Getting Started With Your Soda Machine

I am addicted to drinking sparkling water.  So much so that I received a SodaStream home water carbonator for Christmas.  I am now making my own soda water, and no longer have to carry those heavy bottles of water home from the store.  Setting up a soda machine is quick and easy, and I was up an running in just a few minutes.

In the box, there was a SodaStream Penguin machine, a glass carafe, and an Alco2Jet carbonator canister.  The instructions were a little difficult to follow at first, but after going through the process one time it became much simpler.  The following steps are all that was required to get set up.

  1. While pressing down on the horn of the soda machine, you can turn the steel flask to the right to release it.  The horn will rise, and the flask will tilt forward allowing you to remove the glass carafe.
  2. You then close the machine and remove the rear cover by simultaneously pressing the two chrome latches and lifting the cover.
  3. To install the CO2 canister, you must first remove the protective plastic plug, plastic valve seal, and plastic cap from the carbonator valve.  After placing the base of the carbonator in the rear of the machine, you can screw it firmly into the carbonator holder by turning it to the right.
  4. Then replace the rear cover, and you are ready to make some sparkling water.

Water Carbonator

SodaStream Water Carbonator
Credit: Greg Moore

Making Your First Sparkling Water

The process of making soda water was very easy.  Just make sure you don’t overfill your carafe, or you could be cleaning up a mess after adding carbonation.  My first bottle of sparkling water was made by performing the following steps.

  1. The glass carafe should be filled with water up to the water fill line.  Do not exceed this line.
  2. Open the soda machine and install the glass carafe (which now contains water) and lock it in place.
  3. Press the carbonation lever using short but firm presses, and be sure to fully release the lever after each press.  Continue pressing the lever until you hear a whistle.  You can control the level of carbonation in your drink by how many times you press this lever.  If you press it until you hear two whistles, you will have lightly carbonated water.  If you press it until you hear three or four whistles, you will have much more fizz in your sparkling water.  That is just the way I like it.
  4. Now remove the carafe from the flask, and you are ready to drink your homemade sparkling water.

Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Soda Machine

Here are a couple of more tips that I have learned that will make your experience with your soda machine more enjoyable.

  1. Make sure you have a spare CO2 canister on standby for your soda machine.  There is nothing worse than running out of CO2 and having to wait for a replacement to arrive by mail. 
  2. Try flavoring your sparkling water with a slice of fruit or a splash of fresh juice.  Citrus fruits like lemon, lime, and orange work great for this.  It is an excellent way to have flavored carbonated water without all of the unhealthy additives that the bottling companies add.

I love making my own soda water at home, and enjoy many benefits from doing so.  It is nice to not have to buy sparkling water at the store, carry it home, and take up the shelf space in the pantry to store it.  Being able to make soda water on demand eliminates the need to store it.  Having the ability to control the amount of carbonation in my water is nice too.  Should the water lose its fizz before being consumed, I can quickly add another blast of CO2 to reenergize it.  The biggest benefit I suspect will be financial though.  Sparkling water is expensive when purchased in the store.  Once you own the machine, the only expense is in replacing the CO2 canisters when they are empty.  My canister makes approximately 60 liters of sparkling water, so replacing canisters is not something that happens often.