Product Type: Tefal electrical appliances
Newest Review: ... and then the main item and its 5 interchangeable slicing and grating drums. The Tefal fresh express is nice and compact fitting on my k... more
A fresh look at food prep
Tefal Fresh Express
Member Name: Tarapea
Tefal Fresh Express
Advantages: Tiny unit, slices and grates some things perfectly, takes seconds to operate and wash up,
Disadvantages: Noisy! Spits food everywhere, makes some foods mushy
~~~What is it?~~~
The Tefal Fresh Express is a multi-purpose appliance for shredding, grating and slicing many different foods including vegetables and cheese.
~~~Where can I get it?~~~
I've seen this available in many online and offline retailers including Amazon, Argos, Lakeland, Robert Dyas and John Lewis.
The Fresh express retails for between around £45-50. It's well worth keeping a close eye on Amazon though because one morning I spotted it for £37 and snapped it up - by the afternoon it was back up to £44.
~~~Packaging and Unboxing~~~
The first thing I noticed was just how small the Fresh Express box is. To give you some idea, I can't imagine you would be able to fit a toaster or a kettle into this box. I had heard some of the marketing implying that the unit was very slight in size, but it wasn't until I saw the packaging that I really believed it.
The box is pretty standard - a red and white affair with a small image of the Fresh Express itself, a photo of a family enthralled by their fresh vegetables and a couple of pictures of various sliced foods. Something on the front did take me by surprise though; there's a large British Heart Foundation heart printed here and it tells you you can support the BHF by buying a Fresh Express. Apparently Tefal donate £1 per unit, with a minimum donation of £35,000 which I think is a wonderful touch.
Sliding the box open you'll be met by polystyrene and protective wrappings. A quick rummage and you will uncover the Fresh Express, 5 drums, a spout, a drum storage facility and something that pushes the food into the spout (that's a technical term, I assure you). Underneath these you'll find a scarily thick instruction booklet and a guarantee slip. Tefal give this product a 12 month warranty. My own Fresh Express is still within its warranty and has shown no signs of breaking so far (touch wood!) so I can't comment on their warranty service.
~~~How does it measure up?~~~
Approximate measurements are:
Height - 20cm
Width - 15cm
Depth - 16cm.
Please bear in mind that these measurements are brought to you by me and my wonky tape measure rather than from Tefal themselves, so they're a rough estimate.
The Fresh Express is a quirky red and white affair. It has the vague appearance of an upside down heart with a vertical spout (or something ruder if you have a filthy mindset...) I will say that this unit is cute and quirky rather than being sleek. Every part of this is bright and colourful, so it has a fresh feel to it and I don't think it would look out of place in any kitchen, but if you're expecting sleek stainless steel you'll be disappointed.
~~~Here come the drums~~~
Fresh Express comes with five colourful cone shaped drums to be inserted into the appliance to achieve your desired result, whether slicing or grating.
The dark green drum is for course slicing. Light green gives you fine slicing. Meanwhile red is for course grating, orange brings fine grating to the table and the yellow drum rounds things up nicely with extra fine grating.
The instruction manual gives us a handy chart to show us which drums are best for which result. They are as follows:
The red cone is suitable for course grating carrots, courgettes, potatoes, cucumbers, peppers, Gruyère cheese, chocolate and more.
The orange cone is most suited to fine grating carrots, courgettes,potatoes, Gruyère, chocolate, coconuts and more.
The dark green cone can be used for thick slicing carrots, courgettes, potatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, beetroot, cabbage, apples, Gruyère and more.
The light green cone is best suited to fine slicing carrots, courgettes, potatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, beetroot, cabbage, apples, Gruyère and more.
Lastly, the yellow cone is for Parmesan cheese, chocolate, dry bread/biscuits, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, coconuts and more.
As you can see, the Fresh Express is advertised as being able to cope with many different varieties of food.
~~~What snazzy features does it have?~~~
Well, I'm glad you asked that actually.
First off, this sports a 150W motor. I'll be honest, that one doesn't mean a lot to me but I find the Fresh Express more than powerful enough.
The unit itself has cord storage, so there are no irritating trailing wires. All you have to do is gently pull the plug at the base of the appliance to release the cord, and push it back in to hide it away when you're done.
The on/off button has to be held down in order to operate the Fresh Express; the minute you release the switch it will stop. Some people have complained that it's awkward to have to hold the button down rather than just leaving it running, but personally I feel this is great safety, particularly if you have little ones in your house that may be inclined to touch the unit. There's also a momentary delay once you've pressed the on switch, for added protection.
The spout is also there to protect your hands from touching the moving blade, so the Fresh Express is clearly designed with safety in mind.
All the drums can be stored in the appliance when not in use, to keep storage space to a minimum.
Each attachment is also dishwasher safe. I can't vouch for this as we don't use a dishwasher, but I can say that washing this up is an absolute doddle - much easier than a food processor, which was one of the reasons our household wanted one.
Finally Tefal advertise the Fresh Express as having a 'direct serve spout'. Basically they mean that you can slice your cucumber straight into your salad bowl, eliminating endless washing up and preparation.
~~~What's it actually like?~~~
It grates cheese like nobody's business. One of the main reasons I bought this was due to the fact that the people in our house all have some degree of dexterity problems - I myself am disabled, and my mother suffers carpal tunnel syndrome, which means that when it comes to grating and slicing it can be a tedious, painful task. Grating cheese is particularly an issue, but thanks to the Fresh Express, this is no more. All you have to do is pop a good lump of cheese into the spout, push gently while holding the on button and voilà - perfect grated cheese in seconds.
It's a very noisy operation, I would compare the whirring as being of similar noise level to a food processor.
We've tried many different foods in our Fresh Express, with varying degrees of success.
Slicing onions is great, they come out well sliced and perfect for a salad. (A regular sized onion fits whole in the spout, but if using a larger onion this will usually need to be cut in half first.) However when grating, the result is mushy onion in different shaped pieces. A similar result occurred when grating potatoes, but again they're perfect when using the slicing drum.
Trying to make breadcrumbs was a complete failure, and definitely not something that we've ever tried to repeat. That one is best left to a food processor, I think.
We've found that courgettes and cucumbers fit well without needing to be cut first, and regardless of which drum we use, they work very well.
Carrots and apples are also a great success, with no problems whatsoever. I cannot say how successful nuts or chocolate would be as we haven't used ours for this before.
There has been some mild issues with bits of food getting stuck between the drum and the unit, but it doesn't create too much hassle as far as I'm concerned.
One of the main flaws is that the Fresh Express will act like a picky child at meal times, and throw your food everywhere. You'll definitely need a big bowl for this! It's not resulted in carnage in the kitchen, but if you're not careful you'll end up with cheese/onion/carrot all over your kitchen floor. I know Tefal are releasing the Fresh Express Plus with a longer spout to fix that issue, but to me that feels like a bit of a cop out - the original Fresh Express is still quite a new product, and it makes you feel a bit like the loyal fan who bought a CD the minute it hit the shelves, only to see a bonus edition released a month later. Not impressed, Tefal, not impressed at all.
The price for this is very high for a glorified electric cheese grater, and I think that's why it's been getting some poor reviews online. However, if you're willing to experiment a bit you'll find that it does have many more uses. Some foods just don't work, but what the Fresh Express can do, it does well.
This would be wonderful for anyone with dexterity problems, those that are a little clumsy with a knife or just hate preparing veggies.
Ours is used for cheese, salads and some vegetable preparation mostly while we avoid things like grating potatoes and making breadcrumbs with it. In my opinion, if you're expecting this to replace your trusty food processor, you'll find this a poor substitute. But if you're looking for something that doesn't take up much space on your worktop, takes seconds to operate, a few more seconds to wash up and creates good results with cheese, salads and veg - this could well be for you.
Thanks for reading :)
Summary: A quick and easy way to slice and grate, with some flaws. I'd still recommend it. :)
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