Can a make mineral water with a soda stream?
October 29, 2005 1:57 AM   Subscribe

Can I use a SodaStream to make my own sparkling mineral water, such as San Pellegrino? or would this be soda water instead? Here in Australia there is a difference. We prefer mineral to soda and would like to save money by making our own if it's possible.
posted by mule to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As far as I understand, a SodaStream machine only adds the "bubbles" into what you put in it. I cannot understand how the machine would add minerals into your water. So you would have to use still mineral water etc. instead of tap water in order to create mineral water. So the difference in cost would be the same.
posted by keijo at 3:20 AM on October 29, 2005

If you still decide to give it a go, this link may have some interesting information for you on the process: Carbonating at Home with Improvised Equipment and Soda Fountains.
posted by ktrey at 4:12 AM on October 29, 2005

coca-cola used to sell dasani "mineral water" in the uk that was filtered (like a brita filter) tap water plus "minerals". for more info, see this guardian report, which describes what they added (although if you read the article you'll see that they ended up prodcing poison, but never mind....)
posted by andrew cooke at 4:16 AM on October 29, 2005

While I can not answer your question, mule, I can add that "mineral water" has little to nothing to do with actual mineral content versus what comes from your tap. From the persepctive of the US, I found this Kojo Nnamdi Show : The History of Bottled Water interesting.
posted by Dick Paris at 4:21 AM on October 29, 2005 [1 favorite]

If, by sparkling, you mean 'carbonated', then that's the same as soda water. Soda water is just carbonated water. Carbonated mineral water would still be soda water.
posted by wackybrit at 7:26 AM on October 29, 2005

andrew: Dasani is still sold in the US, I believe. At least, it was when I was in LA last year. I imagine they might have changed their processes there, as the cancer story didn't hit, and they probably managed to salvage the brand.. whereas the tabloids killed it in the UK.
posted by wackybrit at 7:28 AM on October 29, 2005

Best answer: or would this be soda water instead? Here in Australia there is a difference.

My GF and I have the SodaClub "machine" and use it all the time.

The way it works is by injecting CO2 into a screw-on bottle filled with whatever you want carbonated. The CO2 comes from a canister that attaches to the back of the unit (it's quite small and will fit on a countertop easily). There's a built-in pressure-release system so you can't over-carbonate your bottles. I imagine this is for safety reasons.

Anyway, to answer your question, all it does it carbonate. It doesn't infuse any extra chemicals or minerals. If you buy some cheap mineral water and carbonate it, you get a good San Peligrino knock-off.

They also sell flavor "packets" that you can add to your mixture. The coke flavor is abysmal, BTW, but I've found their fruit flavors are quite good. They offer both regular and diet flavors (with Nutrasweet). My GF was commenting about a year ago that they should expand their product lineup to try and capture some of the "energy drink" market, and apparently they now offer a "energy" flavor. Sadly, it doesn't contain any taurine, so it would still pale in comparison to Red Bull.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:53 AM on October 29, 2005

ktrey: That link is gold. This is why I read Metafilter. Thanks.
posted by recurve at 7:59 AM on October 29, 2005

Umm..I'm pretty sure the difference between mineral water and soda water has nothing to do with mineral content. Both are carbonated, but soda water also has sugar added and some flavour added. Sometimes soda water is pink.

A home carbonation machine would not make soda, since it would not add sugar or flavouring. It would make mineral water if by that you mean bubbly water. I kind of wonder about the kind of bubbles though...It's been years since I drank anything carbonated, but I seem to remember that the the bubbles in water seemed smaller/fizzier than the ones in pop. I'm not sure what creates the differnece. It's possible that carbonating water would give you something closer to flavourless pop than mineral water (i.e. the bubbles would be too big and it would seem wrong).
posted by duck at 8:19 AM on October 29, 2005

there's a cultural/language thing here. i think "soda" in the states can mean "lemonade" or "pop" in the uk (sweet fizzy beverage like 7up, coca-cola, etc).

that's not the same as "soda water" which, in the uk - and i guess australia too - is carbonated water. the kind of thing you find in a bar, in a bottle with a kind of lever on the top.

soda water is not flavoured. it's mineral water, but with more fizz and less marketing, as far as i can tell.
posted by andrew cooke at 9:33 AM on October 29, 2005

Best answer: Soda water: water that has been carbonated, sometimes by using bicarbonate of soda. I've never encountered it flavored, but apparently it is sometimes. Mineral water: contains minerals (natch) that alter its taste, and can be either still or efffervescent. So if you want to make bubbly mineral water, find a still water you like and carbonate it. If you have a freind in a rural area that has a well, there will be minerals in that water- put it in your Soda Stream, voila, sparkling mineral water.

Tonic water is carbonated water flavored with quinine. If you're into that flavor, you could infuse your water with cinchona bark (I've seen it in tea bag form) and then carbonate it.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:03 AM on October 29, 2005

oneirodynia - what you post reads fine until i start to think. but then i start wondering: what's the difference between "carbonated" and "effervescent"? and what water doesn't have minerals in it, apart from distilled water?

it seems to me that you're saying soda water can be fizzy impure water and mineral water can be fizzy impure water. which is fine, but i'm thinking maybe you thought you were distinguishing between them.
posted by andrew cooke at 11:20 AM on October 29, 2005

there's a cultural/language thing here. i think "soda" in the states can mean "lemonade" or "pop" in the uk

That must be it. With my understanding of English, soda water means fizzy water, which is to say, carbonated water. "Soda" alone I infer to mean "flavored and sweet," which is why you say soda water to differentiate it from plain soda.

Mineral water is water with minerals in it. Soda water is carbonated water. So what's carbonated mineral water? I don't have a word for it... I just call it San Peligrino-esque.

Tonic water is soda water with quinine. I think everyone can agree on that.

Er, basically what oneirodynia said.

what's the difference between "carbonated" and "effervescent"

Nothing. What's the difference between "car" and "automobile"? More syllables. That's it.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:47 AM on October 29, 2005

I just call it San Peligrino-esque

maybe another confusion - here in chile, and in europe too, iirc, you can get mineral water con/sin gas (with/without bubbles). both types are about equally common. there's nothing about "mineral water" that says "no bubbles" to me.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:09 PM on October 29, 2005

Andrew Cooke: I'm saying minerall water contains minerals, fizzy or not,wheras soda water's only defining characteristic is it's fizziness.
I'm not sure what you mean by "impure"- commercial soda water is filtered and/or distilled. This process removes minerals as well as impurities, and therefore soda water is not mineral water. The implication in labelling a commercial product "mineral water" is that it comes from a naturally pure source and has no need of processing. However, as I pointed out in my previous post, minerals can be added after processing as well.
In some cases, natural mineral springs are bubbly (there are places all over the U.S. named "Soda Springs"), but a lot of commercial bottlers carbonate their product.

(sorry for any confusion; I actually think we're pretty much in agreement on mineral water being still or effervescent.)

BTW, here's and old-school Soda Siphon for carbonizing water that looks sexy sitting on the bar and is great for indulging in all manner of Vaudevillian antics, if you're into that sort of thing. Might be a great way to test the waters, so to speak, before investing in a Soda Stream.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:12 PM on October 29, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks everyone,
This is a great wealth of information! We're looking at grabbing something on eBay to start with, though I like the fire extinguisher option!

At the moment we get spring water (still mineral water) delivered in 15litre bottles weekly, so this will be our starting point but as a kid I always preferred the taste of the rain water at my Mum's place so I might give that a go too. Unfortunately, everyone I know who has a spring/bore has absolutely terrible water due to too many minerals etc in it.

I think in Australia soda water is, as duck described, slightly pink, and has a slight bi-carb soda-y taste. We don't call anything else soda here. The generic name is just soft-drinks or lemondade/fanta/coke etc.

I probably should have said con-gas to start with but I though that the S.Pelligrino was a global descriptor.
posted by mule at 2:57 PM on October 29, 2005

Just to be clear, define:Mineral water - Google Search. Conversationally, I don't think I have ever heard someone refer to their tap water as "mineral water" and I have lived in Ohio (where the water is exceptionally "hard") nor in Paris where the water is heavily laden avec calcaire.
posted by Dick Paris at 3:06 PM on October 31, 2005

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