I have been looking at the SodaStream for quite some time. The thing that always stopped me from buying it was the cost. I just was not sure how much we would use it to warrant the cost. A couple months ago I had a 30% off coupon at Kohls and Soda Stream Genesis was $100 so I ended up getting it for just $70 In a nutshell as a carbonatator it is awesome, but the flavor packs included in my opinion were awful.
Whats is SodaStream
In the box: The SodaStream Maker, One CO2 cylinder, Two bottles, a box with 12 samples of soda flavors and an instruction booklet.
The SodaStream Maker: The SodaStream Maker does not require any electricity. This was something that made me happy because I did not want to have to worry about more cords on the counter and I could place it wherever I wanted. The SodaStream Genesis that I got is black with stainless steel looking accents. It is mostly made of plastic.
The Soda Stream Maker does not take up much room on the counter which is great. It is a little bit tall but fits on my counters with enough clearance for use under our cabinets. All you need is enough room to reach your finger on the top to activate the Soda Maker. The SodaStream Genesis measures 16.4 by 8 by 5.2 inches (HxWxD) and weighs 3.66 pounds. The width at the bottom is more than at the top. It is only 4″ wide on the top and even less in some places. The widest part is the base to keep it from tipping over.
Instructions: The Instruction booklet was actually for two machines, “Pure” and “Genesis” The instructions for using the soda stream were different for each and I found it a little confusing the way they had it laid out on the page side by side rather than having a separate instruction section for each model. It includes the instructions in 16 languages. In the front of the book there are picture instructions for set up use and CO2 replacement. The illustrations were easy to understand but again they put the two systems on the same page and it was hard to know which unit you were supposed to be looking at.
The CO2 cylinder: The CO2 cylinder has enough fizz in it to make 60 liters of soda. I think it could go further though because I do not put nearly as much fizz as the instructions indicate.
Two 1 liter bottles: The two bottles included are BPA free but you can not put them in the dishwasher. The instructions indicate that you can not freeze it or wash it in very hot water either. The bottles seem sturdy but when you read the instructions it seems like they are fragile. I decided to not store a mixed up drink in the bottles so that I do not have to worry about washing them. I just fizz up my water and put it in the fridge and then mix it before I am ready to drink it. Each bottle comes with a black plastic cap. Additional Bottles are available to purchase separately
Flavor Samples: Flavor Samples included are diet cranberry raspberry, diet lemon lime, diet pink grapefruit, diet cola, diet dr. pete, diet root beer, Energy, dr. pete, fountain mist, root beer, orange, and lemon lime. Each sample is enough to make one bottle of soda. Flavorings are added after the water is carbonated.
My Experience using the SodaStream Maker
Set Up: Set up could not be easier. All you have to do is take the cover off the CO2 cylinder and place it in the back portion of the soda stream maker. Then you snap the top in place and it is ready to go. The
Carbonating the Water: You are instructed to chill the water before you fizz it up. There is a fill line on the bottle. So far I have just used tap water but I am thinking I might try distilled water to see if it makes a difference. Screw the filled bottle in to the Soda Stream Maker and then press the button on top in short bursts. You will hear a buzz when you press the button and the water will be swirling around. The instructions say that 3 pushes are a standard fizz. Depending on how you like it or how long you hold it down this may or may not be the case. It would make more sense to me for the machine to have a metered amount per press rather than being dependent on how long I may think a short burst is. I thought it was kind of confusing because I would not call the sound it makes while operating a buzz. If you hold the button down it will after some time make a burping sort of noise. I have started just holding it till I hear that sound and then stop and that is enough fizz for me. This may be right or wrong but I can not find anything about this in the instruction book. At least doing it my way I have a more exact measure of how much fizz is in the bottle. When you get it, take a look at some of the you tube videos to see how people do it. With a little trial and error you will get the water to the right carbonated level for you. The first time I carbonated the water I put way too much in and it gave me a stomach ache. The other thing to consider is whether you are mixing it with a flavor syrup or just adding a splash to juice. If you are just adding a splash you might like it a little stronger.
When you are done carbonating, pull the bottom of the bottle slightly forward toward you. This will release any built up pressure and then you can unscrew the bottle. You can store the carbonated water in the fridge with the fizz proof cap. It keeps for a long time.
Adding Flavors: If you are adding the flavors from the package the instructions say to twist the end off. I found it would not twist off so I just cut it with a scissors. You are supposed to hold the bottle at a slight angle to reduce the fizzing. If your water is fizzing up, slow down so it does not overflow. Generally there is enough head room in the bottle so it should not overflow.
Taste of the Flavors: We tried the soda stream diet root beer and I thought it was absolutely disgusting. It smelled like root beer, and I thought it would be good but I was disappointed. To me it tasted like carbonated cough syrup. I could not even drink it, it was so disgusting. Then we tried the diet pink grapefruit. That was ok, but still had a weird aftertaste. I would not buy either of the flavors that we tried. I have not wanted to waste any more carbonated water so I have not tried any of the other flavors. I wish the samples were bottles so I could just make enough for a glass of soda to try them. I am not sure if this is how the flavors are supposed to taste or if I got a bad batch. The dates were fine on the samples so I am not sure what is up with them. I do not think I am super picky but especially the diet root beer was really disgusting.
Adding Carbonated Water to Juice: I actually did not buy the Soda Stream to use for soda pop but was planning on using it with natural juices to just give them a little fizz. I like that a lot. I also like that I can drink something with some nutritional value and add some fizz rather than drinking a bunch of chemicals. My favorite so far is Pink Grapefruit Juice. I find these juices way to strong anyway so I mix them about half and half with carbonated water over ice. I loved it and so did my husband. I am thinking about trying it with some teas to see if I like that. The possibilities are endless.
Final Thoughts and Rating
I am going to give the SodaStream Genesis 4 stars our of 5 because I think it does a decent job of carbonating the water. It is easy to do and the unit is low profile and looks nice on my counter. I think the instructions leave something to be desired but it is relatively easy to figure out. If I was rating the unit on the sample flavors I would rate it much lower but I really did not buy it for that purpose. I know a lot of people that love them so maybe it’s just me.