I have demonstrated many juicers in my time, some for as little as £50, others where you wouldn't get any change out of £300. Budget plays a great part in what type of juicer you go for, along with your needs but in my opinion if you pitch for one around the mid price mark and you choose a slow press version, you won't go far wrong.
I explain about the different type of juicers (centrifugal, slow press & cold press) in my Juicers - The Facts PDF. It's worth a read just to understand the differences between them. However, being a consumer myself, the majority of us are just looking to buy a juicer that will stand the test of time, give great results, is easy to use and even easier to clean and will look good on your worktop - because that's where it needs to live if you are going to get the best use from it, rather than dragging it out of a cupboard every time you want to use it. Say hello to the VitaMeister Juicer (and veggie processor but we will get to that bit later).
Before I even started testing it, I was impressed with this product from the moment I took it out of the box as it was so neat and compact, not a great big monster of a thing that would dwarf your kettle and toaster combined as some are. It sat under our overhead cupboards easily, I didn't even have to move it out when I wanted to add ingredients. A big tick on size alone.
Removing it from the box, I could see immediately that the base was encased in a hardwearing plastic so nowhere for stray food to get trapped and easily wiped clean. The base houses the motor and has a good weight to it which anchors it to the worktop and this, together with non-slip feet beneath, ensures that it does not move when in use.
Now onto the different parts: all pretty straightforward - a tough polycarbonate hopper to feed the ingredients down on a screw augur, 2 pushers for the chutes (one for the juicer, one for the vegetable processor), a mesh filter and 2 square containers beneath, one to catch the pulp, the other for the juice. It was simple to put together and comforting to know you could do any damage if you hadn't assembled it quite right as an safety feature means that it will simply will not start working in that case.
I found it quick and easy to assemble and then to take apart for washing (everything but the electrical motor can go in the dishwasher but quicker in the sink!) - it took me just 30 seconds to put it back together again. My wife said she didn't believe it could be done so quick by a novice like herself so I challenged her to it - she did it in less than a minute. So that earned the VitaMeister another well-deserved tick.
So now to the testing.
Plugging the machine in, I flicked the ON switch (housed at the back of the machine, away from little fingers). I noticed a 2 second slow start delay before the high torque motor kicked in at a surprisingly low noise level, almost a whisper compared to some. Down the feeder tube went a large carrot (unpeeled or chopped), an apple (quartered but not peeled or cored) and several pieces of peeled pineapple. The motor (still quiet) went to work on pressing and squeezing the ingredients, until a rather large piece of pineapple decided cause a bit of a blockage - so I simply flicked the switch to reverse which released the problem immediately, flicked the switch back and on it went with its job, extracting a reservoir of pure juice within a minute. The brilliant thing about slow press juicers are that because there is little friction and therefore no heat generated whilst the motor is doing its job, the vitamins and nutrients are retained ensuring the you have the best quality and the highest yield of juice.
The pulp was pushed out into the rear container and when I felt it was almost dry, proving that the maximum juice had been extracted from my fruit and veggies. Don't discard the pulp as it can be used again - for example, if you make a carrot,orange and apple juice combination, the pulp used in a cake mix will give you a delicious cake. Use fruit pulp in jams and the veggie fibre when you are making a soup. Waste not want not!
Now to try the VitaMeister with soft leafy vegetables. This can be a real challenge for some juicers as these less fibrous ingredients can easily block the augur so in went a large bag of raw spinach to see how the VitaMeister coped. I need not have worried, as within seconds it was transformed into a bright green smooth juice and produced a lovely dry pulp. However, I would recommend that when you are using soft leaves, add a courgette as this not only give it more fibre but also helps to move the leaves through the process without blockage. Another tick.
This machine has one other very well thought out safety feature which kicks in if you have the machine running continuously for 20 minutes, you will hear audible bleeps to warn you to switch it off and give it a rest. This avoids any overheating or worse still, burning the motor out, thus protecting the life of your VitaMeister.
Finally, as an added bonus, the VitaMeister converts to a vegetable processor using the same motor with a separate accessory with two attachments for slicing or grating. Down the chute went cucumber, courgette and carrot, all sliced beautifully, then onion, cabbage and apple, all sliced like a pro. I even pushed it a bit further with cheese and it did that too. I don't know of a slow juicer that can double up as a mini food processor too!
I was mightily impressed with this product. It really does pack a punch for its size and for those of you who want quality, efficiency and great results but can't afford a high price tag, the VitaMeister at well under £100 is the one you should certainly consider. You won't be disappointed.
For more information and stockists including Argos, please visit www.teamuki.com or phone their Customer Service department on 0121 693 9221.