Thursday, September 19, 2013
Thermomix TM 31 versus HotMix Pro Easy / Gastro revisited
Since I have had such an overwhelming response on my previous reviews I have decided to extract some points of each review and reiterate these perhaps more succinctly and also address some common comments.
When I wrote my reviews I had not had extensive personal use of a TMX, this is true, however I have two sister-in-laws who have machines and many, many, many friends who have machines of their own and some who are demonstrators. Before I knew about the existence of the HMP, I would talk non-stop about how awesome the TMX was and how I longed to be able to get one. I think, realistically, that my discussions with many friends and family lead them to purchase their own machine! I went to many demonstrations - in fact most friends knew I would go so I was an easy target! I did hours of research on blogs and youtube videos. I then came across the Vitamix, which was a lot cheaper, but after further investigation realised it didn't cook, as it was not a thermal machine. I didn't feel I could be satisfied with it. That being said, if I was only after a super blender I would consider a Vitamix - it's amazing. The longer I waited and due to my extensive research, I started to see more thermal machines coming on the market, overseas to begin with, then here in Australia. Some comments I have received say that I can't really compare the machines if I haven't extensively used both. Well, I have to say,I don't know of too many people who could afford to purchase both machines just to work out which was the better machine. Kind of like comparing washing machines or other white goods. The only way you can compare is to do research and ask a lot of questions. A lot of what I base my opinions on is what I see and hear. As I mentioned above, I have family and friends who own a Thermomix and interestingly, I get varied opinions. I speak to these people often and ask heaps of questions about functionality etc. I watched my friends and family use their machines and I based a lot of my decisions on these experiences. I still discuss with them their thoughts and we compare dishes and other points of the HMP and TM 31. I think this is as close as I am going to get without having a TM 31 of my own and in saying that, I do believe its a good enough source of information to work from. Many love their machine and interestingly some feel they could have waited a little longer to consider the HMP, which was not available at the time they purchased their TM 31. Some even say they would have preferred the ThermoChef over the TM 31 and the HMP due to the lower price and the fact that the ThermoChef meets their needs as a basic machine rather than a super duper machine! I have friends with the ThermoChef and they love their machine and some have the Bellini thermal machine and they are happy with this too. At the end of the day each machine offers something different to each person. A decision can be made based on price, functionality, health benefits, and versatility. For me I would say for most people an outstanding factor is price, which is why the cheaper thermal machines whether good or bad have a place in the market. I wish I could have a go at all of them to tell you first hand how they all compare to each other. The contact I do have with the Thermomix is more than any person would have in a demonstration and is enough to give me a good understanding on how it works and how it compares to the HMP.
One of the attractive features the HMP for me was it's temperature control and because it could reach a much higher temperature range. Personally, I do like making caramel and fudge. Without the HMP, I didn't cook caramel often because it is a bit of a pain stirring for so long over the stove. You also should have a thermometer or it can be a bit of a guessing game to reach soft ball or hard ball stage and if you leave it for seconds too long, you can ruin the whole thing. Thankfully, for me the ability now to just add my ingredients set it to a temp and walk away, is in fact a deal breaker.
I've received many comments on my reviews telling me that a higher temperate will kill the nutrients in my food. At what point in any of my reviews do I say that you can only cook food in a HMP at high temperatures? If you want to cook at a lower temperature to achieve healthy food structure then you can absolutely do this and you can even prepare healthy raw salads and dishes if you wish to. Please don't be fooled into thinking that the TM 31 is the only machine that prepares meals in the healthiest way. The TM 31 does have the Varoma that comes with your purchase, which the HMP doesn't. However, I have been informed that you can actually attach a Varoma to the HMP, and you can also sit a bamboo steamer on top of the HMP. So like many of you have pointed out to me; the fact you can can cook a couple of dishes at the one time in your TM 31 really is completely amazing and a real time saver and something so unique about your TM 31 actually is in fact a shared feature with the HMP so makes them comparable.
I want to address the temperature control feature of the HMP, which in essence helps you manage how you want to cook and prepare your food. For all the health conscience people out there who have purchased their Thermomix because they were told it is the healthiest way to prepare your food because the thermal machine controls the temperature and leaves important vitamins and minerals of food intact,well then I must inform you, so does the HMP. You in fact can control the temperature of how your food is cooked with 1C increments in comparison to the TM 31 which controls the temperature for you primarily in 10C increments. If you found out that more nutrients could be saved by cooking a dish, for example, 3C or lower than what your controlled temperature thermal machine offers. Would you not be annoyed to know that you could be effecting the nutritional and general quality of your food by a difference of a couple degrees? Personally, I find it comforting to know that I can manage how my food is cooked, instead of the machine. The HMP offers the best control and to my knowledge is the only thermal machine on the market that does. I think this is an outstanding feature.
I hope this review gives you a little more insight on how the machines compare. I still maintain that the machines are very much comparable. If I had a Kitchen Aid mixer or a Kenwood Cooking Chef and I was trying to convince you that either was better than a thermal cooking machine I could understand if you thought I was a bit batty. However, the TM 31 and the HMP are both classified as thermal cooking machines and thus can be compared.
Finally I will take this opportunity to make something very clear, the TM 31 is a good machine and I don't believe I have bagged it out in any way. My reviews are to educate you on my experience with my machine and compare it to the machine that I once thought was the best thing on the planet! I would dare say that many of you reading my reviews have thought the same and maybe very close to making a decision on which to purchase. It is really important to do your research as I did. See what other people have experienced on both blogs, forums, and in person. Work out what each machine offers and whether particular features will benefit you and how you cook. One thing that I will point out that both machines need to work on the capacity of the jugs. If you have the money, the HMP offer twin machines, which is essentially where you have two thermal jugs that can cook at the same time, but it does come with a price tag. Otherwise you will have to purchase extra bowls, which in isn't quite the same as having a bigger bowl in the first place.You can also purchase extra bowls for the TM 31, but again, you can't cook at the same time.
If you are not convinced by me telling you how good the HMP is, then I invite you to take a look at Tenina Holder's website. Tenina is author of the popular independent Thermomix cookbook, "For Food's Sake" and she is very well known in the Thermomix world. She once worked with Thermomix Australia as a recipe developer. She has since gone solo and not only wrote a successful Thermomix cookbook, and has an extensive recipe repertoire on her own website.She also runs cooking classes to help Thermomix users understand their machines better and cook amazing dishes. So you would think, after all these accolades that she would only support the TM 31? Unfortunately, you would be wrong. She actually uses the HMP too and strongly supports its design and functionality. Tenina says, " I am the proud owner of the wonderful HMP or HotmixPRO, the middle model, commonly called the Gastro. I am loving it! Basically a commercial Thermomix, with a few additions, it has been in my kitchen a wee while and you will start to see recipes using it creep on here from here on in. It has a lot of attributes that the Thermomix does not have."
So there you have it, not just little ol' me, but Tenina also agrees that the HMP is a great machine.