Skip to main content

My Take on SodaStream: Value & Flavor

I can't remember exactly when we made the switch to SodaStream. It had been around a while but I was quite hesitant to try it. I'm picky. I pretty much like Diet Coke. I'll have an occasional regular Coke when I have a migraine and since I live in a Pepsi-dominated restaurant area, I'll suck it up and order Pepsi when out.

My husband had pushed for a while to buy a SodaStream because he's not a huge soda drinker and is more open-minded about flavor. He drinks a lot of plain fizzy water and likes the idea of controlling what goes in the water to avoid sugars and sweeteners sometimes. Buying 12-pack La Croix waters each week is expensive, about $250-260 per year! I was spending about $200 per year on Diet Coke at home. So my husband figured if the cost of the unit, the gas, and the syrup is less than $450 per year, it's a worthwhile investment.

This plan did assume we wouldn't buy any brand name sodas or waters going forward, which isn't our reality. I still pick up a 20oz of soda when I'm out, usually to bring home with a snack and we buy non-fizzy waters like Propel.

For my husband and I, the benefits of SodaStream seem to be:

1. Convenience: This is more my husband's opinion. He likes not having to go to the store for drinks as often. Since I'm already grocery shopping frequently, I wouldn't say it's more convenient. It may be quick, but I don't like the time I spend measuring syrup, filling bottles, pumping to carbonate, adding the syrup, and letting it rest for a bit before drinking. On the other hand, there's no waiting for a bottle to chill. We use cold water right from the fridge. So, the number one benefit here is a bit debatable in our house.

2. More Earth-Friendly: I'm not really sure if I'm saving the Earth. I still generate garbage and probably impact the air negatively, but it does seem better to recycle an occasional syrup bottle compared to the many plastic bottles and cans of Diet Coke I had before SodaStream.

3. Variety: If you are very picky about Coke vs Pepsi, SodaStream may not be for you. I got used to the Diet Cola flavor. The flavor is a bit like Diet Pepsi, but the carbonation level (6 buzzes) reminds me of Diet Coke. If you are okay with generic colas, you'll probably be okay with SodaStream. My husband suggests that the unique choices are great because you can make a little of this or a little of that without opening a big bottle that would go flat if you didn't finish it quickly. You could have orange soda today and peach tea tomorrow without having to buy large bottles or 12-packs all the time.

What about the potential cost savings?
My husband estimates we spend more than $300 per year on SodaStream and while that is less than what we spent on brand name products, he'd call it closer to a wash when you factor in that it hasn't 100% replaced other beverages at home. His feedback is simple. "I wouldn't do it just for saving money. Initial upfront cost takes a long time to recoup."

Here's the breakdown:

CO2 is $180 per year
You are stuck using proprietary CO2 refills, which cost $15 each. We get a refill once a month and my husband said that would be fine if they were $5 or $10 each, but at $15, he feels like he's being gauged on the price. He's heard that there are people who hack the system, but that violates the terms of service and could lead to a lawsuit, so don't do that.

Syrup is $135 per year
How much syrup we use varies, mostly because my husband's desire for fizzy dranks varies. I'm consistent in that I fill a liter every 1.5 days or so, nearly always Diet Cola. The occasional regular cola costs much more than the Diet Cola because the naturals variety are more expensive and produce fewer liters per syrup bottle. Based on my drinking habits, I'm averaging 20 Diet Cola syrups a year. My husband has been working through samples forever, so he believes he's using three syrups per year plus a couple of the larger colas.

Initial Investment was $80
We are on our second SodaStream. We switched to the now discontinued Fizz model so we could better tell when the fizz was getting low. It was a flawed system that SodaStream no longer sells. It fizzes fine. It's the sensor that wasn't so good. If you find a deal or rebate, you can get a SodaStream system for under $100.

Here's some more info on SodaStream:

  • The SodaStream Diet Cola is sweetened with a blend that includes Splenda®. I like Diet Coke, which is sweetened with aspartame, hence the very different taste.
  • Each bottle of syrup (not including naturally sweetened varieties) makes 12 liters of soda.
  • Naturally Sweetened Cola makes half as much soda (6 liters) and costs twice as much. It tastes pretty good though. I'm a fan of the flavor. I just don't like drinking a lot of sugary drinks.
Making a Bottle of SodaStream Diet Cola
Below is a photo series showing how I make a bottle of SodaStream Diet Cola. I included a short video of the buzzing process so you can get a sense for how loud that is. I don't make soda when anyone is still sleeping in the morning or right at my daughter's bedtime because it's pretty loud.

First, I fill a bottle with water to the fill line. I usually add a couple ice cubes to make sure it's extra cold or I have to chill the bottle for a while. The fridge water dispenser isn't as cold as I like my drinks to be. The ice method works well.

SodaStream bottle filled with water
Next, I put the bottle in the SodaStream machine. This requires two hands. It's a bit awkward but I have seen improvements in newer designs. I think the company continues to work on making this process easier. I buzz 6 times to make it fizzy. That's usually 10-12 presses. You basically press to dispense air until it buzzes and count the buzzes until it's how you like it. Six is good for colas.

Inserting SodaStream bottle into machine
I pour a capful of Diet Cola syrup. It's very hard to see the fill line. I wish this was easier to see when I'm pouring. A little too much tastes too sweet and too little tastes sour. It has to be just right.

SodaStream Diet Cola syrup
I then pour the syrup into the bottle gently, turn it up and down a bit to mix and pop it in the fridge for a few minutes. You have to be kind of quick here, but it's easy to get the hang of it after a couple of tries.

Mixed SodaStream Diet Cola
And then, here's my poured soda, ironically (not sure if that's the correct use of this word), in a Coca-Cola glass.

A fresh glass of SodaStream Diet Cola
If you are curious, here's a video of the buzzing process:


Do you have a SodaStream system? If so, which version did you buy and what are your favorite syrup flavors?

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Pottery Barn Kids Lunch Bags: Cute, but Annoying

When my daughter transitioned to "big kid school" this fall, I bought her a personalized lunch bag from Pottery Barn Kids. This was our first time having to send lunch to school, so I wanted her to enjoy carrying the bag and also have it be practical. She's just turning 4, so it was important that she be able to open the bag herself and carry it from the car to the lunch cart without assistance.

Pottery Barn Kids offers a slew of fabric patterns and four bag styles. Penny picked the MacKenzie Chocolate Zebra classic lunch bag, which is a fairly standard size and shape lunch box. We paid $7 to have her name embroidered on the bag, which I figured was worth the price to ensure her box isn't mixed up with another kid's lunch. I let Penny pick the font and thread color and ordered online.

Our classic lunch bag has now been used every weekday for nearly three months, but it looks more like a year old. It's still functional in that Penny can carry it in to school, o…

Switching from Olay Regenerist to L'Oreal RevitaLift

I've been using Olay Regenerist DNA Superstructure UV Cream for years now. I love the SPF 25 (it's now 30) the thick moisturizing quality, and how fresh my skin feels once it's absorbed. It's really thick, so it tends to need more time before I put on foundation, and it does leave my skin a touch lighter than it is in real life. The sunscreen ingredients mean this moisturizer smells just like traditional sun protection, and even a bit like my daughter's diaper cream (ick), but I know it's doing it's job and I've been really happy with it.


I intended to buy some more during a trip to Walmart today, but L'Oreal RevitaLift Triple Power Day Lotion had a $2 off coupon attached, and the base price was less than the Olay product, so I took a chance and bought  the RevitaLift instead.


L'Oreal's bottle is prettier with a similar pump mechanism. Like Olay, the product is in an opaque container, which helps keep the contents from being affected by ligh…

eSalon.com Hair Color Review

It's now May 2014 and since my original review, I've had a chance to fly out to eSalon and see how orders are processed, learn the right way to apply color, and find out the differences between box color and eSalon color. I learned a lot and have a totally different perspective now and would definitely recommend giving eSalon a try.

When you order from eSalon, be sure to upload a current, well-lit photo of your hair and don't hesitate to ask their color experts for advice. The eSalon team are experts. Let them help you find the right shade and apply color correctly. It's a learning process if you're used to box color products.

Last August, I tried eSalon. At the time, I found the color was fine in that it was even and matched what I had seen online for that shade, but it wasn't really what I was going for. eSalon's customer service was helpful, with a colorist calling to explain how their product differs from what I buy in-store and the risks of going darke…