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Gadgets

Make soda at home and skip bottle buying and returning

SodaStream Genesis G100, flavorings, and carbonator exchanges available at The Boston Shaker, 69 Holland St., Somerville, 617-718-2999; units and flavorings available at Macy’s, Sur la Table, Crate & Barrel, and Williams-Sonoma locations.

SodaStream Genesis G100, flavorings, and carbonator exchanges available at The Boston Shaker, 69 Holland St., Somerville, 617-718-2999; units and flavorings available at Macy’s, Sur la Table, Crate & Barrel, and Williams-Sonoma locations.

By Diana Burrell
Globe Correspondent / May 12, 2010

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If you’re a regular soda drinker, you know the routine: schlep the bottles or cans home, pay for the deposits, drink your soda, then haul the empties back to the store for a refund.

A company called Soda-Club has developed a home carbonation system that breaks the cycle of drinking and driving. We tested the SodaStream Genesis G100 ($129), an attractive red unit that holds an exchangeable 15-ounce carbonator (about $30 to exchange) and includes two BPA-free reusable bottles with special bottle caps that create hermetic seals to keep your soda sparkly. It’s a little taller and narrower than an ordinary coffeemaker. The carbonators last about 3 months with regular use, and the company claims an average family will eliminate over 2,000 bottles or cans from the garbage or recycling bin.

The directions aren’t the clearest we’ve read, but drawings in the front of the user manual make setup fairly easy. Within five minutes, we produced two liters of soda water with several presses of a button and they were ready for flavoring. None of the 30 regular or diet flavorings ($4.99 to $6.99) include high-fructose corn syrup or aspartame, and while they don’t taste like the store brands, they aren’t as sweet and cloying, which we prefer.

Young children who tested the soda liked DIY flavorings as well, including orange and grape juice. The sodas stayed fizzy for two days in the fridge. If you like, you can make your soda extra bubbly, but the regular version tickled our palates just fine.