Back before there were Instant Pots, cooking robots and smart ovens, there was the Thermomix.
And today, the original all-in-one kitchen appliance got a little (or maybe a lot) smarter with the launch of the TM6, the sixth generation of the cooking appliance popular with everyone from the world’s top chefs to working moms and dads just trying to put something tasty on the table.
The new appliance, which will cost $1,499 in the U.S. when available later this year, is available for purchase today in Vorwerk’s native Germany as well as Austria, and will be rolling out to other European countries over the next few months.
While I can’t go over in detail every single difference between the TM5 and TM6 (there are a lot), I’ll highlight the major ones:
While the original TM5 didn’t ship with embedded Wi-Fi, Thermomix did a relatively good job playing catch up by later offering their connectivity module in the Cook-Key (Thermomix tells me as of this month there are 2.2 million Cook-Keys in the field).
With the TM6, both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are integrated directly into the appliance. While you might be thinking “big deal,” since pretty much everything seems to ship with connectivity nowadays, it’s significant for the Thermomix because it will enable things like over-the-air functionality upgrades and access to the ever-growing Cookidoo guided-cooking recipe library.
Speaking of the Cookidoo…
Cookidoo Becomes a Core Integrated Feature
If there’s a company that has done well at making the concept of guided cooking valuable for both kitchen newbies and old-hands, it’s the Thermomix. I’ve used my TM5 to fearlessly cook lots of new dishes since the appliance walks me through the recipe and helps me create a good-the-first-time effort.
In fact, it’s this ability to cook most any recipe well the first time that makes you want to keep trying new recipes (as Wired’s Joe Ray writes about here), but the problem with the TM5 was you had to add new recipes chips or — after the introduction of the Cook-Key — periodically download the new recipe collections.
That all changes with the introduction of the TM6, which gives users instant access to 40,000 recipes out of the box. And sure, because Thermomix recently launched its Cookidoo 2.0 platform it’s effectively giving any TM5 users with a Cook-Key an all-access pass for the full Thermomix recipe library. But with the TM6, they are fully available from the start.
Bigger Processor, More Memory
While most cooks probably don’t consider how much processing power or memory their cooking appliance has (and they shouldn’t), for a device like the Thermomix it’s an important factor. With a new quad-core processor, the TM6 will have the same processing power of a modern smartphone, and also packs in about 16 GB of memory (the baseline for an iPhone 6) to enable storage of new software features, media-rich recipes and more.
Bigger Touch Screen Display
If there is a complaint I had about my TM5, it’s the screen size. The small screen often has me struggling to read instructions and probably limited what the Thermomix could do (for example, the TM5 doesn’t show videos or images on the device).
With the TM6, the device has a 6.8″ touch screen display, which is a game-changer. Not only will users have a much bigger display to view media-rich recipes, but with a bigger touch screen, they’ll also no longer be limited to a dial as the primary recipe interaction interface.
You can see a close up of the screen here:
New Cooking Functions
While you’ve always technically been able to do sous vide and other popular cooking techniques with the TM5, those required more manual operation than many of the more straightforward recipes on a Thermomix.
With the TM6, a whole host of cooking functions have been integrated as core features. In addition to sous vide, the TM6 will have a browning feature as well as those for slow cooking and fermentation. These features will take advantage of the same core German-engineered capabilities, including a robust motor that powers stirring, chopping and all the things that set the Thermomix apart and make it a do-most-anything appliance.
And Finally, the First Do-Anything Appliance Enters the Smart Kitchen
Earlier this week I wrote that the Instant Pot was the Millennial generation’s first cooking appliance they could call their own.
However, despite popular opinion, the Instant Pot didn’t usher in the world of do-it-all countertop cooking. That was the Thermomix, which was fostering communities of devotees well-before the creation of the first Instant Pot Facebook group.
But while the Thermomix has had fans going back to the ’60s, the company’s methodical and one-model-at-a-time approach has meant each generation would last for the better part of a decade. The TM5 is five years old at this point, and probably based on decade-old technology since development likely started well before its release in 2014.
This isn’t necessarily bad; having one device that works really well is a pretty good formula for success. But in an era when digital features like guided cooking and recipe libraries are some of the biggest draws for a new appliance, it was clear the Thermomix was ripe for an upgrade.
And while the features I mentioned above are all welcome capabilities of a more modern Thermomix, I think we’re likely only scratching the surface of what’s possible.
What do I mean by this? For one, I think we could see the Thermomix TM6 become a central kitchen hub that works seamlessly with other appliances. While the company started dabbling with this last fall, efforts so far have been hindered by the limitations of the TM5. In the future, we’ll see the TM6 not only communicating with other appliances, but possibly even acting as a central command center as it takes control of other appliances (TM6, turn on my GE oven) through the TM6 screen.
Theromix’s U.S. president, Kai Schäffner, says the company is also looking at integrations with smart-home interfaces like Alexa and Google Home.
Bottom line, the move into the smart kitchen by Thermomix is welcome and, in a way, necessary given the accelerated pace of competition and a generational shift towards digital-powered cooking. While pressure cooker based multi-cookers like the Instant Pot don’t have nearly the feature set of an appliance like the Thermomix, they are much lower cost and can still do plenty. Meanwhile, others are entering this space with Thermomix-like appliances, including kitchen appliance giant KitchenAid.
Thermomix has told me that the TM6 will make its way to the U.S. later this year in late summer. Like with the TM5, you will be able to buy it both through the direct sales model (the only way to buy it in Europe) and online.
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You can find out more about the TM6 at Thermomix’s website and watch a video intro to the Thermomix TM6 below: