Sunday, January 15, 2012
Soda Stream- product review
Now being a very avid consumer of flavored (or non-flavored) seltzer water, I was very excited to see if this system truly works and if the syrups offered truly lived up to all that it was implying. I had already understood the concept because my first job ever was working at a soda fountain ice cream shop called "Friendly's". I used to travel from shop to shop covering for other stores and a few of them still had the old fashioned pumps where you squirted three shots of syrup into the bottom of the cup and then added the seltzer to make the soda. But I also knew that sometimes if the mixture was wrong, then so was taste. I knew that depending on when the CO2 was installed that the amount bubbles would also be affected giving you either flat,medium or sinus killing carbination. I know that you know what I mean when I say sinus killing.... although my kids would refer to that as AWESOME! Another thing that interested me was that I tend to be very careful when it comes to using reusable bottles for my beverages. I have a collection of different sizes and styles for any kind of liquid so I was already looking for ways to avoid bringing bottles back to the store. Yes, it is true. I would love to be the mom that is all green and having pure intent for the environment which of course I do in many ways but the truth in my bottle hoarding is that I hate bringing them back to the store. Half the time I'm at the wrong store and the other half of the time its just too time consuming. The big bag of bottles sits in my closet and takes up room. I would love a carbonated product that does not require returnables! All of these thoughts were in my head as I awaited for the box to arrive.
When I saw the box on the table, I could not help but feel a little more "green". The box itself was green! Opening and playing with it became a whole family affair which was fitting since we never agree on what soda to buy. I was given the Genesis model with a starter pack and then a series of other flavors to try. I had my husband read the directions and put it together. This was intentional because he tends to be impatient and not follow all the directions in things and I wanted to see just how easy it would be to set up. It really could not be any easier. Nothing got broken, nothing was spilled or leaked and we did not have any explosions from the cartridge. The only issue we had was getting the green cap off of the CO2 cartridge. It was very difficult to turn and perhaps it was just our one bottle but it took two of us adults to get it to unscrew.
Once the system was set up we tried our first bottle (this is where reading the directions would have come in handy). We filled the bottle to the designated line with cold tap water and attempted a bottle of a substitute for Dr. Pepper. First mistake was the tap water. It was supposed to be very cold for the best results. Mr. Impatient was not going to wait to read all the directions nor was he going to wait for a bottle of water to chill. We also should have paid a little more attention to the directions for adding the air. In the directions it tells you to listen for a loud buzz. People, listen to me when I say its NOT a buzz and with little boys in my home they will tell you that the machine farts. We stopped after the first one because I was afraid it was going to break. Apparently that is the buzz and in order to have normal fizz you need to hear that noise three times. We added a half cap of syrup and gave it a try. Apparently Mr. Impatient did not read that far into the directions so our first bottle was a watery and flat bottle of soda. I was disappointed, that was until I picked up the directions and read them myself.
Our next bottle was seltzer for me. I knew from READING DIRECTIONS that the water should be cold so before I added the air, I ran the water through ice. I then listened for three loud bursts and added about a teaspoon of seltzer mix. It was incredible! Im serious, this was possibly the best seltzer I have ever had. The bubble ratio was perfect, the taste was light and yet very tasty and the whole result was very refreshing.
Next was a cola. Again it was a success with the exception of it ending up being a diet cola which we did not expect because the syrup bottle was not blatantly screaming DIET. Once we figured that out we were pleased.
We then tried the green tea-pomegranate-peach, cranberry-raspberry,black current-pear. All were very tasty and just fine. We were rather full of soda so we put it away for the night. It does not have cord to plug in so this was so easy to put on the counter because it fit anywhere I wanted it to be. That included the kitchen island. Over the course of the weekend we were able to try a few additional flavors like orange, diet grapefruit, lemon lime,root beer and the best was the energy drink. Note to all of you- the little bottle that you make the soda in is much larger than a can of regular energy drink. Of course Mr. Impatient had to take the whole bottle with him and when he returned home he claimed that he "nearly died". In the future I think he may just have a glass of that rather than an entire bottle.
I did a little research into where I can find refill bottles and cartridges. I found that I could find the syrup in most major stores including some that I get coupons for often like Kohl's. The bottles and cartridges were a little more tricky because the only stores local to me that had them were Staples and Bed Bath and Beyond. This made things a little less convenient as they do not offer as many coupons and were a little out of the way of my normal shopping trips but knowing that I would not need to refill them as often was not too bad and I think that I may pick up a spare cartridge so I can have one on spare while waiting to go to the store to refill the other. I also think I may stock up on syrups when I find them on sale as I do my bargain shopping trips.
In summary, the machine works. The syrups are fun and there are so many to choose from. Read the directions which are clear and simple. Most of the syrups will be added to taste but in most cases you did not need to use a full cap like suggested. Anything less than 3 "farts" as my little boys like to refer it to will be somewhat flat. 3-4 seemed to work the best. Make sure your water is very cold first and this can be done by adding water to a pitcher of ice before pouring into the bottle. Store the finished product in a different bottle and then rinse and refill the official bottle with cold water and keep in the refrigerator for the next time. Only one glass of energy drink at a time so nobody "nearly dies".
As for cost effective, I would say so. The last time I was in the store a bottle of soda was about $1.50 plus deposit and a one liter bottle of seltzer was $1.00. In doing the math breakdown I figure that a one liter bottle of soda stream boils down to between .30-.50 a bottle with no deposit. There is definitely a savings. Not to mention it was FUN! I would never use the filling bottle with a syrup in it as you will contaminate the nozzle that inserts the air. There does not seem to be an easy way to clean that. I look forward to trying to carbonate many other things like frozen juices, Margaritas and those little single serve packets of diet drink mix. Now if only there was a syrup for an ice cold beer.
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