Until now, the only times I’ve ever been much of soda drinker have been when I’ve been living in hot places in Africa and soda has offered a cool burst of sugary energy and refreshment in the midst of a long, hot, sweaty day of traveling on dusty, bumpy roads.
(The R & D manager for Soda Club added a comment on this post affirming the claim that the company does not use high fructose corn syrup and wondering where I could have seen something like that, so I’m adding in a picture here of the label of the syrup bottle clearing displaying the ingredient list in question. Click on the image itself to enlarge it and read the words.)
So when the Soda Stream people emailed me a press release and product offer, I wasn’t interested at first. Then a couple different people in my office mentioned that they actually have one of these home soda makers. At the same time, we were about to publish the Responsible Purchasing Guide to Bottled Water Alternatives, so my brain was filled with data concerning the wastefulness and misleading marketing of bottled water. Soda is just bottled water with some corn syrup and artificial coloring – in a sense, making it worse than straight up bottled water since at least bottled water isn’t filled with empty calories and phony ‘flavors’ and ‘colors.’ So I was curious about this contraption in so far as it potentially offered a way to make soda that was lower impact on the environment.
Actually, I don’t mind the occasional glass of root beer, and I downright like grape and orange soda, particularly when I’m wanting to reach for something to drink but really don’t need to have another beer. So I decided to take this soda maker for a spin.
I’ve been surprised by how much I like it.
First of all, this thing is simple. All it does is inject carbon dioxide into liquid. And thus it uses no electricity, just a cartridge of CO2 – something many homebrewers already have on hand if they are dispensing their beer on draft at home. For them, this gadget is unnecessary since they can already carbonate a keg of flavored water.
But if you don’t have a home draft system, and you want a glass of homemade soda, this thing couldn’t be easier. All you do is fill a reusable bottle with water, insert it into the Sodastream, inject the CO2, add some syrup and oila, you’ve got soda. It literally takes less than a minute to make a liter of soda.
This minimalist appliance has three advantages over buying soda from the store:
- It’s way, way cheaper
- It allows you to control your soda sweetness (and, for that matter, all of the ingredients in your carbonated beverage)
- It eliminates a lot of waste containers and reduces the carbon footprint of soda by limiting the energy required to bottle, distribute, and retail heavy bottles of sugar water.
In short, I’m a convert.
My only complaint is that the syrups they provide are the same kind of crap used to make regular store-bought soda. I wish they had some flavor syrups made with organic cane sugar, or stevia, and that didn’t contain a bunch of completely unnecessary artificial colorings and flavorings. They do offer a straight lemon-lime essence that contains no sugar or color, and that’s a fine option, but I actually like a little sweetness.
Overall, this thing is a thumbs up. I’m looking forward to experimenting with other flavoring options, maybe some fresh home-squeezed juices?