Anyone who has lived in a walk-up apartment can appreciate a convenience that saves them from having to carry something heavy, like soda bottles. Sodastream allows you to make your own soda in the comfort of your own home. I’m a big fan of creating things from scratch as much as possible. It’s nice to create your own soda and enjoy it rather then crack open a store bought one. At parties Sodastream has been a big hit, making bartending for dinner parties a main event that everyone wanted to try and taste. Kids also love the process of getting their own bubbles. And the whole process of making your own Soda with Sodastream process is surprisingly easy.
When I first received the Sodastream box, it was intimidating. I was nervous that I might explode my kitchen, but no such thing happened. I easily popped the CO2 canister in place, and followed the few steps of directions, and I had my soda. It is quite simple really. We received two models. First, the Penguin, and second, Pure. They both give you the expected end result of bubbly water. However, the Penguin is a tad more automated, and well, it looks like a penguin and is quite adorable. It also comes with two beautiful glass bottles with a lovely swirl groove that hold a 2/3 liter soda. The Pure comes with two BPA free bottles that holds one full liter of soda. As with all of them, you should not put them in the dishwasher, and just a simple rinse will do.
Both models have the CO2 canister that lock in place with a simple twisting motion. The Pure’s canister connects to the top portion and then slides into to meet the base. The Penguin just simply has a cover on the back that you pop over it. The major difference lies in how the bottle is held during carbonation. With the Pure, you screw the water-filled bottle into the nozzle and then release. Then you pull the lever at the top. Each loud buzz you hear is an injection of carbonation. Three is for average bubbles. Next, you unscrew the bottle and hear a bit of a release. Then you can add in your chosen soda flavor by tipping the bottle and pouring in a cap full. Shake gently, then let rest before opening.
The Penguin differs from this process, in that you simply open the stainless steel cup holder, place the glass bottle in there, close and lock the compartment, and then push down on the lever or the “beak” for carbonation. You don’t see it happening, you just hear it. However, any drips go into the cup and not your counter. You just unlock the compartment, and you have your bubbly water, waiting to be mixed. Make sure you get the carbonation right the first time, because there is no going back after you poured in the syrup.
There are 25 flavors for Sodastream including, Cola, Ginger Ale, Pete’s Choice (like Dr. Pepper), Tonic, Fountain Mist (like Mountain Dew), an energy drink comparable to Red Bull, and then many diet versions. There is also a line of Water Essence, for tasty sparkling water. Another new line they have released, that we got to try, is the Sparkling Naturals that comes in Pink Grapefruit, Lemon Lime, Apple Mango, and Orange Pineapple. This line contains no artificial flavors, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and or any preservatives. And it tastes fantastic. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the pink grapefruit.
Even if you decide to go with one of the regular soda choices, they have a considerable amount less sugar, carbs and sodium than store-bought brands. One nice perk is that they don’t use high fructose corn syrup, they use real sugar. Yes, I have seen the ad campaign trying to convince us that they are the same thing, but Coke in Mexico tastes way better, and it is because they use real sugar not high fructose corn syrup like they do here in the States. It just tastes better! The diet Sodastream flavors contain no aspartame (the stuff that gives mice cancer and is in almost all diet soda). They instead use Splenda. Using these flavors might be a good way to wean the soda addict you know away from the bad stuff, and on to a healthier option. If you want to be real bold, you can even try concocting some of your own recipes for syrup floating around out there. Or some people like to just mix juice in with their sparkling water. That is quite tasty too.
You might be wondering now if it is worth the cost to purchase Sodastream, will it save you money? After you purchase the machine and use up the first CO2 canister, here are the expenses you will be looking at in order to maintain it, as compared with purchasing store bought brands (please note the Penguin holds only 2/3 of a liter, thus making the prices a bit higher):
So the verdict? Soda Stream is the more affordable in the end. It make take a while to pay for itself since the Pure Starter Kit costs about $170 and the Penguin $250. However, there are a lot of other upsides to this product. One – it is very environmentally responsible. You can recycle almost everything they give you, so you only reuse the bottles that hold the soda, rather then throwing them out. Also, Sodastream requires no electricity or batteries. You can also make Soda with Sodastream on an as needed basis, making for less waste. Two – it is healthier overall then store bought sodas in content, and bottling. Three – it is convenient. Everything is delivered to your doorstep. No lugging from car to counter. Plus, you always have what you need on hand to make whatever you or your guests desire. Four -Finally, it is fun. It really is. Holding the lever down and watching the bubbles rush in is something the kids will love. As do my dinner party guests.
Overall, this Sodastream is a great product that should sweep the world. You’ll notice that when you get the included bazillion language manual. The Pure model in particular is fun because you can see the bubbles bubbling. Thus, kids will especially like this model, but they also might like pushing down on the Penguin’s “beak” and getting cola. I prefer the Pure’s style because it has a more slender appearance and looks elegant in the kitchen. However, the Penguin is easier to use, and is very cute, albeit a bit more bulky. It’s included glass bottles are very beautiful too. Both models come with a 2 year warranty and a money back guarantee. I utilized customer service and found them to be very pleasant, knowledgeable, and helpful. There are more affordable models available on their website too and all of the Sodastream machines can also be purchased on Amazon.
The Good: Healthier than store bought soda, environmentally friendly, convenient and easy to use
The Bad: It may take a while to pay for itself