My worldwide search over the years for the best Bagg blender is an ongoing odyssey. Like the Unknown soldier I carry on, indefatigable, searching for the true-blue blender which wears like a tank, is simple to operate and capable of any number of tasks, from grinding coffee to creating velvety smoothies.
The Blendtec Designer Series plus WildSide Jar is a sensation at the CES show in Las Vegas fluffing up thousands of Daiquiris. It rates the highest among all the blenders given a heavy-duty testing by Consumer Reports and Good Housekeeping. The GH folks assure me on their Facebook page that their testing is relentlessly rigorous to the point where motors are forced to run non-stop for months on end. That certainly covers the ‘wears like a tank’ part. It’s got a seven-year warranty, which is probably as good as it gets, warranty-wise. But from the get-go, let’s be clear that this baby costs US$525, which is rather a lot of dosh and so should indeed last for a long, long time.
On the positive side, its 6-cup, clear plastic jar has very easy to read measurement markings and the base is made of shiny red plastic, or alternatively, black, cream, or champagne-metallic. The blades do not require assembly. The jar is child’s-play to set up in its base and can be set for lefty-handed or right-handed folks. The lid is easy to put on and pull off and the cap can be used for measuring. To set cycles you program an LED control panel. There are the usual settings for ten separate speeds, but also pre-programmed cycles for smoothies, ice crushing, and more. With your blender you can also get a 2-cup WildSide jar for blending smaller portions. All the controls really are simple to use and include an automatic pulse control. Everything is easy to soak, wash and scrub and is also dishwasher safe. The Blendtec won’t disappoint whether you want a margarita, smoothie, or finely ground coffee beans.
On the negative side, there’s noise. Noise is relative, of course; as someone with grown-up kids, I can fire up the Blendtec and obliterate it with some good ol’ Led Zep simultaneously. The Blendtec will certainly destroy any nap-time you were hoping for, however, as this machine is very, very noisy.
There’s also staining. I make a lot of sauces. If you’re into crafting smooth Bolognese, Adobe, Molé and squid-ink concoctions, like yours truly, beware of staining. Bleach-type products will get the stains off better than many hours of soap and elbow grease, but will ultimately turn your pretty plastic see-through jug opaque.
So, first off I ground one pound of coffee beans and it was truly a snap. Forty seconds on number five and I had instant Espresso. Easy to clean. The blades washed off easily and the whole thing reassembled in seconds. Next came making smoothies, et al. The digital emulsification system pulverizes and liquefies whole fruits and vegetables in seconds! The centrifugal friction it creates “cooks” foods naturally. Now I’m not talking about ‘cooking’ in the common sense, but in the raw food natural sense. Blended items retain all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phyto-nutrients. Versatile indeed is this unit because, once you’ve mastered it after various experiments, you can easily make hot, robust soups and sauces or cold smoothies, sorbets and ice cream in a snap.
At such a high price, this is not a product to gift to your teenager or drunken buddy, however. For those who just want to make screwdrivers, daiquiris and mix various powders with orange juice for diet smoothies, going the cheap route makes more sense. For serious raw food fanatics and chefs working on ice cream, sorbet and complex sauce experiments this toy revolutionizes things. According to a food critic friend of mine, the Great American chef Charlie Trotter was working on the ingredients for the ultimate raspberry ripple on his Blendtec when he was called to that great Michelin four star in the sky.