Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Review: SodaStream Penguin

I don't usually review kitchen tools because I don't want this blog to read like a glorified Williams-Sonoma catalog, but the Sodastream Penguin is worth sharing. We used to buy sparkling water in bulk. (One member of our household, who shall remain nameless, is a recovering soda fiend. As methadone is to heroin, sparkling water is to Diet Coke.) With all the money we're not spending on Pellegrino and Poland Spring, the Penguin, a countertop gadget that carbonates tap water in seconds, paid for itself in less than 6 months.

The Penguin is easy to use: you just fill a reusable, dishwasher-safe glass carafe with cold water, drop it in, and press the beak-like lever a half dozen times. No clean-up and no electricity, and best of all, no plastic bottles to dispose of. The only upkeep is exchanging empty CO2 cylinders every 110 liters, using prepaid UPS shipping boxes.

SodaStream offers soda concentrates in flavors like classic cola, root beer, and diet pink grapefruit, but I'm enjoying sparkling water mixed with last summer's Sunshine Rhubarb Juice and Strawberry Lemonade. I'll take the occasional homemade sugary beverage over diet sodas full of mystery dyes and sweeteners. Sometimes I jazz up plain sparkling water with fruit instead. Blueberries look elegant in the bottom of a martini glass:

If you're a fan of bubbles, or are trying to cut back on soda, the Penguin is fun, convenient, and will save you money in the long run. See the SodaStream website for photos and videos of the Penguin and other seltzer-making gadgets.


A word about product reviews:

Occasionally I receive invitations to try products free of charge and review them on my blog. So far, I've yet to take any companies up on these offers, because I didn't feel the products were a good fit. They were either:

1. not vegan,
2. not gluten-free, or
3. not something I could imagine using in real life.

So far, all reviews have been unsolicited and products have been purchased with My Own Money. I'd love it if some Lärabars and a Tofu Xpress came pouring in free of charge, but no such luck so far. If, in the future, I do review a product I've received for free, I'll let you know, for I am a pillar of integrity.



  1. I'm waiting for a Vitamix. One of these days, though, I might actually buy one.

  2. What beautiful photos!!! Those are enough to sell me!

  3. Strawberry-lemonade soda sounds like the greatest thing ever.

  4. Ahhhh! I have been eying this for AGES! I love carbonated water but detest buying it because of the cost & the waste associated with it. Your pictures are gorgeous, as usual!

  5. Andrea: we caved and bought a Vitamix recently, from Costco. It's wonderful! I hear you can get used, reconditioned machines for cheap. I probably won't review the Vitamix here, though, because I don't want to gloat!

  6. Ooooh, I gave up soda a couple years ago, and I would have LOVED to have had one of these! I didn't even know such a thing existed (so it's a good thing you did a kitchen gadget review!). When it comes to reviews on my blog, I'm pretty much a whore. Give me something free and I'll review it! Of course, I will be honest if I don't like something. So far, I've lucked out and only received good things (I'm doing a Primal Strips review/giveaway on my blog tonight and some of them are gluten-free ... the soy ones are and maybe the mushroom one).

  7. How neat! I didn't even know these existed! I have an aerolatte milk frother...

  8. oh, very cool! I'm gonna go check this out. I love love love sparkling water. It's so fun. I liked when I lived in Italy and everywhere you went you were offered either "natural" or "sparkling" water. Such a civilized people.

  9. We've been looking at these but were unsure how muych of a p.i.t.a. dealing with the cartriges were. If there is one thing I detest more than plastic bottles, it is trips to the mall area (at least the bottels are recyclable).

    As usual with us, we decided rashly that the whole thing was a hassle and probably a ripoff. Perhaps we were too hasty... Sounds like dealing with the cartridges is relatively easy?

  10. Hi SeanG,

    Honestly, we've had the Penguin for six months and haven't had to exchange the CO2 cartridges yet. They last a while. There is information on the SodaStream website about how to exchange cartridges. There is a UPS on broadway, right across from Tri-City Pizza, or UpS may come and pick up the package from your house as long as it's labelled and prepaid. Even if dealing with the cartridges is a pain once or twice a year, it can't be worse than lugging bottles to the redemption center every two weeks.

  11. Great to know... I figured you had to replace them like once a week or something. Well, I think we're sold.... Now how do we request that the sales commission is sent to you?

    Thanks for the continually interesting material and great recipes!!

  12. Thanks, SeanG!

    I do get a small percentage of purchases referred to amazon through this site (and it looks like the Penguin starter package is the same price on amazon and the SodaStream website)! Click the link in the first paragraph to get to my amazon store if you'd like. Blogging isn't going to pay my mortgage, but I think SodaStream owes me now...


  13. I'm very interested in the Penguin. What about a simple seltzer bottle, wouldn't that be less money without hooking into a proprietary system?

    Regarding foods, how much importance do you give to local foods, only? For example, if you consume strawberries, are they only accessible during the summer, or do you freeze enough to extend for the entire year?


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