Friday, August 5, 2011

Sodastream Review

I emailed the nice people at Sodastream about a possible review opportunity without high hopes. After all, their product looked amazing, and I couldn't imagine that my little blog would qualify for their reviewing standards. When I got an email back, I was super excited and provided some information to them, then didn't hear anything for a week. Being new at this, I didn't know what to expect. Was my little blog ok? Did they decide not to do a review? Once again, my hopes were low.

Then on the day my family was going to a friend's pool, we opened the door to find a HUGE box. It was almost up to my waist, and the Sodastream logo was on the side. I was SUPER excited to get it! I carried it in and eagerly awaited the moment I could try it. Later that  night, I opened the box to find two smaller boxes and some flavors. Here's what I received: The Sodastream machine, a metal container of carbonation, a one liter bottle (empty), some instructions, 10 big flavor bottles and a pack of 3 water flavors to go with it. I put the bottle full of water into the refrigerator and read the instructions very very carefully. It turns out, that was not at all needed. This machine is incredibly easy to put together. I think even without the instructions I could have figured it out.

The machine itself is made of a strong plastic, which is great because that makes it light and easy to carry and travel with, though I haven't traveled with it yet. It doesn't plug in to the wall, so you can set it up just about anywhere, and it takes up a little more space than a 2 liter and it's a little taller, but it is very small for a machine. It also works really simply. You press a button on the front and screw in the bottle, then you press a button on the top 3-4 times until  you hear a loud buzz, then you press the first button and unscrew your bottle. The whole process takes less than a minute once you have it down. It's a little difficult at first, but it doesn't take long to find the best way to do it.

This is a picture of the machine I have. It looks bigger in this picture than it actually is.

The bottle that goes into the machine is also really well-made. I think it could probably last 3-4 years of frequent use, if not much much more. To be honest, I'm not too familiar with re-usable bottles, but this one really impressed me. They also send a cap for the bottle so that you can store your soda in the bottle it was made in until you're ready to make more. How convenient is that? You can't wash the bottle in the dishwasher, but really I've never needed to wash it out at all. Since it's made with water and flavoring (which immediately dissolves in the water and doesn't separate with time) all you need to do is rinse out the bottle 2-3 times and you've gotten out all the flavoring from before and it's clean. If you're really worried, then you can just pour some soap and water in there, close and shake it, then pour and rinse. No problem!

I also just love the many different kinds of flavors available. I got some favorites like Energy Drink (Red Bull) and Cola Free (Coke Zero) and some interesting flavors like Diet Pink Grapefruit and Orange Mango. They also sent two bottles from their naturals line, Cola Natural and Black Currant and Pear. I have tried most of these, and can say that the ones that are made after popular sodas really do taste like those sodas. In fact, my sister commented that the cola free tasted even better than normal coke zero. My personal favorite has been Energy Drink, because during school I am always drinking monster in the mornings, and I think that this would allow me to make my own and save the money, because frankly it's a HUGE difference in price. If you use your machine for that alone, you can save an incredible amount of money. To put the flavors in the drink, you take your carbonated water and fill a the cap of the drink and pour it in. Simple! You close your soda, turn it to and fro gently, and it's well-mixed. The only problem that I have with the system is that the cap of the flavor is only a little smaller than the opening of the bottle, and it takes some time to figure out how to get all the flavoring in the bottle and not on the side. I have it perfected now, but I had trouble figuring it out.

For college students, this could turn out to be their favorite gadget ever. The prices are low, so they're not spending all their money on soda, and they don't have a big bottle to worry about going flat either. On top of that, they can carry it to class like a normal re-usable water bottle. If they're an energy drink drinker, they save enormous amounts of money, and don't have to wait in line to buy their drink in the morning. They also won't have to spend much time when they wake up making soda, so they'll save up to 7 minutes every day. It doesn't sound like much, but I know that a lot of people can get a lot done in 7 minutes. Plus, it's easy to clean and the machine never gets dirty. The only thing I can think of that might be hard for college students is replacing the carbonator, which you can buy online or trade in at a store close to you (they have a list of stores that carry their products on their site). You pay about 20 dollars for an exchange, but I can say that you have 60 liters worth of carbonation from each carbonator. That means that once every two months you might have to change it out. Ten dollars a month doesn't seem unreasonable to me. In fact, that's not even 5 days worth of my energy drinks during the school year. The flavor refills themselves are around 12 liters worth, and they're about 5 dollars. Also, if you know soda the way I know soda, you'll know this next statement means something: it makes fountain-tasting soda.

If you're looking for something fun and interesting to give your college student, consider the Sodastream soda machine with some flavors! You seriously can't go wrong.

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