Here it is guys, my full review of the Thermomix TM6! I’ve spent several weeks testing the Thermomix TM6 and really put it through it’s paces, testing every cooking function as best as I can and considering whether the new features are actually worth it. Remember guys, I’m not sponsored by Thermomix at all, so my review is totally unbiased, though I am a HUGE Thermomix fan and rely on it every day in my kitchen. I’ve also posted a full review video on my YouTube channel which outlines all of these points and I definitely recommend reading this article in combination with the video if you want to get the full lowdown.
TM6 Hardware Features
To me, some of the most exciting upgrades that were announced for the TM6 were the new hardware features. These features are physical changes to the Thermomix that make it different from its predecessor, the TM5, and some of the things that I couldn’t wait to put to the test! Below I’m just going to list these features and what I honestly thought about them. Although there are some great new hardware upgrades, the overall size, design and style of the Thermomix TM6 is the same as the TM5 so all of the accessories that you might own such as my super popular Thermi Ergoslide will work perfectly.
Temperatures up to 160C
This is the one that we have all been waiting for right? The new TM6 can now reach temperatures up to 160C which Vorwerk claims exists to enable frying and caramelisation! How exciting! Keep reading on further to see exactly how well they work under my review of the cooking functions!
It’s worth noting that the new temperatures also required a redesign of the mixing bowl and blades, presumably to increase the temperature tolerances of the materials. So you can’t use the TM6 bowl on your TM5 and you can’t use your TM5 bowls on your TM6. This was a little annoying for me as I have five TM5 bowls that I can’t use on my new Thermomix and I’m going to have to buy some more TM6 bowls in order to stay effective in my kitchen for recipe development! However, personally I wouldn’t class this as a negative point, it sounds like it was unavoidable in the design process and it’s just one of those things you’ll need to be aware of when thinking about getting a TM6.
Weighing to the gram
As a baker this is the feature I got most excited about! The new scales on the TM6 now weigh to the gram as opposed to five grams on the TM5. I’ve been testing the scales relentlessly during my recipe testing every day and also tested them against my very expensive baker’s scales that I had to buy when I used the TM5. I can report that the new scales on the Thermomix TM6 are FANTASTIC! They are extremely accurate and they seem to be much more stable than the TM5 scales. I can’t tell you how lovely it feels to be able to weigh to the gram and not have to guess blindly when adding salt to a recipe for example, risking over-seasoning.
Although these scales are a huge improvement to the TM5, I can’t report that the TM6 scales are any more durable. I hope they are, I just haven’t had the chance to test them for long enough! If they do break like they did on the TM5 on a regular bases then I will be sure to note that on an update to the bottom of this post. Either way, I would certainly not recommend dragging the TM6 across the kitchen surface and, just to be safe, please use a Thermi Ergoslide to protect the scales when you do need to move it!
** Update 23rd June 2019: after several months of using the TM6 (sitting on a Thermi Ergoslide on my kitchen counter) I can report that the scales are still working perfectly. However, I haven’t needed to transport the TM6 at all since I bought it so I’m not sure if any long car journeys or camping trips might affect the longevity of them **
I really like a big beautiful screen and for me it is a priority as I am used to smartphones and it seems every year they get bigger and bigger! The new screen on the TM6 is definitely a huge improvement in my opinion! It actually makes the TM5 feel like a toy and very hard to go back to. It is much easier to see everything clearly and makes browsing through Cookidoo recipes much easier (more on that later). The screen is also much brighter than the TM5 which is really useful if you have any direct sunlight entering your kitchen throughout the day. However if you are someone who doesn’t really mind about this stuff, it can easily seem like an unimportant upgrade. It is totally up to you as to whether you feel like this is a priority. Also, at the same time it still means the text is the same size, so no improvement there on readability.
Inside the TM6 they have also included a faster, smartphone-like, processor which is the brain of the machine. This contributes to faster scrolling through menus, smoother animations and an overall slicker feel. It definitely feels faster compared to the TM5, but it definitely isn’t as smooth as an iPhone. On top of that, I’ve been dealing with loads of software bugs and issues which have made the whole thing much less refined than I had hoped. However, the same thing happened to my iPhone when the new iOS was released and it took a few software updates before things had smoothed out. At the time of writing this article, a software update was actually released for my TM6 which definitely made things a little better and I’m sure further optimisations will be released in the future.
Integrated Wifi / Cookidoo
The TM6 also has an integrated Wifi chip that means that access to internet services like Cookidoo and software updates are built in. No need for the cook key like on the TM5. If the Cookidoo platform is important to you then this is a really nice feature because I personally always found the cook key on the TM5 to be a little clumsy. However, you should be aware that the recipe chips that you may have for your TM5 will not work with the TM6. They are now integrated on Cookidoo already but there is nowhere to slot them in. This means that if you want to use the guided cooking functions on the new TM6 you need to have a Cookidoo subscription which is around £30 a year in the UK but may be different elsewhere in the world. Furthermore, if your Wifi drops out at home or you have an intermittent signal, you wont be able to access any recipes on your Thermomix unless you have pre-saved them offline.
Throughout my tests, I got hugely frustrated because the Wifi in my kitchen was intermittent and for some reason Cookidoo logged me out of the platform completely every time the Wifi dropped out which meant I had to keep typing in my details over and over again. A real pain! I have since purchased a Wifi extender to increase the range of my Wifi signal in the kitchen and Thermomix have fixed the bug which has caused me to be logged out each time but you should definitely be aware that if your signal isn’t the best in your kitchen, you may have to improve it in order to have a positive experience with the TM6.
Furthermore, as an independent recipe developer and free-spirit in the kitchen, I love to experiment and be creative with my own recipes. Guided cooking definitely isn’t an important feature for me personally and the Cookidoo platform, although impressive for what it does, simply isn’t a good fit in my household. If you are someone like me who likes to be creative in the kitchen, integrated Cookidoo may not add the most amount of value to you. However, if you’re a beginner in the kitchen and are looking for some great inspiration and added convenience, this might be a really attractive feature for you!
The new dial
I can’t say a huge amount here other than I think that it is a lovely improvement. It feels more premium and sturdy and the clicking sound is less “plasticky”. I loved the upgrade and it feels great!
TM6 Cooking functions
In addition to a host of new hardware features, the TM6 boasts a wide range of new software improvements and new cooking functions. Some of these features didn’t necessarily require any new physical upgrades to the machine and were programmed in by their software development team to make certain functions easier to use. Others, namely frying and caramelisation, require the ability of the TM6 to now reach 160C. Read on to find out if they passed the test!
Let’s start with the big one, frying! This feature is one of the only two features that utilises the ability of the TM6 to access higher temperatures and was reported to finally enable us to get that wonderful browning effect on meat and vegetables that we have all been waiting for! However during my tests, I found two major problems with this feature.
Problem number one is that you can only access the frying feature within a guided cooking recipe on Cookidoo. This means that you can’t use frying in your own recipes (so don’t expect any recipes from me that use frying any time soon), you can’t use frying if you don’t subscribe to Cookidoo and have a stable internet connection and/or downloaded all of the recipes you want to use ahead of time for offline use. On top of this, the recipes that are available on Cookidoo that use frying are, at the time of writing this article, few and far between. I hope this will change in the future.
It seems like this restriction is for safety reasons so that you don’t burn things to the bowl, but surely a simple safety warning or an instruction manual with top tips for frying would suffice? I must say, as a confident baker and cook, I’m totally feeling babied by Vorwerk here! I don’t need someone to tell me how to cook, surely they don’t tell me how to use my frying pan and put a child lock on that one either, right?
Problem number two is that the frying function didn’t actually work that much better compared to the TM5 in my tests. No matter how hot the TM6 can get, the surface area of the mixing bowl simply isn’t large enough to allow adequate contact with the food. For vegetables and meat, both of which can release a lot of water during cooking, the process leads to steaming and boiling rather than frying. Yes, it works pretty well for one small onion, or 100g of beef chunks, but for portions sufficient for a family of 3-4 people it is almost useless.
These were my results after 10 minutes of frying 4 medium onions. I would say that they were no more brown and caramelised than they would have been in the TM5:
Below you can see the burning to the bottom after this process which was a pain to clean, forcing me to result to using my Euroscrubby and some serious elbow grease:
Here are my results after frying 300g beef mince for 10 minutes (enough for a 2-3 person bolognese). As you can see, there was almost no browning to the meat and there was so much water being released that the meat ended up boiling as opposed to frying:
Furthermore, the burning to the bottom was really bad and actually resulted in a thick later of protein-muck stuck to the bottom of the bowl that I had to scrape off:
The caramelisation feature on the TM6 is definitely something that I was excited about and am happy to report that it worked much more successfully for me than the frying function. Caramelisation is something that I have dabbled with in the past and, due to the fine temperature control required to get it right, always thought the Thermomix could help with! However there are a couple of limitations.
Just like frying, you can only use guided recipes on Cookidoo to access this function. Although this is extremely frustrating for me, I see is as less of a problem than the frying because I don’t caramelise that often and when I do, I do appreciate a bit of guidance with the process! Also, compared to frying, I’d argue that there is less opportunity to experiment with caramel making for the average cook compared to frying. However, if you are someone who is excited to start experimenting with caramelisation, you’ll probably feel restricted here.
On Cookidoo there were a couple of recipes that used the caramelisation feature and I tested making honeycomb with mostly successful results. However, I was testing the temperature of the caramel throughout the process with my digital thermometer and noticed that the temperature was getting too high. Caramel for honeycomb should not spend too much time over 140C otherwise it will start to burn and go bitter and I registered the temperature of the caramel during the cooking process at over 150C for at least 5-10 minutes. This resulted in a bitter taste to the honeycomb that others have reported too. This is a clear mistake in the guided recipe that I hope they rectify! This also reminded me that since we are locked into guided recipes with these functions, we are at the whim of the Vorwerk recipe development team who could make mistakes! I hope they update this recipe going forward!
Pre cleaning / pre rinsing
This is a feature that goes hand in hand with caramelisation and makes the process of cleaning the mixing bowl quickly a little easier and helps to prevent food from hardening to the bowl before it is too late. It essentially spins the blades back and forth automatically after you add some water and washing up liquid/vinegar and automatically detects how long it needs to run for. One thing to note here is that this is not strictly a “new feature”, it is simply a pre-programmed feature that automates the process of cleaning. You could certainly achieve the exact same results on your TM5, you would just need to spin the dial yourself. It is a small upgrade in usability, nothing more than that.
In my experience, it worked fantastically for honeycomb and caramel and did the important job of removing any residue from the blades before it hardens. However, I haven’t experienced it working successfully for anything else such as bread dough. I have also not noticed any evidence of the automatic detection feature actually working, it seems to stick to 1 minute for everything that I have tried and hasn’t varied from that time setting at all.
See below my results from the cleaning after making honeycomb. I was quite happy with results and after a little soak, I found it was very easy to remove the remaining honeycomb from the lip of the bowl. The blades were completely clean and I didn’t have to do any difficult work to remove hardened caramel!
For those of you who don’t know, sous vide is a cooking technique that utilises precise temperature control to deliver consistent cooking results. High-end restaurants have been using sous vide cooking for years to cook food to the exact level of doneness desired, every time. They traditionally pack the food (such as a steak, fish or even vegetables) in a vacuum bag and add it to a water bath set to a specific temperature. They then cook it there for prolonged times in order to bring it up to the exact temperature they need for the desired level of doneness inside. This process can help with consistency in the kitchen, result in juicier meat (as you don’t loose any water to evaporation) and you can get the same level of cooking edge to edge throughout the food, resulting in improved textures.
Just to quickly bust a myth here, you don’t have to have a vacuum sealer at all, you can use a food-safe zip lock bag or a silicone bag just as well! As long as the seal is tight and no water from the water bath gets into the bag whilst it is cooking you will be fine! After testing it I can confirm that sous vide works really well in the TM6! I tried it with a filet steak and managed to achieve the perfect level of pinkness inside, edge to edge. Right at the end I fried it in a super hot pan with butter for about one minute on each side to get a crust at the end. I’d love to show you a picture here but Jesse ate the entire thing before I could get a chance! Sorry!
But hang on, some of you might be asking; surely you can cook sous vide on the TM5 right? Yes, it’s also perfectly possible to cook Sous Vide in the TM5. The only improvement here is that the TM6 allows you to set the temperature in 1 degree steps as opposed to 5 degree steps, which can be important for sous vide as it can make a big difference to the doneness of the food. Also, it allows you to set the time for up to 12 hours whereas the TM5 was restricted to 99 minutes which I suppose could help for those super long sous vide cooks, although in my experience it is very rare that you would want to cook sous vide for any longer than 3-4 hours!
Overall I think this is a great added feature but I can’t see any obvious reason why this couldn’t have been included as a simple software update on the TM5. Also, for most people who aren’t desperate for the perfect consistency in the kitchen, cooking sous vide can be a lot of hassle for modest, but certainly not dramatic gains in flavour and texture.
This is similar story to sous vide mentioned above. During my tests I discovered that the only improvement is that the time allowed for a slow cook is now 12 hours as opposed to 99 minutes on the TM5, which is great for being able to break down those tougher cuts of meat in to succulent morsels!
The problem here is that if you are not using a guided recipe in Cookidoo, the blades don’t stop turning during the cooking process, so if you are hoping to slow cook chunks of meat such as beef shin, you’ll end up with shredded meat. Pulled pork and bolognese work wonderfully, but you won’t be able to slow cook larger pieces of meat unless you are using one of their preset slow cooking recipes which are few and far between on the platform right now.
Ok guys, brace yourself for this one… to me, this mode feels like a bit like a fancy description for yoghurt function and seems a bit more marketing gimmick than real improvement (I know those are strong words but hear me out).
We need to be careful about what we define as fermentation and what foods NEED higher temperatures than room temperature and what foods don’t in order to ferment correctly. I’ve done a lot of research on the subject of fermentation over the past few years through baking sourdough bread, making kimchi, brewing kombucha and growing up making Sauerkraut with my Oma back in Germany. I LOVE fermented foods and they are so good for your gut health and taste so amazing! I’m a bit of a fermentation nerd. From what I have seen and tested, the Thermomix team seemed to have skipped the research part and simply slapped the name “fermentation” on the yoghurt function from the TM5 and extended the time to 12hrs in the software.
Let me explain a little bit about how fermenting foods work in order to give you some context. Different foods ferment correctly at different temperatures due to the intricate balance that is struck between the different bacterias and microbes that you try cultivate during the process. The vast majority of fermented foods (such as kimchi, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, kombucha) go through a process called lacto-fermentation. Essentially we are trying to cultivate little microbes called lactobacilli that do the job of transforming the food for us. These bacteria thrive at temperatures between 22-28 degrees…no higher. Anything above 40 degrees and our lovely lactobacilli that we are cultivating start to die. Indeed, my Oma fermented her Sauerkraut in her basement which must have been around 20 degrees (room temperature)! Omas know what they are doing right?! Yoghurt on the other hand is a bit of a special case and benefits from higher temperatures (between 30-40 degrees) because you are trying to attract and cultivate totally different microbes in the process. In my experience, unless you are getting to be a real specialist with fermentation, foods that require fermentation at temperatures above 28C are extremely rare, with the exception of yoghurt.
The minimum temperature setting on the Thermomix TM6 for fermentation is 37 which is far too high for the vast majority of fermented foods as discussed above. Also, good luck fitting a Kombucha jar or modest quantity of kimchi in the Varoma… if you do, please let me know how you did it! Further to that, Kombucha is traditionally fermented for between over 7-30 days. I’m not sure you’ll want to have your Thermomix running for that long at home!
During my tests I also measured the temperature in the Varoma during fermentation mode at 37C. I was hoping that the temperature inside the Varoma (due to heat loss) would be lower than 37C and hopefully hover around 26C which would be perfect for sourdough bread. Unfortunately my hopes were smashed here. Firstly, the temperature in the Varoma fluctuated dramatically between 22C and 35C as the Thermomix bowl heated and cooled the water intermittently and the steam that rose up hardly lost any temperature on its way. This environment simply is not stable enough to achieve any kind of consistency in your bread (let alone any other fermented foods). Fermenting, especially making sourdough bread, is ALL about creating consistency in the environment and this simply wasn’t predictable enough to be useful. You’d be better off proving at room temperature and waiting a little longer for the dough to rise! Secondly, the environment was too moist for sourdough bread in my opinion, it created so much steam and moisture in the Varoma that would make the dough highly unpredictable and you would risk too much condensation hitting the dough. Thirdly, I’m not sure you’ll find a bowl that can simultaneously contain an ever growing dough and fit in the Varoma tray! In my experience, the Varoma is simply too small to fit the quantity of dough that would make baking sourdough worth it (a minimum of 750-1kg of dough which has to roughly double in size). If you find such a bowl, please let me know!
You might be luckier with proving yeasted bread in the Varoma here if you discover a bowl that works for your quantities, but proving yeasted bread is not fermentation at all, next to zero fermentation takes place during that process as it happens so quickly (sometimes in as little as 30 minutes) so it shouldn’t be labeled under this heading.
Overall I was very disappointed with this feature and am a little concerned about the labelling of it as a fermentation mode, when I’m not sure it helps to ferment anything other than Yoghurt. It’s a yoghurt mode guys… nothing more than that!
On a positive note, I think this is a pretty cool little feature. Although it takes much longer than an average kettle does to heat up, if you don’t own a kettle that has a temperature setting already, it will now give you the ability to set the temp of the water accurately. This can be really useful as some tea and coffee benefit hugely from specific brewing temperatures. I could also see this being useful for warming baby bottles. However, you could do all of this in the TM5. The only difference here is that the Thermomix stops when the correct temperature is reached. Handy, but not earth shattering. Surely this could have been included in a software update on the TM5? Furthermore, kettles that have temperature settings are common and inexpensive nowadays so its up to you whether you feel like this is worth it.
This is another really useful little software update. After you’ve cooked a soup for example it is common that we would like to puree it in order to get a lovely smooth texture. On the TM5 we had to slowly increase the dial in order to safely whip up the blades without spraying hot soup all over the kitchen. With this new function on the TM6, the blades are programmed to increase slowly by themselves, meaning that you don’t have to do this manually. This isn’t a huge deal for me, but is a nice little improvement. Again, I don’t see why this simply couldn’t have been released on the TM5 as a software update?
To conclude this little section, I was definitely underwhelmed overall with the new software functions here. The top three most exciting features for me, namely frying, caramelisation and slow cooking, didn’t work as well as I had hoped and were locked into Cookidoo. The other software features strike me as small and surely could have included them as a software update on the TM5. Hmmm…
New accessories and extra points
The Thermomix TM6 also comes with some new accessories that I’d love to quickly talk about. Also, over the past few weeks you guys have been asking a couple of questions which I’ll answer below.
New spatula – Great improvement! It is now more flexible making it easier to scrape things out of the bowl.
New measuring cup – Really nice! The materials feel more premium and it grips the hole in the lid with softer rubber fittings so it doesn’t rattle at all. It also means that when you take the lid off, the measuring cup doesn’t fall out which is really nice! Best thing is, it’s compatible with the TM5.
New simmering basket – I’m indifferent here. It has a safety lid on top which stop you from overfilling it. This is great for beginners, but annoys me more than anything else as I am a notorious over filler! This one is compatible with the TM5.
New splash guard – another cool feature so you don’t need to use the simmering basket in place of the measuring cup if you want to allow for some steam to escape during frying. This one can be used with the TM5 bowl though as well.
Can you still use the measuring cup for adding oil slowly when making mayonnaise? – yes, there are enough tiny gaps to allow liquid to fall through.
On the TM5, if there was a power cut mid-cook the bowl would get stuck, has this been corrected in the TM6? – Unfortunately not.
Let’s get down to business!
The Good News
- The new scales are really accurate and it is super handy to weight to the gram!
- The screen is larger, brighter and the user interface is better, this might be important for people like me and I think it makes the TM6 more enjoyable and easier to use.
- The faster processor makes scrolling through menus more slick and smooth.
- Integrated Wifi and Cookidoo is really convenient if you use guided cooking a lot and/or are a beginner in the kitchen.
- The caramelisation mode worked reasonably well, although the recipes needs correcting they seem to overcook the caramel, hopefully they will do this in the future.
- Pre-rinsing worked great for cleaning up after caramel (but unfortunately hasn’t worked well for much else).
- Sous vide mode works great and resulted in some lovely steaks! However, this isn’t necessarily a huge priority for most people. Also, apart from the extension of the time to 12 hours and even more accurate temperature control, there isn’t anything that differentiates this from the TM5.
- Slow cooking works really well for shredded meat or if you use one of their guided cooking functions.
- The water heater feature is handy if you don’t have a kettle with a temperature setting at home.
- The puree function is also really handy if you want to puree soups and don’t want to bother twisting the dial manually.
- The new spatula, and measuring cup are nice improvements. The spatula is more flexible making it easier to remove food and the measuring cup slots into the lid more securely and doesn’t rattle.
- The new simmering basket with the lid would be fantastic to help a beginner who is scared of overfilling the basket.
The Bad News
- Integrated Wifi/Cookidoo somewhat locks you into the platform and prevents you from using your recipe chips. Also, for people like me who like to like to use their own recipes, Cookidoo isn’t a huge plus.
- You can’t use recipes whilst offline unless you remember to download them ahead of time.
- The software could use a clean up as there are still several little bugs that make the user experience feel unrefined.
- The frying function is locked into Cookidoo recipes and the surface area of the mixing bowl means that it doesn’t actually fry very well unless you are using tiny quantities of food.
- The caramelisation function is also locked behind the Cookidoo wall. The results were better than frying, however the guided recipes that I have seen so far cook the caramel for too long resulting in bitter flavours. Please update your recipes guys!
- The new software functions including slow cooking, sous vide, the water heater and the puree function were pretty nifty, but I don’t see any reason why couldn’t have been provided in a software update on the TM5. I don’t think it is worth buying a brand new Thermomix for these.
- The blades don’t stop turning in the slow cooking function unless you are using a guided recipe, meaning that you can’t use your own recipes for slow cooking larger chunks of meat. Say bye bye to slow cooking Oma’s goulash in the Thermomix, you’ll have to use their recipe on Cookidoo to do that (which I’m personally not a fan of so far).
- The fermentation function is a total gimmick in my opinion and should have been called the yoghurt function as I can’t see any other practical use for it. The temperature control and space restrictions simply aren’t sufficient for fermenting the majority of foods.
After reading this you’d probably think that I hate the new TM6. I don’t hate it, I promise! I absolutely LOVE my Thermomix! What has disappointed me overall here is that the upgrade from the TM5 is so small, and the new features of the Thermomix that I was most excited for, have been restricted and in my tests, have turned out to be much less impressive than I had hoped. As a Thermomix “power-user” and independent recipe developer, I feel like the new features have been aimed at someone else completely and I’m not sure I’m the target market at all.
However, for someone who doesn’t own a Thermomix yet and is perhaps a beginner in the kitchen, or looking for more convenience in their cooking, this machine would be absolutely perfect for them! The integrated Cookidoo and larger screen make usability so easy and it really appeals to those of us who like to use technology to make our lives easier. I’d almost go as far as to say if you have a TM31 or an old TM5 that is starting to look worn down and getting old, I would consider upgrading to the TM6 for the sake of future-proofing yourself. After all, they might make software improvements in the future that will fix some of the problems I have mentioned and it might be worth it for you to take the plunge in order to enjoy a newer machine for the log run. Also, those scales are SOOOO good!
Anyway guys, I hope you enjoyed this review and found it useful! I’d be really interested to hear what you think!
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