June 25, 2014

Sodastreams and Vitamix blender jars


Quite a number of months ago I got a sodastream, but I held off talking about it until I had formed an opinion, and then, it became such a part of everyday life that I forgot to mention it. It's time to talk about how often we use it and how much we like it. We make at least two large bottles of carbonated water every day, and we're totally in love with this little contraption. But before I say anymore about the sodastream, I'll tell you how we happened to get one.

I'd kind of always wanted one but couldn't justify buying and storing another kitchen appliance. We almost never purchased mineral water anyway, unless we were having company, so why add to the kitchen clutter when we didn't need to? In spite of my reservations, I still occasionally thought about asking the sodastream company for a sample to review, but never got up the nerve.


One night I was sitting in front of the TV flipping channels — something I rarely do — but there I was. As I flipped, a sodastream came into view on what turned out to be HSN (home shopping network), and I started watching. The $65 price seemed awfully low, and I was waiting for the catch, but there didn't seem to be one. I had no intention of succumbing to the "call this number" refrain but I said, half jokingly, to my husband, "you should call and buy a sodastream." Much to my shock and surprise, he did, and it arrived a few days later with every flavoring substance in existence. The carton of flavorings is still in the basement, but the sodastream sits on the counter and is used at least once per day.


In case you don't know what a sodastream is, it carbonates water to make a homemade version of sparkling water, seltzer, mineral water, fizzy water — whatever you like to call it. It takes up barely any room at all, and doesn't require electricity — only a carbonation canister that can be exchanged for a full one when empty ($15). The canisters are refilled, so there isn't any waste, and because we continually refill the same bottles, we're not adding to the plastic stream. It came with two large bottles and two smaller ones, which the instructions say to replace after two or three years. We love it, and use it all the time. My husband likes to squeeze lime into his sparkling water, but I like mine plain. Occasionally I'll add lemon and a few drops of stevia, but mostly I drink it straight.

The warning you see on the label says to only carbonate plain water. You must add any flavorings after the carbonation process, or risk an explosion. I know this can really happen because I know someone who didn't read the instructions. (That would be you, LW.)

I timed how long it took me to make a bottle of carbonated water, and it was a total of about 20 seconds — 10 seconds to fill the bottle and 10 to add the gas. If you'e in the habit of buying carbonated water, a sodastream might be a useful kitchen tool.


While I'm talking about kitchen additions, here's a little splurge I'd been thinking about for a while and finally gave in to. One inconvenience of a Vitamix 5200 is the tall jar. I love my Vitamix dearly, and would be lost without it, but the jar isn't the easiest thing to empty — especially if it's loaded with a smaller quantity of thick, or sticky stuff. I found myself not making certain recipes because I didn't want to coax smaller quantities from the jar. I'm lazy, I know, but it was bugging me. I kept wishing the company would make a shorter jar.

One day while at Costco, watching a Vitamix demo (so I could get a sample of the ice cream at the end), I noticed a short jar. After talking to the demo guy, I learned it was a grain jar, which I didn't want. He handed me a different container that he said was a short version of the regular jar, not a grain jar, at a special Costco price. Note that even a 'special price' for a Vitamix part is ridiculous when compared to other blenders, but it was 1/3 less than the price on the Vitamix Web site, and I really wanted it.

I intended to keep the short jar in the cupboard and bring it out for certain small-quantity recipes, but since buying the short jar, I've put my old one away. The new one seems big enough for everything I make, and if it's not, I can always get the old jar out of the cupboard. It feels like I just got a new blender, and I'm very happy with it.

Have you splurged on any kitchen items that have really turned into great, useful additions to your cooking tools?

28 comments:

  1. wow, I even like the name "soda stream" it's the futuristic updated version of the seltzer bottle. You can make fancy pants egg creams too. (to the all the other vegans there is no egg in an egg cream)
    I still have my eye on any one of those vitamix. How was the ice creme you waited for?

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    1. It is like an updated seltzer bottle! I don't know about egg creams, though, or how to make them. I grew up in Philly, not NYC. :) The ice cream was refreshing, but not as good as the ones I make. I was really hungry, though, so it hit the spot nicely.

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  2. That's great yr so happy with yr gadgets! I was actually looking at soda streams yesterday. A friend has one and he loves it. I've cut back on drinking a lot and find myself craving seltzer instead, so it would be really nice to have one and not have to buy plastic bottles of it. I'm sure it pays for itself soon enough.

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    1. Would you say the amount of carbonation is less than in a bottle of seltzer? Or about the same?

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    2. Yeah, it's probably a good thing to replace alcohol with sparkling water. I'm hoping that drinking fizzy water is equivalent to drinking regular water. I haven't seen anything to make me think otherwise, anyway. I have a hard time remembering to stay hydrated, and having the sparkling water makes drinking water more appealing. I love not buying plastic bottles, too.

      You control the carbonation so you can make it how you want. As you add gas, the thing buzzes, and three buzzes is average, and works for me. It seems the same as store-bought. I've experimented and made it too intense. The more carbonation you add, the faster you use up the canister, but it seems to last a really long time. It's a great item.

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  3. Oh! fun post. I also have a sodastream, which I got years ago, and I LOVE IT. I am a fizzy water fan, so it really helps me drink enough water. In fact, I am drinking some right now! I didn't know about the shorter vitamix jar... but it sounds like a good idea. Sometimes the super tall one is inconviently big for small jobs.

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    1. :) I'm drinking some right now, too. I love my sodastream, and like you, I feel like I stay better hydrated now. As for the Vitamix jar, it's a great improvement, but it comes at a rather high price so I have mixed feelings about it. I'm glad I splurged and bought it, but still ...

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  4. I've been wanting a Sodastream for so long. I buy bubbly water all the time because it feels like such a guilt free indulgence. The bubbles are all I really ever loved about soda anyway. My husband is always threatening to buy one for me for Christmas, but it seemed like such a silly purchase. This has me rethinking that.

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    1. Not silly at all, in my humble opinion. Ours is in constant use, and we love the bubbly water. It's great in the summer — perfect all year round, in fact. If you buy a lot of sparking water, I think it would pay for itself. Plus, you're not contributing to the plastic stream.

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  5. I had no idea the soda stream would be great; I think you may have just found my next gift for my dad!

    You know I hate scraping pate out of the bottom of my giant Vita blender, so I'm thinking that this small blender might be right for me as well. Would you say that, although it's intended for grains, that works just the same as its large counterpart for smoothies and the like?

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    1. We think the sodastream is pretty great. As for the vitamix, there are two different jars — one for grains and one for general purpose. The jar I purchased works like the big jar except it's shorter. It's still not like having a jar that comes apart, but I find it much easier to use than the original jar. I wish I could lend it to you so you could try it first, but you can probably return it if you don't like it. The best time to get one is if Costco is having a demo.

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    2. Sorry, I got so excited that I didn't compute the "not the grain jar"! I will definitely be on the lookout.

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    3. No problem. I'll be curious to see if you buy one and if you like it! Sometimes Vitamix has them on sale.

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  6. I'm going to invest in a Ninja blender. What is the benefit of a sodastream? I've never heard of one before!

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    1. My fiancé got a Ninja blender to make veggie smoothies for his office and he said it did not blend well at all ("gritty rather than smooth"). Who knows if he could have blended a lot longer, but he normally makes smoothies in a regular blender and has also used my Vitamix. That said, BBB let him return it so maybe you could try it and return it if you don't like it.

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    2. A sodastream quickly carbonates plain water so you end up with fizzy water. You reuse the bottles for two or three years, and the carbonation canister gets refilled by the company (you exchange the empty one for a filled one). It's cheaper than buying sparkling water, and there aren't a bunch of plastic bottles to add to the overload of environmental plastic. We really love it.

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    3. I don't don't much about the Ninja, and have read mixed reviews of the blender and especially the service. There are different models so maybe one is better at smoothies than the other. It's definitely cheaper than the Blendtec or the Vitamix, though, if price is the main factor. I have a reconditioned Vitamix which was a bit less expensive than the regular models, but it's always been terrific.

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  7. I got a Vitamix at a whole foods store demo (cheaper there). I accidentally blended a metal housekey a couple years ago. It damaged the key and some of the blades appear nicked, but the machine's function didn't change a bit.

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    1. I'm not surprised that the vitamix was the winner!

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  8. Every time I read about a Vitamix, I seriously consider a splurge on one - I don't think I've ever heard anyone say a bad word about it.

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    1. Its a splurge I don't regret. The Blendtec is cheaper, especially if you get it on special at Costco, and everyone loves those, too. Do you have Costco?

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  9. I'm so jealous of your soda stream and vitamix, I don't have either. I'm not usually a big fizzy water drinker because of the plastic bottles. But making if yourself looks like a great way to drink more water, something I actually need to do too. :-)

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    1. Even making it myself I have concerns about the bottles. I wish they were glass! At least I'm not using a zilion of them.

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  10. I've been thinking about a Vitamix for a while and the one thing that really dissuades me is the plastic jug. I have thing about plastic stuff and recently I stumbled upon an article that said even the BPA free ones have stuff that isn't good. So...I have an Oster with a glass jug. I really wished Vitamix or Blendtec would manufacture glass or stainless steel jugs. One kitchen appliance on my list though is a slow cooker or an ice cream maker. I am just waiting when that is going to happen. :)

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    1. I feel the same way about the plastic and always had a glass- jarred blender in the past. I finally gave in to the vitamix. The food is in the jar a very short time (I tell myself) and is rarely heated. Vitamix has a rationale for the plastic but I can't remember what it is.

      I don't like using plastic with the soda stream, either. I also read that canned foods contribute more harmful foods than plastics do. We just have to do the best we can without driving ourselves crazy.

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  11. Yay, we have a Sodastream and my partner uses it daily for his ‘sparkling water’, plus it’s BPA-free. It’s a great alternative to San Pellegrino bottles he used to get everyday - I can’t imagine how many bottles to drink everyday. But I don’t like drinking sparkling water that much - so it’s pretty useful to him. I received a Vitamix Professional Series 300 for my birthday and I agree with you, the container is pretty huge to blend or make something, but Vitamix also offers a smaller capacity (32-oz), I’m thinking of getting one since I don’t need a pretty huge container unless I’m prepping for an event or a party. We’ve been making lots of smoothies and gazpacho lately, but had no regrets with our kitchen appliances so far.

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    1. I'm away from home for more than a month and I miss my sodastream so much! I love the small vitamix jar — so much easier to use.

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  12. I love my Vitamix dearly, and would be lost without it, but the jar isn't the easiest ... 2blendervitamix.blogspot.com

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