A few months ago, we were at a friend’s place in Belgium watching another exciting match (where Belgium won), when our host asked if we’d like a Cuba Libre. We’re fans of the battle-cry cocktail, so naturally, yes please! Yummy sips later, we were surprised to learn that the cola she used in the cocktail she had actually made herself.
Yep, that was the night we discovered the amazing Sodastream. I’ve never done any product reviews before, so you can imagine this one must be pretty good. What does it do? It makes soda drinks. Fizzy drinks, soft drinks, gassy drinks, whatever you like to call it. And you can make it when you want it, right from your couch.
Put simply, it’s just carbonating water, adding syrup, mixing, and voila, refreshing soda ready to go. To break it down into steps:
Step 1: Pop a pre-compressed CO2 gas canister into the machine
Step 2: Attach a bottle of water
Step 3: Press to dispense gas
Step 4: Remove bottle
Step 5: Pour in syrup
Step 6: Mix
Step 7: Enjoy!
Or as one website says: Fill, Fizz, Flavour and Enjoy!
7 steps might sound like a lot more work than simply buying a bottle of Coca-Cola and pouring it out, but here are 7 reasons why I’m glad we bought one: (No, not just cuz Scarlett Johansson says so / See the behind-the-scenes)
Purely looking at the numbers, Sodastream’s sodamixes (as their syrups are called) champ our old regulars Coca-Cola, Pepsi, 7-UP and Sprite any day. They also use sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup – yep, that nasty post-war surplus-crop result the US food industry was built upon, and that everyone today seems to be addicted to.
But even for those really going all out down the health route, if you’re on a low-sugar diet, just use less sodamix. And sure, there’s always going to be some controversy over the sodamixes containing chemicals and colourings, so if you really want to go au naturel, you can still use Sodastream to make a seltzer and add your own berry juices, mix your own syrups at home, or just add a dash of lemon the way fancy people do.
2. Saves money
Coca-Cola is expensive. In Belgium, a Coke could cost you more than a beer! One sodamix bottle, going at S$9.80 here, can make about 12 litres or 36 cans of soda. That’s like, what, 27 cents a can?? But ok, granted, we have to add in the cost of the gas canister too. We’re still doing the math on this as we use it, but right now the calculations add up to about 55 cents a can total. That’s still much cheaper than what you’d pay for usually.
3. Many choices
Whatever you feel like drinking, you’ll be able to make one. Personally, our stash of favourites includes Cola, Raspberry, Ginger Ale, Lemon Lime, Apple and Root Beer. We’ve yet to discover the treasure trove of flavours that Takashimaya promises to restock soon [will update then!], but so far, we’re pretty happy with what we’ve got. Apparently Sodastream has produced more than 50 flavours and plans to release even more in the future. Unfortunately for us, not all the flavours they launch in the US are available on our sunny isle.
By the way: Apparently Sodastream has also introduced Sodastream Caps so you simply pop on a cap full of syrup over your carbonated bottle and press, releasing it instantly. They also have a range of Happy Hour cocktail mixers (check out this video), green teas, and MyWater essences to get lightly-flavoured water. Let’s just hope they’ll bring them in here too!
4. Gets you burping
Because you dispense the gas yourself, you can choose just how fizzy you need your drink to be. One of the main reasons why we got it was because fizzy drinks help my boyfriend burp, a great way of releasing the excess gases in your digestive system. Needless to say, if you don’t release these gases then you’ll end up feeling bloated, sometimes even to the point of pain, or it might lead to endogenous toxins being released into your bloodstream, which is, well, toxic. And you don’t want that. Duh.
5. Saves the earth
Using only the re-useable Sodastream bottle to make soda now, our household has much less wastage in terms of plastic bottles and metal cans that we would usually be piling up. Also, since you use the normal water that comes out of your tap, there’s no need to buy special carbonated water or mineral water which all come in more plastic bottles.
Ok you guys might not have an issue with this since you have lifts, but we stay in a four-storey walkup, so we’d choose making our own soda from the comforts of our couch versus climbing up a hundred steps tugging heavy bottles of soda any day, tyvm. Also, the Sodastream only takes up a small counter space, and it’s much easier to store the tiny Sodamix bottles the size of your palm, especially space-saving when they contain the equivalent of 8 x 1.5L PET bottles of Coke!
Who are we kidding? Who cares how much healthier it is, we’re just in it cuz it’s fun. (Hee hee!) Sometimes we fight over who gets to carbonate the water. If you’re a parent, tough luck, you’ll have to fight with your kids over it. But yeah, if it’s this much fun for us, I’d imagine it’d be tons fun for little ones as they get to have a hand in making their own yummy drinks. It’s also great for entertaining when we have guests over (our friends are just overgrown kids too anyways).
If you’re thinking of getting a Sodastream, here are 7 tips I’d like to share:
1. Note refill locations: Find out where the nearest places are that stock refills for Sodastream gas canisters. When you run out of gas, you should be able to quickly get a refill nearby (they call it a refill, but in Singapore they do a 1-for-1 replacement instead). A refill is only S$22, compared to a new one at S$55.
2. Keep them chilled: Always keep a bottle in the fridge so you have a cold one ready to go when you want it. We bought three bottles so that we could always have two different flavoured drinks and one on standby. A little indulgent, methinks, but useful!
3. Pick the right one: There are a few different models of Sodastream machines, but you don’t really need the fancy ones unless you are a fancy person. We got the cheapest model (S$155) and it does everything we need it to. The newer, more expensive models feature new snap-lock technology, auto-sliding, LED lights, metal bodies, glass carafes, and other fancy stuff we don’t need. But, to get the one that’s best for your needs, I’d advise you to go to a store and have the demonstrator show you how they all work so you can pick the right one.
4. How much gas? If you have an older model like ours and the gas-dispensing is manual (i.e. it dispenses when you press the button), and you’re not sure how much gas to dispense, listen out for the buzzes. After pressing a few times you’ll hear a loud buzz sound. Don’t worry, it’s all normal. And yes, you’ll be able to tell it’s a buzz; it’ll be obvious. As a handy guide, go with 3 buzzes for fruity flavours and 5 buzzes for cola flavours, and adjust to your preferences.
5. Pouring: When pouring in the syrup, always tilt the bottle at a slight angle so that there’s room for the air to escape as well and you won’t end up with a big wet, sticky mess everywhere.
6. Mixing: When mixing the bottle, we found it better to turn it upside down and then back up, and then maybe one more time upside down. No prizes for guessing what happens if you mix it the way you do a cocktail in a shaker.
7. AU/NZ: A most important note: If you live in Singapore, buy a Sodastream from Singapore. It might be more expensive than the ones retailing in Australia and New Zealand, but those machines utilise a different threading and you won’t be able to fit local gas canisters into them. And no, you can’t travel with a gas canister no matter what flight you’re on. And yes, this only applies to Australia and New Zealand. They’re special. Haha.
Enjoy your Sodastreaming! :)