Title: Mellow Sous Vide Machine Detailed Review
Mellow is the first sous vide machine which can also cool the water bath as well as heat it. This definitely sets it apart from all other sous vide machines on the market. Their press release states that, "Mellow is perfect for busy food lovers - a sleek and innovative addition to the kitchen countertop controlled by your smartphone. It incorporates a built-in refrigeration system that keeps food fresh until it is the exact time to start cooking, allowing consumers to load it up at breakfast and come home to healthy and delicious food ready to eat for dinner."
I was able to spend quite a bit of time with a Mellow that was provided to me by the company. This allowed me to run some objective tests on the unit as well as using it to cook a few items as well. I hope his article will help you better understand the Mellow, its strengths and weaknesses, and if it might be an appropriate investment for you.
This is a fairly lengthy article but you can jump to those sections you may be most interested in using the following Table of Contents:
The table below lists the basic specifications for the Mellow provided by the vendor. Please refer to this as necessary as I highlight some of the specifications.
|Height||15.8" (40.3 cm)|
|Width||6.6" (17.0 cm)|
|Length||12.5" (31.7 cm)|
|Weight||17.4 lbs (7905g)|
|Min Immersion Depth||3.375" (8.57 cm)|
|Max Immersion Depth||7.125" (18.1 cm)|
|Min/Max Spacing||3.75" (9.52 cm)|
|Wetted Part Material||Polycarbonate Tank|
|Cord Length||33" (83.32 cm)|
|Cleaning||Tank can be removed|
|Lowest Temperature||39°F (3.9°C)|
|Highest Temperature||194°F (90°C)|
|Temperature Granularity||0.1°F or 0.1°C|
|Has Circulation Pump||Yes|
|Can Direct Pump Output||No|
|Maximum Water Capacity||1.3 gallons (5 L)|
|Heater Output||1000 Watts/140 Watts Cool|
|Amazon Review Count||NA|
|Display Type||Multi-color LED|
|Smartphone Control||iOS and Android|
|Info And Recipes||In app|
|Room Temp Start Time||15:50*|
|Hot Tap Start Time||3:40*|
|Low Temperature Maximum||140.9**°F|
|Low Temperature Minimum||140.5*°F|
|Low Temp Variation||0.4*°F|
|Temp Rise Time||11:30*|
|High Temperature Maximum||182.8*°F|
|High Temperature Minimum||182.5*°F|
|High Temp Variation||0.3*°F|
|First Hour Power Use||0.28* kWh|
|Total Power Use||0.57* kWh|
|Sound Adjacent||65H/74C dB|
|Sound 12" Away||56H/60C dB|
Title: SO-VIDA Sous Vide Container Sleeve
We do our best to keep our readers informed about new modernist cooking-related products. This often includes equipment such as sous vide machines and containers. In this review we are looking at a sous vide accessory, which I believe is the first of its kind. It is the, "Sous Vide Container Sleeve" by SO-VIDA. The company provided us with the product so we could do some testing and a review.
The SO-VIDA Container Sleeve (Sleeve) is designed specifically to be used with the Rubbermaid 12-Quart container. The Sleeve covers all faces of the container except for the top and is constructed from 5mm neoprene (wetsuit material). This provides two primary functions: the first is to help keep the heat of the water in the container and thus reduce the amount of energy required during the sous vide cook. The second is to protect the work surface your sous vide container is sitting on, due to the prolonged heat transmitted from the base of the container.
As an engineer, I tend to first look at new products from an objective viewpoint. Therefore, I thought it would be worth running some sort of a benchmark to determine the effectiveness of the Sleeve from an insulation perspective.
In order to best determine the impact of the Sleeve, I decided the benchmark needed to be run for a relatively long period of time and at a high temperature. Moreover, the benchmark needed to be modeled after a typical real-world cooking scenario. I chose a time and temperature of 165°F (74°C) and 24 hours respectively. This would be perfect for cooking a chuck roast to braise-like consistency.
The Heating Benchmark consisted of the following steps:
The benchmark was run on four different configurations of the Sleeve and container covers:
Jason - insert the four pictures here in some manner
The results of the four benchmark tests are summarized in the following table:
Jason - insert the table here.
The water bath does reach the target temperature slightly faster when the Sleeve is on.
The amount of power consumed over the 24 hour cook is reduced by an average of about 30% with the Sleeve in place.
The type of cover used in the benchmark had the greatest impact on the amount of water lost to evaporation, with the sous vide balls losing nearly four times as much as the lid. However, the presence of the Sleeve also reduced the water loss slightly.
By its very nature a subjective evaluation is much more difficult to do since it basically comes down to your own personal opinion and taste. Here are my thoughts from a subjective viewpoint:
In my opinion, the greatest advantage of the SO-VIDA Sous Vide Container Sleeve is its esthetic appeal. This feature will be most important to those of us who leave our circulator and water bath setup all the time and ready to go. It simply adds a little more "class" to the kitchen.
Since I don't empty my water bath after each cook, occasionally it gets looking a little less than "pristine". So having a cover and the Sleeve on the water bath is a definite improvement to the ambience of my kitchen!
As mentioned above, the Sleeve reduced the amount of power consumed during our benchmark cook by approximately 30%. There are two factors to keep in mind, however, associated with this advantage. The benchmark pretty much represents the maximum power savings you might experience and it shows a savings of a little more than 1 kWh. Shorter cooks at lower temperatures will have much smaller power savings. And in general, sous vide cooking is relatively low powered. Moreover, the average cost per kilowatt-hour in the US is about $0.12, so don't expect the Sleeve to pay for itself anytime soon.
The presence of the Sleeve does decrease the amount of time it requires the water bath to reach the target temperature. But as you can see from the chart above, in the benchmark the decrease is in the order of 1 to 3 minutes, depending upon the lid that was in place. On those days where you are in a rush, this difference might be important to you, but typically it's not a huge deal.
This advantage depends heavily on what you have your water bath sitting on. There are certainly some work surfaces, especially those with laminated wood, that could degrade over time due to exposure to lengthy periods of high temperatures. In those cases this could be in important advantage provided by the Sleeve.
SO-VIDA provides a Risk-Free Satisfaction Guarantee on the Sleeve. So I would recommend giving it a try to see how it works and looks in your kitchen. Since the review rating on Amazon is currently 4.8 stars on 66 customer reviews, I'm guessing the vast majority of folks are happy with their purchase.
Clearly there are other ways that we can achieve the same advantages that the Sleeve provides. In some cases they are less expensive and more effective as well.
For example, simply using towels to insulate the water bath you can provide even better insulation. Unfortunately, as you can see from the picture, this approach does not have the aesthetic appeal of the Sleeve.
The SO-VIDA Sous Vide Container Sleeve is a unique and useful accessory for your Rubbermaid 12-Quart water bath container. The presence of the Sleeve on the water bath does reduce the amount of power required, especially on a long and high temperature cook. It also accelerates the amount of time it takes to get the bath to the target temperature. However, the impact of these is relatively small when the entire cook is taken into account.
So for me the major benefit of the Sleeve is the impact it has on the aesthetics of the water bath in the kitchen. If you're like most cooking enthusiasts, when you have friends in for an amazing meal, you also want your kitchen to look impressive as well. The SO-VIDA Sleeve will definitely help you accomplish that goal - but I'm afraid you will still have to wash those dirty dishes in the sink!