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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Why I Bought Thermomix

A lot of people have asked, so I am going to try to compare and contrast for you and explain my decision to buy a Thermomix
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I had heard people talking about Thermomix saying it weighed ingredients, mixed, chopped and cooked all in the one bowl. I was very sceptical and thought it was just a gadget. The talk persisted and I thought I would like to see this thing in action. I sold small electrical appliances for a few years and thought I pretty much knew my stuff. I went to a demonstration in a friend's home prepared to be less than impressed and ready to refute many claims. I am willing to say I had a very closed and pre-conceived mind set upon arriving.
Within the first 5 minutes my carefully constructed mask of one sceptical eyebrow arched gracefully towards my hairline receded to avid interest. We learnt that Thermomix had in fact been around in Europe since the 1960s but only in Australia since 2001.
Within the the next 15 mins I was sitting on the edge of my seat. I was totally floored when the demonstrator made icing sugar for one of the recipes. Many food processors claim to make icing sugar but the process takes a lot of turning on and off and scraping down the bowl and the result is less than a true icing sugar. The Thermomix did it in seconds and turned tiny crystals to a true powder. It can even finely chop one clove of garlic which most food processors can't do unless you use a small bowl attachment.
You can go to the site to check the stats but it is a combination of design that achieves it's amazing processing capabilities. It is not just the motor, speed, blade sharpness but also the shape and design of the bowl and blade construct working together.

The demonstrator made a whole meal for us;
fresh fruit sorbet, herb and garlic dip,
coleslaw, bread rolls, portabello mushroom risotto,
vanilla bean (real egg) custard

I don't mind telling you I was getting rather excited and with the offer of several payment plan options I nearly just plunged in right there and then but I am a cautious buyer and I like to well research my options regardless of the price.
So I checked out the copy-cat version the Thermochef, and one should not automatically assume that a copy-cat is inferior, however, usually the goal is to produce a cheaper product in competition. You usually get what you pay for and a cheaper product usually means a sacrifice on some qualities.
It is a good machine and it may well suit your needs but I will compare and contrast and explain MY choice.

1.The Motor
The first obvious and greatest difference if that the Thermomix uses a magnet reluctance motor. It goes from 1-10 with a turbo button, 500W. Speed continuously adjustable from 100rpm to 10,200rpm (boys have I got your attention now?). But there is more...it has alternative mode for dough kneading and a slow stir function of 40rpm (for when you are cooking)

Boyev Animation by Boyev (Image source)

The Thermochef uses a belt and gear drive motor which is very common in small appliances. This arguable means more wearing parts and a shorter life span. It also goes from 1-10 with a turbo button and has 550W.

2.The Built In Scales

The Thermomix has the scales directly built in under the bowl seating so that you can measure straight into the mixing  jug. The Thermochef has them beside the mixing jug. The advantage of having the scales built in means that you can add and weigh everything into the vessel. There is not a litany of washing up like measuring cups, jugs and spoons, it's all in the bowl. A small point but sometimes it is the small things that make life easier and cleaner.

3. The Cooking/Mixing Jug 

Both appliances have a stainless steel jug with a 2L max capicity. I have given some product knowledge about stainless steel before in my post about cutlery. I did notice that the interior of the Thermochef  looks very spun and less polished. Polishing the stainless steel is yet another process and an added expense but the difference to cleaning the surface is quite significant. If you were to look at the surface under a microscope you would see very many highs and lows, valleys and ridges. Food particles can grab in these areas and a polished surface makes for an easier food release. When selling cookware I always advised against scourers and excessive scratching with metal utensils.
Also note that the jug is not completely cylindrical like a blender or other food processors. It is this very design that allows food to hit, tumble and spin creating that great consistent chop so that you are not constantly stopping and scraping down bowls like old food processors.

4. The Blades

Thermomix has Solingen Steel Blades (Solingen in Germany  is the home of swords, knives and cutlery for generations) and I would imagine a high grade of stainless steel. I am sure that the Thermochef stainless steel blades are also a quality mix if stainless steel. If there is a difference in the quality of the blades it would come down to tempering (the actual manufacture of the metal for strength and durability) but I don't have any proof or stats on that.
Also note the construction difference of the blades. They are off set and kind of crooked looking compared to blades from blenders and food processors. More development has been put into the dynamics of cutting.

5. The Cooking System

Both mixers have integrated cooking. You can blend/chop/mix and then also cook within the vessel without transferring to another pot. Both machines are 1000W. The Thermomix goes from 37C to 100C but it also has a setting high than that called "Varoma" temperature which is the extra temperature needed to using the steaming stack successfully.
Some of the things you can do;
Hollandaise, Egg Custard, White Sauce,
Soups, Casseroles, Risotto,
Boiled Eggs and Steamed Vegetables and Meat.


I have made most every category and been really impressed. The best part is that I can put the ingredients in and go about cleaning up and doing other tasks. The machine does all the cooking and stirring and lets me know when it is done. It even continues to slowly stir after the timer goes off so that the bottom doesn't stick and burn.
Here is a big difference between the two machines. The Thermomix has a reverse cycle. This means that you can stir without chopping.
For instance if I want to make Beef Stroganof, I place an onion cut in half in the jug, in 10 sec it's chopped. I then add some butter and set it slowly stir on 100C so that it sautees for a couple of minutes. Then I simply add the rest of the ingredients; beef strips, wine, yoghurt/cream, spices, mushrooms. Now I set the timer to 20mins and the temperature to 100C and the blades to reverse. It stirs the whole time without further chopping. A very handy (vital?) feature.

I am a pretty good all round cook and I know most everything about scratch cooking. One thing I could never be bothered with was choux pastry but last weekend I whipped up some profiteroles to take to a friend's place for dinner. I made the choux and the creme patisserie in the Thermomix so easily.
My mashed potato is a common family joke. I would call my style more rustic and I have tried many methods (perhaps my heart just isn't really in it) but now with the Thermomix it is a crowd pleaser every time. You can cook and then mash all in the one vessel without having to touch a thing except adding the butterfly whisk and pressing a button.
It also makes fruit sorbets in seconds. It can mill grain to flour, peanuts to paste and sugar to castor or icing sugar. It will grind spices and make butter. You can make jam and mix cakes. The dough comes out silky like a professional baker achieves.
This week I had a Middle Eastern dinner party and successfully adapted my recipes to make them in the Thermomix.

When the Thermomix arrived I cleaned out a cupboard to put the accessories in (the steaming dishes) and I removed the juice extractor (it makes juice), the coffee grinder, the rice cooker and the food processor. My wonderful food processor was a Braun Multipractic and I flogged it every week for the past 20 years. I bought right that time and I'm sure I've bought right this time. This should be my last appliance buy this lifetime.

and now what you are wondering....

6. The Price

Thermomix $1939.00
Thermochef $795.00
Big difference but yes, a big difference.
So many people asked and I hope this helps you make a more informed decision and gives you some categories to base your needs on. I am not saying that the Thermochef is not a good appliance, it's just not the one I preferred to buy for my particular needs and wants. Given it's limitations I would probably choose a Braun food processor again over the Thermochef and just keeping using traditional pots and pans methods and save the money.

If you have any more questions please ask.

12 comments:

  1. Thanks Tanya, just a little bit of arm twisting to do here before I go ahead with my purchase. Ha-ha! It sounds awesome. I'll forward your post to my husband and let you know if your 'sales pitch' successfully convinces him.

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  2. So when do you start as a consultant?? :) I think it sounds wonderful but I still need to know how to cook.... it comes with a recipe book? I think it may be a waste for me somehow. Sounds fantastic though. And great review!

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  3. I have been interested for a while in the details of a thermomix, thank you for sharing them.

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  4. My sister was given a thermomix and LOVES it. I would be like you - sceptical - except my eyebrow arch probably isn't as refined! Glad to hear your review. Look forward to seeing one in action one day.

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  5. I've seen the thermomix around a bit here in blog land. It sounds amazing.
    It might take a bit of convincing here to add one to our kitchen.
    Thanks for all the info.
    x

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  6. I was exactly like you at the demonstration Tanya.
    I'm not easily convinced at demonstrations. However!
    I was truly amazed and my friends swear by theirs.
    Still havnt purchased one but think they are great.
    Enjoy yours.
    Chris

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  7. This is a great comparison. I am also an appliance skeptic but more than a year later and I use it basically every day. Some days many many times a day. My boys are mad for the custard which I give them for breakfast(I use rapadura rather than sugar and less than the EDC recipe)There is no way I would be whipping up a batch of egg custard for them (with berries from the freezer) everymorning if I had to stand over it stirring etc. We all eat better and I can always whip something up at the slightest provocation, with less mess! Hurrah!

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  8. I've been to a demo and was very impressed, however I consider the cost way over the top! I believe they are available in Europe for something like 600 euros?

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  9. I have the thermochef and LOVE it. Reverse has not been an issue you just use speed 1 ( the old thermomix was the same and people used to rave about it)
    I prefer the seprate scales too as I always put too much in and its easily removed.
    If I had the cash, I said I would upgrade, but now I am not sure I would, for what we use it for its more than adequate.

    I use mine daily.

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  10. I have the thermochef and LOVE it. Reverse has not been an issue you just use speed 1 ( the old thermomix was the same and people used to rave about it)
    I prefer the seprate scales too as I always put too much in and its easily removed.
    If I had the cash, I said I would upgrade, but now I am not sure I would, for what we use it for its more than adequate.

    I use mine daily.

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  11. Thanks NatX, great to hear from someone using the Thermochef and getting their experience too. Good on you for commenting x

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  12. HI Tanya,
    I had the pleasure of seeing the Thermomix demonstrated at the Home Ideas Centre in Launceston a few years ago by Nutritionist Cyndi O'Meara (Changing Habits Changing Lives). I too was sceptical, then amazed! Unfortunately finances don't allow me to purchase one just at the moment, but it's on my bucket list. Thank you so much for the comparison, it is something I have wondered about for a long time.
    Cheers
    Di

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