SodaStream home soda makers are gaining popularity all the time. Here I address some of the most common questions and issues that arise when using a SodaStream for the first time.
Cold water holds gas better than warm water, which is why SodaStream recommends always using cold, refrigerated water when carbonating. The problem is that different refrigerators are different temperatures. So one person may be using water that is 36 degrees while another is using water that is 45 degrees. You will run into troubles carbonating water that is under 40 degrees. The water and CO2 will freeze at the tip causing a blockage that will prevent your water from carbonating. Those who keep their refrigerators extra cold will want to use some room temperature water mixed in with the cold water. You are ideally looking for somewhere 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 using it. You will see very small bits of white ice in this area if the temperature of your water was too low.
The biggest complaint I hear is regarding the carbonation of juices. Many people do not realize that you can only carbonate plain water with any home soda maker. The flavorings are added after carbonation. This means you can not take pure fruit juices and carbonate them. Instead you must mix the carbonated water with the juice. This makes for a watered down juice that is not all that fizzy. It is hard the tasty, healthy alternative to soda you want. Luckily, there is a very simple solution. Buy frozen juice concentrates at your local supermarket. Mix them with the carbonated water. This way, you are not diluting the juice flavor or the carbonation.
There is another option to get fruity flavors other than those offered by SodaStream. Flavored syrups, intended for pancakes or waffles, make a great flavor addition.
Many people want tonic water or club soda rather than plain sparkling water, especially when making alcoholic drinks. You can make club soda by simply adding pinch of salt to your carbonated water. Tonic water is a bit more complicated. It traditionally has quinine as well as a sweetener. Quinine is a bitter compound which is used to treat malaria. Most people do not stock their pantry with this item. You can add a splash of bitters to the carbonated water to replace the 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 fizzy drinks per week. Soda flavors can easily be mixed in a glass rather than the bottle. This way, if the left-over water in the bottle goes flat, you can recharge it before mixing up your next glass.
I hope these tips and tricks help you get the most out of your SodaStream!