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Back in 2005 my husband and myself went round John Lewis composing a wedding gift list, and this smoothie maker was one of the items that we just had to have on the list at the time, and one of our dear friends was kind enough to get it for us.
The Kenwood concert smoothie was around £50 back then. We find that it doesn't get used anywhere near as often as we thought it would. Every so often we will feel the need to have a health kick, and then the smoothie maker will come out, or we have a glut of something that needs using up, and then we remember that smoothies can be tasty but they can also be rather sticky and involve a lot of effort in chopping up the fruit you are going to use. I also find that if I have too many smoothies, my teeth become really sensitive, so I don't want to risk an expensive dental problem.
The smoothie maker itself is quite large. The base measures 20cm wide by 18cm deep and is 27cm tall at its highest point at the rear. The front of the base is lower so that the mixing jug can sit on the base with the tap at a height where you can position a glass underneath to pour out your drink.
It has a cable which is around a metre in length, and the base uses 500W to power the mixer.
The jug height is 24cm, and it has got a capacity to hold 1500ml of liquid which is 4 smoothie servings. The jug is seethrough plastic so you can see where the level is in the jug very easily. There are also markings on the side of the jug to show you how much frozen and liquid ingredients to add to make 2 or 4 servings.
The jug has quite a small mixing blade in the bottom of it. The blades are not particularly sharp. They can cope really well with frozen fruit, but it is not that good at smashing up ice cubes.
The base has 4 buttons allowing you to mix, make a smoother smoothie with a more powerful mixing action, or just pulse it slightly. The final button is the off button. The machine is quite loud I find when you are stood right next to it.
Ingredients are added to the jug by taking off the screw on lid. If you want to there is a slot in the lid covered by a plastic cover, and you can use a plastic stirring rod that came with the machine to move the ingredients in the jug without dismantling it all.
I find that this machine copes quite well with making smoothies from raw fruits. I have never tried it with vegetables through personal taste. I have used harder fruits like apple, and frozen bananas, as well as bags of frozen fruit from the supermarket, and as long as I use the levels indicated on the jug, then I get reasonable results producing quite a thick liquid drink. I find I am not so fond of fruits like blackberries in it as the drink is quite bitty, and the same can be said for apples surprisingly. It gives it a very chewy texture which is not appealing at all to my kids. Things like bananas or strawberries in milk, or mango and pineapple with orange juice have been really popular.
I find that when I am using the machine, it is really easy to get the drink out of the machine by using the lever on the tap to put it in the open position. As you get near the bottom, it can be hard to get out the last bit as there is about a centimetre at the bottom which is below the tap. I tend to lift the jug out of the base at this point and tip it to get the last bit out. I could also pour from the lip of the jug, but I don't like to do this in case I left any lumps in there.
Washing up the machine is no problem. I tend to fill the jug up with hot soapy water. If it is really sticky, I may then whizz this in the blender, or I mostly just shake it about with the lid on, and then let the water out the tap to let it wash out the fruit residue in there. I then leave it to drip dry on the draining board rather than attempting to dry with a tea towel.
My overall impression of this machine is that it is well made. It looks quite attractive with the silver and black base. The jug is well made with a sturdy handle if you want to lift it while full. I find that it can make 1500ml of smoothie within 5 minutes. It is really simple to operate, and it feels safe to do so with the plastic jug and the securely screwed on lid while in use.
My main problem with it is it is just a bit too faffy and expensive to buy the amount of fresh fruit you need to make the sort of smoothies I like. It is a great way to make up some healthy drinks, and it is not something I would get rid of, but it is relegated into the cupboard for a lot of the year till the next health kick. Luckily it does split into two so I can store it more easily, as I did think it took up too much space in my kitchen while stood on the bench, and it also seemed to attract dust easily.