I have a love of soda (which I've written about before), but I don't drink too much of it due to the fact that it probably burns your insides or something (Kidding! Don't sue me soda companies!). So when I received an offer to review the full line of Soda Stream Sparkling Naturals, as well as a machine to use them with, I couldn't resist.
Let me preface by saying that I was skeptical. I mean, the product has its eco-friendly merits, which I get into below, but I thought, "So you can make soda or sparkling water... Whoop-dee-freakin-doo." Once it arrived though, set up was super easy. I chose the Fountain Jet machine as it seemed to be the most affordable and popular one. I filled the bottle up (not over the fill line though!), chilled it in the fridge, and then placed it in the soda stream machine. The instructions explicitly said you have to push the top button until it buzzes. The trick is you have to push firmly (i.e. no wimpy girl pushes) and only for about a second. After about three FIRM pushes, you'll hear a buzz. Three buzzes gives you normal, average fizziness. You mix the water with your desired flavor and voila! Not only did it give me some pretty tasty flavored sparkling water, but it was fun! Seriously!
They have four flavors available and I'll list them in order of best tasting to worst tasting in my opinion: Orange Pineapple, Lemon Lime, Pink Grapefruit, and Apple Mango. They really are very natural, containing for the most part natural flavors and citric acid. The flavor is very light with just a hint of sweetness. I also got to try the Flavor Essences, which you add a drop or two to your sparkling water to provide just a hint of flavor.
It has it's eco-friendly merits. In a nutshell, here is what I found: You really do cut back on waste by not having to buy bottles and cans of sparkling water or soda. In the long run, this also saves you money, especially if you like that expensive Perrier. The water bottles that it comes with are recyclable, but they should be good for 3 years before they need to be replaced. The sodamix bottle is a number one and should be recyclable nearly anywhere, but the cap is a number five, which might limit some people's ability to recycle it. The carbonator can be sent back to Soda Stream where they clean it, inspect it, and refill it, essentially eliminating most direct waste there.
Overall, this would be a great holiday gift for the family and it's something everyone can enjoy! My husband and I continue to enjoy it and we look forward to possibly trying a Splenda free cola flavor in the future (EDIT: there is no Splenda in the cola and it's free of high fructose corn syrup.). Available at many online retailers, including Bed Bath & Beyond (hey, gotta take advantage of those 20% off coupons, right?)