Pros: Excellent homemade soda, healthier than brand name varieties.
Cons: Syrup is sticky. Purchase of initial machine is expensive.
For Christmas, one of the presents that were given to me this year was a SodaStream soda maker. In addition to the actual set, I was given some of the syrups that are necessary for flavoring. The actual maker costs $120 while the syrup containers cost about $5. One of the flavors that were given to me was SodaStream Cola Sodamix.
I was a little uncertain as to how well this work and taste. Soda is my caffeine delivery service and I drink it on a daily basis. I tend to be a bit of a snob when it comes to the flavor and very rarely drink soda that is not a common brand name. I was hoping that it would taste great as in the long run it would reduce the cost of soda products as well as result in less storage.
Using the SodaStream maker is very easy and everything that you need to make the base for the soda is included. A separate syrup mix is needed for each flavor of your choosing. You are provided with a one liter bottle that is especially designed for this machine. This bottle is filled with water up to the fill line indicated on the bottle. The bottle is screwed into the machine and is ready to be carbonated. The kit has a CO2 container that that machine dispenses and puts carbonation into the water. There is a button on the machine that should be pressed four-five times. You do not start counting until you hear the machine make a buzzing sound. The Sodastream Cola Sodamix requires five pushes to get the carbonation up to the required level. One finished remove the bottle from the machine.
The container of Sodastream Cola Sodamix includes a top that is used to measure the appropriate amount. The cap should be filled to the top. Very slowly and carefully the cola syrup should be added to the carbonated water. You do want to do this slowly or else the soda will flow out and leave a sticky mess. We learned this lesson the hard way. The syrup is very dark brown and has a thick consistency. It is very sticky and can stain easily. Use this syrup with care! Once all of the syrup has been added, place the lid back on to the bottle. You will want to replace the lid back on the bottle. Lightly shake the bottle to ensure that all the syrup has been mixed into the carbonated water. The majority of the syrup does dissolve when added. You know have a liter of cola ready for drinking.
I was surprised how good this mix actually tasted. It has a nice strong cola flavor but is not quite as sweet as Coca Cola. You could easily pass off the soda as a brand name variety. In general, a liter bottle is good for about 4 days depending on how often the container is opened. After this time, you can tell that some of the carbonation has dissipated. Each bottle is enough for approximately 50 servings. One container of syrup contains 16.9 fluid ounces.
Although it does not have the shelf life of cans, you can easily make up a new batch in about two minutes. Purchasing a 12-pack of soda can run nearly $6. A two liter bottle is usually cheaper but has the carbonation quickly disappears after 2-3 days. I typically have to toss half of a two liter bottle anyway. A bottle of this cola syrup only costs $5 and is much easier to store than 50 cans.
In terms of hosting a party, I would not recognize this flavor or even any of these mixes. As cola is a very popular flavor, you would need to make multiple bottles. You usually do want more than one drink option and it is much easier to use cans in this situation. Since receiving this syrup flavor, I have not purchased a cola anywhere else. I noticed a dramatic decrease in our grocery bills. I anticipate that the machines and flavors would have paid for themselves in 5-6 months.
The calorie content is less that what you find in a brand name of soda as there are only 35 calories in a serving. Typically a brand name of soda will have 100-140 calories in one serving. The sugar, sodium and carb levels are also dramatically lower. I would not call this syrup mix healthy but it beats your average can of soda by a long run!
Sugar, Water, Caramel Coloring, Phosporic Acid, Natural Flavor, Acesulfame, Potassium Sucralose, Sodium Citrate, Caffeine.