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Soda Maker Buying Guide
What is a Soda Maker?
Soda is very popular in many homes and some people drink it on a daily basis. Buying soda regularly can get to be very expensive and it generates a lot of plastic bottles and cans. One way to reduce this waste and lower your costs is to get a soda maker. Soda makers work by turning regular tap water into carbonated drinks with the addition of the many flavors that are available and adding CO2.
If you’ve never had a soda maker before, the different ones available on the market today can be confusing. This soda maker buyer’s guide will give you as much information as possible so you can make the right choice for your preferences. Continue reading to learn about these unique kitchen machines.
Reasons to Get One
There are many benefits to getting a soda maker that many may not know about.
Environmentally Friendly- One of the major benefits to getting a soda maker is that they are very environmentally friendly. The most notable way they help the environment is by reducing the amount of plastic waste that goes on through the purchase of 2 liter bottles of soda from the stores. It also reduces the amount of aluminum cans that are thrown away too since not everyone recycles. You don’t need electricity or batteries to work the soda makers either which is also a benefit to the environment.
Good for your Health- Another great benefit to those who purchase soda makers is that the drinks that you make are better for you. They don’t contain high fructose corn syrup or aspartame; two ingredients that are linked to all kinds of health problems like weight gain and other issues. The drinks you make all have less calories and lower carbs so they’re great for those watching what they eat and drink as well.
Lots of Variety –If you’re tired of the same drinks every time, you’ll love the variety you can get with a soda maker. There are tons of different flavors and types of drinks from energy drinks to fruit juices to diet or regular soda flavors.
Something for Everyone–Even if everyone likes something different, it’s easy to make them all happy with a soda maker. Not only can they enjoy new flavors, they can enjoy the healthier aspects too.
Fun for the Whole Family – Kids will love mixing up their favorite drinks with a soda maker and it’s easy to do too. You can also get your kids to stop drinking so much store bought soda that is loaded with calories and sugar.
Control the Carbonation –Some people don’t like a lot of carbonation. With a soda maker, you control the level of fizz that is in your drinks so you can customize the carbonation to each person’s preference.
A Great Addition to your Kitchen – Soda makers are sleek little machines that go with any kind of kitchen décor. They’re small and fit on the counter easily without taking a lot of space. They are also available in many different colors so you can match it to your kitchen’s color scheme.
Saves Money per Serving– If you drink a lot of soda on a regular basis, soda makers can save you money as well as reducing the amount of plastic bottles and cans you throw away on a daily basis.
No Toxins in the Carbonation Bottles – There are many harmful chemicals that are used in plastic bottles that can be a problem long term for your health. Soda maker’s bottles are not made with these bad chemicals. Some soda makers have glass carafes instead further reducing the worry about harmful plastics.
You don’t need massive amounts of complicated supplies to make soda. Most soda makers work the same way and need the same types of supplies. By getting the correct equipment, you’ll have everything you need to make excellent drinks for every member of the family. The supplies are easy to get too so you won’t have to go searching everywhere for them. Below we have outlined the basic supplies you will need to make delicious, healthier and less expensive carbonated drinks in your own kitchen.
- A good quality soda maker –you can get soda makers in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Soda makers are usually very sleek and stylish looking, so keeping it right on the counter will look great. They don’t take up much space either, and don’t require electricity or batteries to use.
Soda makers work by using a canister of CO2 that supplies fizz into chilled water. (using chilled water is always best for the best results) there are other units that use a small gas cartridge to put fizz into the water but the CO2 canisters are the most commonly used.
- Gas Cylinders –These gas cylinders fit inside the soda machines. Each one can fizz around 50 pints of water and the majority of these gas cylinders are rechargeable, so you can use them over and over again.
- Carbonating bottles – These are special bottles that you use to create any number of different flavored carbonated drinks. They are also reusable, so no need to throw them away when empty. Just rinse and reuse.
- Soda Mixes – Without soda mixes all you will have is carbonated water. There are many flavors of soda mixes available for you to try. Most soda makers offer;
- Regular soda such as cola, lemon lime, grape, orange, etc
- Diet versions of the ones above
- Energy drinks
- Cocktail mixes
Soda mixes can be purchased easily online and most soda makers come with a sampler pack of some kind for you to try different ones. Most soda mix bottles are 16.9 ounces and make about 12 liters of soda.
Even if you’ve never used a soda maker before you won’t find them too difficult to use, although getting the right amount of fizz may take some trial and error. You won’t need batteries or electricity. You don’t want to put the carbonating bottles or the soda maker in the dishwasher, as this could damage them.
What water should I use? –The quality of water that you use to make your homemade soda has everything to do with how good it comes out. Tap water is just fine but you may find the taste is improved greatly when you use filtered water, especially if there is a chlorine reducer in the filter. Kitchen faucet filters do the job just fine. You can also use water directly from a dispenser in your fridge. In addition to using filtered water, be sure that the water is as cold as you can get t it before you make the soda. Just a few degrees above freezing seem to yield the best results.
How to Make the Soda –Once the initial soda maker is set up, put in the carbonator and reset the meter. Fill the carbonating bottle full of ice cold water, pull out the tilt out level and screw the bottle on tightly. Press down on the carbonating switch. Some machines may make loud noises which are like buzzers. This buzzing alerts you to the various steps and stages.Typically, one buzz means that the bottle is lightly carbonated. Three loud buzzes indicate average amount and five loud buzzes create the type of carbonation found in cola drinks.
Adding Flavor to Your Drink – The flavoring is added after the water is carbonated, not before. Regardless of what type of flavoring you choose, just follow directions and allowed myself to be dragged into the middle of it.Don’t shake the bottle just gently flip it back and forth to mix the contents thoroughly. Remember to always use super cold water and to put the flavoring in AFTER the carbonating has been done.
Knowing how to take care of your soda maker is important, especially if you want to keep it around for any length of time. If you don’t clean it properly you can end up mixing flavors you don’t want to mix together.
Soda makers are pretty easy to clean. Once you take the CO2 canister out, wipe down the entire machine carefully with a damp cloth. Use lukewarm water and no cleansers or chemical cleaners.
It’s also important to clean your soda maker bottles properly to ensure that the new flavors of drinks you’re making don’t get messed up with old soda syrup stuck in the bottle. If you have a glass carafe with your soda maker, cleaning is easy and can be done by hand in a soapy sink or the dishwasher.
Most soda maker bottles will last around 3 years or so. They are not dishwasher friendly and they’re not easy to clean either since they’re shaped like regular soda bottles. A blitz clean will work for bottles that have just been used to sparking water only. Fill the bottle halfway and dump it out 2 or 3 times. The 4th time, fill it up about 75% full of water and close it up then shake it vigorously for a few minutes. Rinse one last time and rinse the cap with scalding hot water.
If you let a bottle dry with soda mix residue in the bottom, you’ll need to do a full cleaning of the bottle. Fill your bottle with hot, soapy water and then pour it out, fill it up again, cap it and shake the bottle hard a few times then pour most of it out, swish the remaining soapy water around and dump that out too. Rinse the bottle repeatedly with plain hot water until you’re sure all the soap is gone. Soapy soda does not taste good, so this is an important step.
Experimenting with your soda maker can be fun. It can also give you new ways to use it and new methods of saving even more money. Below are a few notable hacks, or different ways to use your soda maker that you might like to try.
Paintball tanks are cheaper – Having the CO2 tanks refilled can be a costly thing to do but if you get a simple adaptor, you can switch out the regular CO2 bottles for a paintball CO2 tank. There is a huge difference in price between the regular soda maker CO2 tanks and the paintball tanks and that will save you a lot of money when refilling them.
How about Snow Cone Syrup? – Snow cone syrup comes in a large variety of flavors. You’ll need to adjust the dilution ratio (1:6 for snow cone syrup to 1:34 for regular soda stream syrup) but if you don’t want to mess with dilution percentages, you can opt for concentrated snow cone syrup and just sweeten it to the point were the same 1:24 dilution is able to be used. If you’re making citrus drinks, buy some citric acid to add to the snow cone syrup and this will give you a great citrus taste.
Use Frozen Concentrate – If you want a fruity soda but don’t want to pay for the regular fruity soda mix, you can use frozen juice concentrate. These are really inexpensive and easy to get from any grocery store. For the best taste, use 1-2 tablespoons, depending on how sweet you want it, of the concentrate into the carbonated water. Don’t put the concentrate into the machine itself.
Carbonating something besides water – Using something besides water in your soda maker can cause potential problems and mess. The more sugary the liquid is that you’re adding to the soda maker, the more problems it can cause. Wine can be added to make delicious champagne and even hard lemonade can be added with no issues. Just go slow and be careful about adding anything other than water to the soda maker and remember to use liquids that are not full of sugar. Juices are thick and full of sugar, so this would not be one liquid that is recommended to use unless it is watered down significantly.
How to Make a Soda?
Making great tasting sodas is easy with a soda maker. The steps are simple; sp even kids can do them, although a child should never use the soda maker without supervision. Follow the steps below to start making your own delicious creations.
- Wash your bottles out according to the instructions above. You want to avoid any germs that might be in the bottles from sitting. If you use soap, be certain to thoroughly rinse them so your drinks don’t taste like soap.
- Fill the bottle to the specified line. Be sure not to over fill it with water or when you add the concentrate and carbonation the bottle could overflow.
- Attach the bottle to the soda maker and start adding carbonation. Make sure that you read the instruction manual for your particular model of soda maker so you know how to properly do this. Carbonation will vary depending on what you prefer. If it’s the first time you’ve used it, it may be more trial and error but once you figure out how many pushes of the button provide how much carbonation, you’ll be able to adjust this according to your personal preferences.
- Don’t forget to release the excess carbonation before you take the bottle off the machine. Your instruction manual will also explain how to do this properly for your particular model.
- Add your flavoring according to the directions and then cap the bottle and gently turn it a few times to distribute the flavoring properly.
Having a soda maker in your kitchen is going to open up a world of experiences and fun for you. It unleashes the creativity in your mind as you come up with different flavors to try. There are many benefits to having one as you can see, that include helping the environment, saving money, creating family time and more. This buyer’s guide will give you some great information on what to look for when you purchase a soda maker.
You’ll also learn how to clean the soda maker, learn about other fun things you can do with it, and how to clean it properly. Get a soda maker for your family and watch them drink healthier drinks rather than sugar filled, calorie rich ones.
- SodaStream Jet – http://www.sodastreamusa.com/Fountain-Jet-Starter-Kit-P149.aspx
- SodaStream Dynamo – http://www.sears.com/sodastream-dynamo-lx-home-soda-maker-deluxe/p-SPM1961273114
- SodaStream Source http://www.sodastreamusa.com/Source-Starter-Kit-P356.aspx