Seriously, the SodaStream home drinks maker could become an essential piece of kit to have around for those who are open to choosing differently when out shopping, if they think their choice might make some difference to the world, however small. There is no doubt that making fizzy drinks straight from tap water in the home, in favour of the buying of carbonated drinks in plastic bottles and cans, which, of course, then needs to be recycled and all those considerations – it’s a ticking clock! And so, and who would have thought it, that the answer could be found in the investment of a SodaStream machine, an item that has nostalgic interest as first sold in 70s and 80s Britain, a time when big industries and peoples’ actions were less green and both business and habitual practices were not so environmentally friendly by any stretch of the imagination. The Sodastream drinksmaker: cost from £49.99.
Admittedly, the CO2 Cylinder/Carbonator (supplied under licence), which produces the fizz, needs to be recycled or refilled, nevertheless there is a large amount of fizz created before this is necessary. You can exchange an empty cylinder for a new one either in store or through a direct delivery system. For full details on the gas exchange process, see http://www.sodastream.co.uk/gbretail/Exchang-Programme.aspx and, as for the carbonating bottle itself, which holds 1L of drink each time, this is reusable – simply clean and rinse after use and refill with water to line, chill, and it’s ready to add the sparkle to once again. And if you happen to have teenage boy around who approaches the making process like a fun, science experiment every time, then you can put your feet up. Result! No more lugging heavy bottles around and less time spent down at the plastic and tin recycling.
The main criticism is, as has always been the case, and this is arguably that the flavours available do not ‘cut the mustard’ in comparison to well known brands of carbonated drinks, even though the manufacturers offer diet and cocktail mixers as well as the regular flavours. The added fizz is pleasant and can be adjusted to suit tastes. Maybe taste should feature a little less in this instance, in favour of having no more carrying and storing (apart from storing the machine itself which is quite big although it needs no electricity) and, of course, less waste and plastic recycling and no tin recycling.
It is encouraging to learn however, that on sale from January 2012 (at several independent retailers and major stores in 42 different countries and online at www.sodastream.co.uk) is a brand new range of Clear Plus flavours with plant extracts such as Ginseng and Elderflower. These are marketed as healthier flavours with detoxing benefits as they contain no artificial flavours or sweeteners. Available in 500ml bottles at £3.29, that can make up to ten litres.
The range includes three flavours:
• Lemongrass-Forest Fruits
• Green Tea Lychee
The Grapefruit-Pomegranate and Lemongrass-Forest Fruits were tested on this occasion. With the latter being the most preferred.
If you like lightly, flavoured-water style drinks with a hint of sweetness then you will like these. Good for anytime, with meals, for rehydrating whilst exercising, as an alternative to tea and coffee, juices or squashes; will particularly appeal to those who do not like drinking plain still/sparkling water.
FOUR STARS AWARDED ****