How About a Pop in the Mouth?

Last month I entered a step-by-step instruction on how to make a unique dessert at a neat website called My favorite son-in-law Nathan made a silly suggestion one evening, and like a lot of silly things it sparked my curiosity. So we invented something we call "Cake-Pie" and let me tell you, it's excellent!  Several months later I noticed that was doing a dessert contest and the top prize was something that I'd been investigating: SodaStream

SodaStream is a counter-top "pop" maker (I'm from Ohio), and based on my super-human pop consumption it made sense to me that an in-home soda maker was my "density"  :-) .  The winner of the contest would win one of their top of the line units, while a couple runners up would win one of the mid-priced units.   I figured that even if I was a runner up I would walk away with over $100 in prizes, so why no?  

It took a few evenings to write my Instructable and I entered the contest.  Here's the OREO Cake-Pie Instructable.  Long story short I am now the proud owner of a SodaStream Home Soda Maker!

The unit is self-contained and best of all it's not electric; so it's just about the only think on the kitchen counter that's not hogging an outlet!  At its core is a proprietary CO2 canister, which had me a little concerned because the last thing I need is to be locked into an expensive consumable.  Fortunately I found these for sale at Bed, Bath and Beyond and was also pleased to learn that the $30 price sticker (!) included a $15 deposit, so that, added to the cost of flavors would make the resulting 1 liter less than .50 cents.

My wife's favorite thing is that for the first time in who knows how many years, the kitchen, fridge and cars aren't overflowing with 2 liter bottles!  As for me I like that we aren't hauling all those full bottles in and empty bottles out, and best of all the pop is always fresh!

Here are a few shots of the unit in action.

The top pic shows most of what was included in the kit.  The larger bottles were purchased locally and from what I can see from the SodaStream website the unit shown normally comes with one each of the sample packs shown.  The unit also came with two heavy 1 liter bottles, which have a nice wide mouth that makes adding the flavors a breeze.

The prize I won included two sets of the sample flavors, so we've been having fun trying them all out.  I've enjoyed the diet drinks, including a cola, a Dr. Pepper taste-alike, a wonderful lemon-lime flavor that is probably closer to Sprite than 7UP. 

My bride raved about the diet root beer, which like the caffeine-free cola is sodium free.  We haven't tapped into the fruit flavoring yet, but one surprising thing we read on the package was that it doesn't require a large amount to flavor water.  That'll be nice for when I'm not in a cola mood.  

To use the SodaStream you first fill the bottle to the fill line with cold tap water.  I originally thought that I would have to break-out the Brita filter, but I'm happy that I tried it straight from the tap first, because it's just fine.

Anyway, you fill the bottle then screw it onto the female threads on the unit.  You'll notice in the top photo that there's a short white tube that dangles a short distance into the water.  This is where the CO2 is propelled into the water.

It takes a few short bursts of gas to fully charge the water, and you know when it's done when the unit makes a funny buzzing sound as you press the button.  The sticker on the unit says that three buzzes will give you the typical fizz, but for the caffeine-free cola I just need a little more fizz, so I've been giving it a few more shots.

One neat feature that I didn't notice at first (no, I didn't read the instructions) was that the threads that hold the bottle in place will allow the bottom the the bottle to swing forward while it's attached to the unit.  "Cool" I thought, "That'll make it easier to remove".  But the first time I used it I was surprised by the "WOOSH" of gas that was released when I swung it forward.  Why didn't I know that before?  All the previous batches I made released a rush of CO2 as I twisted them off the unit, and in some cases it gave me an unexpected spritz of mist.  Now that I know how to use it I'm able to remove the bottles and stay dry too!

The bottom pic shows the unit in action.

Here's a link to the SodaStream site.
Here's a link to SodaStream items on eBay.

Here's the Cake-Pie video

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