Today, I’d like to tell you about my favorite purchase of last year – SodaStream. If you told me a month ago I’d be writing this article, I wouldn’t have believed you. I put it at the bottom of my Christmas list behind a Kindle and a 2 Terabyte Hard Drive for my media center project. I saw the product in SkyMall about a year ago. (Anything in SkyMall instantly gets downgraded in my opinion.) I researched whether it would save me money and decided against buying it. At the time, I thought about writing a post about it, but I didn’t think it was interesting to tell you about a product that I wasn’t particularly interested. However, a friend, Steve from Brip Blap, mentioned it in passing which combined with Bed, Bath, and Beyond’s big push this year made me revisit the product. I decided to buy as a gift to myself after Christmas. I was fully prepared to sell it on Craigslist in a month as a failed experiment.
I know what your thinking? What is SodaStream? It’s a kitchen appliance that is used to make your own soda at home. That was the concept that interested me when I first heard about it. I have a little Diet Coke addiction and usually making food at home is less expensive than buying it. The interesting thing is that its not new. It’s actually a product that’s been around since the 70’s. Check out this fantastic commercial:
It’s hard to imagine that this isn’t in everyone’s household with a slogan like “Get Busy with the Fizzy” and the cool grandma sealing the deal at the end. That commercial is entertaining enough to entail at post in itself, right? Well, fortunately it isn’t just marketing. J-Lo better look out because SodaStream is the rare product that is a quadruple thread. It can save you money, instill healthier habits, help the environment, and save you space in your home.
SodaStream Can Save you Money
This is probably the weakest argument, which is why I passed it over the first time I heard about it. The initial cost for a SodaStream is around $99. It comes with a carbonation canister (good for 60 liters) and enough soda syrup to make about 12 liters (one sample of each of a dozen flavors). Refills of the carbonation are $15 and 12 liters of soda syrup is $5.
Breaking it down, it is about $0.50 for a two litter of carbonation and $0.80 for a two liter of soda syrup. That comes out to be about a $1.30 for a two-liter of soda. Costs of soda ranges widely in my area, but I’ll can often find generic soda (I’ll cover taste later) for $0.83 at my local grocery store. Ouch! Laying out $80 to pay more for soda is a horrible idea!
The equation changes when you realize the flexibility it provides. I found that you can add a cap-full of lemon juice in place of the syrup and make a tasty drink. It turns out that lemon juice is quite cheap. I have a 32 ounce bottle that I paid a couple of bucks for on sale. It has 189 servings of lemon juice and after a month of more than 60 liters, I have used about a third of the bottle. I’ve essentially taken the $0.80 soda syrup out the equation. Now, I’m actually saving money and I like the taste of carbonated lemon water as much as diet soda.
Some of you may be quick to point out that I’ve lost the caffeine that I was getting before in the soda. That’s a fair argument. Fortunately, one can choose to buy some generic NoDoz caffeine tablets if they feel like they need it. Personally, I’m enjoying the experience of eliminating caffeine form my diet.
The savings don’t just end with the lemon juice trick. Since I’ve written about how MonaVie, an acai juice blend, I’ve decided to try V8 Fusion Acai Berry juice. It’s around $3.10 at my grocery store (Wal-Mart has great prices as well) for 46 ounces. A half and half mixture of V8 Fusion and carbonated water from SodaStream is pretty close to their V8 Fusion Light products (half the calories at the same cost). The carbonation makes it more interesting too. This saves me money as well.
SodaStream Instills Good Health Habits
With regular soda, you are typically choosing amongst high fructose corn syrup, full calorie cane syrup, or some man-made sweetener (Aspartame or Splenda for example). Many health experts will say that you shouldn’t drink your calories. So that eliminates the first two choices. Other health experts have questions about the long-term effects of those zero-calorie sweeteners. I don’t want to get in a debate about that, but if I can avoid them all and go with something more natural that’s a health win, right?
I looked into that lemon juice that I mentioned above. It uses sodium benzoate as preservative. When combined with vitamin C that forms a carcinogen called benzene. (Yep, I learned that with MonaVie too, because they combine sodium benzoate with vitamin C – mmmm, cancer, yum). While the FDA says this isn’t an issue, I figure why risk it? I didn’t think my lemon juice had vitamin C, but I just checked it and it does, so I’m going to be ditching that right now.
All is not lost though. The sodium benzoate issue lead me to look for more natural solutions. I’ve stumbled upon True Lemon, which the best stuff since True Blood. True Lemon is a little packet of natural, zero-calorie, crystallized lemon. It is less than $0.10 a packet (good for one liter). I found some great prices for True Orange (which is just as great as True Lemon) on Ebay. I’ll give True Lime a shot the next time I go to the store. So I’ll pay a little more, but I’ll be eliminating some of the chemicals that I used to be ingesting.
There are additional health benefits. I have a Brita filter, so I can use filtered water. That further adds to the cost, but I’m not sure about the quality of the water in soda. In addition the containers that you make the SodaStream in are BPA free, which means that there’s no leeching of chemicals that you may have heard about with water bottles.
The big takeaway here is that since I’m making it myself, I control what goes into it. This gives me great peace of mind.
SodaSteam Helps the Environment
This is a no-brainer. I’m no longer buying two liters of soda. Even if I were to recycle those bottles, it does take energy to make them reusable again.
SodaStream Saves you Space in your Home
Why is saving space important? The late, great, George Carlin said it best when he explained the purpose of a house years ago:
“That’s all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn’t have so much stuff, you wouldn’t need a house. You could just walk around all the time. A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it… That’s what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get…more stuff! Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore!”
The switch to SodaStream means that I have to store less soda in my home (the syrup is condensed so it doesn’t take up much space). It also means that I wouldn’t have to go to the grocery store to get more soda (which was rare, but it still occurred).
Finally, with the sample packages, we can make a liter of whatever soda we want on demand. There’s even a generic Red Bull flavor (which doesn’t have the guarana in it). It will come in handy if we want to make some kind of vodka – Red Bulls for guests.
How Does it Taste?
When it comes to soda, I’d drink all kinds of generics. I could tell the differences in taste, but I wouldn’t say that any soda taste better than any other soda. My sense of smell is terrible and I think it has an effect on my taste buds. However, my wife has a great sense of smell and taste. She confirmed that the diet soda syrup tastes pretty good. However, she, like me, is looking more at the health benefits of eliminating soda than replacing it.
Are you still reading this? You should have left this website by now to get a SodaSteam. Seriously!
Update: I found that I could get True Lemon and True Lime much cheaper online. The 32 packet box I was getting was around $2.50 for 0.91 ounces. I was in the spice of my local military commissary and found a 2.85 ounce shaker of it for about the same price. It’s not as convenient to travel with, but more than three product for the same price is certainly a big savings ($2.74 an ounce vs. $0.88 an ounce). I’ve seen a True Lemon 10.7oz Shaker on Amazon, which may be an option for those of you without the military connections. Since the commissary doesn’t have True Lime in the shaker, I’ll probably be headed that way. True Orange, sadly, currently doesn’t seem to come in a shaker of any kind.