WASHINGTON DC, January 2, 2013- I do not usually write product reviews, but after realizing that everyone in my family owns a SodaStream, I thought I would share why I (we) like it so much.
Even though we are not a big soda-drinking household, we drink a lot of sparkling water and have begun to experiment with our own soda flavors. My aunt gave us a soda stream about two years ago and it has changed the way we view carbonated drinks.
What I like is that I can make soda or sparkling water at any time, I can make it as carbonated or as sweet as I like it, and there is a lot more room in my refrigerator. I also feel like I’m doing something good for the environment.
What I like
According to the SodaStream website, it costs you $.25 to make a can of soda or sparkling water with the soda stream. I do not know if this includes the price of the soda maker itself, (which can run from $69.99 to $130), the special bottles (one comes with the soda maker, extras are $19.99 for a two-pack) and the carbonator cans (one comes with the soda maker, refills are $14.99 new are $29.99). A note on refills and new carbonators below.
Steven H. Saltzman at Consumer Reports estimates that the machine should pay for itself after around 300 bottles of soda.
Less waste, better for the environment
Another reason I like the SodaStream is that we don’t waste as many plastic bottles or soda cans as before. SodaStream claims to be an “Active Green” product, which reduces an individual’s CO2 footprint the more it is used. According to SodaStream, if you use their product instead of buying soda at a store, “less plastic (is) manufactured, less plastic waste is created, and fewer bottled beverages must be transported from manufacturers to distributors to stores to homes.”
I’m not an environmental expert and don’t know if using a SodaStream will actually reduce your CO2 footprint. However, I can say that we personally waste a lot less in terms of bottles and cans, and have much more room in our refrigerator.
Make soda how you like it
One of my favorite features of the SodaStream is that since you add carbonation gradually by pressing the button on the soda maker, I can make my soda as fizzy or flat as I like it. Also, since you add the flavor syrup, you can make your soda as sweet or as light as you want.
As I said before, I’m not a big sugary soda fan. However, I have tasted the various flavors, and in my opinion, they taste pretty much like the real thing. Soda Stream also has every popular flavor you can think of.
Almost never run out of soda
The final thing that I love about the SodaStream is that since you have to use so little syrup, you almost never run out of soda. This is a huge plus at parties or when you can’t make it out to the store that often.
What I dislike
You can’t travel with it
When I got the SodaStream, I though that it would be a great gift for my father-in-law in Greece. However, you are not allowed to carry or check the SodaStream carbonators in your luggage on an airplane and you cannot send them in the mail.
Luckily SodaStream products can be found around the world- except for Greece.
Getting the soda to taste just right
Since you have to measure the syrup yourself and add it to the bottle after you carbonate the water, it may take a few times to get it to taste like “real” Coca-Cola or Fanta, but it is pretty easy to gage after a few tries.
Also, you measure the sticky syrup with the cap, which can be a bit messy.
A word on carbonators
I have found that the most expensive part of using the SodaStream is the carbonators. However, I find that a single carbonator lasts us about one month. Luckily, you can buy a refilled carbonator instead of a new one for half the price. Finally, it is not that difficult to find the carbonator cans or refills; they are on Amazon and at almost every home-goods store.
However, you cannot walk down to any local grocery store or deli and get a carbonator- like you can a bottle of soda. However, with a little planning and a spare carbonator, you should be fine.
Making your own syrups
There are tons of articles online about “going rouge” with your SodaStream. Some are hilarious and others are quite informative. Just type “homemade soda syrups” into any search engine. A word of caution: NEVER put anything but water in the bottle before you carbonate it.
Believe me, we’ve survived a few explosions and they are not fun and extremely messy. It may also damage your soda maker. Nevertheless, after you’ve carbonated the water and put the machine safely away, go crazy.
John’s Ginger Ale Syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 cups water
3 Tbs. peeled and sliced ginger
10 cardamom pods
4 star anise pods
1 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp whole peppercorns
- In a small pot over medium heat, combine sugars, water, and ginger.
- In a separate skillet, toast the rest of the spices over medium high heat for about 30 seconds or until fragrant
- Add toasted spices to the sugar and water mixture and bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer
- Simmer for 20 minutes
- Remove from heat and allow to steep until cool
- Strain cooled mixture through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer and refrigerate in a glass jar or container.
All in all, I love my SodaStream and continue to give it as a gift and recommend it to friends and family. Everyone that owns one really loves it.
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