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    Published on March 6th, 2012 | by Greg


    Home Carbonation: Colorful and Quirky, Or Elegantly Classy

    f you’re tired of spend­ing a small for­tune on pre-pack­aged sug­ar wa­ter, there are some bet­ter, health­i­er, less ex­pen­sive, and fresh­er op­tions avail­able now. Home car­bon­a­tion isn’t some weird, dif­fi­cult tech­nol­o­gy meant for those ex­plor­ing molec­u­lar gas­tron­o­my. You don’t need any­thing oth­er than ei­ther of the pack­ages to­day to en­joy sparkling wa­ter, and you’re wel­come to call it ‘be­spoke’, ‘ar­tisi­nal’, ‘hand-made’ or any oth­er hip ad­jec­tive that helps you en­joy the bub­bles.

    We’ve seen So­daS­tream be­fore- they are the biggest name in home car­bon­a­tion, and we checked out some of their lat­est for­mu­la­tions along with one of their ma­chines just a few months ago, to our dis­tinct plea­sure. But time moves fast in the bev­er­age in­dus­try, and we have two new ma­chines to­day, each of which of­fers some­thing slight­ly dif­fer­ent. We’ll start with the less ex­pen­sive of the two, the So­daS­tream Fizz. Ours was the red mod­el, but a few oth­ers are avail­able- blue, black, white, and green. The Fizz is cute, fair­ly small, and clear­ly meant to be play­ful. It does boast a great fea­ture though that most oth­er mod­els don’t- the ‘Fizz Chip’, which al­lows you not on­ly to see the lev­el of the car­bon­a­tion car­tridge, but al­so in the­o­ry to change the car­bon­a­tion strength. The me­ter works rea­son­ably well, and this is def­i­nite­ly the mod­el for younger folks- the build qual­i­ty is OK, but not great, and the price is rea­son­able at $150 or so.

    The ba­sics of the sys­tem have not changed. You’ll still need to use cus­tom car­tridges, which are re­fill­able, and last around 60-110 liters. If you don’t live near a con­ve­nient spot to re­turn and swap out the car­bon­at­ing car­tridges once used (Bed, Bath, and Be­yond for in­stance), then the sys­tem is like­ly to not be cost-ef­fec­tive for you. Al­so, you can en­joy wa­ter im­me­di­ate­ly af­ter car­bon­a­tion, a pro­cess that takes on­ly sec­onds and is su­per-sim­ple, or you can add a va­ri­ety of syrups that they of­fer in or­der to make so­das of near­ly any fla­vor. The Fizz us­es the ba­sic plas­tic con­tain­ers, which are reusable and easy to put in­to the re­frig­er­a­tor for chill­ing be­fore or af­ter car­bon­a­tion. They’re al­so easy to clean. For those cu­ri­ous about the syrups, some of our fa­vorites are from the Sparkling Nat­u­rals line, which dis­pense with the as­par­tame and ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers used in pri­or for­mu­la­tions, and in­stead use nat­u­ral cane sug­ar. The Root Beer is ex­cel­lent, and there are many oth­ers as well, with a prod­uct line of about 50 va­ri­eties. You’ll get around 33 cans out of a bot­tle of syrup, which can save you mon­ey over time, es­pe­cial­ly here in New York where a can of Coke can cost $2.

    The So­das­tream Crys­tal is their high­er-end ver­sion. We loved the glass carafes- they look and feel great and the ma­chine it­self is much sleek­er, with classy black and sil­ver looks. The Crys­tal al­so feels more sol­id, and is much bet­ter suit­ed for adults and gift­ing (wed­ding at­ten­dees in need of an in­ter­est­ing gift, con­sid­er this). And the carafes al­so seal bet­ter than the plas­tic ones, in our ex­pe­ri­ence, mean­ing you can grab them the next day and still have so­da that isn’t flat. The tex­tured bot­tles are easy to hold, and are avail­able sep­a­rate­ly for un­der $20 if you want ex­tras. This one is al­so avail­able in a cou­ple of col­ors, though not as wide­ly.

    Be­tween the fla­vor essences (fruit fla­vors with no sweet­en­ers at all), and the ton­ic, en­er­gy drink, caffiene free, di­et va­ri­eties, and even teas there is some­thing for ev­ery­one. And whether you choose the more sol­id, mod­ern Crys­tal with a slight­ly high­er price point of $200, or the cute Fizz, you won’t like­ly be dis­ap­point­ed in your abil­i­ty to add in­stant sparkle (to your wa­ter, if not your day). Avail­able on­line and at many re­tail­ers.

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    About the Author

    Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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