Early this week preparations for CES went into high gear. I commented to the GD team that during the week a staple of my diet tends to be either sugar-free Red Bull or FiveHour Energy and that, upon arrival, I may buy a case of each. I also made an offhand comment that a box of FiveHour Energy is rather pricey. Bryan chimed in that he has a SodaStream and one of the available mixes is an energy concentrate. It would, he noted, be far more economical. Two days later I joined the ranks of the SodaStream users. Funny thing is, Elana had mentioned possibly getting one for her parents. At the time I wasn’t familiar with it, so it didn’t even register that this was what she was talking about.
Here’s a quick look at the SodaStream system, some thoughts from members of the GD team who own them and a first look at one thanks to a little help from my father-in-law Mark.
Making carbonated water and soft drinks is simple! Turn tap water into sparkling water in under 30 seconds, with no clean-up. Enjoy the freshness and convenience of homemade soda and protect the environment at the same time. No heavy bottles to carry, store at home or throw away. Fizz to your taste and add the flavor of your choice to make your favorite drink. Simple to clean and reuse. With a variety of colors and silhouettes, you’ll be sure to find a soda maker to match with any decor.
On their website the company also addresses issues of nutritional value, environmental responsibility, convenience and flexibility. All of them seem to be rather accurate.
For example, nutritionally this chart says pretty much all that needs to be said. Of course, the healthiest thing to do is simply drink water (or beer?) but where’s the fun in that (the water at least).
Environmentally it is the same story. I should note that, until about a year ago, we went through a huge number of bottles of water. One day I decided to stop using bottled water (most of the time) and now fill up an aluminum water bottle from our reverse osmosis faucet. It tastes fine, saves plastic bottles and is just as convenient. Still, I continued to drink a fair amount of seltzer and although we do recycle, it still meant plastic was created, shipped, stored, bought and lugged. I can, at times go through a bottle and a half or more in a day. That is a lot of plastic bottles. If I could take the same approach with seltzer that I now take with water it would be great. That is exactly what the SodaStream allows me to do. The system uses CO2 chargers that are recyclable (reusable?), each bottle is good for up to two years and the weight and bulk of what needs to be shipped is far less than buying case upon case of seltzer.
The system has a number of distinct parts. There is the actual machine, of which there are a number of styles and price points. There is the carbonation canister. There is the actual bottle that is filled and refilled. (It can last two years before needing to be replaced.) And, if you don’t want boring old seltzer there are the flavors. If, like me until this week, you aren’t familiar with the system I’ll let the video walk you through with process. Before we get to that however let’s look at why I jumped on board the SodaStream wagon.
The Gear Diary Take:
Bryan Eley: I’ve been pretty happy with ours, though I will say it doesn’t carbonate to the level that most people are accustomed to with cans or bottles. Also, the carbonation does not last too terribly long, even in the sealed bottle, but it’s meant to be drunk within a day or so. Some of the flavors are fairly close. I can’t comment about the Energy Drink/Red Bull, since as I think I mentioned before I’ve never had Red Bull, at least not enough to form a taste opinion. My kids like the various flavors, but then I don’t allow my children to drink very much soda in the first place.
Thomas R. Hall: I love my SodaStream. Got it last year for Christmas. We use it a lot just to drink carbonated water. But I mostly mix it with a minimal amount of apple juice to give me nice flavor. Reminds me of an Apple Soda we used to drink in Taiwan when I visited my grandparents when I was growing up.
We will also mix it with other juices or even juice/tea combinations. Homemade Orangina, anyone?
Doug Moran: We’ve had one for years, honestly–it saves me quite a bit on soda, since I prefer things like Crystal Geyser Juice Squeezes and Izzies, and those are durn expensive. One hint: do *not* try to recarbonate flat soda with them–even when you use the SodaStream bottle, the result is . . . less than optimal
Mike Anderson: Our kids love the SodaStream we got my younger son last year. Just got a few new mixes for him, and there is constantly a bottle of something in the fridge …
The Video (With thanks to my father-in-law Mark for being such a good sport):
The SodaStream is available directly from the company, at a number of brick and mortar retailers and here our Amazon NGD affiliate store -SodaStream offerings.
MSRP: $99 and up
What I Like: Easy; Economical; Environmentally positive; Wide variety of flavor options; Less fizz than most store-bought soda (that can also be a negative)
What Needs Improvement: Machine is rather flimsy; refills can be pricey