There’s a reason I don’t do too many reviews.
First, I’m not all that good at them. I don’t like to memorize all those technical facts that make one sound knowledgeable about a product – nor do I really like to fact-check this sort of thing. I also come across very few products having to do with weight loss that I find all that interesting.
Lastly, history shows I feel no great desire to have content all the time, so I don’t have to fill my blog every day.
But I occasionally come across something neat, and like to share my experience with it. This SodaStream thing is one of these things.
Now, before I continue, I should mention that this isn’t a paid review – Sodastream did not give me this unit so I could gush about it. Apparently that does go on – but not here. I paid for the damn thing myself, thank you very much.
I bought it for Father’s day and it arrived with all the stuff shown above.
It also came with a sampler of their flavorings, which were not half bad (the sugar-free ones) and hooked my daughter. My kids were instant fans from day one.
Me – the schmuck that paid for it, withheld judgement until I learned more.
First, you have to insert one of those fat and slightly scary compressed CO2 canisters into the machine. I don’t remember doing it, so it must have been pretty simple. Next, you use one of their polycarbonate bottles, fill with water, and screw into the machine, which is a slightly awkward process, but nothing to get your shorts twisted in a bunch about.
Then, you press the button at the top and watch the probe-like plastic needle in the bottle force CO2 into the water. I found short bursts work best. You keep doing this until the unit make a loud sound of air escaping, which is probably a relief valve that prevents the thing from blowing up.
It’s not the prettiest noise – actually, it’s quite obnoxious – but if it prevents the explosion of a polycarbonate bottle that will cover me in fresh made seltzer with plastic bits, I’ll survive.
It recommends continuing to add CO2 until you hear this thing ‘burp’ (I’ll use that them, but burp-hobbyist only wish they could come close) three times. I usually go for 7 or 8.
It makes a damn good seltzer. I don’t do what they tell me and never pour drink mix into the 3 polycarbonate bottles that came with the unit – just pure, filtered water goes in there.
Also – don’t think you are going to be able to use any old bottle – the ones that come with the unit are the only ones you can use. Good thing, too, because polycarbonate plastic is way stronger than most plastics, and we’re dealing with high pressure here.
The bottles have a simple life. They get filled with filtered tap water and stored in the fridge – colder water apparently takes a CO2 charge better. As needed, they get injected with CO2, and drank soon after, with any flavorings added in the glass. When empty, they get refilled, and stored in the fridge intil injection time.
This works out well from the standpoint of quantity of flavoring used. I think we use less than if we mixed an entire bottle at the proportion recommended, meaning less artificial crap in our drinks. The kid likes the SodaStream mixes – I use 4C drink mix – a bit of powder at the bottom of the glass.
Ice usually isn’t needed because the water was refrigerated, though we do use unrefrigerated water in a pinch, add ice to our glasses – and it’s fine.
The bottles are pretty tough, and hold in the fizz nicely, though I do have a tendency to tightening it too much so my kid can’t open it. While tough, they are delicate in the fact that a dishwasher will ruin them, so clean them the old-fashioned way – and if you are just putting fresh tap water in them, how often do they need to be cleaned, really?
It sometimes seems that it can go flat faster then the store-bought – but big deal! Add water to fill to the top, give it a few more squirts, and it’s as fizzy as ever – crisis averted.
It’s changed the way we live. My wife, who polices the kitchen counter and carefully scrutinizes things that attempt to make a home there, has allowed it to stay – that means she must like it.
My kid keeps asking me to make more and to get some of the other flavors that we had in the sample pack.
We don’t buy seltzer – and not only the annoyance of getting it, but that pile of plastic and packaging we threw out each week is gone – at least we’re creating a little less trash – we won’t save the world, but it’s a start – and noticed when you could carry out an entire garbage pail of the empties.
We also don’t buy soda. And soda consumption always went like this:
- Mom buys cans soda
- Kid opens can, takes two sips, leaves somewhere
- Kid can’t find first can, open another, takes two sips
- Repeat until entire six-pack of soda is planted around the house, mostly full, flat, and thrown down the sink
My one looming concern on this is the replacement of the empty canister. The size I got is supposed to do 120 liters. It seems that I’ve done that many already – and as it comes with a loaded spare, I’m good for a while – but as of yet, I don’t know ho smoothly (or not smoothly) the swap works. You see, you don’t own the thing – it’s licensed to you for some reason I’m sure involves lawyers and potential liability involving compressed gasses.
Will this replacement process be a pain? We’ll see on that.
12/06/09 UPDATE: I’ve written a post on how I feel about this thing now that I’ve had it for around six months – you can check that out here.