Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

SodaStream – at home soda maker


  • Please log in to reply
59 replies to this topic

#1 Rover

Rover
  • participating member
  • 242 posts
  • Location:Vancouver, Canada

Posted 08 December 2010 - 05:06 AM

I believe the SodaStream system has been available for a while in the U.S., but only over the past year or in Canada with limited distribution. Now, however, it seems to be everywhere you look. I've had mine for about 6 months and I think I've died and gone to Heaven! It's easy, fast and you can control the level of carbonation.

For me the advantages are that I no longer have to haul those heavy 2 litre bottles of carbonated water from the supermarket and then store and haul the empties right back again for recycling. It's economical, convenient and a slick-looking machine. I drink about a litre of sparkling water a day, so this has made a big difference for me.

For those who are interested, there are all kinds of flavours including colas, but I haven't investigated those. I flirted briefly with an attempt at sparkling wine, but ended up wasting half a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc as it fizzed all over the kitchen counter - I may return to that experiment another time.

For those who love sparkling water this system is terrific.


#2 CFT

CFT
  • participating member
  • 162 posts
  • Location:UK

Posted 08 December 2010 - 05:14 AM

Didn't realise SodaStream was new to the US and Canada. It's been in the UK for decades. I thought they would have gone international ages ago.

Seems they did. Interesting history: http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Sodastream
Best Wishes,
Chee Fai.

#3 Fat Guy

Fat Guy
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 29,303 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 08 December 2010 - 06:05 AM

I haven't heard of this specific brand but for as long as I can remember I've had friends who've done home carbonation here in the US, either with dedicated devices, cartridges, or plain old tanks of CO2. The problems with the consumer-grade machines I've seen are that 1- they're flimsy, and 2- they kill you on the cost of consumables, charging 10x or more what you'd pay for an equivalent amount of CO2 from a commercial supplier.
Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

#4 IndyRob

IndyRob
  • participating member
  • 824 posts

Posted 08 December 2010 - 07:05 AM

I haven't heard of this specific brand but for as long as I can remember I've had friends who've done home carbonation here in the US, either with dedicated devices, cartridges, or plain old tanks of CO2. The problems with the consumer-grade machines I've seen are that 1- they're flimsy, and 2- they kill you on the cost of consumables, charging 10x or more what you'd pay for an equivalent amount of CO2 from a commercial supplier.


This is true. I bought one a couple of years ago because I was so frustrated with pricing of soda. Buying it at the regular price usually means that you're paying twice the price of getting it on sale elsewhere. Having to constantly comparison shop for a staple had me very annoyed. Brand loyalty was the first casualty, but even then, I sometimes had to visit two or three stores. So I got the SodaStream.

But I concluded that if you can find 2 liter bottles for 99 cents, you come out ahead of the SodaStream cost of about $1.24. Convenience is a trade off. On the one hand, you can stock a lot of soda syrup - and making up a bottle is much easier than going to the store. But there is a whole set of logistics required for maintaining a supply of syrup and CO2.

A pleasant suprise was that I liked their diet cola formula as much as the 'Big Two'. I had never found a generic store brand I could drink. Even buying bulk brand name syrup from GFS was not a better option - either economically or quality-wise.

Still, my SodaStream has fallen into disuse. But I may re-stock it now that their are more retail options. It looks like they had a failed distribution attempt with Kohls and Williams & Sonoma. But now they're back with more retailers.

The best solution would be to hack it to use large CO2 tanks. This would reduce the 2 Liter price by nearly 40 cents. But this would be tricky, potentially dangerous, and legally dubious given all the legalese involved in with the SodaStream. Even that name brand name bag-in-box had a legal warning about using it in a non approved manner.

#5 blue_dolphin

blue_dolphin
  • participating member
  • 195 posts
  • Location:SoCal

Posted 08 December 2010 - 07:08 AM

I've been meaning to ask one of my beer-making friends to help me set up a home-made system like this:

Carbonating at Home

Edited to add, I only drink sparkling water, no flavored sodas.

Edited by blue_dolphin, 08 December 2010 - 07:09 AM.


#6 Simon_S

Simon_S
  • participating member
  • 689 posts
  • Location:Dublin, Ireland

Posted 08 December 2010 - 08:26 AM

Funny to see this mentioned here, it would have decidedly naff connotations in Ireland. Can you still get "Dracula's Blood" concentrate? Probably not, I imagine most of the ingredients have since become illegal. :biggrin:

#7 Joe Blowe

Joe Blowe
  • participating member
  • 660 posts
  • Location:SoCal

Posted 08 December 2010 - 09:57 AM

I've been meaning to ask one of my beer-making friends to help me set up a home-made system like this:   Carbonating at Home...

I've been meaning to set one up for quite a few years now, and still mean to do it one day! It's just gathering the materials, putting it together, testing, etc...

A hacked SodaStream looks more appealing as time goes by.
So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

#8 Nyleve Baar

Nyleve Baar
  • participating member
  • 207 posts

Posted 08 December 2010 - 10:46 AM

SodaStream has been available in Canada for at least 3 years - I bought mine that long ago. But it's true that distribution has become more widespread, making it possible for me now to get CO2 refill cartridges nearby, which is great. I groused, for a while, at the sudden increase in price of the CO2 cartridges - they jumped by probably 25% about a year ago. So now I'm trying to encourage a geeky friend of mine to buy a system and rig it up to work with bulk canisters. There's a place - I can find the link if anyone is really interested - that sells valve adapters so that you can refill the small canisters yourself. The original SodaStream units have proprietary valves that make it impossible otherwise.

But I love this thing. I go through 1 to 2 quarts of fizzy water a day and I'm delighted to be able to make my own using my own delicious well water. And no empties to recycle or bottles to lug home from the store. I feel so smug when I put it out on the table instead of a bottle of Perrier or San Pellegrino.

#9 psiweaver

psiweaver
  • participating member
  • 42 posts

Posted 08 December 2010 - 11:19 AM

I really like mine as well. It does a great job. Anyone experimented with carbonating things other than water like Cranberry juice etc? The warranty says not to but i'm tempted still.

#10 IndyRob

IndyRob
  • participating member
  • 824 posts

Posted 08 December 2010 - 11:43 AM

I really like mine as well. It does a great job. Anyone experimented with carbonating things other than water like Cranberry juice etc? The warranty says not to but i'm tempted still.


You need to carbonate just the water and then add flavorings. I once absentmindedly added the cola flavoring to a bottle I had not yet carbonated. Faced with throwing it out, I decided to ignore the admonitions and carbonate it. Not a good idea. There was soda everywhere.

#11 Chef Hermes Blog

Chef Hermes Blog
  • participating member
  • 65 posts

Posted 08 December 2010 - 12:24 PM

During the summer I carbonated whole strawberries in an ISI whipper, was just wondering if it would work in a sodastream? Suppose that you would have to leave attached to the machine for hours to seal in the pressure.

Might be worth a try

The Chef Hermes blog
Can be followed on Twitter: @chefhermes
Or Facebook:Chef Hermes group page


#12 OliverB

OliverB
  • participating member
  • 1,303 posts
  • Location:the foot of Mount Diablo, CA

Posted 08 December 2010 - 02:40 PM

not to take this off topic, but you carbonated whole strawberries? What do you get? A fizzy strawberry or fizzy strawberry foam/mush? Either seems intriguing, just curious.
"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"
- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

#13 eternal

eternal
  • participating member
  • 282 posts

Posted 08 December 2010 - 03:00 PM

We have two. One at home and one in the office. I use it everyday. And the price is wrong above. It works out to a quarter a litter once you get into refills, not 1.24 per 2. I never use the flavorings, but I don't like sweet stuff.

#14 ScoopKW

ScoopKW
  • participating member
  • 1,037 posts
  • Location:Las Vegas

Posted 08 December 2010 - 03:42 PM

I use a 5-gallon cornelius keg for soda water. I drink a ton of it. It sits in the kegerator, next to the keg. They're both attached to a large CO2 bottle that I only need to fill twice a year.

After initial setup, the cost is negligible.

Here's a link to a a complete setup: http://morebeer.com/...ew_Draft_System (It isn't hard to find the individual components FAR cheaper than this kit. Shop around.)
Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

#15 hsm

hsm
  • participating member
  • 313 posts

Posted 08 December 2010 - 06:37 PM

I go through 2-3 bottles a day. With the price increase the last time I ordered my exchange canisters, I'm paying about a quarter a liter, too. Was less! Plus, no shlepping. I've had my Sodastream for about 3 years now, one of my all-time favorite purchases.

I've noticed they're now at Macy's and Sur La Table around here, but those are smaller units, with the 60 L. CO2 canisters. Mine's bigger :wub: (Not keg-sized, unfortunately.)

edited because a canister is not a cartridge.

Edited by hsm, 08 December 2010 - 06:40 PM.


#16 Chef Hermes Blog

Chef Hermes Blog
  • participating member
  • 65 posts

Posted 09 December 2010 - 12:53 AM

not to take this off topic, but you carbonated whole strawberries? What do you get? A fizzy strawberry or fizzy strawberry foam/mush? Either seems intriguing, just curious.

If you carbonate them for about 3 1/2 hours you get fizzy strawberries, but has to be in a sealed container hence you would probably need to leave the bottle attached to the sodastream

The Chef Hermes blog
Can be followed on Twitter: @chefhermes
Or Facebook:Chef Hermes group page


#17 IndyRob

IndyRob
  • participating member
  • 824 posts

Posted 09 December 2010 - 04:58 AM

We have two. One at home and one in the office. I use it everyday. And the price is wrong above. It works out to a quarter a litter once you get into refills, not 1.24 per 2. I never use the flavorings, but I don't like sweet stuff.

I was comparing the cost to soda.

Carbonator: $29.99/130 liters = $0.23
Flavoring: $4.99/12 liters = $0.41

Name Brand Cola: $0.99-$1.89 for 2 liters
Sodastream Cola: $1.28 for 2 liters (plus initial investment and shipping where applicable)

Cheaper CO2 sources have been mentioned, but on the flavoring side there's also Open Cola.

#18 Special K

Special K
  • participating member
  • 667 posts
  • Location:Seattle

Posted 07 April 2011 - 08:58 AM

[font="Trebuchet MS"]... SodaStream system ... I flirted briefly with an attempt at sparkling wine, but ended up wasting half a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc as it fizzed all over the kitchen counter - I may return to that experiment another time.font]


Just eavedropping on my husband's high school chemistry lesson on gas laws ... did you chill the wine? (Henry's Law)

#19 IndyRob

IndyRob
  • participating member
  • 824 posts

Posted 07 April 2011 - 09:15 AM


[font="Trebuchet MS"]... SodaStream system ... I flirted briefly with an attempt at sparkling wine, but ended up wasting half a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc as it fizzed all over the kitchen counter - I may return to that experiment another time.font]


Just eavedropping on my husband's high school chemistry lesson on gas laws ... did you chill the wine? (Henry's Law)


I don't think it would help. For some reason, it must be chilled plain water. I once prematurely added the flavoring syrup and realized I had not carbonated it yet. Rather than pouring it down the drain, I decided to try to carbonate it (the instructions say specifically not to do this, and that it could damage the machine). I got the same fizzy countertop syndrome.

#20 rebecca

rebecca
  • participating member
  • 78 posts

Posted 07 April 2011 - 10:03 AM

This appears to just be a Let's-Celebrate-SodaStream thread, in which case I'll happily join! In my family we get through a bottle or two a day, and many more when guests are around.

The new smaller cannisters seem almost pointless, at least for our type of use, but luckily we have the larger cannisters for our setup. Unfortunately they cannot do refills of the large ones at the local Sur La Table, so we have to order them online and wait for delivery.

I wasn't really a fan of any of the syrup flavors, but I like to make my own (less sweet!) sodas by putting the heavily carbonated water in juices and the like. Those usually come out very nicely :smile:

#21 Rover

Rover
  • participating member
  • 242 posts
  • Location:Vancouver, Canada

Posted 07 April 2011 - 10:52 AM

I recently saw an ad for a new model of SodaStream which has digital controls and allows you to monitor the level of the gas. Not knowing how much butane is left is probably the only disadvantage as far as I'm concerned; I tend to try to keep two canisters on the go.

Special K - I did use chilled wine. I think when I next try it I'll fill the bottle only to the 3/4 level.

#22 mathewr

mathewr
  • participating member
  • 77 posts

Posted 07 April 2011 - 11:06 AM

if I want to use fresh fruit juices would you recommend filling the canister with fresh fruit juice as you would with water. or make seltzer then mix with fruit juice?

Thanks

#23 IndyRob

IndyRob
  • participating member
  • 824 posts

Posted 07 April 2011 - 11:34 AM

if I want to use fresh fruit juices would you recommend filling the canister with fresh fruit juice as you would with water. or make seltzer then mix with fruit juice?

Thanks


From the SodaStream FAQ:

3. Can I carbonate drinks other than water?

No. Only water should be carbonated in the SodaStream home soda maker. You risk damaging your soda maker, not to mention making a big fizzy mess! The money-back guarantee and the warranty are both invalidated if you carbonate any liquid other than water in your soda maker. Stick with plain cold water and adding any one of our fantastic flavors - after the water has been carbonated!


We've documented two fizzy messes so far.

You'd have to make a concentrate to add after carbonation.

#24 David J.

David J.
  • participating member
  • 420 posts
  • Location:Michigan

Posted 07 April 2011 - 12:05 PM

I use flavor syrups we purchase at a local coffee shop. They are concentrated enough that the flavor isn't diluted too much.

#25 Paula E

Paula E
  • participating member
  • 29 posts

Posted 07 April 2011 - 06:02 PM

We've been using our Soda Stream for a couple of years now. We go through at least 2 bottles a day. Couldn't be happier with it. Since we live in the middle of nowhere, we have had great luck just returning the empty gas canisters to the company after receiving our fresh ones. Good turn around and have never had a problem with it.

Plus, if you can get some of that Lingonberry syrup at an Ikea grocery, you've got a tasty soda treat.

#26 ChrisZ

ChrisZ
  • participating member
  • 402 posts
  • Location:Sydney

Posted 07 April 2011 - 06:37 PM

I flirted briefly with an attempt at sparkling wine, but ended up wasting half a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc as it fizzed all over the kitchen counter - I may return to that experiment another time.


We had a Soda Stream in the 80s - I've been impressed at how they've relaunched it recently.
There's a great excerpt from one of Heston Blumenthal's Feast programs where he uses a Soda Stream to fizz up some cheap wine, and then asks random people if they can tell which is expensive champagne, and which is the fizzy wine. Most people get it wrong! Worth a look for some vintage Soda Stream ads... (about 1 minute into the clip)

#27 OliverB

OliverB
  • participating member
  • 1,303 posts
  • Location:the foot of Mount Diablo, CA

Posted 07 April 2011 - 06:59 PM

butane? I doubt that?

But I've been looking at this machine and the penguin one for a while. I don't like water, but bubbly water is fine, and going through all these throw away bottles is a waste. I like the SStream because you can see what happens, more fun for the kids. good to read the experiences here, I might just have to go and get one soon!

did you ever have to replace a bottle, break one, have one explode after long time use?
"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"
- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

#28 ScoopKW

ScoopKW
  • participating member
  • 1,037 posts
  • Location:Las Vegas

Posted 07 April 2011 - 07:56 PM

Just to repeat, once you have the cornelius keg, the CO2 bottle, and the hose and fittings, sparkling water is essentially free. In general, I dislike proprietary systems.

Checked the sodastream site. Enough CO2 for 130 liters is $50 for a full bottle or $30 for an exchange.

That's $0.40 per liter. I can buy a 20-pound tank, full, for about $80. That will do about 500 gallons. That's close to 1900 liters, at a cost of $0.04 per liter. I dispense into a stainless bottle, and it keeps it's fizz quite nicely.

Of course, my system isn't as pretty, and takes up more space in the 'fridge. But I can go to any Airgas or hydroponics store in North America and swap my tank for about $20.
Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

#29 Rover

Rover
  • participating member
  • 242 posts
  • Location:Vancouver, Canada

Posted 08 April 2011 - 02:22 AM

butane? I doubt that?

But I've been looking at this machine and the penguin one for a while. I don't like water, but bubbly water is fine, and going through all these throw away bottles is a waste. I like the SStream because you can see what happens, more fun for the kids. good to read the experiences here, I might just have to go and get one soon!

did you ever have to replace a bottle, break one, have one explode after long time use?


You're quite right - absolutely not butane, I should have said CO2 cartridge. I get the refills for both my butane torch and the SodaStream at the same place which I did yesterday.

I've never had any issues with the bottles; I have 4 of them all in use for well over a year now.

#30 mr_meanor

mr_meanor
  • participating member
  • 13 posts

Posted 08 April 2011 - 11:11 AM

Word to the wise - DO NOT try to carbonate white wine, unless you like sticky vinegary smelling walls for weeks afterwards!

Soda stream in the UK was the staple for mums trying to economise in the seventies and eighties, but it nearly almost always was false economy and Sodastream disappeared for a while, only to reappear in the past few years with up to date machines. I believe my parents still have an eighties version, white plastic with an orange lever to seal the bottle to the CO2 injector!
If when you die you get a choice between pie heaven and regular heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if not, mmmboy.