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5
Feb

The Soda Stream for Homemade Soda

by Tiffany in A Green Home

For months I have been hearing good things about the SodaStream. It is basically a system for making your own homemade soda.. water, syrup, carbonation… everything. While I was intrigued about its inner workings I doubted I would ever purchase one because soda wasn’t something I felt good about bringing into the house…even if it was greener and cleaner to do it that way. It seemed like an awesome product for soda drinkers though. Except we aren’t 100% soda free here either. My husband drinks soda quite a bit actually and since he drinks out of cans that can have BPA this product started to sound better. My kids also like to have soda when they can possibly get it and not wanting to demonize it and make it even more intriguing to them, I don’t make a big deal it. When I go out to eat I almost always get a root beer if they have it. It reminds me of happy childhood moments at the root beer stand during summer vacations.

When SodaStream asked if they could send me their Penguin model recently, I almost said no. I figured we didn’t need it and we didn’t want it. I asked my husband what he thought and he insisted we take it for a test run. I was also VERY curious to see if you could use it to carbonate juices and make flavored seltzer waters and make it healthier than regular soda. I don’t know about you but it isn’t the flavor of the soda that I find attractive… its the carbonation… it just wakes up your taste buds and makes your mouth all happy. So, I confirmed that we would get a unit with glass bottles (not plastic) and accepted their generous offer.

My initial reactions are that this is a greener and healthier way to make soda if you are already buying and drinking it. The Penguin model I have uses glass carafes, so there are no BPA lined cans and no plastic bottles to drink out of. So right away it looks likes less to recycle than the typical soda drinking home and less chance of exposure to plastic chemicals. The syrup provided to make their sodas comes in plastic bottles though, so it is a wash in that department. The flavors for their seltzer water come in glass bottles though so that is a BIG plus… healthier than soda and no plastic. They also taste REALLY good.

Glass Bottles

When I accepted the SodaStream I also had some devious intentions. I wanted to find a way to make drinks without purchasing their flavoring or syrup. I figured I would take some fresh squeezed orange juice and carbonate it for sparkling OJ right? Well, the instructions expressly tell you that you cannot carbonate anything but water (syrup and flavoring go in afterwards) or risk ruining your Soda Stream. At first I thought this was just their clever way of keeping you buying their syrups but after making our first soda I saw why you cannot carbonate juice. After we added a cap full of soda syrup to our first carafe of carbonated water it fizzed all over the place… I cannot imagine the mess you would make if you carbonated AFTER you put the syrup in. It would be disastrous I suspect. My secret tactic was shot down.

We did find an alternative though. You can add organic fruit concentrates in jars or from those cardboard tubes to the carafe after carbonation and you have sparkling juice. You can also add sparkling water instead of plain water to your lemonade. This summer, when fruit comes back in season, we plan on making our own fruit concentrate syrups and making our own sparkling fruit juices.

The basic process is this: You fill the carafe with carbonated water (we use filtered), then you put it inside the penguin and push the penguin’s beak down 2-4 times to carbonate the water. Remove the carafe and pour in your syrup or flavoring and voila. The carafes can go directly in the frig for storage and they get sealed with a special plastic cap that seals. It is pretty darn easy.

Soda Stream Penguin

My husband also likes the soda syrup from the SodaStream company. I participated in a couple of his taste tests and it tasted just like regular Cola or orange pop to me. I could taste no difference from the store bought stuff. We may keep ordering some of those for him but mostly I think we will stick with the little flavored water bottles.

The other issue that concerned me was the CO2 bottles. I was worried that they would be expensive to replace, hard to recycle or trade in, and that they wouldn’t last very long. At $30 to replace two, I wanted to make sure that this would not be an issue and I am happy to report that it is not. You can send them back to the company to be reused and get two fresh ones back AND they last quite awhile. We have made about 30+ plus bottles of sparkling juice, soda, and flavored seltzer water and are still using the first CO2 bottle. I also heard from a friend that has the Soda Stream that she trades in her CO2 bottles at her local Williams-Sonoma and according the web site there are a couple near me that will do the same. That eliminated a wait time and the $8 shipping. Bed, Bath, and Beyond also does this.

Orange Soda

So would I recommend the SodaStream? Yes… if you drink soda or flavored seltzer water. If you don’t drink those things you probably don’t need it. I would also recommend the models that utilize glass carafes instead of the ones that use plastic bottles, and those models are a bit pricier but again…if you already drink the stuff then why not?

The body of the penguin is plastic and metal but if the product helps you avoid buying plastic bottles of soda than it seems like a good trade to me. If you drink soda from a can or plastic bottle then this option will be helpful in reducing your exposure to chemicals. I also like the fact that it requires no electric to run it. It helps reduce your ecological impact, not create even more.

For us it gives my husband a slightly greener and healthier way to drink something he already drinks. It gives me a way to make my own sparkling juices and seltzer water as well make my own club soda for sparkling fruit smoothies. It gives my kids a treat that I might otherwise say no to AND they love to watch the process. So yes, we like our SodaStream and I am pleasantly surprised to find that I do. I look forward to seeing what we can make with it this summer. If anyone has any tips or ideas I would love to hear them!

Drinking Homemade Soda

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Friday, February 5th, 2010

27 Comments

  • http://condo-blues.blogspot.com Condo Blues

    My husband makes his own version of Orangia by adding carbonated water to orange juice. http://condo-blues.blogspot.com/2008/06/husbands-homemade-orangina-recipe.html

    I’m considering a soda stream to make the carbonated soda water. Right now, he buys it in large bottles.

  • Sue

    I bought this same model last year since my husband drinks a lot of seltzer. Between all the issues you have noted and the eventual cost in savings and waste, I thought it was a much better option than buying seltzer in bottles or cans. We don’t drink soda here but mainly just use it for seltzer with a squeeze of lemon/lime or add a tad of juice to it when we make our glasses. The kids think it’s a treat and I feel better about since I can choose the juice and avoid excess sugar. For extra special treats, I’ll make my own ginger syrup for homemade ginger ale.

  • http://enviromama.blogspot.com Jenny

    Thanks for reviewing this product and posting it here! I’ve been looking at this product on and off for the last year or so, but just haven’t taken the plunge with it yet. I’m glad to read your review and think we might give it a try when we have the extra cash. I think we would get good use out of it around here and my kids would love to have sparkling lemonade for a treat.

  • julie

    My husband got this for me as a Christmas gift and we LOVE it !!! We both drink carbonated water. (I don’t like soda, but I am addicted to sparkling water. It has to be the bubbles.) I would love the recipe for the ginger syrup – He also likes ginger ale…

    • Sue

      make a simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar) by bringing it to a boil on the stove until the sugar melts. Include about an inch or two (depending on how strong you like it) of fresh ginger (peeled and chopped into smaller pieces) and then let it steep for an hour. We don’t like things overly sweet around here so we just put a small bit of syrup into our sparkling water but that is the great thing about doing it yourself because you can cater to your tastes. Include a squeeze of lime to get a true ginger ale flavor.

      • julie

        Thank you for the recipe !

  • keith wilcox

    I don’t drink a lot of soda. Probably a lot like you in that respect, just occasionally. This might be a novelty sort of thing for us. I suspect we’d use it at first because it seems sorta cool, then probably forget about it like every other gadged we’ve got lying around. Vita-Mix it’s not :-)

  • Abby

    That is so cool! I don’t drink much soda but it’s definatly an interesting idea!

  • ES

    My husband drinks several sodas a week and my son likes soda too (who gets a few ounces in his own glass when daddy has some so we don’t totally demonize it). I would love to offer a healthier option for them but when looking at soda they all contain Splenda. I think Splenda is worse than HFCS in regular soda. I’m not sure if I could get them to switch to seltzer. They kind of like what they know and what they are used to. Anyway, just wanted to point out that sodas have Splenda in them so might kill the health benefits.

    • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

      ES, when I said healthier I meant because hubby wouldn’t be drinking out of plastic or BPA lined cans.. not because the soda is actually healthier. I agree that it is not healthier in that respect at all.

  • Denise IL

    We also bought this just before Christmas.

    It is a super product and built to a great quality.

    The convenience of being able to have soda on demand is a life-changer.

  • Marten

    I’ve had my sodastream for a few years now. Unlike other people, I really do not like their soda syrups and other flavoring mixes. They taste substandard to me – my wife says the non-diet ones taste like diet. Instead, I’ve been making my own ginger syrup (similar the recipe Sue posted in the comments above) or just add fresh squeezed lemon or lime (or both) to my carbonated water. I’m addicted to the fizzy bubbles too.. and it’s much healthier than dumping high fructose corn syrup down your gullet. Nice to see other people use theirs in the same way!

    A note to Sue’s ginger syrup recipe – If you remove the ginger slices from the syrup, roll them in granulated sugar and bake them for a while on a cookie sheet, you have yummy crystallized ginger treats. These are an age-old cure for stomach aches, motion sickness, hot flashes and give relief to many common cold symptoms, and are downright delicious.

    • BKNaturally

      It’s also great for morning sickness. I drank ginger tea, ginger ale, and ginger beer on a daily basis when the morning sickness was at its worst. Thanks for the chrystallized ginger recipe. It’s a really good use for leftover ginger.

  • Wanda

    Tried this at the Go Green Expo in NYC and my sister purchased one which of course we borrowed. I gotta say the soda is amazing… you cant really tell the difference and for a soda drinker it would be worth it to purchase. But we are not soda drinkers anymore. And while its a great alternative, the syrups are still made with Sucralose, which is not natural. But I guess its better then HFCS.

  • Haholleran

    Hi Tiffany, I’d hoped to carbonate fruit juices as well but after reading their instructions and your comments, I won’t. I’m intrigued about the organic juice concentrates you mention making…can you share your technique for creating these juice concentrates?

  • SodastreamAddict

    I grew up with a Sodastream in our house – the old ones that take glass bottles. Think my Dad purchased it in the 80′s here in Australia. I bought my own when I was 21, I’ve now had it for 12 years! It is definitely the bubbles I am addicted to! I have never used the Sodastream syrups. I either add some fresh lemon juice, mix it with apple juice etc (I find straight juice too sweet) or cordial (a concentrated syrup, you only need to add a little to a glass of water).

  • Innocent Bystander

    This may not be the recommendation you are looking for, but you can just use commercial soda bottles half-a-dozen times or more. They’re free (well, virtually so). And if you don’t wanna rinse ‘em out in warm water after using them (which avoids having to wash them), just throw them away. You can always get another at no cost to you. Find out how to use them at http://www.sodastreamalternative.com

  • Mike Spike

    Anyone here even tried a Soda Stick? If you go to http://www.sodastreamAlternative.com, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Couldn’t you get free bottles for life using an apparatus like that?

  • Kellylashawn

    Just wanted to chime in that sodastream does also carry a line called sparkling naturals.  I think they are free of both hfcs and sucralose.  Of course, they are more expensive than their regular line of syrups (and still have phosphoric acid and probably other unsavory ingredients) but if you are seeking rootbeer or cola, this may be another option  http://www.sodastreamusa.com/Sparkling-Naturals-C51.aspx

  • http://theblessedcountrymom.blogspot.com Ali

    My brother has one of these, they are pretty neat. We have recently started drinking water kefir here though, healthy probiotics with a fizz!  I am just starting to get my “experimental” recipes tasting better and I am loving it!

  • nasir

    so what happens if you try to carbonate oj?

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Will fizz out of control and probably ruin your machine.

  • Deke Rivers

    Not sure why all the negativity against Splenda compared to high fructose corn syrup used in most commercial sidas. I’ve found the soda stream syrups to be significantly lower in sugar and sodium when compared to Coke, Pepsi, etc.

    The BPA free bottles are high quality and if rinsed and cleaned right away are easy to use.

    Add to orange, cranberry, or lemonade for great drinks! In my opinion buy the cheapest soda stream you can find there really isn’t any difference to how they work it’s just looks.

  • Thelegendarystm

    Get a proofreader

  • Karen

    I’ve also heard of people putting flavored Stevia in their carbonated water.

  • Sara

    I made a fresh ginger simple syrup with agave rather than sugar, that I then added to my carbonated soda water. I  put a chunk of fresh ginger root through my food processor, put it in a small pan, added agave syrup and water, brought to a boil, chilled, strained off the ginger and then added the syrup to soda water to taste. (add vodka and some fresh lime to it and you have a tasty Moscow Mule)

  • Burgerturk

     its called buying a bottle brush and doing it by hand. are you seriously that lazy?