After a little over three years of use the Ninja Express chopper continues to be the biggest blessing in our kitchen. I have used it countless times to blend eggs, mince vegetables, and various other tasks. The machine continues to operate flawlessly with no visible signs of wear and tear on the blades. The inside of the plastic container did get a little nicked up from when we put some really hard nuts in it, but other than marring the appearance a bit, it hasn’t affected the operation and performance of the chopper. The ninja express chopper is by far the most valuable and inexpensive kitchen tool I’ve ever purchased.
Ninja Express Chop User Rating:
Our Reader Score
[Total: 9 Average: 4.3]
The Ninja Express Chop is one of the most useful, electric kitchen appliances we’ve ever bought for our home. My wife actually bought this for me, but so far has has used it everyday, herself, for chopping vegetables and fruits. I spend a great deal of time hand-beating, scrambled eggs in the morning. I like to create as small a mess as possible, so I normally use a large glass and a fork or serrated knife to mix the eggs. This takes time and is hard on the right shoulder that I injured a few months ago. While the Ninja makes quick, easy, mess-free work out of eggs, this amazing express chopper does so much more. During the summer months, when we have an abundance of garden vegetables, peppers and fruits littering our kitchen counters, the Ninja Express Chop is practically begging to be used on a daily basis. The Ninja is actually a review I am excited to talk about and review in-depth. Below, you will find a detailed overview on the Uses, Operation, Performance, Convenience, pros and cons, and final conclusions on the Ninja chopping appliance. Also, I have included a real-life demonstration of the Ninja Express Chop in use. Enjoy the review and please leave me your comments.
Sometimes I get so excited about a product that I have to review it before I even try it. After some exhaustive research on electric meat grinders, I just ordered the Tasin TS-108.
I am looking forward to this as much as a kid looks forward to a Playstation 3 for Christmas. One of the top reasons I chose this particular electric meat grinder over all the others is that it seemed to the very favorite of those who are actually using it for my very same purpose: Making homemade, raw cat food or dog food. I viewed a very detailed video demonstration of how this meat grinder could be used to make a raw cat food recipe with the same ingredients I wished to use. (You can view this You Tube Video of the TS-108 in action at the bottom of the page). As demonstrated by the video, this electric meat grinder makes quick work of whole cuts of meat and bones. This Tasin meat grinder easily handles and grinds-up the bones in raw meat like turkey, chicken, hen and other poultry products. This is perfect for making a delicious raw food recipe for cats or dogs. Dogs and cats need the nutrients from the bones and skin on raw meet. We tried buying our own raw cat food in a brand called, Rad Cat. This is an excellent product, but shipping, handling and the middle men who bring it to the pet stores make it cost prohibitive as a long term solution for feeding our two cats. I knew there was a better way, but it would require a high quality electric meat grinder to make it possible. Of all of my research, this is the one that comes out on top for a few reasons:
Benefits of the Tasin TS-108 Electric Meat Grinder
Meat and Bone Grinding Horsepower
The Tasin has a 1200 watts motor. This is 3-times as much as some of the other brands that our selling for under $100 at Walmart, Amazon and other retailers. The meat grinder is built with the quality you’d expect from electric meat grinder. I didn’t want to go with an under-powered, cheap home-style meat grinder. The strong motor is what sold me first on the TS-108 model.
Quality Materials Workmanship and Properties
Unlike other other electric meat grinders, the parts are not all cheap plastic. The Feed Pans are made from aluminum alloy and the mesh plates and blades are made from sturdy carbon steel. More importantly, the internal gears are made from metal rather than plastic on some of the other electric meat grinders, which will eventually wear out. The body and functions of the Tasin is made from heat-resistant ABs Plastic, so you shouldn’t have to worry about any cheap plastic parts cracking or breaking off. The TS-108 weights 16 lbs and comes with #12 sized Grinder and a 2.5″ diameter mouth. Having compared other models, the #12 and 2.5″ diameter mouth seems to be the perfect size for an electric meat grinder.
Features and Accessories
There is not a whole lot of room for bells, whistles and technological gadgetry on an electric meat grinder. The TS-108 unit is equipped with an on/off switch as well as a reverse setting for un-jamming. One nice little touch is an internal storage compartment for extra plates and cords. The TS-108 does come equipped a kubbe, sausage stuffer and a plunger. I’m not sure what either the kubbe or plunger are, but I will definitely be looking up some sausage recipes. For the reasonable price of $150, I also got an extra, stainless-steel blade which is reportedly worth $15.00. I did not one small complaint about the Tasin TS-108. The parts are not dishwasher safe, though they advertise the detachable cap, worm and head as hand-washable for easy cleaning. The motor is CE certified and comes with a circuit breaker to prevent damage to the motor. The unit comes with a 1 year warranty. I paid $158.00 and some change for the Tasin TS-108 Electric meat grinder. For what I spend on raw cat food, I expect the Tasin TS-108 to pay for itself well within the 1-year warranty. While, the solid construction and features of the Tasin TS-108 seem impressive enough, how does it all operate?
Tasin TS-108 Electric Meat Grinder in Action
Here is an impressive video demonstration of how easily meat and bones are ground up through the Tasin TS-108 Meat grinder.
This Tassimo vs Keurig Single Cup Coffee maker showdown is a result of my life-long desire to enjoy the best tasting coffee at home without the muss, fuss, mess and expenses of a fancy Starbucks Type Heavy Duty coffee brewer or without having to drive to a Starbucks and wait in line behind phony coffee drinkers. Haven’t you ever wished you could just make just one 8 ounce cup of really hot, strong coffee at home without having to wait in line behind those sweet-drink fake-o coffee foo-foo snobs ordering their latte with half-and-half and just a splash of this and that with nutmeg and whipped cream, etc, etc? You only want a good, strong hot cup of coffee and you’re willing to pay $1.68 – $2.50 for it, depending on whether or not it’s sized as a Tall, Grande or Vente. Well, would if you could make a cup of coffee just as hot, fresh and strong for 1/3rd the price. Well, this is what Tassimo and Keurig fans claim they can do.
To be honest, I’ve never thought much of single-cup brewers. I used to think, “So, they brew one cup of coffee at a time? What’s the big deal with that? “Well, my recent visit at the Philadelphia Loews Hotel last week changed my mind completely. In our room was a Keurig single cup brewer, with an assortment of Coffees, Teas and Hot Chocolate K-Cups. I’ve heard the constant bickering of the Tassimo vs Keurig debates, but what I didn’t understand was how convenient these single cup brewers are and perfect for a hotel stay.
I’ve never cared for the weak coffee in the hotel Lobbies and I hesitate to use the small, little coffee pots in the rooms which accumulate dirt, dust and coffee ground debris from the other guests. Yet, I need something quick, smooth and strong to get me going in the morning. Upon first inspection of the Keurig, I was impressed with how clean it was. I grabbed one of the K-Cup pods and in a couple of minutes I had a hot cup of reasonably good coffee with absolutely no mess. When my wife used it to make tea, I was concerned that it would taint the flavor of the next cup of coffee I made. Not so! The ingredients inside these single cup brewer pods (known as K-Cups for the Keurig and T-Pads for the Tassimo), are completely self-contained. None of the ingredients come in contact with the actual coffee maker. A tiny hole is punctured through the K-Cup or T-Pad and the beverage goes directly into your cup. It is fast, convenient, tasty and absolutely mess free. I was sold on a Keurig, but what about the Tassimo that I often heard about in these debates?
With thousands of personal reviews and opinions on both Tassimo and Keurig, I thought it would be useful to do an overview – or an ‘over-review- so to speak of all the reviews. While my impression of the Keurig was good, I thought the coffee could be slightly stronger. Having looked up two of the latest models, I narrowed my choice down between to two of the best valued, most reviewed models: The Tassimo Bosch TAS4511UC and the Keurig B60 Special edition. Both machines range in price from $139 – $199. So, which of these Single Cup Brewers provides the most satisfaction? Here are the basic conclusions of Tassimo vs Keurig comparisons among hundreds of users.
For starters, the Tassimo vs Keurig is a close call and both are excellent single cup brewers with very high marks from users. The Tassimo ranks 4.75 stars among 209 users and the Keurig rates 4 stars among 1,000 users.
Tassimo vs Keurig Opinion Reviews:
Both machines make piping hot coffee, but the Tassimo gets a unanimous edge for flavor.
The Tassimo is also more versatile in that you can make different types of coffee drinks; Cappuccino, Lattés, etc.
Coffee variety: Keurig
Users of the Keurig seem to have more choices for regular coffee.
The Tassimo TAS4512 wins the cool-factor due to its barcode technology.
Build and Apperance: Tassimo
Though only a slight edge and matter of opinion, more users seemed impressed with the quality build and appearance of the Tassimo Bosch model.
It’s a close call, but more users preferred the latest Bosch Tassimo vs Keurig B60. I’ll give you my detailed review on the Tassimo T45111UC after I’ve had a chance to use the one I just ordered.
Coffee Selection Between Both Brewers
For regular coffee, Keurig gets the edge here. Since I found such a cheap price on the Keurig Mr Coffee, I couldn’t resist getting one for the office and so now I own both a Tassimo and a Keurig. Being that I’m not so interested in making other things such as Latte’s and Cappuccino’s I’ll have to admit that the Tassimo falls short of the Keurig when it comes to their selection of Cheap K-Cups.
I used to think a French coffee press was just another one of those snobby marketing ideas. As I quite often do, I’ve changed my mind a bit on the Coffee Press method of brewing coffee as I’ll explain in this review. First, a little history about how a French Press Coffee maker ended up in my home: I bought my, 8-Cup Bodum coffee press about 15 years ago when I started drinking Starbucks Coffee. For many years, I didn’t like Starbucks Coffee. In fact, I only drank light roasted coffees. I thought the Starbucks Dark roasted coffees tasted smoky and lacked the richness of lighter roasts. It wasn’t until I actually went into a Starbucks Store and ordered a regular cup of coffee that I got a new found appreciation for their darker, cream tasting roasts. The home coffee makers just don’t do a decent job. One: home coffee brewers don’t make it hot enough. Two, home coffee brewers don’t extract the flavor of the dark coffee grinds. Because the darker grinds are well roasted, the window for unlocking their flavor is extremely critical So, one day about 15 years ago, I asked my Starbucks store representative what kind of coffee maker it would take to get the coffee to taste as good at home as it does the store. They showed me a Bodum French press and I bought it on the spot. Why?
What is a French Coffee Press
A French Coffee Press is a bit of a peculiar looking contraption, isn’t it? Some would have you believe it’s a beautiful relic meant to be proudly displayed in your kitchen. I wouldn’t call a French coffee press ugly, but I wouldn’t exactly call it attractive either. At any rate, a coffee press is indeed an interesting looking device. My Bodum coffee press consists of an 8-Cup glass carafe with a plastic base. The lid has an 8” metal rod going through it, with a mesh-metal filter attached to the bottom. A spring-type mechanism wraps around the circumference of the mesh filter and is designed to push the grinds down and keep them out of your coffee when you press it. So, how do you use a one?
How to Use a Coffee Press
Using a French coffee press is a far more simple process than the looks of this contraption would have you believe. I actually enjoy using mine, but it does require a couple of little extra steps to prepare. The first thing I do is grind the coffee. Because a press uses no paper filter, it is important not to grind the coffee too fine. In fact, the coffee grinds can be quite coarse and still get a good roasted flavor. I usually turn my coffee grinder on for no more than about 10 seconds. I also like to use more coffee than I would with a traditional coffee maker. It’s up to you how strong you like your coffee. Dump the coffee grinds into your French coffee press carafe and some water either on the stove or with a microwave proof container. Since my own French Press holds 8 cups, I usually boil 2-8 cups of water, depending on how much coffee I want to make. Then, while the boiling water is piping hot, pour it into the carafe over the coffee grinds. Gently put the lid on without pushing the rod down. Allow the coffee to steep for about 3-5 minutes then slowly press the rod down to the bottom of the carafe. The Coffee is now ready to pour. When prepared with my Bodum, the coffee is hotter and more flavorful than with the Cuisinart Coffee/Grinder and several of the other coffee makers I own, including the old-fashioned percolator! And I like the idea that the French coffee press is so old-fashioned that it’s simple to use and clean. Just dump the grinds into the sink and wash the carafe and parts and set them in the sink basket to dry.
Cons of the French Press
If a coffee press is so simple to use then you’re probably asking why I would ever use anything else. There are actually three reasons: One: My Bodum Press simply doesn’t make enough coffee for an entire family. Two: The coffee doesn’t stay hot very long as there is no heating element on the bottom. Three: You will have some fine coffee grinds sediments in your cup. I don’t mind this, but others might. The coffee press has its place among my other coffee makers and I use it when I want just one or two cups of the fullest bodied coffee I can get my hands on at home.
To understand why my wife and I were in the market for a Gooseneck Pull Down Kitchen Faucet, a little history is in order: Number one, our old, Arwa Kitchen Faucet with the pull-out sprayer was leaking from the inside. It needed to be replaced and good riddance!. The Arwa Faucet came with the house along with our Kindred Sink, and while it looked nice it was a nuisance. I replaced the cartridge on it couple of years ago and finding service for it was next to impossible. I had to do a Google image search just to identify the unfamiliar brand, Arwa. I was fortunate enough to locate an exact match of the image on Google and called the service center in Tucson for a $29 replacement cartridge. I never felt comfortable dealing with a kitchen faucet that cannot be purchased or serviced locally. While I liked the faucet overall, I didn’t care for its low height clearance which made cleaning big pots and pans more of a challenge in our deep sink. The attached hand sprayer was powerful, nice and convenient, but wouldn’t it make more sense to have a pull-down sprayer in a large, deep sink? Yes, it would. A gooseneck faucet with a pull down sprayer would be the perfect solution. Delta and American Standard Faucets sounded like good brands to look for, so I set out to find one. You’re probably wondering how I got my hands on two different brands of Kitchen Faucets for review in such a short time. Before I begin ranting and raving about American Standard Faucets, let me tell you about removing the old Kitchen Faucet.
Removing old Kitchen Faucet to Install American Standard Faucet
Removing the old Kitchen Faucet was by far the most difficult part of the job. In fact, I was eventually able to install and uninstall two different faucets in less than half the time it took to remove the Arwa Faucet. I’ll say one thing for American Standard Faucets – they seem very straight forward. But removing the old one? Argh! To be fair, my past failure was mostly due to inexperience on my part. There is no easy way to get behind your kitchen sink with a crescent wrench or pair of channel-locks. After an hour of frustration I went to my good friend Google and discovered an even better friend – the Basin Wrench. The $12.00 Basin Wrench I bought at Harbor Freight made quick and easy work of the traditional, kitchen faucet nut behind the sink. Next, the challenge was getting the copper water lines pulled out of the nut and through the sink hole. Unlike the two, new faucets, the Arwa used copper lines instead of the flexible tubes which would have made things much easier. I eventually had to cut through the hand sprayer line in order to get the rest of the lines squeezed through the nut and the entire assembly pulled right out. My difficulties were over – or so I thought.
Next, I will explain how the misfortune of buying a defective product on my first try, afforded me the opportunity to do this product comparison review on American Standard Faucets vs the Hansgrohe kitchen faucet.
We’ll start in chronological order, beginning with the Fairbury model by American Standard Faucets.
American Standard Faucets
I have always had good vibes about the American Standard Brand and American Standard Faucets. So, while looking at kitchen faucets at Home Depot, the American Standard Fairbury Gooseneck faucet with pull-down sprayer caught my eye with its low, $138.00 price tag and attractive, elegant looks. The Fairbury not only looked nice, but seemed well made. For the price, what could wrong? I decided to buy it on the spot and take it home. I expected American Standard Faucets of any type to cost twice this much. Only one problem after I took it home. It turned out the water lines were too short, so I did have to buy a couple of adapters for $6.50 each, bringing my total cost up to $151.00 – still a bargain. Just in case, I would read some user opinions before installing it in case I decided to return. To my amazement, the opinions were mostly all very favorable. Is it just the brand? People seem to love American Standard Faucets in general, but it goes deeper than that. Users marveled over the performance and ease of use and installation of this particular model. Only two, unfortunate Fairbury users reported a problem. The plastic threading inside the neck of the faucet broke, causing them to have to return it after a very short period of use. I decided to give it a go. It turns out that I wasn’t as lucky as the unfortunate users. For me, the threading inside the neck broke as soon as I tightened the nut to the base of the faucet. I kept wondering why I couldn’t get it completely tight before I realized that the inside of the neck had become loose. It was getting late at night and I didn’t want to get ready for work the next morning without a useable kitchen faucet. I rigged the Fairbury up so it was snug enough to use on a temporary basis until it could be returned and replaced with a working unit. While the unit was installed, I was able to get a very favorable impression of the performance, looks and operation of the American Standard Fairbury faucet. The strength of the water flow was excellent and easy to control with the single handle. The Fairbury’s pull-down hand-sprayer is a joy to use. You can choose between regular or a shower-needle type spray with one button. Another button will pause the water flow altogether. That’s a nice feature I wasn’t expecting. The Fairbury was so enjoyable to use that I really had think long and hard about whether or not I should take another risk with the apparent design flaw of the plastic thread construction on the inside of the neck. With a full weekend ahead of me, I decided to take a look at the Hansgrohe Faucet from Costco.
Hansgrohe Metro Faucet by Costco
A name like Hansgrohe going against American Standard Faucets? Are you kidding me? As luck would have it, both of my local Costco store offer a Gooseneck, Pull-Down Hand-Sprayer Kitchen Faucet for the low, low price of $158.00. With a Google Search on my iPhone, I quickly noted that the same product sells for $219.00 at Amazon. I bought the Hansgrohe Metro Faucet and took it home to compare it to the American Standard Fairbury model I would be returning. I didn’t have to get very far to immediately notice a huge difference in quality. The Hansgrohe feels twice as heavy as the Fairbury and for good reason. Unlike the Fairbury, the Hansgrohe Metro Facuet has solid copper threading inside the neck instead of plastic. Also, the Hansgrohe comes with long enough water lines that no extensions are needed. I was sold. In just 20 minutes, I had the Fairbury removed and the new, Hansgrohe installed! Though both faucets install the same way, it should be noted that the Hansgrohe comes with much better instructions and includes a base which makes a sturdier fit to the bottom of the kitchen granite. Like the Fairbury, the Hansgrohe Metro provides a very strong flow of water; 2.25GPM according to the manual. The Hansgrohe uses a u-shaped handle which I prefer slightly over the single handle of the Fairbury. While the operation of the Hansgrohe Pull-Down Sprayer feels freer and more robust than the Fairbury, it does lack the convenient pause button. Also, the Hansgrohe, has a rather weak flow of water from the hand-sprayer, probably just due to having larger spray holes. At any rate, not a big deal, it’s plenty powerful enough and has a very long reach to either of the bottom sides of our sink. One other thing in the Fairbury’s favor was that my wife thought it looked nicer. Neither its appearance nor hand-sprayer performance made either of us think twice about removing the Hansgrohe. It is a far better product, overall. It just feels like the right choice and considering the $13.00 requirement of extension water lines for the Fairbury, it’s only $7.00 cheaper than the Hansgrohe. The Hansgrohe Metro from Costco represents a great value in Kitchen Faucets with Pull-Down Sprayers and wins this contest, hands-down.
Hansgrohe Kitchen Faucet (9 out of 10)
Materials and workmanship: 10
Performance and Operation: 9
American Standard Fairbury Kitchen Faucet (7.75 out of 10)
by American Standard Faucets
Materials and workmanship: 6
Performance and Operation: 8
I prefer the Hansgrohe. In fact, I have no partiality to the brand. My plumber actually recommended Delta or American Standard Faucets. I chose the Hansgrohe Metro Faucet because it was better quality. Nothing against American Standard Faucets, but the Metro was the clear winner.
Update – Summer 2014
After two years of flawless operation, our Hansgrohe Metro faucet began linking under the cabinet. The water was coming out of the flex pipe where the weight attaches to hold down and position the sprayer into the faucet. The good news is that Hansgrohe stood behind their lifetime warranty 100%. The bad news is that a broken, leaking faucet cannot wait. We had to replace our Hansgrohe with a new faucet while we waited for the replacement part. The part arrived in just three days. We installed the Hangrohe at my parents house where it is once again operating flawlessly and makes an attractive addition to their kitchen.