Addicted to novelty since 2001

In praise of home carbonation

In my ongoing efforts to consume less Coke, I’ve started drinking more club soda. Or soda water. Or Perrier. In short, bubbly water. It’s a poor substitute for the demon nectar that is Coca-Cola, but, you know, all things in moderation.

After considering the financial and environmental cost of all those two-litre bottles of club soda, I thought I’d try an alternative solution.

I bought a SodaStream from London Drugs for CAN $99. It’s incredibly simple. It carbonates water, and doesn’t even need electricity to do so. The SodaStream uses canisters of carbon dioxide, each good for about 60 litres of carbonated water. The canisters are recyclable wherever I buy a new canister, which costs about $35.

It comes with two reusable plastic one-litre bottles. The only trick is that the water needs to be cold before you inject it with carbonation magic. I guess the process works better at lower temperatures?

So, $134 buys you 60 litres of bubbly water. That’s probably more than you’d pay at Save-on-Foods, but the price goes down to about $0.75 after the third canister. The sums are all pretty small, but it’s nice to be on the right side of them.

SodaStream, of course, wants to sell me a variety of foul-looking syrups to add to my soda. I’ll pass, as the whole point is to reduce my liquid sugar intake. I mostly stick with plain bubbly water. If I’m feeling really indulgent, I add a little lime cordial.

I’m not somebody who loves gadgets, and I particularly have no interest in kitchen gadgets. However, this device has improved my life by, what, 0.8%.

11 Responses to “In praise of home carbonation”

  1. Duane Storey

    I’ve never been a fan of bubbly water, but many people are. In fact in Argentina if you asked for water, the waiter would always ask you “con gas o sin gas,” with or without bubbles.

    Darren Reply:

    Interestingly, that’s happened in every Spanish-speaking (and most Mediterranean) countries I’ve visited.

    Also Ireland, where they ask “sparking or still?”

  2. Ianiv

    I carbonate at home too. I have a big CO2 tank that I got from Dan’s Hombrewing Supplies (http://pages.pacificcoast.net/~dansmall/) and a valve that fits 2 litre pop bottles. Once I empty it (which will take a very long time, its a big tank) I can exchange it for a full one for about $20 (if I remember correctly). Seems less wasteful than the SodaStream canisters.

  3. Stewart

    Sodastream were all the rage in the 1970s and 1980s back in the UK. They has a resurrgence with me when I started using it to make my own tonic water for my summer G&T obsession.

    Availability became an issue then the hassle of actually using it, I can’t really remember. What I do remember is that the syrups were actually awful!

  4. Dylan Parker

    I live in Victoria BC and definitely enjoy drinking carbonated water. We were buying some brand that came from Vancouver in 2L bottles and eventually couldn’t deal with the guilt of shipping straight water.

    So I looked for alternatives and came across this:
    http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Soda-Water-%26-Home-Carbonation—Pays-For-Itsel/

    I’ve had the same 20lb tank for a few years now… and it still registers as full pressure. I’m guessing the falloff maybe steep. Not sure. Either way we have an assortment of 2L bottles, some modified caps with tire-valves and we’re good to go.

    Darren, if you get tired of buying the CO2 canisters, check out the 20lb CO2 tank approach.

  5. Darren

    Ianiv & Parker: That is robust, and more efficient, but I’m not sure there’s room in our apartment for a big tank of C02.

  6. Russell

    I have recently started drinking soda water when going out to eat as a substitute for coca-cola. This might be a great solution for home too. Do you have to hook it up to a water supply or do you just put the already filled water bottle in the machine?

    Darren Reply:

    You put already-filled water bottles in the machine.

  7. meryl

    Soda Stream was around in South Africa in the 70’s and 80’s. Everyone had them and I remember the bottles of syrups people would have lined up in their bars. Awful stuff, but the principle of basic soda water is great.

  8. Raul

    I was going to say that Ianiv and Arieanna carbonate at home and he’s already commented, so there goes my contribution :(

  9. John Keyes

    0.8% is a large gain for some little bubbles. I remember our *posh* neighbour had a Soda Stream. Stuff tasted terrible though.

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