As with all of our reviews in the We Try It series, I bought this myself, with my very own money. P-Mag doesn’t receive compensation for our reviews (we always tell you if we get free stuff), and no one at SodaStream asked us to review their product.
I picked up my SodaStream during a huge sale at my local big box store. Like BBC, I bought the machine one step above the cheapest model, The Genesis. My starter kit included the machine, one CO2 cartridge, one full-sized carbonating bottle, and twelve single-use flavors. Half of the samples were diet flavors, half were regular. I bought an additional set of two smaller carbonating bottles, so it would be easy to always have cold water on hand.
The commercials which played endlessly around the holidays claim SodaStream’s diet cola tastes “just like Diet Coke.” This is not true. It’s closer than many other Diet Coke knock-offs, but the flavor isn’t quite there. SodaStream’s diet cola has a fruity aftertaste, and the sweetener they use has a particular tang that isn’t in Diet Coke. It’s not terrible, but it’s also not Diet Coke. As a result, every time I make a bottle, I spend the entire time I’m drinking it thinking, “I wish this was real Diet Coke.” Or saying it out loud to the cats, depending on the day.
While the diet cola is disappointing, several of the other diet flavors are pretty tasty. I really like the knock-off Dr. Pepper (Dr. Pete), root beer, and pink grapefruit flavors, and drink them regularly. The lemon lime and orange flavors are fine, and comparable to the brand names, but I’m not a huge fan of either of those flavors, regardless of manufacturer.
The SodaStream bottles now come with warnings not to wash them in hot water, put them in the dishwasher or use for longer than a year. I assume this is a safety feature, and can imagine how unfortunate a bottle blow-out would be.
BBC advised that it was easier to carbonate cold water, which I’ve also noticed. Additionally, as any diet soda drinker knows, diet soda is better the colder it is. The carbonation bottles are made of very thick plastic, and don’t tend to conduct cold as well as a typical plastic bottle or aluminum can. I keep a pitcher of cold, filtered water in the fridge and fill my SodaStream bottles with that before I add the bubbles and flavor, which ensures I always have really cold pop. (Yes, I say pop. I felt weird typing “soda” through this whole article.)
While I don’t regret buying the SodaStream, it hasn’t broken me of my Diet Coke-in-a-gorram-can addiction. I drink a little less, because I supplement with SodaStream flavors I like, but I’m still hauling cans back from the store every week. YMMV.