I got involved with this whole carbonation thing relatively recently. In January, I bought Wii Fit U and proceeded to change my life by doing regular weigh-ins and exercises. That caused a whole slew of issues, namely hauling my fat ass around on my already-ailing left foot and left hand. But the more relevant effect was that I needed a lot of water on hand while I exercised.
Back when I would use the apartment complex's gym, I would just refill my daily water bottle from the water fountain in there. It didn't taste particularly great, but it was cold and wet, so it did the job. However, Wii Fit constrains me to the living room, which means I'm dealing with the Brita filter. My parents' refrigerator has this magic chill water dispenser which in retrospect, seems just completely like magic now that I have moved out into the demesnes of landlord-managed refrigeration.
The Brita filter holds maybe a gallon of water, which is plenty for working out for the evening, but the catch is the third or fourth time you've drained it to fill your water bottle, you have to go and lug it out of the fridge and baby sit it under the sink while you fill it, letting it drain through the filter so you can get it good and full so you don't have to deal with this chore for as long as possible, except getting it good and full means that it now weighs a good 8lb, which gets awkward when you have to bend down and twist in order to get it back into its place on the top shelf, and now that I think about it, why haven't we ever thought about moving it to the side nearer the sink so you don't have to contort so bad to fiddle with the damn thing? Probably because the last apartment had the door opening on the right, so it was more convenient to put the jugs on the left...
Plus, all that hassle and it still doesn't taste great.
Anyway, one afternoon shopping for groceries, I noticed that they had started selling a brand of water bottled about 2 hours from where I grew up. I'd seen it all the time as a kid. I toasted my nostalgia by picking up a couple of bottles. They also sold the carbonated variety, and given the cost($2/L), I figured carbonated water would drink a little slower and last a little longer than the still, since I had never gotten a taste for the stuff. Of course, as I continued to work out, and continued to buy these green glass bottles of refreshment, the stuff started to grow on me, as distasteful things do. I think what did it is I stopped trying to drink it cold. The europeans like their tepid sodas, right?
so now I have a $4/week carbonation habit, but that's because I can't carry more than 2 of these things in our normal grocery bags. I could easily go through more if it weren't so damned inconvenient. (Even the Brita starts to look good; I stopped buying the spring water and refilled the empty glass bottles from the store of chilled water). However, life goes on, and I lose a little weight.
That brings us to 6 months later and we've got about 10 of these liter bottles hanging around the apartment. They're so heavy that they distort the recycling, so I've been neglecting to add them in. Glass is such a pain to recycle, too, because not only do you have to haul it around, but you have to get a special bucket to put it in, and then the guy just dumps it into a bin where the sound of it breaking, despite all the care you've paid to it, sends a chill down your spine and makes you think of fingernails and chalkboards.
My dovely, ever so ecological as me but less loath to spend money, finally suggested I look into Sodastream to curb the rampant accumulation of glass, lest we end up building a house out of the stuff.
The problem is that "I'm a little averse to being locked down in proprietary systems," she types on her macbook pro. . . "And I would feel bad if I couldn't use these damn green bottles anymore. I've grown fond of them and their heft."
so I've been reading up on carbonation in general, because surely all those cola makers at the turn of the 20th century didn't have fancy equipment to pressurize carbon dioxide. So how did they do it?
There are several alternatives I came across, each rather fascinating.
baking soda and vinegar
beer brewing and the resultant 'fixed air'
And of course,
the same method as sodastream, but less streamlined and more open source.
I've got about a week's left of carbonation left until I need a decision. Do I bite the bullet and sell out to the brand name or cause myself even more headache in the interest of saving money and pride.