Soda Club is bringing it’s brand of gourmet soda machines to the United States. They are, from what I can tell, pretty popular in Europe, and have caught on in the US among campers and boaters.
Essentially, the machine adds carbonation to normal, everyday water. You then add flavoring that Soda Club provides to create your own sodas. YOu can vary the ammount of carbonation and the ammount of flavoring, and you can mix flavorings together to create your own concotions.
“People make lemonade, iced tea, and coffee without giving it a second thought. So why buy prepared carbonated drinks when you can enjoy the many benefits of making them yourself in just seconds, with no cleanup?” says Soda-Club USA president Gerard Meyer. “Freshly made soda means great tasting soda. And with a Soda-Club soda maker, you’ll enjoy freshly made soda that saves you time, lugging, storage, recycling and money. It’s great tasting, practical, and more convenient than you’d ever think possible.”
So the questions I asked myself were — is it really easy, is it really cheaper, and does it taste good? A quick check of the nutritional information on the packaging confirmed that it was better for you — 2/3 of the sugar of store-bought drinks.
As far as ease of use — within five minutes of unpacking my machine, I had a liter of grape soda. Admittedly, my first bottle wasn’t the best — overcarbonation will do that to you — but it was quick. Subsequent bottles were done just as quickly, and they were much better. And there’s no mess to clean up, unless you spill the flavoring or foam the soda over the top (there’s a reason they want you to add the flavoring slowly!). So I give it an A+ for ease of use.
Price is a consideration for anyone looking at getting one of these things. The starter kit for making soda starts at $129.95, and includes a lot of the flavorings that you’ll want to try.Without taking into consideration the cost of the machine, a one-liter bottle of soda will cost about fifty cents, versus about sixt-five cents in the store (I figured on about $1.30 per two-liter bottle of name-brand soda, which seems to be the average right now). So, long term, the machine is economical. If you have kids who like to drink soda, you’ll save money. If you entertain, and want to have a variety of drinks available for your guests, you’ll save money AND you won’t be throwing away old, flat soda. But there is a significant cost up front, so I’ll give it a B+ for price.
So how does it taste? You’ll want to adjust the level of carbonation and flavoring to suite your own tastes, but the stuff is good. I recommend the orange-mango soda particularly (even my daughter loved it!). The nice thing is — you CAN adjust things. How often have you gotten a Coke or Pepsi and complained becasue the flavoring was to strong, or the carbonation was weak, or something like that? That happens with fountain drinks, but you control it with the Soda Club machines. I’ll give it an A for taste.
You can get a variety of flavors without having to buy an extra refrigerator. Just keep a good assortment of flavors on hand, and a couple bottles of chilled water, and in less than five minutes, you’ll be drinking your soda.