Back in the eighties when the UK was experiencing its first dose of the SodaStream experience, I regarded the machine with some respect, a little awe and a lot of fun.
Aged somewhere around seven or eight, I had the motor skills to start interacting properly with the adult world of drinks pouring and carbonation, but not always the thorough understanding of the correct order of processes to prevent disaster.
Having been thoroughly trained by my parents in the business of filling the glass bottle up to the right line and then topping up with syrup to one of two bobbles depending on recommended level of flavouring, I set about quickly unlearning and attempting variations of that theme.
The older SodaStreams (at least the one I had) involved pulling out a plastic airlock component on a hinge, placing the bottle full of water within the tube, carefully closing the plastic area and then pulling down a lever on the side. This would slightly elevate the bottle within the plastic tube and seal the bottle into the unit, enabling you to start pressing the button on the top to ‘get busy with the fizzy’
Get it right, and you would end up with a robustly carbonated bottle of water ready for flavouring. Get it wrong e.g by being over ambitious on the amount of fizz and the whole thing would go thermo-nuclear spraying jets of water inside the tube and flowing out of the bottle and onto Mum’s clean work surface. Sometimes you thought you had the balance right, but the act of releasing the handle and depressurising the bottle would also result in a detonation. Other times you would get the bottle out fizzed fine, but then as you poured the syrup in you would get one of those geyser like jets so beloved of primary school science teachers mixing vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.
My favourite as a child, I like to think entirely innocently, was to get the order of steps wrong – put ginger beer concentrate in flat water – and then attempt to fizz the bottle. I remember one explosion of such magnitude that I like to believe a new divergent universe was formed. Certainly my parents were left trying to get sugar out of the plastic part of the machine for some months.
Ah, happy days…. These days prospective consumers will be pleased to know that the good people of Sodastream HQ have addressed these basic design flaws and my new model has resisted all attempts to create an ‘in machine’ explosion. Try as I might, the design is such that the screwed in bottle will release excess pressure if needed so you can’t blow it up through over enthusiasm.
I have managed to create 3 small bottle overflows so far, each at the putting the syrup in stage, but this has been when I have really pushed the fizz to the limit and poured the syrup in like I’m throwing back a shot. I’ve found careful pouring and using the edge of the SodaStream bottle spout as an intermediary stage between syrup and carbonated water reduces the risk to practically zero.
I would advise people concerned about such things to always mix their drinks over the sink and if you’re at all worried, perhaps ask an adult to help you.