Thursday, August 11, 2011

SodaStream Review from Actual Users

We bought a SodaStream last weekend and have put in near-daily use record so far.  We have learned more about how it works, plus we will end up saving some money--eventually.  Please note that this is not a paid testimonial, just a simple user review from a pretty normal couple that enjoys fizzy drinks.  A lot.

The SodaStream, for those not in-the-know, is a carbonation delivery system.  You have to buy the unit, the carbonation canisters (and refills) and the flavored syrups (if you want them).  The basic unit comes with two one-liter bottles, so you might want more of those as well.  The whole system is quite an investment up front.  Our most basic Genesis model was originally $100, but after a 20%-off coupon and two additional bottles for $20, we came out right at $100 anyway.  The model we got came with twelve flavors of sample-size drink mixes, a full 60L carbon dioxide canister, and, of course, the black plastic unit.

We have tried the Diet Cola, the Diet Dr. Pete (insert giggles here), the Diet Root Beer, the Diet Lemon-Lime, and the regular Cola.  As you can see, we're mostly diet-soda drinkers.  For the record, being Oregonians, we officially call it "pop," but for the sake of consistency in this post I'll force myself to call it soda.  Pop.  Soda.

Diet Cola soda flavoring is not quite consistent with Diet Coke.  I'm a connoisseur of Diet Coke, and I definitely notice a difference between it and Diet Pepsi, but the Diet Cola is a very good approximation between the two.  It's almost identical to Diet Coke with Splenda since all SodaStream diet flavors contain Splenda instead of aspartame (yay!).  9/10 from both The Man and myself.

Diet Dr. Pete flavoring is startlingly similar to Diet Dr. Pepper.  It even has an odd smell like the brand-name stuff, although the Splenda again adds a slightly sweeter taste.  The Man wasn't as convinced about the similarity as I was, but Diet Dr. Pepper is "his" drink.  He offers up an 8/10.  I generously dole out a 9/10.

Diet Lemon-Lime is undoubtedly a dupe for 7-Up.  It is not the same as Sprite.  However, it is clearly a lemon-lime flavor, is refreshing just the same, and will be considered exceptional next time either of us gets sick.  Being cola people, we'll both give this an 8/10, but probably a 9/10 during our next bout with the flu.

Cola tastes much like the Diet Cola, but sweeter.  Our friend sampled this regular flavor for us and deemed it quite... cola-y.  He indicated it was neither Coca-Cola or Pepsi, but almost a Mr. Pibb or an RC flavor.  Taking his word for it, we'll toss a 7/10 on it.

Diet Root Beer is distinctly root beer, but it is also definitely not A&W root beer.  Being a purist, I was turned off by the sweet, sweet flavor.  This would be atrocious to use as a float.  We all agreed the SodaStream root beer was closest to Mug root beer, and we all agreed it left something to be desired.  I tolerated a full glass with some pizza, but I just couldn't drink more than that.  5/10 at most.

Diet Orange is delightfully orange-y.  From experience, I can caution you that this syrup stains counters if you aren't careful.  However, once properly mixed, the orange soda is among the best orange sodas available.  We both give this a solid 10/10.

Diet Lemonade soda fits the bill on warm summer days.  The Man isn't as much of a fan as I am, but others have supported my claim for a quite refreshing fizzy tartness.  While the cloudy syrup threw me at first (as if there is really lemon juice, shocking!), the cool sweetness won me over in the end.  8/10 unless I'm sweltering, then a no-questions-asked 10/10.

We still have many more flavors to try, and I'll keep everyone updated about the flavors we love and hate.  Now onto some math to see just how much money we'll actually be able to save by making our own soda at home instead of lugging all of those cans home from the store.  I did not figure in Oregon's can/bottle deposits since we always take our own cans back and redeem the money.  I also didn't figure in the cost of gas to get pop or more syrup or carbonation.  That should equal out since both stores are less than one half-mile from home.  Water is free for us since we live in an apartment and *gasp* drink straight from the tap *horror*.

We have been purchasing name-brand soda at Safeway regularly on their buy-two-get-two sales.  We get 48 cans of soda (or 576 ounces) for $14 or $0.025 per ounce.  That's the easy math.

The flavoring for the SodaStream is easy enough to figure, too.  Each bottle of syrup will make 12L of soda or approximately 400oz at $5 per bottle.  That comes out to $0.0125 per ounce of soda.

The carbonation is also pretty easy to figure.  The small canisters of carbon dioxide sell for $30 each, and refills are $15 each.  One canister came with our unit, so I'm only figuring on refilling it.  $15 will get us 60L of soda or about 2,030oz.  I worked that to $0.007 per ounce of soda.

So the flavoring and the carbonation come up to almost exactly $0.02 per ounce, a half a cent less per ounce than if we buy pop on sale at Safeway.  We save six cents per can of pop or seventeen cents per liter.

At that rate of seventeen cents per liter, we will have to refill our carbonation canister ten times to completely break even.  According to SodaStream, an average family of four goes through our of canister in six to eight weeks.  We estimate ten weeks then, for even rounding.  Ten canisters at ten weeks works out to not quite two years of an investment.

HOWEVER!  We have determined that we only need 3/4 the amount of flavoring to achieve our preferred level of sweetness, so all of that ugly math figures up at twenty-six cents per liter savings over Safeway sales or just over one year of use to make our unit pay for itself.

But none of that math can change the fact that we no longer have to store twelve-packs of soda, empty bottles and cans, lug them back and forth to the store, poke them in dirty machines, and remember our little refund slippydeal at the checkstand.  We can also store the syrups for a very long time, so if we have friends who hate all of our diet soda, we can whip up some regular soda just for them.

Oh, and coupons?  Yeah.  We can save even more by buying the syrups using coupons.  Ain't that a sweet deal.  After all the math and figuring and refiguring, it was a pretty easy decision.

But we're still going to call it pop.

1 comment:

Dr. Weirdbeard said...

I wonder how Shasta compares ;)