So what IS a Thermomix and why do you need one?

You have probably noticed several mentions of Thermomix in my postings, and you may be wondering what I am talking about.  First of all, I would like to point out that I have no connection to Vorwerk – Thermomix, but I bought one in October, and it has been used several times a day since then.  So what is this wonder machine and why do you need one?  Basically, it is a high-powered blender, but it also offers several features that no other blender offers that makes it a kind of all-in-one kitchen machine.

The super duper kitchen machine

You need a High Power Blender with a whole foods diet

As I adapted to a whole foods, plant based diet, I kept coming across recipes requiring a high power blender.  I think it is honestly the single most useful piece of kitchen equipment if you want to eat this way.  For example,

  • making healthy smoothies with greens and all kinds of of great fruits and vegetables
  • grinding nuts and dates as healthy alternatives to animal based products and sugary dishes.  My favorite are nut and date treats of which there are tons of varieties, and these can be done in just a couple of minutes with a high power blender.  I promise you these treats can satisfy even the worst sweet tooth.
  • grinding your own grains.  I have never been such a purist before, but grinding your own grains allows you to stick to a true whole foods diet, and commercial flours are supposedly ground at such high temperatures that the fats can become rancid (and high temperatures always creates a danger of radical free agents…)
  • make your own non-dairy milks

I did go for a few months on this diet without a high power blender.  I already had a hand blender and a double food processor, so I figured I could make do.  However, things are much faster and easier with more power.  For example, I made the chocolate silk pie in about 10 minutes, and it took my friend Angela over an hour with her food processor.  Believe me, the power will save you time and allow you to make just about everything from smoothies, to plant-based mayonaise and cheese alternatives as well as chocolate silk pie.

Vitamix or Thermomix?

This was the big question for me.  On just about every whole foods web site I came across, the authors praised the Vitamix and often offer a link to buy this wonderful machine.  If I was living in the States, I probably would have succumbed, but then I learned about the German Thermomix and decided to investigate.  I could find very little to compare the two, but here are the reasons I decided to buy the Thermomix instead:

  • According to data I found while researching, Thermomix doesn’t have quite as high of RPM (revolutions per minute) as the Vitamix, and I thought that would be a deciding factor.  However, the Thermomix does go fast enough to grind grains and to do that with the Vitamix, you have to purchase a separate mixing bowl.
  • In addition to the high power fast grinding, The Thermomix allows for slow stirring, reverse mixing (so you don’t use the cutting edge of the blades and can keep food bits intact) and a dough setting for a kneading bread doughs (go slower and works forward and reverse with pauses between).  This slow feature is really useful and allows you to make salads quite easily.  For example, one of the demonstration recipes is a broccoli salad.  You simply throw in chunks of veggies and the dressing ingredients and do at a chopping speed for about 5 seconds. Now you have bite sized chunks tossed in dressing, but a normal blender would turn the mixture to mush.
  • The feature that most convinced me was the cooking feature.  The Thermomix also heats foods from 37-100 degrees celsius while stirring.  I LOVE this feature!!  Just imagine anything you cook that requires stirring.  Now imagine that you don’t have to stir anymore.  I use this to cook my morning oatmeal, to saute onions and other veggies, to make sauces, to melt chocolate, to make pudding….. You can also use one of the steaming baskets to make perfect rice or steam any vegetable (or cook any meat, but I obviously haven’t tried that).  The way all the baskets are designed, you can actually cook several dishes at once, but I have rarely done that.  Because of the cooking feature, I rarely use any pots or my stove top.
  • The Thermomix has a timer so that you can set it and go.  The timer allows me to set it for one minute to grind my grains or make my smoothie while I walk away and prepare other things.  It may sound silly, but you would be amazed at how free you feel to walk around and prepare other parts of your recipe rather than sitting and holding your blender until you decide whether your dish is ready.
  • Another time saving device is a built in scale.  This was not an incentive for me when I bought the machine as I have a kitchen scale and didn’t see the need for it.  However, once you have your recipes converted to weight, you realize you never have to actually measure anything, you just pour straight from the package into the Thermomix.  I am now converting all my recipes so I don’t have to bother with pre-measuring and washing a bunch of measuring cups.
  • On a practical side, Vitamix is difficult machine to buy here is there are only a couple of sellers in Germany and the price starts at 600 euros for the most basic versions.  Thermomix is made by a German company with an outstanding reputation.  The Thermomix is more, around 900 euros, but you don’t need any other accessories.  They also offer many different purchasing plans, for example, I bought with an 18 month plan paying less than 50 euro/month with only 7 euros interest over the term of the financing.  Furthermore, I held a demonstration in my home, and Thermomix sent me a 50 euro check.  If you don’t feel like paying, you could become a representative, and once you sell 6 machines, you get your own.  I have a friend doing this now and she only needs to sell a couple more before she gets her own.  I think she has some kind of loaner machine until then because she now does demonstations in an attempt to sell machines.

So What Are the Cons?

When I was researching to find negative aspects of the Thermomix, I couldn’t find any, and that was another convincing factor for me.  However, I can admit to a few negatives and I will share them with you here.

  • The price is the number one reason people hesitate to buy the Thermomix.  It does seem ridiculously expensive at first, but there are ways to make it affordable as mentioned in the previous section.  Also, it is the second most used device in my kitchen after my refrigerator as almost everything I eat passes through it. Finally, it is said that it replaces several kitchen gadgets so if you buy it you dont need all the others.  While this is true, most potential buyers, such as myself, probably already have those other gadgets. it would make a splendid purchase for someone setting up their first household.
  • You can’t see through the container.  People used to glass or plastic blenders and food processors will find this a bit of a challenge at first.  I was used to looking at things through the container to tell if it was ready.  With the Thermomix you have to turn it off and release the lid to see inside since the mixing bowl is stainless steel.  Obviously stainless steel is a more durable product and better for cooking things in, so that disadvantage is easy to understand.
  • You can’t take off the top unless you turn off the machine.  This is a safety feature which makes the Thermomix safe enough for any child to operate, but occasionally I have wished to be able to take off the top and keep the machine running.
  • The mixing bowl only holds 2 L.  This is as much or more than most other blenders and food processors, but not enough to make soup for a family of 6 therefore I feel I am not able to make full use of my wonderful machine.  However, there has really only been once or twice that I have wanted to use it and couldn’t due to capacity limitations.
  • The warranty is only 2 years.  I believe the Vitamix has a 10 year warranty, and it would be nice when you pay so much to have a longer warranty.
  • It is a bit complicated to buy.  It is only available through representatives, somewhat like Tupperware or Mary Kay.  I believe you can get on the website to get connected with a representative, but I have heard that they are not officially sold in the US.  You can still buy them through Canada, but it would mean you probably wouldn’t have a demonstration or support to be able to make full use of your machine.  Since I bought mine in Germany, there is plenty of support and even some newsletters and magazines.  My machine even came with a couple of cookbooks, but everything was in German, and my German  isn’t the greatest.  I finally broke down and bought some books from the UK site, and it has multiplied the use I am getting out of my machine.  While the German recipes were simple enough to follow, I found that they simply weren’t to my taste (except the breads).  The English cookbooks have 2-3 times as many recipes, and the vegetarian cookbook has tons of healthy recipes.
  • It doesn’t completely replace other machines.  There is no ‘grating’ attachment.  I have kept my food processor for that (the only thing I currently use it for), but I have decided that since I can finely chop for small pieces for salads or baking or use a mandoline for pretty pieces that are longer, I can get by.  Also, it doesn’t have a whisk which I used a lot in my old stand mixer.  However, I have mixed many batters in my Thermomix quite successfully.  I just find it helps to scrape down the sides once or twice.

In spite of the possible criticisms, I would still buy the machine.

In summation, this machine works well for someone who does not like cooking and wants to simplify meal prep as well as severe foodies with lots of food preparation needs.  I have no regrets about my purchase except that I wish I had 2!