SodaStream homemade soda makers are gaining popularity all the time. Here I address some of the most common questions and problems that arise when using SodaStream for the first time.
Cold water retains gas better than warm water, so SodaStream recommends always using chilled cold water when carbonating. The problem is that different refrigerators have different temperatures. So one person may be using 36 degree water while another is using 45 degree water. You will run into trouble carbonating water below 40 degrees. The water and CO2 will freeze at the tip causing a blockage that will prevent the water from carbonating. Those who keep their refrigerators very cold will want to use some room temperature water mixed with cold water. Ideally, look between 41 and 45 degrees. Not sure if this is a problem for you? Look at the tip of the SodaStream (the part that goes into the bottle) immediately after use. You will see small pieces of white ice in this area if the water temperature is too low.
The biggest complaint I hear is about the carbonation of juices. Many people don’t realize that only plain water can be carbonated with any homemade soda machine. Flavorings are added after carbonation. This means that you cannot take pure fruit juices and char them. Instead, you should mix the carbonated water with the juice. This makes for a watery juice that is not as fizzy. It’s hardly the tasty and healthy alternative to soda you want. Fortunately, there is a very simple solution. Buy frozen juice concentrates at your local grocery store. Mix them with the carbonated water. This way, you don’t dilute the flavor of the juice or the carbonation.
There is another option for fruity flavors other than those offered by SodaStream. Flavored syrups, intended for pancakes or waffles, are a great flavor addition.
Many people prefer tonic water or club soda to sparkling water, especially when preparing alcoholic beverages. You can make carbonated water by simply adding a pinch of salt to your carbonated water. Tonic water is a bit trickier. Traditionally it has quinine in addition to a sweetener. Quinine is a bitter compound that is used to treat malaria. Most people don’t stock their pantry with this item. You can add a dash of bitters to carbonated water to replace quinine. Three tablespoons of agave syrup per liter mixes well and will give you the slight sweetness found in tonic water.
My next tip is for the small percentage of people who only drink one or two sodas per week. Soda flavors can easily be mixed in a glass instead of the bottle. This way, if the remaining water in the bottle runs out, you can refill it before mixing your next glass.
I hope these tips and tricks help you get the most out of your SodaStream!