Thursday, December 08, 2011

This promises ill...

For both my health, and most likely, my sanity....

That, is Liquid Caffeine, from; sitting next to my first experiment with it.

Yes, I double caffeinated a cup of coffee. It worked out quite well actually. I could definitely feel the extra caffeine (or rather, I could feel that there was some. I don't generally notice the caffeine from a single cup of coffee).

You see, Mel and I quite enjoy energy drinks... anything caffeinated really... But we're not really crazy about the flavors they offer; or the price for that matter. Your typical price for one of the big 20oz cans, even from Costco, is over $1 each.

And, sad as it may seem, on occasion I find myself missing flightline coffee (tasted like shit, but I swear to god they cut it with benzedrine or something. Thus the experiment above).

Another thing we (well, mostly me) are fans of, is carbonated beverages; but again, not such a big fan of the price; and frankly, most of them are oversweet for me.

So, a few weeks ago, Mel and I bought a Sodastream system (they were on special at Costco. 130 liter starter kit for $110). This one in fact:

At first glance, the sodastream system may seem a bit expensive at $100 or so for 130 liters worth of carbonation; but the refills are only $30 (or a hell of a lot less if you have a friendly local welding or brewing supplier. I've got both).

When I have an unlimited supply, and I'm being active, I tend to drink about 12 liters a day of plain soda water (because I drink it in preference to plain water); or about six liters a day of the fizzy flavored stuff (I prefer Fresca, diet ginger ale, diet Coke, or diet Mountain dew), and six liters of plain water. About 3 gallons more or less, either way.

Supermarkets tend to charge about $1 a liter, or between $1.25 and $1.50 for a two liter (on sale of course. I think the list price is $1.89).

We've had a soda siphon forever, but it just doesn't taste the same for some reason (I think it's because the Co2 they use is both a lower volume and at lower pressure; and doesn't permeate the water as well), plus the 12 gram co2 cartridges (you use one 12 gram per liter) end up costing more than the supermarket soda.

Speaking thereof, and addressing the sweetness issue, as I said, I rather like "club soda" or plain soda water; but for some reason, they actually charge MORE for unflavored fizzy water, than for flavored fizzy water (I also like unsweetened tonic water... I find the bitterness refreshing, but it's hard to find the stuff). Most places only carry the 1 liter bottles of plain soda water, and they usually charge as much for them, as they do for a 2 liter of coke products (on sale of course. They go on sale constantly, it would be silly to pay full price for them).

Given how much I drink of the stuff, a cylinder pays off 4 times over; and the $110 they charge for the carbonator itself (which comes with the first cylinder) pays off on the first fill; or presuming you get the lowest price on supermarket soda, the second.

Never mind the price, I love the stuff. The fact that it's cheap too is just sweetening on top.

The one thing it's missing though, is caffeine.

Enter "".

For $40, you get 1 gallon of their colorless, flavorless, caffeine solution:

One gallon of their solution, has 64,000mg (64 grams) of caffeine, the same as 800 cans of Red Bull (or 800 cups of coffee).

Normally, Caffeine has a horribly bitter flavor. I have no idea what they've done to this stuff to neutralize it; but one ounce of the solution (500mg of caffeine), in one liter of water, has no discernible flavor.

That gives you 125mg of caffeine per 8oz.

For comparison, regular brewed coffee has between 80 and 125mg of caffeine per 8oz (Starbucks regular brewed coffee has about 50% more caffeine, because of how they blend it and roast it); Red Bull has 80mg per 8oz, and Mountain Dew has 55mg per 8oz.

Traditional espresso has 75-100mg per shot; or about 400mg per 8oz (a Venti Starbucks iced espresso drink has three shots).

This bottle of soda water:

Now has as much caffeine as six cans of Red Bull.

Wooo hooo...

Now, one of the main selling points of the sodastream, is that with flavor syrups, you can make your own simulated Coke, Mountain Dew etc...

I do actually like Sodastreams flavor syrups; particularly their pink grapefruit flavor (in diet. The full sugar version is too sugary). I use them half strength, so a $5 bottle makes 24 liters, instead of the 12 listed on the bottle. Also, their diet flavors use splenda, which I prefer over nutrasweet; and their full sugar flavors use cane sugar (they even do "organic" if that's your thing).

That said, you can use whatever flavor syrups you like, or flavor essences, or fruit juices, or whatever other flavoring methodology you prefer; and of course, you can adjust the sugar content and/or sweetness to suit, and the acid to suit (I like my flavored drinks a fair bit more tart than most commercially produced fare).

There are also a number of bulk beverage service companies out there, that will sell you whatever syrup or flavor concentrate you like (including real Coke, Mountain Dew etc...); and concentrated unsweetened flavor essences you can use to mix up your own syrups.

Mel decided to buy a bunch of those, and try mixing up our own:

This vaguely nuclear waste looking jug, is 32oz of what one particular soda supplier bills as their "lemon lime" soda concentrate, mixed into a syrup (in theory, 16 liters worth), plus 5120mg of caffeine (80mg per cup of finished soda).

And this:

is what it produces. That lighting doesn't quite how it off right though...

Ever see the movie "the Manhattan Project"? Remember the Plutonium gel?

Yeah, it does look exactly like that (or like Prell shampoo).

It doesn't taste at all bad, though it definitely leans more on the "lime lollipop" side of things (which, frankly, Mountain Dew does as well). A couple squirts of real lemon juice, and real lime juice did it some good.


The caffeine didn't do a bit of harm to the soda, or the coffee...


I have a cunning plan