What we bought: The Breville Juice Fountain Plus is a surprisingly useful jet engine

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My dad bought me the Breville Juice Fountain for a very specific purpose: to recreate the horseneck cocktail he’d enjoyed one snowy night at the High West Distillery Hall in Utah. The drink calls for a quarter-ounce of ginger juice, and if you’ve ever seen a gnarled clump of said root, it doesn’t seem like it holds much liquid. That’s where the Source comes in: it extracts a cascade of seemingly parched product like it’s crushing grapes.

I make ginger juice in larger batches, getting about five fluid ounces from eight ounces of ginger. Weight-to-volume conversions aside, that’s a pretty good ratio. It lasts a week or two in the fridge, so I can get a lot of horse necks out of a juicing session. The cocktail itself is bright, warm and spicy, and quite possibly my favorite drink.

But I’m not drinking that much these days, so I’ve been using the juice fountain for healthier things that don’t contain bourbon…like straight juice. At first, I turned to the internet for recipes, but I quickly learned that adding whatever sounds good tends to have the best results. Carrot, ginger, lemon and orange together create something sweet and savory that tastes and looks like a sunrise. Apple, kale, celery, and lemon make a bright green drink that reminds me of spring and feels like you’re drinking a cup of vitamins, if a cup of vitamins was delicious.

A pitcher and two mugs sit on a brown wooden table outside.  They are filled with green juice made from kale, apples, and celery.

Photo by Amy Skorheim/Engadget

The appliance has two speeds: high for harder vegetables and low for softer fruits. Other than choosing a speed, the only preparation you need to do is wash all the ingredients and remove the peel and pith from the citrus; there’s no need to scrape the skin off the ginger or remove the stems from the kale. Apples can even go whole, as long as they fit into the impressively wide chute (although I generally discourage mine, out of irrational cyanide paranoia).

Once the fruits and vegetables are inside, the Source juices them up in seconds, completely destroying them with what I can only assume is a small jet engine. Seriously, it sounds like a plane getting ready to take off; this is a type of machine that only works during the day. The motor is so powerful and the mesh/graters so robust that just the weight of a carrot or cucumber is often enough to get it through the extractor. Even kale only needs a slight push of the plunger.

So yes, it does a great job of getting the most out of each product, but the juice still isn’t cheap. A big bunch of organic carrots and a few oranges quickly make for a delicious neon drink, but there might be $6 worth of produce swimming around in that cup. But hey, if it means my son will drink eight ounces of a Kelly green apple and kale concoction and order more, it’s worth it in my opinion.

When I first saw it, I was convinced that the Fountain would be something I would use once and never again after the tedium of washing its various intricate parts. And it breaks down into quite a few pieces (seven to be exact), but taking it apart and putting it back together is completely intuitive. I don’t think I looked at the instructions since the first teardown.

Cleaning the components isn’t difficult either, as long as you do it right away. If you wait until the bits of pulp and juice have hardened, you’ll have to put in some force and fuss to get it to shine again. The hardest part to wash is probably the mesh and grate extraction basket. Breville provides a scrub brush for the job, but I quickly lost it. It turns out that a standard dish brush and warm soapy water do a great job of removing apples, carrots, and all other debris. Some of the pieces are dishwasher safe, but some are not. I figure if I have to hand wash a few, I can do them all as well.

The Breville plus juice fountain sits on a countertop.  It was just used to make an orange drink from carrots and oranges.  A lot of pulp covers the inner dome of the juicer.

Photo by Amy Skorheim/Engadget

The only other thing that stopped me was the pulp. Liquid health spurts out of one side of the machine, but a spongy pile of plant matter pours out of the other side. The first time I saw it I had to wonder what the hell I was supposed to do with all of that. I tried a few muffin recipes that call for juicer pulp, but they didn’t turn out well. (I blame my baking skills, not the instructions.) I still think I’ll find something that works, but I have to experiment more.

My favorite solution so far is to add the fluff to my weekly batch of breakfast smoothies. My advice if you do the same: do not include ginger pulp, if you do, it will be the only thing you will taste. Citrus leftovers are also quite overbearing and bitter. Apple Celery Carrot Fuzz has the most neutral flavor and goes great in a morning smoothie. Of course, I always have a lot more by-products than I could possibly use, so I just compost the rest.

At $180, it’s not the cheapest kitchen appliance you can buy, but it’s far from the most expensive. Although mine was a gift, I feel it is worth its price. Design-wise, the fountain follows the silver and matte aesthetic that Breville tends to give its kitchen appliances, a look that’s neither too modern nor too retro. It has beautiful curves and an elegant tower-shaped profile. But thanks to the aforementioned jet engine, the Source is not small. My tiny kitchen doesn’t have counter space to store it, so when it’s not making its juice, it lives in a cupboard. It’s honestly a pain to go down. But I’m happier (and healthier) every time I do it.

Breville Juice Fountain Plus Juicer

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