman.
Bernd decided to register the brand COMANDANTE® in 2012 and to register appropriate design & style protection for COMANDANTE® products rights thereafter. COMANDANTE® is solidly committed to this original iconic design style for the years to come.
Chasing maximum cup quality in every step, burr geometry and steel alloy technology was the most challenging aspect of building a great hand grinder. Conical burrs for hand grinders had been manufactured for over 100 Years. Historic burr implementations were typically made of iron, the mass market versions are made in ceramic and the common standard conical burrs are typically designed for quick espresso delivery in vending machines. So over the last 15 years Bernd worked hard to find the right recipe for the perfect conical burr for hand grinding action.
Production of the Comandante® grinders began in 2013, with early custom burr implementations inside, made in both stainless steel and Titanium. Bernd and his son Raphael loved what they’d created for their coffee loving customers, and their C40 and C20 grinder became their loyal travel companions on coffee sourcing trips. It was basically the very first truly portable but professional quality grinder on the market.
Once you make something and use it, you discover new ideas. Not only that, but new materials and technologies become available. So it was, inspired by the legendary quality and performance of German car manufacturers, that COMANDANTE® never stopped chasing improvements.
The Comandante® C40 Mk2 arrived not long after, with some adaptations made to a few components and the addition of the newer BB4 burr. Another great grinder, but Bernd knew that even better grind performance and product quality was possible. A paradigm shift needed to happen in order to build what was envisioned. It was time for another deep dive. That is when Bernd cut all ties to previous manufacturing partners and previous design & manufacturing methodologies and disappeared in his Garage behind the Braune family’s specialty roastery.
To make a long story short: It was a very tough period … it took much longer than anticipated, it took much more effort than planned and it required a monumental new investment in time and money. What was needed, was a totally new product development methodology, new powerful CNC systems, 3D creation & simulation techniques, advanced steps into material science and a state-of-the-art particle analysis laboratory.
The result: Nitro Blade®, a new burr generation for high performance hand grinders, which took mobile hand grinder performance to a completely different level of grind quality.
The Comandante® C40 Mk3 with Nitro Blade® inside and with all internals completely reworked was launched in 2016. Bernd and his tiny engineering team had completely overhauled the grinder, and it made a huge leap forward in usability, workflow and - most critically - grind performance.
The performance of Nitro Blade® and the repeatable and consistent results from brew to brew saw it spread around the world, from origin sourcing expeditions to the world competition stage to kitchens of enthusiastic home baristas around the world. We have been amazed and honored to see our Comandante® C40 Mk3 Nitro Blade® in the hands of many National- and World Brewers Cup champions again and again.
C40 Mk3 was produced for 5 years, until the end of summer 2021. During that time, Bernd never stopped looking for improvements, constantly making small refinements to every single component. These continuous refinements weren’t visually obvious at first glance, until the Comandante® C40 Mk4 Nitro Blade® was launched in autumn 2021.
Thanks to some smart material science moves, refined and optimized internals and the addition of a basically unbreakable polymer-glass Bean Jar, the C40 Mk4 offers improved workflow, weight, and durability, whilst maintaining 100% backwards compatibility for our beloved family of users around the world.
Today, COMANDANTE® has a rock solid and very focused team behind every aspect of the business. Family & friends are truly at the core of the company. State-of-the-art design and manufacturing capabilities guarantee innovation and highest product quality.
And then there is Bernd, our leader on his quest for the perfect cup!
Where does Comandante® go from here?
We can’t wait to share the next big steps with you!