The SodaStream Jet
The SodaStream Jet is SodaStream’s entry –level soda making system. It retails for $100 but can be purchased for sale prices beginning at $80. The jet includes the Soda Maker, a 1 liter carbonating bottle, one CO2 (carbon dioxide) cylinder and 6 flavor samples – root beer, orange, lemon-lime, diet cola, diet pink grapefruit and energy.
Setting up the Soda Maker system is simple: remove the back cover of the Soda Maker, insert the cylinder and screw it into the cylinder holder. Replace the back cover, screw the carbonating bottle (filled with tap water that has been chilled until very cold) into the front of the Soda Maker, then press the carbonating button all the way down until you hear a buzz. Per the instructions, three presses of the button should produce average carbonation.
For my first soda, I chose lemon-lime and was pleased with how similar it tasted to popular lemon-lime soft drinks; however I was not fully pleased with the level of carbonation. For my next soda – orange - I found giving the carbonating button an extra press produced enough fizz for my personal preference. Again, the taste was fresh and crisp. All but the most discerning taste buds would be hard-pressed to find any slight in flavor to the most popular brands.
Per the SodaStream website, one CO2 cylinder should carbonate between 60 to 130 liters of water depending upon the cylinder size. Cylinder sizes come in 60 liter and 130 liter sizes. When the cylinder is empty, one can return it to a participating retailer (Bed, Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma are two national retailers) to exchange for a full one for the price of the gas contents only. Or, one can purchase exchanges or spares starting at $29.99 for two 60 liter exchanges (i.e., exchanging two empty cylinders for two full ones) or $44.99 for a spare and one exchange from the SodaStream website. This may be cost ineffective for those who are occasional soda drinkers. For soda junkies, the upfront cost is far less than the backend cost of purchasing soda on a weekly or daily basis. The carbonating bottle is BPA-free and is reusable for up to 2 years, replacing thousands of store-bought cans and bottles thus creating a positive impact on the environment.
The SodaStream offers a variety SodaMix flavors that can be found in most major retail stores (Wal-Mart and Target are two). The economy sized bottles can produce up to 12 liters of soda. The regular flavors do not contain high-fructose corn syrup, which is the subject of continuing studies to determine exactly how the body digests it in comparison to table sugar. The diet flavors do not contain aspartame, an artificial sweetener which inconclusive studies have attributed to variety of mild to severe health problems. SodaStream also has a line of Sparkling Naturals flavors which are made from all-natural ingredients and do not contain artificial colors, sweeteners or preservatives.
All in all, this system delivers what it promises and offers versions of the most popular sodas that have fewer calories, carbohydrates, sugar, sodium and caffeine. If you are concerned with your and your family's intake of soft drinks, the SodaStream Jet may very well be a sound purchase.