A Sodastream Flavor for Everyone

The idea behind Sodastream is simple : take a product we consume often — the carbonated beverage — and make it yourself with the purchase of a soda machine, some accessories, and a range of flavors.  In the Sodastream fizz racket, this means converting ordinary tap water into seltzer, soda and even carbonated energy drinks meant to rival top name-brand equivalents by mixing it with Sodastream flavor syrups in a re-useable carbonating bottle and adding CO2 from a refillable canister.  Presto! Less cans and bottles to clog the recycling depot, less money spent on name-brand drinks, and less energy spent schlepping heavy cases of fizziness.  Popular for boats and cottages, the process also saves space — one machine on your counter and a couple of re-useable bottles, versus a whole case of cans or a fridge door full of 2L pop bottles.

At the end of the day, the success of Sodastream at the household level rests on the taste of the product.  Who wants to spend the money and effort doing something yourself, if what you make is merely a pale imitation of the original?

It all comes down to…

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    Flava, Flava, Flava

    So…how does Sodastream stack up?

    All Sodastream flavors are not created equal.  There are  a number of flavor lines available, from regular (where you’ll find syrup similar to Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, Sprite etc.) a Diet stream, and Sparkling Naturals with no artificail ingredients.

    Sodastream Regular

    The range of regular flavors includes everything from ginger ale to Fountain Mist (a dewy rival to its Mountain name-brand competitor), cola, cream soda, lemon-lime and Dr. Pete (paging Doctors with the first name P…).  Sold in 500ml formats for $4.99 a bottle (although beware! Some 500ml formats on Amazon go as high as $15!) each dose contains mix for 12L (or 33 cans-worth) of soda, at a flavor cost of just under 42 cents per liter for the lower-priced flavors.

    The regular flavors boast less sugar, calories, carbs and sodium than their compatriot national brand cans.  They also make a point of trumpeting no high fructose corn syrup, but customers warn they do contain sucralose (in the form of Splenda) in its place, an artificial sweetener that leaves some soda sippers with an unwanted aftertaste and a headache.

    The fizz jury seems to be out on whether the taste falls flat alongside the sodas we’ve grown accustomed to — some will happily guzzle liters of Sodastream, while other are left pining for a can of good old name brand.

    Sodastream Diet

    For a similar just-under $5 price for most flavors (some flavors, like diet Cranberry Raspberry run a little higher, and there are $14 exceptions on Amazon, so check carefully!) in the same 500ml format, the diet stream mirrors the brand’s non-diet flavors, and prides itself on no aspartame.  Again, though, some customers note that the presence of sucralose creates a nasty aftertaste: in the drive to boast lower calories, there is a taste trade-off.

    Natural or Nothing: No Artificial Sweeteners, Please!

    The main complaint about the regular and diet Sodastream flavors is that, despite a loud declaration that high fructose corn syrup and aspartame are absent, they still contain artificial sweeteners that kill the taste experience for a certain demographic of cola connoisseurs.

    Enter the Sodastream Sparkling Naturals line swapping out the sucralose for cane sugar, cutting out artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, and preservatives.  The trade-off?  Cost.  In this case, less (of the unwanted stuff) really does mean more (money), and while the more expensively priced Naturals come in a larger 750ml format, they only make 6L of soda, so in the end their $8.50 – $12.99 price tag on Amazon ends up being even more of a per-serving mark-up.

    What is solved is the pervasive aftertaste problem, with customer reviews seeming to come in on the side of the Naturals as a more, well, natural alternative.

    Do You Have to Buy Sodastream Flavoring?

    No, you can use anything for flavoring but SodaStream does make some good stuff. 

    They also offer a line of collaborations with name brands including:

    Kool Aid, CountryTime Lemonade, and Crystal Light

    SodaStream International, Ltd has decided to expand it’s line of carbonated drink flavorings by partnering with worldwide food giant Kraft Foods, Inc. They’ve announced a strategic partnership for the manufacturing and sale of Kraft-branded flavors for use in the SodaStream home soda making machines.

    The partnership means that you’ll soon be able to make your own at-home versions of some of the best-selling soft drinks on the market, including Kraft’s Crystal Light diet beverages as well as the Country Time lemonade drinks. Kraft also announced that they’ll release a brand new “all natural” lemonade flavoring specifically for use in the SodaStream machines. Lemonade lovers the world over are celebrating!

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