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Sodaclub/Sodastream maker?

sarahlefton Feb 20, 2009 11:41 AM

Does anyone else have a Sodaclub/Sodastream maker? I just ordered the tonic flavor, and will now be able to "make my own tonic" LOL. Looking forward to seeing how it tastes. Probably equivalent to grocery store.

  1. bigjeff Feb 20, 2009 03:29 PM

    we were using this for a little while; it works alright but I definitely didn't like some of their other flavors, they were very sweet. I thought the tonic was pretty good. be aware, the machine makes quite a loud noise when it operates but, totally works!

    can I ask, how/why did you order it? just curious.

    1. applehome Feb 20, 2009 08:34 PM

      There were several threads on sodaclub here a while ago, but the guy making them turned out to be a shill, so a lot of them were erased. I used mine for years until I figured out that it really wasn't that cheap - and then, I figured that it was still worth the convenience. But then I looked into buying CO2, in bigger bulk canisters, like the commerical operations for soda fountains, and it turns out that the markup by sodaclub is actually pretty incredible. What I found out, after doing some research on the web, is that sodaclub specifically made a patented valve to keep people from being able to refill their proprietary valved canisters (which are certainly convenient to use in the house). They were actually taken to court in Germany over their practices.

      As it turns out, there are now legal devices that will let you hook up a commericial large canister to a sodaclub one to refill it. The one time cost is reasonable and they seem to be well made. I have put up the entire sodaclub system for now, but if I get back into it, I intend to go with the bulk CO2 adapter.

      I usually only wanted club soda, but I did look into the syrups for the kids. There are far better and somewhat cheaper syrups and flavor concentrates out there than what sodaclub sells. Once again, a quick search on the web will get you to several sites that sell Italian syrups for ices and sodas - with some wonderful flavor options.

      I really had no problem with the sodaclub product. The unit itself works fine. The refill deliveries were timely and generally available everywhere. My only issue was the on-going cost of the razor blade business model (i.e., give away the handle, keep them coming back for the blades). It's a proprietary system and if you decide to keep using it, you're into them for life.

      3 Replies
      1. re: applehome
        Amishchow Aug 22, 2009 10:48 AM

        applehome,

        Do you happen to have a link or a name for the CO2 adapter for the SodaClub System? I'd like to research that option. Thanks for the info.

        -ac

        1. re: Amishchow
          Scrapironchef Aug 22, 2009 11:36 AM

          Try this one --

          http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=CO2+adapter+...

          1. re: Amishchow
            alanbarnes Aug 22, 2009 11:41 AM

            Here's one site: www.sodaclubrefill.com

            Unfortunately it's $60 for the adapter, and if you want to replace the valves on your bottles for easier refills, it's $50 per.

            I got a used 5# CO2 tank and regulator from craigslist for $40. With a "carbonater cap"(http://www.williamsbrewing.com/CARBON... ) and a ball-lock quick disconnect, it does the job. And I can get cheap refills at any homebrew store or industrial gas supply place.

        2. LNG212 Feb 21, 2009 08:20 AM

          I have a sodaclub maker, have had it for almost 2 years. We like it. We only use it for seltzer (we don't drink flavored sodas). If we want flavoring, we just add a splash of juice, like cranberry, etc.

          Our experience has been that it is, indeed, cheaper than buying cases of club soda (the way we were doing it before). Added bonus - we aren't using hundreds of plastic bottles each year and we don't have to pay for our groceries to be delivered (which we were doing because of the weight of the case). One co2 canister lasts us about 4 months and that works out cheaper than the equivalent amount of purchased seltzer would be.

          The deliveries are timely and easily handled. Yes, it is a "license" arrangement so you must purchase the co2 from them for as long as you use the machine. I live in a small nyc apartment and going to some kind of homemade contraption using a large thing wasn't going to work for me (and probably wouldn't in the realm of "technical do-ability" either). :)

          The one thing we really like about this system (compared to others we looked at) is that the amount of carbonation can be controlled by the user. We like a "lighter" carbonation than what you can usually buy in the store. But sometimes we crank it up just for fun too if we're making a mixed drink or something.

          1 Reply
          1. re: LNG212
            bigjeff Feb 21, 2009 08:34 AM

            it's definitely great for the eco aspect of bottles and bottles of water for sure.

          2. e
            embee Feb 21, 2009 09:00 AM

            I've posted on this several times, including a bunch at
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/381990

            The seltzer system works very well. You determine the carbonation level, whether light or as strong as the applicable physics will permit. Assuming they deliver in your area, the convenience is unbeatable. You do pay for that convenience - the markup on gas is extortionate. However, the alternatives (from a refrigerated bar system to a German gizmo that lets you refill Soda Club canisters) are variously expensive, space consuming, or otherwise very impractical). I intended to bypass their gas once my warranty expired, but the logistics weren't worth the trouble. Even at their markup, the system will more than pay for itself if you drink a lot of seltzer.

            All that said, there is a problem. We have found that their flavours (we were given dozens of samples when we bought the system) range from meh to revolting. I have not tasted the tonic, but would never purchase any of the flavours that I did taste.

            In short, highly recommend if you like strongly charged seltzer and drink a lot of it. Worth considering (vs an iSi siphon bottle) if you like lightly charged bubbly water. Not recommended for flavoured drinks, though your palate may tell you otherwise. Of course, as noted, you can buy good syrup elsewhere.

            4 Replies
            1. re: embee
              m
              maggiej Feb 21, 2009 09:01 AM

              We use ours a lot—for folks living in a small apartment in NY with no storage for cases of seltzer and no desire to carry bottles up four flights of stairs, this is a life saver.

              1. re: maggiej
                b
                bronxshrew Jul 7, 2010 02:36 PM

                Where do you do your refills? I'm going nuts waiting over two weeks for delivery!

                1. re: bronxshrew
                  LNG212 Jul 8, 2010 01:53 PM

                  You're in the city? You should give them a call definitely. I'm in Manhattan and I generally get mine in 2 or 3 days (via courier). Once when they were behind, they called me and asked if it would be okay to have it delivered via UPS. And that was fine by me too.

                  1. re: bronxshrew
                    The Dairy Queen Jul 8, 2010 01:56 PM

                    Ours used to take forever to get delivered--a couple of weeks, it seems. But the last 2-3 deliveries have been really fast--like, next day--to the point that we weren't in enough of a hurry to get our carbonators out and we missed the delivery person. Definitely call and find out if there's a problem.

                    ~TDQ

              2. f
                ferret Feb 21, 2009 11:45 AM

                Have had one for many months. It's great. Maybe my palate is not as sensitive as some, but the diet cola flavor tastes fine and the regular cola is pretty good too (and it uses part sugar/part Splenda so it's only 30 calories per 8oz serving). I also tried the diet root beer (fine) and diet grapefruit (not as good as Fresca). The cartridges can now be swapped out at Williams-Sonoma, but a 3-cartridge swap still works out to about 20 cents per liter (plus flavoring, if you use it).

                2 Replies
                1. re: ferret
                  Caitlin McGrath Feb 21, 2009 04:22 PM

                  ferret, you're saying you can take empty cartidges to a W-S shop and exchange there? Is the cost comparable to direct from Soda Club? I will let my mother know. I gave her the Soda Club setup for Christmas, and she makes a liter or two of seltzer daily and is very happy with it. (She prefers carbonated water, but wasn't willing to either schlep it from the store and generate empties or pay for it.)

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                    Caitlin McGrath Jul 28, 2009 02:05 PM

                    As a follow-up, I called Williams-Sonoma to inquire about carbonator exchange. Exchanged cylinders cost $30 *each* at W-S; mail order from Soda Club, a two-cartridge exchange cost $33.50 including tax and shipping, and arrived in three days. When you order cylinders, you earn points good for dollars off your next order, as well.

                2. ccbweb Feb 21, 2009 02:26 PM

                  I've posted about the Soda Club setup, too in the past (in the thread embee linked above). We're still using it every day and we still quite like it. I suppose there are potentially cheaper ways to get fizzy water in the house as applehome describes but, honestly, about something a little less than twenty cents a liter, I'm not worrying about it very much. We have a chilled, filtered internal water dispenser in our refrigerator that we can use to fill the bottles and then carbonate them right away (meaning we can keep the empty bottles in the cabinet instead of the fridge). We normally drink it plain or add a squeeze of citrus juice. We use it as an ingredient in cocktails. I bought my wife Dr. Pepper syrup made wtih cane sugar from the Dublin bottling plant in Texas and she uses that with the soda club carbonated water.

                  We didn't like any of the flavors or mixes from soda club and so don't buy them.

                  We find it to be a great product and are happy with the price points.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ccbweb
                    sarahlefton Feb 21, 2009 05:24 PM

                    Soda Club does have a new spritzer flavoring product, I can't remember what it's called but it's just a very light lemon/lime or berry flavor that you add by the drop. I got the lemon-lime, it's pretty good, although I still prefer squeezing fresh meyer lemon juice into my seltzer. :-)

                    Still haven't cracked the tonic so I can't report on it. It's too cold out for gin and tonics. :-)

                  2. legourmettv Jul 19, 2009 06:27 AM

                    We have the machine, and quiet like it; but we make our own flavour syrups - Ginger or Lemon.
                    Didn't like any of the freebies that came with the set-up.

                    G.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: legourmettv
                      The Dairy Queen Aug 2, 2009 09:28 PM

                      Legourmet, can you tell me a little more, please, about your home-made syrups?

                      Thank you!

                      (and, to the OP, who is probably long-gone...I have been using soda club for about a year and a half now, and have been very happy with it. I'm sure there are cheaper ways to go, but I find that's it's cheaper, more convenient, and more earth-friendly than buying bottles of pop or seltzer at the grocery store, so, I'll stick with it until something better comes along...)

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                        legourmettv Aug 3, 2009 01:41 PM

                        Our favourite is Ginger:
                        1lb of ginger (about)
                        2 stalks of lemongrass
                        6 cups of water
                        1.5 cups sugar

                        Grate the ginger (no need to peel) and chop us the lemongrass. Put everything in a pot and bring to a boil, simmer until there are 4 cups of liquid.
                        Strain out the solids, cool and mix with soda water (about 1 part syrup to 5 parts soda).

                        That's the short version. I'm shooting recipe videos on these syrups for our website, keep an eye out in September for them.

                        G.

                    2. alanbarnes Jul 27, 2009 11:27 PM

                      It's an attractive carbonator, with a reasonable up-front cost.

                      The company makes all its money on CO2 refills by using a proprietary valve and charging 10-100x more than the market rate for refills. Still cheaper than buying club soda, though.

                      Me, I'm going for a basic CO2 tank. Ugly, but cheap. And who's going to see it in the bottom of my pantry closet?

                      1. Amishchow Aug 3, 2009 11:54 AM

                        I've been using the Soda Stream product for a couple of months. After blowing through cases of bottled club soda per week at an average price of $1.39 per bottle and filling up recycle bins I am thrilled to have found this product. The flavor and carbonation is really great. The company is a bit quirky to deal with but worth it. The savings per liter is incredible.

                        1. Scrapironchef Aug 5, 2009 12:35 PM

                          THere's a thread over on the spirits board about making your own tonic syrup -

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/637961

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