The Penguin


UPDATED POST:  A while back I got a Penguin soda machine in the mail, thanks to the PR peeps representing Soda-Club.  The pitch: reduce soda can and plastic bottle waste by making your fizzy drinks at home.  The catch: SAMPLE SIZED Soda-Stream flavor syrups come in plastic pouches that can’t be recycled.


Penguin and shrub

Beth over at Fake Plastic Fish came to ethical terms with this dilemma by sticking to the company’s water flavorings, which come in little glass bottles instead of plastic.  Trouble is, I don’t drink much plain or flavored seltzer (unless you count vodka sodas at bars).  I tried out a couple of the sample syrups that came with my machine.  Root beer, too sweet.  Diet cola, tastes JUST like Diet Coke, which I shamefully love.   But I put off posting on the Penguin because, honestly, once I went through the diet coke samples, I only used the thing once to make some lemony water for friends.


flavor packs

I was all set to write just that: I guess it’s cool, but I would never have bought it if it weren’t free and I never use it.  BUT THEN, my wonderful mother gave me an extraordinary gift: a large bottle of raspberry shrub, a fruit vinegar syrup used to make my all time favorite carbonated drink.  Suddenly I’m using the Penguin all the time and sans guilt since shrub can be purchased in bulk and in glass.  SODA-CLUB ALSO SELLS BULK SIZES IN BETTER PACKAGING.

Therefore, it is with great enthusiasm and several reservations that I recommend the Penguin.  On the plus side, it’s very easy to use, a cute design—you carbonate the water by depressing the beak and the whole thing squeeks when its ready—and you can make delicious shrub whenever you want.  On the flip side, it takes up a lot of counter space and it’s expensive (starter kits begin at $200 plus shipping).  THOUGH CHEAPER, SMALLER MODELS ARE AVAILABLE.

Recommendation to Soda-Club: if you’re going for an eco-marketing campaign, DON’T SEND PLASTIC SAMPLES TO GREEN BLOGGERS.

Note to self: save money by mixing vodka sodas at home more often or—moment of genius—vodka shrubs.


19 Responses to “The Penguin”

  1. victor Says:

    excellent note to self. I’ll be looking forward to a couple of those during my next new york visit.

  2. everydaytrash Says:

    It’s a date!

  3. Gerard Meyer Says:

    I’m with Soda-Club…makers of the Sodastream Penguin. I want to address both of your reservations.

    First of all you received the syrup trial samples and perhaps did not realize that our syrups are packaged in economy-sized bottles. Each bottle is about the size of a can of syrup and contains enough syrup to make the equivalent of 12 liters or 33 cans of sodapop. Clearly a huge savings to the environment to use just one 500ml bottle of our syrup instead of size 2-liter bottles or 33 cans of sodapop. And our bottles are recyclable.

    Secondly, the Penguin is our highest-end machine. Our most popular model, the Jet, retails for as low as $79.99.

  4. everydaytrash Says:

    Thanks for clarifying (and for my Penguin). I’ve updated the post accordingly.

  5. esther Says:

    personnally I have the soda quick, and I cant imagine living without it anymore; I use diet sirpos I buy at the supermarket, and regular sirops for the kids…they love it too and even hubby makes his soda water with it, believe it or not!

  6. Kathryn Says:

    I know this is an old post, but I’m considering buying a Penguin and was wondering if you can carbonate water in bottles other than the carafes they sell with it? Could I, for example, use a SIG or other bottle so I can take my soda water with me on the road?

    I’d be really interested to hear if you can carbonate water in any container that would fit in the Penguin.


  7. Leila Darabi Says:

    Hi, you have to use the carafes that come with the Penguin, but you could easily make seltzer in those and transfer it to your reusable water bottle for transport. The carafes are a nice size. I keep them in the fridge to have chilled still water on hand, then make the seltzer just before drinking. Overall, though, I suggest looking into the smaller, cheaper models of seltzer makers. The penguin is cute, but it takes up a lot of counter space and is expensive. We’d love to hear your experiences, please report back!

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    […] had my SodaStream Penguin since the company sent me one to try out in 2009 and, as reported on this site, I love making seltzer at home. Or at least, I used to love it. A couple of years ago, a […]

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