Published on October 10th, 2009 | by Greg0
SodaStream: Simple Soda at Home
Making your own soda can be fun, easy, and inexpensive- that’s what we decided a few years ago when we were testing out the Edition 1 Fountain Jet Home Soda Maker. Things haven’t changed that much, and we might as well repeat the same caveat about the cost of the machine being an investment that you’ll need to drink a fair bit to recoup. The Pure Starter Kit from SodaStream is a definite update though.
A couple things have changed that make it perhaps a bit better of a value proposition. For one thing, the brushed stainless-steel machine looks and feels much better- the styling is sophisticated, sitting comfortably next to our other kitchen gadgets without feeling like the ugly duckling. And the number of flavors has only expanded, with some tweaks to recipes that make a few of the sodas better, and some new ones for a wide variety of options. Further, we got the chance to try out a three-pack variety flavor pack of their MyWater, available in berry, orange, and lemon-lime. These essences add a nice flavor to the carbonated water without adding any calories, and compare quite well to any similar beverages on the market.
The sodas, still, don’t quite match up though to many of the name-brand versions. You’ll need to tweak your recipe a bit, we found, and you’ll still end up with mixed results. For some tasters, the same issue we had a few years ago still applied- the drink mixes all contain artificial sweeteners, and though for some folks that meant lower calories and no high-fructose corn syrup, for others it meant an off-taste. As before, the strongest sodas were the diet varieties, which often tasted more like their corporate alternatives. We don’t have space here to list all of the flavors, but they have a mix for most every soda variety, some with caffeine-free versions, and almost every one with a diet version. There is even a new energy drink mix, with similar vitamins as Red Bull, and which was pretty decent if no better-tasting than many energy beverages. Pink Grapefruit was once again a standout, perhaps because there are few bottled sodas to compare against.
In terms of equipment, the scheme is similar- you use their special carbonators (this time offering 60 liters capacity), sending them in for refills as needed. The costs are similar- $26 for two refills of the 60-liter bottles, or $50 for spare containers. You’ll also have to use their carbonating bottles, which do a decent job of holding extra soda and keeping it fresh and fizzy. At $150 for the Pure Model starter kit (which comes with one carbonator, two carbonating bottles, and the unit), it’s definitely worth considering as the most practical and reasonable way to make your own soda quickly. The attractive unit is a nice bonus, and the setup does seem attractive especially in a city like San Francisco, so you don’t need to lug your heavy bottles of syrupy water back from the store. Also, it’s definitely environmentally friendlier to re-use bottles and healthier to drink less sugar. All around, the Pure is a great upgrade from the original model we used, and we hope to see SodaStream continue the trend. Available online and in stores.