In the past years, soda has gotten a bum rap for being both unhealthy, and expensive, and a contributor to waste in our landfills. But there’s something about sipping sweet, bubbly beverages that we can’t resist.
Recently, at the Green Products Expo at the Grand Hyatt in New York, and then again at a Holiday Gift Show at the Grand Hyatt, I spied a set of carbonated beverage makers by SodaStream. Soda Stream makes non-electrical devices that allow you to make your own, flavored, carbonated beverages at home, or just make sparkling water. Although water may still be your best choice for a healthy and refreshing drink, flavored, carbonated beverages remain the popular favorite for families, everywhere. Soda Stream lets you make these with a healthy plus: you know what is in the bottle before you drink the content. There’s a green component to all this too, the Soda Stream machines use BPA-free carbonating bottles, reusable for up to three years (this can save thousands of bottles and cans from ending up in landfills each year),
In the old days if you wanted to make fizzy water or seltzer, you had to use glass flacon with a handle that contained the CO2 cartridge in it. The Soda Stream uses a CO2 cartridge, safe in the back of a plastic, soda-fountain-style stand, so it can’t explode or break.
Operation of the Soda Stream is so easy, a child can do it. You simply fill a plastic, Soda Stream bottle with water to the fill line (these look just like regular soda bottles only the lip and cap is larger). You screw that lip into the top of the Soda Stream (if you don’t screw it in, water will fly out of the bottle, and it won’t be carbonated). Then you press the start button to release the CO2 and carbonate the water. One or two presses is enough, but the more you press it, the fizzier the water gets. This is also nice, because some people don’t like soda that is too carbonated. Then you mix in a serving of a flavor. The bottles hold the carbonation well. My bottle held the fizz for several days, until I drank up the soda within.
I suppose you could just add fruit juice to your now, newly-carbonated water making it much, much healthier, but SodaStream offers more than 60 sodamix flavors including diet and single-bottle servings. These come in various sizes, but a capful flavors an entire Soda Stream bottle. I tried lemon lime, diet rootbeer, cola, and some of the fruit type offerings. All tasted good, and authentic. The company says even their diet flavors are healthier, with no aspartame. The diet sodas contain Splenda but the regular flavors contain no high-fructose corn syrup and have less sugar and carbs than other brands. For those whose bodies are true temples, there are new, Sparking Naturals, featuring all natural ingredients. These were really quite delicious. But you can also experiment with your own, unsweetened flavorings, and then adding in whatever sugar or sugar substitute you prefer.
If you are going to drink carbonated beverages, especially if you have a family that loves them, the Soda Stream is a fun, resonably healthy, “green” way to provide it. The only downsides I can think of are these: the Soda Stream bottle are large, not single serving. Once you flavor the bottle, that is what you’re drinking, until the bottle is empty. Or, you have to have room in your refrigerator for several different bottles. Also, some users grouse that the cartridges cannot be refilled other than by the company since the cylinders have a proprietary fitting and anti-refill valve on them, and these can be pricey.
Soda Stream Genesis is a good choice at $99.95. It comes in red, or black, and includes the Genesis Home Soda Maker, a 1 60 liter Carbonator and a 1 Carbonating Bottle. There is are also starter and value packs that come with the unit, and carbonating refills, and flavorings. Visit the Soda Stream Web Sit e to learn about other models, see a small video, and to order.