As a BzzAgent I get to try out exciting new products for free in exchange for sharing my honest opinion of these products with others.The most recent thing I’ve got to try out was the Soda Stream. Basically, it’s a device you use at home to carbonate water and make fresh soda without the use of any batteries or electricity. The soda maker model that I received was the Fountain Jet – Seltzer Starter Kit. It came with a soda maker, one bottle of CO2 and a single liter bottle to put the soda in. When I was first asked to partake in their soda stream campaign, I was more than excited because I thought that the soda stream would be the most awesome thing ever! I thought that I’d be able to carbonate anything I wanted and I planned on carbonating just about every beverage in my household until I read that you’re only supposed to carbonate plain water, then add flavors to it. This was mildly disappointing, luckily for them I have a creative imagination. I had a lot of fun making fresh homemade egg creams and black and whites.
Here's a black and white before being mixed. It's chocolate and vanilla syrup, vanillia ice cream, and seltzer.
Here it is after being mixed!
Even though I wasn’t sent any of their flavors, I decided to buy a few to try them out. Most of their regular soda flavors cost either $5 or $7. With the $5 ones, I did the math, it’s cheaper in most cases to use their machine than to buy the soda. This isn’t so with the $7 bottles, especially since we usually only buy soda when its on sale. I had originally planned to purchase from their website, but since shipping would have cost me $7 that I could have spent on another flavor, I went to Macy’s instead. There I purchased their orange soda, ginger ale and diet pink grape fruit flavors. I would have gone for their sampler pack, but I disliked that half of the flavors were diet.When I got home and tired this flavors, I was very disappointed. Their non-diet flavors tasted like diet, I didn’t know why until I read the ingredients. Their non-diet sodas are actually just low calorie sodas that have fake sugar mixed in with real sugar. My mother on the other hand, was quite happy with the diet pink grapefruit flavor. I didn’t get why they’re trying to be “healthy” with a line of low-calorie sodas that they weren’t advertising as such. If I wanted to be healthy I wouldn’t even be drinking soda in the first place! Then I read the ingredients of their $10 Sparkling Naturals line on their website (these were not at Macy’s mind you) and found that those syrups only had normal sugar in them. I do plan on buying some in the future, but I don’t feel like getting them now since I’m unhappy about having to purchase them online and pay for shipping.
The one thing that would really improve this product for me was if I found anyone I could buy a small (non-commercial size) container of true Dr. Pepper syrup from. Soda Stream’s website does have a knockoff Dr. Pepper but I feel that Dr. Pepper is the nectar of the gods and should never be imitated. I did manage to find such syrup on one website, but it’s currently out of stock.
On the Downside
-Their website isn’t clear about the normal soda flavors being low calorie and tasting like diet because of the fake sugar, and with the cost of shipping you could buy another flavor if you went to the store
-If you don’t drink all of the soda you’ve made within a day or two, it gets flatter faster than normal soda. To counter this you can add extra bubbles, or you can purchase their half liter bottles.
-You’re only supposed to carbonate plain water, it’s not for use on premade drinks like ice tea or lemonade, although they do have syrups for these for sale on their website.
On the Upside
-Using this can be cheaper than buying soda if you’re not a person who only buys soda when its on sale
-It’s excellent for making fresh ice cream sodas
-You can add as much or as little CO2 as you like to your soda. If you’re a person who likes you’re soda a little flat you can make it fresh that way, or if you love a ton of bubbles, you can add more.
-You don’t have to deal with recycling empty soda bottles if you use this, all you need to do is refill the bottle you have and use it again.
In the end, I have to say that if I was asked to pay for this or return it, I would probably return it. I’m still really disappointed that I can’t buy their Sparkling Naturals line in stores, and it also wouldn’t save me much money in the long run. Making fresh ice cream sodas is awesome, but those are seasonal. This product would be best for a family that goes through at least a few liters of soda a week. If I knew about this a few years ago, I may have gotten one for my cousin as a wedding present because she and her husband really *love* soda but don’t drink it that often because they want to be healthy.
To anyone I know personally, if you’re interested in seeing my Soda Stream for yourself, let me know and I’d be more than happy to show it to you!