What keeps us going here at DRN other than working with great people and tech? A bit of healthy living with a variety of home cooked meals. My partner Anita enjoys cooking and food, so I could barely finish telling her about the Vitamix Ascent Series A2300i before she interrupted and ask when can she have it.
With thanks to Vitamix, we happily put the Vitamix A2300i to the test and whilst my stomach is grateful and thankful, my clothes might not feel the same.
Coming from 25 years of experience in hospitality, Anita was excited to tell me that a lot of cafés uses Vitamix for their power and durability. Vitamix has a reputation for quality that has not diminished to this day, the company’s 100th anniversary. The commitment to quality is not lip service, with a 10-year full warranty, covering all parts, performance, labour AND two-way shipping at no cost to the consumer.
I don’t know about you, but that is a pretty impressive first impression.
The Ascent series is the pinnacle of their three product lines, with the A2300i being the base model workhorse. It comes with 10 speeds, pulse control and a Bluetooth radio.
The design is probably best described as understated simplicity. The heart of the machine – the body – is a glossy slate with a black rubber cover at the top. An accent panel in the front bottom sports the Vitamix branding. Above that is the three piece controls and further up is a small screen.
The controls consists of two thick plastic switches and a center dial. The switches are chunky and thick, that imparts a sense of robustness. The left side is pulse control and on the right is the On/Off. The center dial controls the speed. All the switches are light to the touch, despite the robust look they sport.
Everything exudes quality to the senses. The base has a significant heft to it that is pretty much all motor, with a nice wide base to give it stability. The unit comes bundled with a 2 litre low profile container.
Speaking of the container, it is no pretzel either. Made from BPA-Free Eastman Tritan, it is clear, tough and weights almost 1kg on it’s own. A quick look at the properties of the Tritan gives you an idea why it is the perfect material for this job:
- impact-resistant — products can be used without fear of shattering.
- tough — extending the useful life of water bottles and food containers, potentially reducing waste.
- exceptional dishwasher durability — encouraging proper sanitation for greater plastic container safety.
- much lighter than glass — making it easier to handle without the fear of breaking.
The container is topped with a leak-proof seal, and with a removable vented plug lid. The lid doubles as a 60ml measuring cup and the opening allows you to add ingredients while you blend. The lid goes on with clips that takes a deliberate effort to remote to prevent accidents in use.
Vitamix also provides a tamper that helps move things around while you blend. In a thoughtful design feature, the tamper notched in a way to prevent you pushing too far and touching the blades. There are flat edges where the raised part is, so it won’t roll off your bench.
Lastly the package comes with “Simply Blending“, a 91 page hardcover book filled with recipes ranging from drinks, sauces and dips, soups, dressings, batters and dough, baby food and desserts. I was most intrigue to find that you are not limited to pulverising your ingredients, but actually able to form doughs with the Vitamix.
The important difference with the Vitamix is the Self-Detect technology. The base is much more than a motor with control, it detects the container that is placed on it and adapts performance to suit. If you use one of the other optional attachments such as a blending cup, the unit will adapt to prevent accidental over powering such as heating your smoothie or pulverising your small chopping tasks.
A safety feature is that the Vitamix will not run unless the container is securely in place. There is no twisting or manual locks, but you can feel it when the jug is sitting flush with the base.
The On/Off switch is a toggle, rather than a flick switch. It feels a little odd at first for it to always return to the rest position, but you quickly get used to it. The sensory feedback of the toggle feels reassuring after a while. The little screen above the dial is a count-up timer, giving you a clear view of the time you are blending if you need to replicate your results later.
I really like that instead of being locked into a programme where the vendor decides what they think is the best processing for my food, Vitamix goes with a speed dial. It gives me much greater control over the texture of the ingredients. What’s more, the pulse mode corresponds to the dialled in speed. So rather than giving you a maximum burst of power, you can dial in the power to what you need.
After all that, how well does the A2300i do the job? Let’s start off with something that Vitamix notes in the “Start Here” booklet – the first few uses may result in a slight burning odour but will dissipate quickly. This is certainly true.
In our testing, we found that:
- lower speeds are great for handling large chunks and frozen produce, including breaking up ice
- higher speeds are amazing for pulverising things, such as turning ice chunks into a material suitable for a replica of Hoth.
One of the things Anita was determined to make was cendol, and the green jelly ingredient required a smooth blend of spinach and pandan leaves. With the A2300i set to around 4, the mixture is quickly turned into liquid and there is no trace of the spinach at all. Pandan leaves which is quite fibrous is left behind after straining. The A2300i is entirely capable of blending that down finer, but fibre does not magically disappear and the cendol texture requires it to be filtered out.
What was impressive is that out of the 5 or 6 attempts we made, the A2300i always consistently blended the mixture beautifully and without fuss. The powerful motor and sharp blades made it quick work and there was no heating up of the juice at all. The consistency here is critical as it means we can focus on changing other variables to get the outcome we want, knowing that we can repeat the same settings ad infinitum with the reassurance that the Vitamix will do it’s job the same every time.
On the other hand … there’s a fraction too much friction. Well not really. The A2300i is capable of making soup, and I don’t mean just blending everything to hell and finishing it on the stove. Whilst using hot ingredients is one way, but the other method is to set the A2300i to a high speed, long duration run of 6 minutes 30 seconds as suggested by one of the recipes in the Simply Blending book. This method uses blade friction to heat up the mixture to around 70 degrees and a super smooth texture as a end result.
I prefer my hot food hot, and cold food cold. I am not much for lukewarm dishes and that is just a personal preference. But there is no denying the versatility of the A2300i in being able to do so much more than “just a blender”.
Cleaning up is pretty simple too. Just some warm water, a few drops of dishwashing liquid and fire up the motor for 30 seconds and it does the job for you bar the rinsing.
The built-in Bluetooth radio definitely extends the capability of the A2300i. There is no requirements to pair the device to your phone. Instead what you need is the Perfect Blend app from your AppStore or Google Play.
The app on launch will ask if you have a Vitamix scale (each and every time). If you don’t have one you can skip it and go to the next page where it will ask if you want to buy a scale (yes this is every time you launch the app).
Once you are in the app, you open up a whole world of ideas and recipes to use with your Vitamix blender. Each recipe gives you details of calories, fats, carbs and proteins in the summary at the top. A list of ingredients along with detailed nutritional facts. When you have everything on hand, you just need to tap on the connection on the top right of the screen to detect the Vitamix, then tap on the “Blend” button and it will walk you through the sequence as well as control your Vitamix.
The app and Bluetooth radio is a feature add that I first thought was gimmicky, but the implementation is actually excellent and makes using the Vitamix relatively fool proof.
What is good, is that the app does not require you to own a Vitamix to use it. The recipes are accessible and can be followed with another brand although you may not get the same results. Additionally you can add your pantry inventory into the app, as well as use it for shopping lists. There is options to get more recipes, which is currently limited to Baby Food and Milk Shakes, or add your own into it.
Amazing World of Variety
Did you know you can make your own All Purpose Gluten Free Flour? I didn’t until I used the Perfect Blend app. Apparently if you use the right ratio of Tapioca Flour, Rice Flour and Potato Starch, you can create your own gluten free flour. How about that?
You can make your own nut butter, which is actually far easier than many people realise and costs you significantly less than buying it off the shelf. Almond butter? Cashew butter? Go the whole hog with your own exotic blend? The Vitamix will happily get it done for you to the texture you prefer. The only challenge here is to get all the finished product out of the container.
I mentioned the Self-Detect technology earlier. Vitamix provides some accessories such as the Blending Cup and Bowl Starter Kit. When these are used with the Ascent A2300i, the unit will adjust the power output accordingly to prevent over processing. The app also reflects the container that is detected on the base when used together.
The Vitamix Ascent A2300i is amazing out of the box. The only thing of note here is that there is some discolouration of the blades after use. We have been blending a lot of greens and after the third go, we can see some stains on the stainless steel blades.
Please allow me to bypass the, “do I want to buy a scale?” question in the app.
Some recipes gives their measurements in liquid units, some in weight. I am a huge fan of the metric system (hello inner engineer), although I can work with Imperial units as well. But cooking is a whole different ballgame when you can have US and UK measurements. Less of a gripe but a wish to unit the world with some consistency.
The Vitamix Ascent A2300i is a rock solid performer with tons of power and will last a good long time. They stand behind their product with the incredible 10 years everything covered warranty, what more can you ask for? There is the potential for future proofing, as new capabilities can be added thanks to the Smart Detect in the base, as well as the Perfect Blend app. Whether you are making a smoothie for the teenager, or whipping up something tasty for the toddler, the A2300i always has our back.
The Vitamix Ascent A2300i comes in Black, Red, Slate or White and has a RRP of AUD$999. While we appreciate there is a hefty upfront cost, but this is a buy once and buy right kind of investment. It is available directly from Vitamix, however other major retailers including Amazon maybe have it at a healthy discount. Black Friday and Cyber Monday is not far away, neither is Christmas. This could make a fantastic present for yourself or someone special.
Contents: Motor Base, Low-Profile 2.0-litre Container, S2 Low-Profile Tamper, Simply Blending Cookbook
Dimensions: 27.94cm x 20.32cm x 43.18cm
Electrical Ratings: 220-240 V, 50-60 Hz, 1200-1400 W
Weight: 6.93 kg
Cord: 1.2 m