I've had a Sodastream home carbonator thingy for a couple of years now. I love it. I really enjoy carbonated beverages, and the Sodastream is an easy way to inexpensively have a lot of variety of pop (or, soda, if you're from the West) at hand.
I have to admit that I approached the whole idea with some trepidation. But my fears were unwarranted as the Sodastream is easy, clean, and fast to use. Dare I say it is even a little fun? Even if you don't enjoy it, you will enjoy learning just how little materials are used in making soda and how much price-gouging the big guys engage in.
The Sodastream model that I have is pictured below. I don't know exactly which one this is because they make a dizzying array of seemingly barely distinguishable models. (Seriously, wtf?) Presumably they all work the same, and aside from some unnecessary accessories, the models are interchangeable. If I were buying one today, I'd probably get this one.
Now on with the tips!
- For the first year or so, Sur La Table was the best place to buy refilled gas canisters. But Sodastream seems to have really expanded their distribution so there are a lot more places now. Nonetheless, Sur La Table will often let you sample flavors so it's worth stopping by a location near you.
- Now that you can find Sodastream consumables in lots of stores, you might not need to ever visit the Sodastream website, but it's still a great place to buy syrup. The selection is better, and if you sign up for their email newsletter, they often have coupons to save on shipping.
- Although the Sodastream instructions say to carbonate your bottles until you hear three "buzzes," I found that two buzzes is sufficient. You might like more, or less, carbonation. Experiment, and if two works for you, your gas canisters will last longer.
- Similarly,experiment with how much syrup you use. The fill-lines inside the cap are just suggestions (if you can even see them, I find them rather inscrutable) and keep in mind the "best" amount of syrup will vary by flavor. For example, I prefer less Ginger Ale syrup than I do Root Beer.
- My friend Nate understands physics better than I do, and he suggests that chilling the water before carbonating it will use less gas. Subjectively, I agree.
- Also courtesy of Nate, be sure to heed the warning that you must add the syrup after carbonating the water. If you do it before, you'll regret it. Although I understand the resulting geyser is spectacular.
- If you enjoy a cocktail on occasion, you need a Sodastream. Period. Keep a bottle of just soda water and your home libations will never be the same. Trust me.
- Buy an extra canister of gas if you can afford it. It's a lot more convenient to have a spare on hand.
I might periodically update this list as I discover or learn of more. (Please let me know of your own!)