The Vorwerk Thermomix logo
|Invented by||Carl Vorwerk|
|Current supplier||Depends on country|
The Thermomix is a kitchen appliance made by the Corporate Group Vorwerk.
The word “Thermomix” comes from the combination of “thermo” (heating) and “mix” (mixing). The current Thermomix provides three basic functions: A heating element, a motor for fast or slow blending and stirring, and a scale that can weigh the stack of cooking pots and pans. The functions can be accessed simultaneously to provide what the manufacturer calls "12 functions": steaming, emulsifying, blending, precise heating, mixing, milling, whipping, kneading, chopping, weighing, grinding and stirring. Several of these differ only by the speed of the motor.
The Thermomix was derived from a mixer series from Vorwerk originally called "VKM5", in 1961. It had seven functions: stirring, kneading, chopping, grating, mixing, milling and juicing. The justification for the development of the heating element comes from the managing director of Vorwerk France, who around 1970 came up with the idea of designing a machine that could simultaneously blend and cook, in order to make thickened soups and baby food, popular in France. A year later, in 1971, the original Thermomix VM 2000 was launched on the market – first in France, then later in Spain and Italy.
The VM 2200 followed as the second model in the line, designed in bright orange color and with the ability to keep dishes hot or cold. The TM3300, the first version with the name "Thermomix" was released in 1985, but this time with a more standard white finish and having the mixing bowl in a lower position than the previous model.
The next model, the Thermomix TM21, was released in 1996, with a bigger bowl, integrated weighing scale and a more modern design. A re-designed model TM31 was released in 2004, which has been again revised with the TM5 (as in 5th generation) in September 2014. One of the main differences in the new model is that it incorporates digital technologies, as it allows for "guided cooking" using proprietary memory chips to provide settings and cooking instructions, and has replaced all the buttons and knobs in previous models with a touch screen.
The chronology of Thermomix models is as follows:
75% of the machines sold come from Cloyes-sur-le-Loir in France; the remaining are produced in Wuppertal-Laaken in Germany. Both factories have been expanded.
The Thermomix differs from ordinary blenders and food processors in having a thermostatically controlled heating element which has a range of 37 °C (99 °F) to 120 °C (248 °F) in the TM5 model (and 100 °C (212 °F) in the TM31 and previous models), a timer, and a built in scale for weighing directly into the appliance.
The high price of up to US$1,500 makes it a luxury item for the layperson.
The Thermomix is sold through direct sales by so-called "Thermomix consultants".
Vorwerk claims the appliance may be used to prepare complete meals with no need for advanced culinary knowledge.
There are currently 3 models which are used around the world: the TM21, TM31 and TM5.
The newest model is the TM5 though it is not available in some regions yet. Given that Vorwerk has traditionally got a European and Australian audience, the 220 volts model was the first to be released. The TM5 started selling in Canada in June 2015, and in the USA in December 2015, starting in California.
The TM5 is a digital Thermomix. It has recipe chips, a new, quieter motor, a new butterfly, a new measuring cup, a new mixing bowl, a new varoma (the steamer), an increased temperature limit (120 °C (248 °F)), a new recipe book and a friendly user interface.
The TM31 is a manual Thermomix with push buttons, unlike the touch screen of the new TM5. It can do the same things as the TM5 but the mixing bowl and varoma have a lower capacity. The TM31 does not have recipe chips but most of the recipes in the TM5 recipe book can be attempted in the TM31.
In 2010 Stiftung Warentest rated the model TM 31 with mark 3.2 (satisfactory). Mainly the high price of 985 Euro, the noise level and that grating and slicing is not possible was criticised. The successor model TM 5 was rated in 2015 with mark 2.9 (satisfactory). The noise level (measured at 91 decibel by stirring water) was again criticised and the testers named this as the reason why it was rated down. In 2014 Thermomix was awarded a "Shonky Award" by the Australian consumer advocate CHOICE, for the "flawed launch of its new model".
There have been numerous accounts of a Thermomix machine "exploding" and burning people with scalding liquids. In October 2014 the model was recalled over claims that hot liquid or food may splash out of the mixing bowl. CHOICE has called for an ACCC investigation.
CHOICE has told the ABC it is aware of 87 separate cases where Thermomix consumers have been burned. The ABC understands 18 of those required several weeks of treatment in hospital burns units.
In 2014 Thermomix TM31 was recalled in Australia. The ACCC issued the recall notice 2014/14361 in October 2014. The sealing ring was identified as a point of possible failure in circumstances where the machine was operated at high RPMs and then switched to the lid open position. Service numbers starting from 124231XX to 143231XX. Vorwerk shipped all affected owners a replacement sealing ring in November 2014.
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