This is a guest review by Amélie Crosson.
We have a new toy in our house. It sits on the kitchen counter and when you pull a lever it makes rude noises. It’s a carbonated drink maker—a Father’s Day present for my husband, or “The Faj”, as he’s been christened by his daughter. The Faj loves fizzy water, but he also loves the environment, and between lowering the thermostat in winter, pulling blinds in summer and triaging garbage for recycling and compost, he’s been muttering angrily about the environmental footprint caused by shipping fizzy water in heavy green bottles all the way across the Atlantic. Not to mention that bottled water was, for us, a $700-$1,000 a year habit.
I’m not a mail-order person, so once I knew what I was looking for I went directly to the best kitchen supply store in Ottawa, C.A. Paradis. There they sell the old-fashioned seltzer maker dispenser—the comedic prop made famous by Vaudeville and I Love Lucy, but also the more modern Sodastream line of drink makers. They start at C$99 for a plastic model and get sturdier and sleeker in design the more you pay. I went midway and found a smart stainless and grey model that looks elegant on the counter for C$179. Had I wanted a model that carbonates water in glass, as opposed to plastic, bottles, I would have had to pay an extra $100 to buy the Penguin model.
The machine is beautiful in its simplicity: nothing to plug in, just insert the CO2 cartridge, fill the BPA-free plastic bottle (supplied) with tap (or filtered) water, screw it into the machine and pull the lever until it buzzes—and yes, it sounds rude. Nearby children will chortle.
One cartridge provides 60 litres of sparkling water. When it runs out, we take the cartridge back to the store, pay $20 and exchange it in for a new one. So after the initial investment of $179, we pay an average of $20 a month for our 60 litre a month habit. This is easily a third of the price of the bottled stuff plus a lot less schlepping and recycling. (N.B. on the Sodastream website the cost calculation is 30c/litre for carbonated water and 88c/litre for flavoured drinks, post machine-purchase).
Two other advantages:
- Replacement cartridges and all accessories and machines can be purchased on line.
- You can tailor drinks to your own requirements, making them as fizzy or as euro-flat as you wish.
You can also buy syrups for around C$7 that flavour up to 20 litres of soda (so that adds about 40c/litre to the price of soda, less if you like just a wisp of flavour). I have not tried the syrups, but there is quite a range from regular to diet and the `clear’ range which has no artificial flavours, colours or sweeteners and includes such delicious-sounding flavours as passion-fruit/mango and kiwi/pear.
So, at this early stage, it seems to me that our new soda water maker will help us reduce our carbon footprint significantly, enjoy our fizzy water, and keep the Faj happy. What more could you want?
(if the answer is “more information” then see this dedicated review site for a really full analysis of the various Sodastream machines and product claims).