Passive House kitchen appliances: form follows function with Miele
|Miele Masterchef Wall Oven|
Did I say I love to cook?This article doesn't particularly have anything to do with Passive House, however, a home is where you live and appliances are part of the building equation. Beyond Energy Star (which appliances are today), most energy efficient appliances should do the trick.
Who says we can't have a little fun, here?
This may sound chauvinistic: the best chefs in the world are men. There, I said it. (Please refrain from hate mail, ladies).
So while the closets belong to my wife, the kitchen is my playground. Unfortunately, Lisa doesn't know how to cook much. But, I am hoping this is going to change over time. How, you might ask? Well by having her use some very nice kitchen appliances, that's how...and by attending master chef cooking classes that are offered for free by Miele at their US headquarters located in Princeton, NJ (about an hours drive).
Truth be told, I have a lot to learn too and I very much enjoy attending their cooking classes--you also get free wine. How's them potatoes?
As we did with our cooktop, we had considered kitchen appliances from a good number of manufacturers including: Viking, Wolf/Sub-zero, Gaggenau, Küppersbusch, Thermador, GE Monogram, Dacor, Bluestar, and DCS.
We preferred to have all of our kitchen appliances provided by one (or at most two) manufacturers, which shortened our list. a bit, as some only made cooking appliances. Ultimately, we opted for Miele throughout with the exception of our refrigerator and dual-zone wine cooler. The refrigerator we chose was a Samsumg 30CF side-by-side. We didn't particularly care for a "shallow" cabinet depth 'frig.
Using Miele's appliances may be intimidating for some. They certainly appeal to my engineering sensibilities, but with all of their capabilities, they are, in fact, pretty easy to use.
Miele offers two levels of appliances--the standard series and the (more expensive) masterchef series. I think it's ironic to call their high-end series "master chef," because most cooking can be accomplished with a simple selection of items from a menu, meaning that you don't really need to know much about cooking to prepare great tasting food.
The masterchef series of ovens allows for quick selection of food and how it is to be prepared.
For example do you have a roast? Well you can select it from the menu. Do you like it rare (as I do)? Well you can select that too and the European convention ovens do their thing automatically. All one needs to do is insert a probe into the food.
We opted for three ovens (count them, three). A large European convention oven, a speed oven that can cook with convention, microwave, or both and (not to be seen to often in an American kitchen) a steam oven (that is located in our island to the right of our induction cooktop).
|Miele Masterchef Speed Oven|
Cooking with steam
|Miele Steam Oven|
Did I say we like to drink coffee?
|Miele Plumbed Espress/Cappuccino/Coffee Maker|
My favorite appliance is, without a doubt, a plumbed espresso maker. This baby isn't one of those little faux Keuring or Bosch portable espresso units which take little containers of coffee and dried milk (for "cappuccino"). This is the real McCoy, a true espresso maker which forced pressurized steam through freshly ground coffee beans. The Miele has two coffee containers, one for whole beans and one for pre-ground coffee. I wouldn't call Miele's coffee make a true professional-grade make, such as those made by Gaggia, it's probably more accurate to define it as a prosumer grade appliance.
It can also produce genuine cappuccino, by frothing 2% milk from a thermos-type container that can retain temperature of the milk for quite some time and also be placed in the refrigerator when not in use. Clean up is a pain, though, when it comes to the milk frothing part. Special tablets must be used for proper cleaning and it takes a little while. That can be fine if one makes multiple cappuccinos throughout the day, but it becomes quite tedious for one-offs.
The Miele can also dispense instant-hot water for making tea and hot-chocolate on the spot. It also can be programmed for different user profiles each with customized settings suited to the individual. Yes, I know, perhaps it is a little "get-over-yourself," but hey Lisa and I love our coffee. The Miele unit can make single or multiple cups of coffee and can even fill a vessel for large amounts.
Flavored coffee beans can not be used as they can gunk up the grinding mechanism. Speaking of coffee grinding, the coarseness of the beans can be tailored to your preference.
Did I say I hate doing the dishes?
|Miele's unique cutlery tray|
Once again we opted for Miele's dishwasher. They are quiet, low profile, and have a separate cutlery tray. They use consume little energy and are very efficient with water usage.