Thursday, September 27, 2012

Product Review: SodaStream

For some reason or another I really wanted to try this contraption - so after grabbing dinner with Erin earlier this week, I bolted to my local Bath Bed & Beyond to pick one up.  SodaStream is a carbonation system which lets you add CO2 to regular H20 from the comfort of your own home. Headquartered in Israel, this company sells its gas infusing machines in 43 countries and is big on being green by reducing consumers' carbon footprint. 

Enough of the technical garb - and on the the review...

Honestly, this machine just looked fun - which is why I got it (I'd like to say that I wanted to be "greener" but that just isn't true).  The model I ended up getting is called Fizz - and it sort of reminds me of a fire hydrant that sits on my counter (it was the only model left at the store). The unit itself is pretty tall but doesn't take up a lot of counter space which is key for kitchen appliances in NY.  The kit came with the actual unit, one tank of carbon dioxide, a reusable bottle/cap used for the actual carbonation and a whack load of sample soda flavors.  What it didn't come with was instructions - which was a bit odd (there are instruction for how to assemble and replace the gas tank but not on how to use the actual machine)...I ended up looking online and found that a lot of people were missing instructions from their kit.  Anyways, after watching a couple videos online on YouTube, I was ready to test it out and make my own fizzy drink!
Step 1:  Fill the carbonation bottle up to wavy line marker (1 Liter capacity) - it's easiest to use cold water here so your drink doesn't have to chill afterwards.
Step 2:  Place the bottle into the machine and screw it in until it's secure.  You want it to be sealed here so that gas doesn't leak out while you are carbonating your water.
Step 3:  Push the lever 3-5 times and watch the bubbles go!  Every time you push down on the lever, the machine will make this loud noise like it's broken which is fine -  just let up on the handle once you hear that noise. 
Step 4:  Release the bottle from the base unit.
Step 5:  You're done! Seltzer water in about 20 seconds from start to finish!
The starter kit comes with a bunch of soda syrups which you can add to the bottle AFTER you carbonate it (you want to keep the aerating tube free from gunk).  Personally, I'm not a big fan of the flavors I tried but I'm also not a big soda drinker to begin with (I got this more to make seltzer water vs cola).
The bottle that you use to carbonate the water doubles as a storage unit and comes with a cap that you can use to cover your carbonated beverage and stash in the fridge.

Overall this is great contraption that does exactly what it says it will do.  What's even better is that you can customize and control the outcome of your drink.  If you like your soda really bubbly, just add another pump of gas when you're aerating the water.  Also, any flavoring that you do add is up to you in terms of what, how much or how little which is a great feature.
You can make your own syrups, buy the pre-made SodaStream stuff or use anything else that suits your this local ginger syrup from Morris Kitchen (which makes a KILLER ginger ale).  

Another plus of the SodaStream is if you do drink a lot of carbonated beverages, this gadget will save you money in the long run.  One CO2 tank will set you back $15 and will last you 150 liters (i.e. 10 cents/liter carbonated) which is significantly cheaper than anything you can pick up at your local bodega.

In terms of cons, some of the mechanisms on the unit are a bit awkward to use.  The front part of the machine needs to be angled to secure the bottle to the hose and while there is a lever to help position the nozzle, it's still a bit awkward.  There are however, a couple other models on the market that don't have this issue since there is enough room to just adhere the bottle without angling the machine.  The only other downside for me was the lack of instructions - seriously who does that... 

All in all I'm happy with the product and if you're a fan of soda/seltzer this is a nifty thing to have!  PS. If you sign up for email notifications at Bath Bed & Beyond, you can get a 20% coupon that you can use towards your purchase (which is what I did!).   

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