Make your own Soda!

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Almost everything tastes better carbonated because it enhances the flavor already existent in the beverage you are drinking. Having a soda machine allows you to enjoy the fizz without the guilt of taking in too much sugar from a regular soft drink.

Soda Water + Honey Lemon

We got our very first home-use soda ‘machine’ in 2019 and began doing a whole bunch of stay-at-home experimentations with it.

We have made our own soda water for cocktails, carbonated cold brew teas for personal consumption, made sparkling rosemary flavored cucumber water, and even mixed in yoghurt with our own carbonated soda water.

Yoghurt with carbonated soda water tastes really nice by the way. It’s a really interesting textural experience.

I was so deep into carbonating everything that for a period of 6 months between March and Oct 2020, I was even carbonating 10L kegs of cold brew tea using a commercial-sized CO2 Cylinders, in hopes of selling Carbonated Cold Brews (CCBs) but we never got enough traction for that particular business of ours and had to cease operations in Oct 2020.

It all really started from my first ‘Sodaplus’ home-use soda ‘machine’. It’s not actually a machine, and more of a ‘simple hand operated apparatus’ which you twist and twist to operate.

It is really quite easy to use this device to make your own soda water and carbonated beverages. You get approximately 1L of carbonated beverage every time with an 8g CO2 cartridge. 

Bro, how much can you really save? Soda Water very expensive meh?

Well it depends on how often you actually drink Soda Water.

Let’s a assume you drink 320ml of soda water a day for 365 days. That works out to 116,800ml of soda water in a year.

A 12-can F&N Soda Water from Fairprice costs $8.10 at the time of writing. This works out to about $2.07 / L of soda water or 67.5cents per can.

Your habit of drinking soda water will cost you S$246.375 per year if you were to consume them only at home after purchasing them from the supermarket.

How much will the same amount of soda water cost you if you were using a home-use soda device?

I paid S$38.25 (before freight forwarding) for 100 CO2 Cartridges on my last order back in Sept 2020. This works out to 38.25cents / L.

To figure out how much potable water actually costs, we will be referring to the numbers sourced from PUB’s website. At the time of writing, the price of potable water was $2.39 / 1000L.

Source

So for 116.8L of soda water would have cost us:

Co2 Cost (116.8 x 0.3825) + Water Cost [(2.39/1000) x 116.8]

= S$44.676 + S$0.279152

= S$44.96

You comparing apples to oranges leh, what about shipping? Free one ah?

Okay, I won’t have an deadly accurate shipping estimate because we always ship everything by sea freight as a consolidated shipment, but I will try my best to give you an insight into that.

For a recent purchase of 4 Bottles, 2 Carbonators and 100 CO2 Cartridges weighed in at 4.45kg and 0.03CBM.

Let’s just forget about the 4 bottles and 2 carbonators. Let’s assume that 100 CO2 Cartridges weigh 4.45kg and occupy 0.03CBM. (Actually they don’t – each CO2 Cartridge weighs in at 32g)

In order to fulfil your appetite for 116.8L of soda water a year, you will have to ship approximately 5.01kg of CO2 Cartridges that occupies 0.035 CBM.

At a generous estimate S$1.5 per 0.01 CBM for sea shipping, your shipment of 0.035CBM of CO2 cartridges would come up to approximately S$5.25

So that brings your total cost up to a whooping S$50.21

So how much do you actually save? A lot meh?

Compared to spending S$246.375 on F&N Soda Water, you will be saving S$196.165 per year and sustaining your requirements for Soda Water at just 20.38% of the cost you would be paying for soda water.

If any one thinks that S$196.165 a year is nothing, please get in touch with me and I will let you know how to Paynow me S$196.165 every year.

Troublesome not? Make your own soda…

Honestly, the only ‘hassle’ I’ve experienced in the usage of these soda devices is the need to have chilled water on hand in order to make soda water.

This is a demonstration of how troublesome it is:

You should NEVER attempt carbonating warm / hot water and it will be equally stupid to try and carbonate room temperature water.

Carbonation works best with water that has been chilled in the fridge (NOT FREEZER) because cold water tends to absorb carbonation better.

One Bottle is good for a single serving of 4 persons at 200 odd ml per serving. So if you are going to have a gathering of more than 4 people or planning to have more than one drink, you may have to standby plenty of cold water in the fridge for you to be able to keep up with the demand.

And as we all know, fridge space can be very valuable unless this is your fridge…

I scared leh, never use before, will explode not?

Honestly, I actually also a bit scared every time I use the soda device because I have done myself the disservice of going to search for the worst case scenarios that can happen.

I think the worse case scenario that can happen is to have the bottle shatter and explode when you are in the process of carbonating a beverage.

*true story* I’ve had a less than pleasant carbonation experience involving an aluminum water siphon which you can read about here (when the story gets posted)

Safety Considerations

So there are a few safety considerations you should keep in mind when using a home-use soda machine like this.

  1. Do not freeze or subject the bottle you are using for the purposes of carbonation to high heat. 
  2. Do not over-fill the water beyond the marked line when carbonating the beverage
  3. Always check to ensure that the puncturing needle point area is free from obstruction or debris that may cause the CO2 to have no way of escaping into the bottle. 

These are mostly common sense safety considerations to keep in mind as a user to prevent accidents from happening due to damage to the bottle’s structural integrity or from an excess of pressure built-up in the bottle while carbonating.

Common Sense Safety Tips

Sometimes common sense is not so common, so you will probably want to make sure that everyone in your household is aware about not putting these bottles in the freezer or putting them out of reach from your helper / house mate / house guest.

In case some one decides to be a genius and start using your carbonating bottle as a multi-purpose bottle for rapidly chilling down a beverage and shoving that bottle into the freezer.

All these safety considerations are generally geared towards the safe usage of the bottle as intended and to prevent any accidents from happening.

Don’t Kiasu

Maybe I still abit kiasi instead of kiasu because, as a general rule of thumb, I personally do not go overboard in tightening the carbonator to the bottle when carbonating beverages.

Tight enough can already. Don’t be kiasu and tighten until sibeh tight just because you are afraid of wasting that precious few grams of CO2 if you don’t tighten until super tight.

And also, it will probably help to practice common sense when using the carbonation bottles and making sure that you do not carbonate anything with sugars / syrups or other ingredients that may cause the device to be clogged or for the carbonation to react differently.

Having said that, we have lived dangerously and carbonated cold-brew teas (with leaves filtered out of course) in our soda devices.

You might also want to replace your bottles after a certain amount of time or usage because it is only logical that the overall quality of the bottles will start degrading on a nano level with every use or with the passing of time.

If you use the bottles properly as intended you should not encounter any safety issues in theory lah, but having said that, this is a risk you have to be aware of and if you really kena then you probably quite suay or kena sabo by someone who go and anyhow use and abuse your soda bottle.

For the love of cheaper soda water

So use it at your own risk. Nobody is forcing you to get one and to take the risk.

If you feel yourself becoming very scared after hearing about this, or are very very hum ji and scared, then just continuing buying soda water loh because even the brand name player in the market has these risks/ issues.

Wah, the Aluminium Cartridge how ah? Throwaway ah?

If you are asking this question, I hope you are religiously recycle all the empty soft drink cans that you consume instead of just dumping them into the general waste bin.

While our recycling habits and ethos in general is still admittedly quite backward or non-existent. I found myself asking the same question about what to do with the empty CO2 Cartridges because it felt like a genuine waste just throwing them away because of their rather significant weight.

You can try stringing them together like a poorly done DIY arts & craft windchime / door ‘jingle’ but you will soon find yourself having way too many aluminium cartridges.

We eventually decided to take them to K5 Metal Pte Ltd for recycling you won’t get rich selling off the CO2 Cartridges but at least it’s a way to recycle them and get some loose change in return (it’s like cashback on Shopback lol)

Conclusion

I’m quite happy with the fact that we have the soda plus device lying around at home, I will happily rate it 3.5 Carrots out of 5 as it is not only cheaper than buying soda water, but also cheaper than the brand name alternative in the market place.

Having the soda plus around opens up a world of possibilities in terms of the kind of cocktails and mocktails you can conjure up in Singapore’s hot weather and it is perfect for health conscious individuals looking to be more mindful of their sugar intake.

I got mine HERE, you can get it from them too.

Random Side note: ‘The Shrinking Soda Can Conspiracy’

If you have been paying attention to the sizes of various ready to drink beverages in the market, you will have also noticed that canned drink sizes have insidiously crept down while prices have crept up.

Canned drinks used to hold 330ml in volume, but in recent years various brands have tried different visual illusions to slowly reduce the volume of product you are getting. It started with a ‘slimmer’ can design where the volumes were first reduced to 325ml to its current 320ml. 

We recently ordered a can of Pokka Oolong whilst dining out and discovered that the slightly weird looking can (which appeared somewhat stout but with a raised bottom), actually contained only 300ml of product. 

Okay that’s not really my reaction to 300ml of Pokka Oolong

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