An absolutely amazingly useful device you will suddenly find you need to use for almost any infusion, syrup, oleo sacrum, etc., Oh, and its great to cook with too !.
Notes: Used primarily as a cooking device this sous vide is also very useful for cocktails and cocktail preparation, so we will test it for both its usefulness in mixology ( our primary criteria) and also for cooking (their primary use and criteria, and for when you are not using it for cocktails )
Appearance: A very solid, well built piece of equipment, there were very few plastic parts to this beast, the main cylinder, impeller and almost all the important parts are made of stainless steel and built to last.
First Impression: Nicely made, good heft to it, (meaning to me quality part and decently powerful motor) easy to set up ad get going. Excellent fit and finish. ell packaged, easy to assemble and set up just plug cord into back of unit, secure to side of water container ( and read the directions)
Directions and Instructions: The instructions that come with the Anova are very clear and concise. Once you have mastered the slightly tricky (but adaptable) interface you are pretty much set to go.
Testing: Fairly straight forward and easy to follow directions on set up and programming. Easy to figure out controls and display is easy to read to get things started. Unit kept very precise temperature control and accurate timing so it was very much a set it and forget it operation so you could move on to other tasks without worry or having to watch it. Circulator was quiet – enough to hear it to make sure it was running but not enough to bother you or be a nuisance, display is big enough to be read from a distance. Capacity is pretty huge – it can be put in a 5 gallon container and work well. Comes apart for easy clean up and inspection and takes up minimal space when stored. Another important point is you can use clear storage food bins or any other container that can take some heat – you do not need to buy an expensive cook pan to use this.
We used the Anova to make infusions of all sorts of herbs,spices and fruits and also and make syrups we would normally have to use double boilers and go through a lot of hassle to make. Everything we did was so much quicker and simpler it was amazing and you could also store the finished products in their bags rather than having to deal with the hassle of jars and bottles.
Other: They have a range of models from the new Smart phone controlled Precision Cooker for $179 (available November 2014) to the professional models that run from $399 to $599
Final Thoughts: Think of this as a gateway Sous Vide. While you may not be able to cook vast amounts of food with this, or prepare gallons of cocktails, for its size and value it is a pretty stunning device to use and may well encourage you to buy a bigger one at some point later, but that may be beside the point. With the Anaovas capacity,ruggedness and overall utility it is the perfect size for bar or household use without having to spend a lot of money and dedicate a lot of storage or counter space. Its ease of use and overall usefulness make it a suddenly indispensable tool for cooking and creating not only a myriad of cocktails and cocktail ingredients but cooking almost everything else. The Anova is simply an amazing, useful and wonderful device. You will wonder how you got along without it before.