Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000-Watt Juice Extractor

1000-watt juicer with 2 speed controls, high (13,000 RPM) and low (6,500 RPM)
Die-cast steel housing; stainless-steel micromesh filter; titanium-plated cutting disk
Circular 3-inch feed tube accommodates whole fruits and vegetables
Pulp container, juicing pitcher, and manual/recipe book included; dishwasher-safe parts
Locking arm bolts move up to 1/4" in all directions to ensure a snug fit in the locking arm

ake great tasting, fresh fruit or vegetable drinks at home with this efficient juicer from Breville. The unit's Italian-made 1000-watt (1-1/3 horsepower) motor delivers ultimate power and durability, while its built-in electronic "smart chip" regulates power to the blades, depending on the juicing load. The juicer's patented, dual-action, diagonal knife blades are encased by a titanium-plated stainless-steel cutting disc, which features 115 individual knives to grind pulp into the tiniest particles. The machine's circular three-inch stainless feed tube easily processes whole fruits and vegetables without pre-cutting, slicing, or dicing. The patented design centers the feed tube directly over the cutter, providing the strength to process large quantities of fruit and vegetables instantly.
For harder fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots, the juicer's high-speed delivers a crushing 13,000 RPM, approximately three times faster than most other machines. At such speeds, the pulp particles are "g-forced" against the stainless-steel micro-mesh filter with tremendous pressure to squeeze out as much juice as possible. An 8-ounce glass of juice from whole apples takes less than five seconds. Low-speed spins at a whisper-quiet 6500 RPMs, which delivers the best results when juicing leafy vegetables, or softer fruits such as watermelons or oranges. A 34-fluid-ounce (1 liter) juicing pitcher, a large 100-fluid-ounce pulp container, and a user manual with recipes are included, and dishwasher-safe parts make cleanup a snap. Housed in beautiful die-cast stainless steel, the juicer measures 8 by 9 by 19 inches and carries a one-year warranty.

Product Description
The Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite with 1000 watts is super efficient. This model has an Italian made electronic motor that increases power under yield to maintain filter revolutions. It has two speeds for soft and hard fruits and a three inch feed tube which minimizes preparation and feeding time. Beautifully designed stainless die cast steel housing and motor body makes it a work of art on the countertop. While juicing, you may notice juice escaping between the plastic juicer cover and the stainless steel filter bowl surround. Try pushing the Food Pusher down more slowly and using the low speed. When large quantities of fruits and vegetables, especially those with high water content such tomatoes and watermelon, are fed into the Feed Chute at a rapid rate, the stainless steel filter basket coverts these into juice so quickly that the force may cause leaking.

My Review
We just bought this juicer on Amazon, using the $25 discount and the free shipping. Made it the best price on the internet when we bought it first of December 2005. Before commenting on the juicer, let me tell you what we used before this juicer arrived.

We have a top of the line Green Power juicer. If you know juicers, you know this is one of the best. We've been juicing with it on a daily basis for 10 years and it is still going strong. It has a high juice yield (dry pulp), can juice grasses and greens efficiently (wheatgrass, parsley, spinach etc.), and low temperatures and rpm minimize oxidation so juice lasts a long time. Other advantages are claimed, but these are the biggest for us.

A well-known downside to twin-screw type juicers like the Green Power is that it takes quite a bit of force to push items like carrots into the juicer, because there is no cutting blade action, just the gripping/squeezing action of the twin screws. Frankly, after 10 years of pushing hard on this thing, we've gotten tired of it, even though it makes great juice. We also don't like the 1.5" square opening which requires us to cut up apples and large carrots before feeding them. Cleanup isn't too bad, but not great either. I decided to buy a juicer that would make good juice in reasonably high yields but with emphasis on speed and ease of use. My intent was that this juicer would complement but not replace the Green Power.

Well, after doing a lot of research and reading the reviews here and elsewhere, I decided to buy the Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite. The most attractive claims for this juicer were the fast juicing speed, relatively easy cleanup, and the widemouth (3" round) opening. The stainless steel exterior was also a plus, as the Green Power's white plastic parts became stained long ago (vegetable juices can do that!).

The biggest concern with this juicer was the limited warranty period (1-3 years) compared to other juicers in its class (which go as high as 15 years). Phone discussion with a vendor indicated concerns about the lifetime of the motor, though his experience was not with the Elite, which has a new, more powerful motor. I also had some concerns about how efficiently it would extract juice compared to our Green Power, how it would work on spinach and other leafy vegetables, and whether the juice would stay fresh as long.

Though I'd have preferred a better warranty, I decided the features were attractive enough to try it. It is a lot of money to throw away if it fails just after the warranty. But if the ease of juicing was as good as claimed, it would almost be worth it!

The new juicer arrived a few days ago. It was simple to put together. The instructions were clearly written. After washing the parts in the dishwasher (yes, they are dishwasher proof), my wife and I proceeded to make one of our standards, carrot-apple-celery. Boy, were we blown away! This juicer met our expectations and more!

Our apples were large, so we had to quarter them despite the 3" opening. However, in the Green Power we have to cut them into 9 pieces, requiring 4 knife cuts instead of 2 for the Juice Fountain. The apples fed into the juicer easily and very rapidly. Apples feed into the Green Power without too much force, but can be hard to feed because of the pulp they generate (you make apple sauce in the screw feed area and it backs up the chute). We usually use Granny Smiths to minimize that problem on the Green Power, but the Juice Fountain had no problem at all, so I tried some Galas and they also fed in beautifully. In the Green Power, you have to alternate carrots with soft fruits to avoid stalling the screw conveying action; there was no such need with the Juice Fountain. For ease of feeding pulp-producing or juicy fruits and vegetables, I give the Juice Fountain an "A+" compared to the Green Power a "C".

We then fed in the celery. In the Green Power, celery strings wrap around the end of the screws and plug the end plug. The cutting/centrifugal juicing mechanism of the Juice Fountain eliminates such issues completely. The celery fed in very easily and produced plenty of juice. In the Green Power, celery that is small or somewhat old (limp) can be hard to feed into the chute since the stalks don't feed into the screw that easily and the plastic crammer tends to jam them in the chute rather than push them into the screws. In the Juice Fountain, celery of all sizes, including tips and leaves, fed in easily. For ease of handling fibrous vegetables or long, flexible vegetables, I give the Juice Fountain an A+ and the Green Power a B.

Already by this time I knew the Juice Fountain really does make juice fast! I couldn't wait to try the carrots. We put them in whole (minus the cut off tops) and for smaller ones, in bunches of 2 or 3. They just zipped into the juicer! The instruction manual says that juice yield is higher if you feed them slowly, so we didn't push the limits of feed speed, but suffice it to say, it was MUCH faster than the Green Power, on the order of just a few seconds. Furthermore, there was almost no force required to push the carrots in, a welcome change from the 2-handed, "lean your body weight into it" effort required on the Green Power. What a delight this was! For speed of juicing, we give the Juice Fountain an A+ and the Green Power a C. For ease of feeding, we give the Juice Fountain an A+ and the Green Power a D.

We were having so much fun we grabbed more carrots and shoved them in, and then disaster happened! With the juicer still outputting juice, the juice container (pitcher) overflowed and bright orange carrot juice poured out over the countertops and down the face of our painted white cabinets, staining them orange. We were having so much fun juicing, and it was happening so quickly compared to the Green Power, that we didn't realize how much juice we had made in so short a time! Had we been using the Green Power, we'd just be getting started. Oh well. We hit the well-marked red STOP button on the front of the juicer, then sponged up the mess, using 409 cleaner to get the orange stains off the cabinets. The stainless steel Juice Fountain Elite cleaned up easily.

We emptied the pitcher and then finished our juicing, making mental note to remember how rapidly this thing produces juice and to not exceed the pitcher's MAX level marking in the future.

What about noise during juicing? Many have suggested that the Juice Fountain is noisy. My wife and I didn't find it so at all. We have a flour mill that sounds like a jet plane! We have a Vitamix blender that makes a racket (on highest speed). By comparison, this juicer is quiet. Not as quiet as the Green Power, but not at all annoying. For noise, we'd give the Juice Fountain a B and the Green Power an A, with a Vitamix blender a D and our grain mill an F (requiring ear plugs).

Now for the taste test. The defrother on the pitcher seems to work OK. The juice was excellent, not oxidized tasting in comparison to juice from the Green Power. In fact, maybe it was my imagination, but I think it tasted fresher. The Green Power may use lower speed and incorporate less air, but because it takes so long to make the juice, by the time you are finished, the first part of the batch may be 20 minutes old. With the Juice Fountain, it may be just a couple minutes old. For taste, I give the Juice Fountain an A+, the Green Power an A.

We dislike pulp in our vegetable juices. With the Green Power, the amount of pulp in the juice is not bad, but we still have to strain it through a wire screen strainer to get pulp-free juice. With carrot-Granny Smith apple-celery, a quart of juice will leave at least 2-3 tablespoons of pulp in the strainer. By contrast, the Juice Fountain juice was virtually pulp-free. We didn't bother straining it, there was so little. This is great, since wire screens tend to plug and back-up, and are a pain to keep clean. Yet another time saver for both juice production and clean-up! For pulp-free juice, Juice Fountain merits an A+ and Green Power gets a B.

OK. What about juicing efficiency? I don't have any hard numbers on this, but the pulp felt about as dry as that from the Green Power. That suggests that the efficiency was similar. The Green Power is claimed to have one of the highest extraction efficiencies of any juicer on the market, short of the Walker or other press-type juicers. That seems to be a fair claim. However, actual practice may vary. The dryness of pulp in the Green Power is controlled by how far you screw in the end plug, which creates back pressure and controls the pulp flow rate. If you screw it all the way in, you get very dry pulp. However, the juicer feeds poorly, and if you have anything like apples you'll just backup the pulp into the chute and the screw won't be able to generate enough pumping pressure to overcome the backpressure of the plug. Thus, in practice, we kept the end plug of our Green Power screwed out about a half turn. This resulted in better screw feed action but somewhat wetter pulp. Some Green Power users will push the pulp through a second time to get higher yields, but we didn't bother. By comparison, the Juice Fountain seems to make pulp of similar dryness to what we were getting on the Green Power, but without having to mess with optimum end plug settings, screw backups, or feeding pulp through a second time. Thus, I give both Green Power and Juice Fountain an A for efficiency, but the Juice Fountain gets there more easily. Perhaps in the future I'll do a more quantitative comparison.

Cleanup was a breeze. I just rinsed all the top parts off and put them in a drying rack or the dishwasher. The wire mesh and cutting blades were easily cleaned with the supplied brush. I found cleanup easier and faster than with the Green Power. The Green Power has mostly plastic parts, and these are stained with vegetable juice stains which don't disappear with any of the manufacturer's recommended treatments. I anticipate no such problems from the Juice Fountain's stainless steel parts. The plastic on the Juice Fountain is not in places where stains are expected to build up (the pulp container or pitcher). The elimination of wire screen straining further eased cleanup. For ease and speed of cleanup, I give the Juice Fountain an "A" and the Green Power a "B".

A few comments on durability. One drawback of many product reviews on Amazon is the limited experience of reviewers with the equipment. Don't you just love those reviews that read, "I just bought Product XYZ and used it for a week and it is fabulous!!!"? I wish we had more reviews from longterm users. Thus, I wasn't going to write a review on this juicer until I'd used it at least for several months. However, I was so impressed by this juicer I just had to write now! I felt like I already had enough hard facts to compare with a top-of-the-line competitor that some of you would appreciate reading my comparisons.

Nevertheless, the big question on this machine is the limited warranty. I'm hoping that durability won't prove to be the Achille's heel of this machine. Discussions with vendors suggest that the motor is the critical part that may fail, so I'll be watching it, hoping that it outlasts the warranty, and that the new, more powerful motor in the Elite will prove durable. Warranties aren't everything, though. The Green Power had a 5 year warranty. The motor is robust and going strong after 10 years of almost daily use. However, the plastic parts on the Green Power seem inadequately designed for the high stresses placed on them in an extrusion device. We saw stress-cracking of the front piece within the first few years (which we eventually had to replace when the cracks propagated to the failure point). Stress-cracking is also visible in the main screw housing. Other plastic failures include partial separation of the feed crammer halves (so that pulp gets stuck inside the hollow crammer), chipping of the hopper tray so that it doesn't seat snugly, breakage of the plastic cross-piece on the base that the pitcher tray fits over, and stress-fracture leading to failure of one of the plastic knurled knobs used to tighten the chamber assembly.

By contrast, the Juice Fountain's stainless steel bowl assembly shouldn't fail unless I severely dent it. The wire screen/cutting assembly will probably need periodic replacement, I'm guessing. The housing lid and feed chute are plastic (looks like polycarbonate) and may eventually chip if dropped, but look stronger than the highly mineral filled plastic of the Green Power. The pitcher is plastic, which some people would not like as much as the glass of the Green Power, but at least it won't break as easily (we had to replace our Green Power pitcher once). If you prefer glass, you could use a glass container instead on the Juice Fountain without a problem except increase risk of splashing and no defoamer. Overall, I think the housing of the Juice Fountain will hold up very well compared to the Green Power. Thus, the only big question mark for me is the motor, and I am hoping that the short warranty is not a reflection of issues in that department. Stay tuned.

The other issue is the ability to juice grasses and leafy greens. I am planning to keep the Green Power because I don't expect this juicer to do a great job on those. We often don't include those in our juices, however, so it will be worth it to have this extra juicer for the many times when we don't need the other capabilities. I expect it to juice spinach OK, but probably not with as good an efficiency. However, I will withhold comments until I can do quantitative tests, which I may report later.

CONCLUSION-- I love this juicer. It is every bit as fast as the manufacturer claims. It is easy to use and clean up. It makes great tasting juice at high yields. It compares very favorably with a more expensive, top-of-the-line Green Power juicer. The biggest concern is the limited warranty, but I'm having so much fun with this juicer that I would probably buy another one even if it failed just after the warranty period.

The above comparisons are somewhat "apples vs. oranges". It might be more fair to compare this to other centrifugal juicers. Some of the advantages in ease-of-use would pertain to other centrifugal juicers when compared to the Green Power. But I think the 3" mouth, the high rpm, and the stainless steel housing are worth considering. I can't compare to other centrifugal juicers, but the Juice Fountain does compare very well with the top notch Green Power juicer.

This juicer saves so much time and effort, I will probably suffer any juicing inefficiencies that may arise with spinach and such rather than bother with the Green Power. I'll probably put the Green Power on a high shelf and pull it down only when doing grasses, which I rarely use.

Sorry about the length of this review, but hopefully you'll find the comparisons helpful.

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