Sometimes, your bottle of custom soda or sparkling water doesn’t have that right amount of bubbles or the right sparkling texture for your liking. When that happens it might be tempting to just try to infuse your water with some extra CO2. After all, CO2 is the secret ingredient in your SodaStream canister that provides us with that fizzy soda. It sounds like a good idea to just pump a little more bubbles
But hold on, you’re probably wondering… Can you over carbonate SodaStream?
Yes, you can, but it is very difficult due to safeguards built into the machines and also because of the physics of carbonation and saturation. The SodaStream machines are built with a gas release valve to prevent over carbonation from resulting in an explosive accident. And additionally, you can only fit so much CO2 gas into a container of water.
These safeguards are a good thing once you understand that adding more carbon dioxide to a soda only gives you results up to a point. After enough carbon dioxide has been added, more simply collects at the top of whatever container or receptacle you are using and sits around waiting to be released. It’s basically wasted gas and wasted time.
However, the SodaStream machines also usually come with settings to let you carbonate your soda a little bit fizzier than the default.
This is good for those of you who appreciate a bubblier soda than the type you can normally get at the grocery store.
How To Over Carbonate Your Soda
Normally, every SodaStream machine is calibrated to produce the correct amount of carbonation for a standard bottle of soda or sparkling water. These calibrations of several different levels allow you to fine-tune how much carbonation is in your ideal beverage.
The carbonation settings vary from machine to machine. For instance, the Fizzi model of SodaStream machines requires you to press a carbonated button all the way down in short bursts to determine how much carbonation you want in your drink. It takes the duration of the button presses on the carbonating lever into account.
The One Touch model, on the other hand, offers one of three different preset carbonation settings to achieve your desired fizziness level. The Aqua Fizz as you press the carbonating bottle in short bursts until you hear a buzz. You can press between one or three buzzes to get your fizziness level as high as you like, although SodaStream warns against pressing more than five times.
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In order to over carbonate your beverage, that’s exactly what you need to do.
Simply go beyond the recommended presses of the button, lever, or other tool and continue adding carbonation to your bottle of water in order to over carbonate it.
But almost all of these soft drinks machines are equipped with a gas release valve that gets rid of any excess gas to avoid exactly this process. You can slowly force in more CO2 than recommended over time, but this gas valve will likely prevent your efforts from bearing much fruit. SodaStream’s use a set of gas canisters that only release CO2 at a set PSI.
This is intended to prevent you from accidentally putting too much pressure on the SodaStream plastic or glass containers used for bottling with their machines.
It may be possible to use other soda makers and over carbonate your own water. Or perhaps you just have the patience (and extra CO2 canisters) to spare. Either way, it’s possible to eventually over carbonate your water. However, the results will not end up with extra fizzy soda water up to a certain point.
You see, a standard 1 L bottle of water can only hold a certain amount of carbon dioxide gas before there is simply not enough space in the bottle for the gas to remain. If you continue to try to force carbon dioxide gas in the bottle, you’ll find that one of two things occurs.
In the first scenario, the additional carbon dioxide gas will flee from the bottle as soon as you remove it from the nozzle no matter how fast you are in replacing the cap. The resulting force is likely to make the bottle shake or shudder in your hand as the gas escapes. This force may be so violent that you end up causing a mess and spilling your soda water all over the kitchen.
The second scenario is even more of an issue. If you don’t remove the bottle of carbonated water quick enough and continue to force CO2 into the container, the pressure may become so intense that the bottle explodes and flies off the SodaStream machine. This could be dangerous for you or the SodaStream machine, as the bottle exploding is likely to send plastic or glass debris in all directions.
As you can imagine, this isn’t a very desirable scenario. So while it is possible to over carbonate your water, you should only ever go up to the recommended amount listed in the instructions of your chosen SodaStream machine.
Why Does Over Carbonation React the Way It Does?
To understand why these reactions occur, you have to understand the concept of oversaturation.
Basically, a given bottle of chilled water can hold a set amount of CO2 gas before there is simply not enough space between the water molecules to accommodate more gas. This excess gas will pool at the top of the bottle and continue to collect until it has to be released.
The gas inside the water continues to mix up until this point. The water is described as saturated at the point where it cannot accept any more CO2 into its liquid medium. The water is oversaturated if you go past this level and continue adding CO2 gas so it collects off the top of the bottle.
However, most soda is technically oversaturated with CO2 already since it is bubbly. The bubbles are the result of CO2 gas trying to escape the liquid since there isn’t any more space inside the water for it to remain. In this state of oversaturation, adding more carbon dioxide puts stress on the container and threatens a big escape if the gas ever has a way out of its confines.
The telltale hiss of an opening soda can or bottle is the result of CO2 gas trying to escape and oversaturated environment. Prepackaged soda is usually slightly oversaturated to prolong its shelf life and keep the fizz of the soda even if it takes a while for someone to greet the beverage.
In this way, adding more carbonation to a point simply won’t result in any more fizz. The water is full of carbon dioxide and can’t accept any more so there’s no real reason to pump it full of more CO2.
How Much Carbonation is Normal?
The amount of carbonation in a given soda beverage varies greatly by manufacturer and container type. For instance, Coca-Cola is generally carbonated to about 6.2 g of CO2 per liter of soda. This number is slightly different depending on whether or not it’s a plastic bottle or aluminum can, or if the soda is dispensed via a fountain. In fact, soda fountains usually have something around 11 g of CO2 per liter of soda.
The amount of carbonation possible in a container of soda also depends on the temperature of the beverage. Colder water allows for more CO2 infusion into the liquid as opposed to warmer water. So soda manufacturers will typically bottle and create soda at low temperatures in order to force as much CO2 inside as possible. Their containers are usually strong enough to withstand the pressure that increases at the temperature of the beverage rises while it is stored.
As mentioned above, the SodaStream machines typically dispensing up carbonation for a normal bottle of soda. It can go a little bit above or below depending on your preference, but most of these soft drinks will average around 6 g of CO2 per liter or so at the default level.
Does Over Carbonation Reduce Soda Going Flat?
Soda that is filled to the brim or truly oversaturated with CO2 will naturally take longer to become flat than soda which only contains the bare minimum of CO2 to count a pop in the first place. However, also does naturally start going flat as soon as they become warm since warm water is less soluble than cold water.
While over carbonate in your soda will extend the effective fizzy lifetime of the beverage, it’s more valuable and smarter to simply keep your soda refrigerated instead of risking the structural integrity of your bottle.
Cold water holds more CO2 per liter than water at higher temperatures, whereas adding extra carbon dioxide to a bottle of room temperature soda won’t do much to add to the overall fizz of the beverage.
Overall, over carbonating your water isn’t a smart idea for more reasons than one. Even if you manage to accomplish it with your SodaStream machine, you’d be better off simply planning out your soda drinking so that you have several bottles chilling in the fridge at any one time.