What Makes Fountain Drinks Different from Bottled Drinks?

Have you ever found yourself stuck in the backseat of the family car during a long road trip? Your repeated pleas of “Are we there yet?” go unnoticed. You read. You gaze out the window. You doodle. You doze off.

Finally, you sense the car slowing down. You look up and realize that you’re pulling into a gas station for a refuel. Yes! Even though it’s just an ordinary convenience store, it appears as an oasis to your weary eyes.

Your throat feels parched from the lengthy journey, and you know there’s only one way to quench your thirst. You hurry inside and search anxiously for that vibrant dispenser of fizzy beverages: the soda fountain!

You grab a cup and ponder, “Will 32 ounces suffice?” You press the cup’s rim against the ice dispenser. Frozen droplets of water tumble into your cup and bounce off its walls. Then you press the cup’s rim against the lever beneath the drink of your choice (root beer!) and observe as a marvelous stream of frothy refreshment fills your cup right to the brim.

As you savor your root beer, you begin to QUESTION the soda fountain. How does it function? Could it be magic? Is the root beer you’re consuming any different from the root beer in the cans and bottles in the store’s coolers?

The secret behind sodas lies in the science of carbonation. Flavor and sweeteners are mixed with carbonated water to give sodas their bubbles and that tangy kick that soda enthusiasts adore.

Carbonated water is water that has absorbed an excessive amount of carbon dioxide gas. Carbon dioxide and water do not readily blend, so it took quite some time to discover how to create carbonated water.

Eventually, people uncovered that the two essential elements for producing carbonated water were pressure and temperature. If you combine carbon dioxide with extremely cold water in a pressurized environment, they will merge to form carbonated water. Johann Jacob Schweppe was among the pioneers who figured this out way back in 1783 when he invented a hand-cranked carbonator.

Today, modern machines are capable of producing carbonated water much faster and more efficiently. When soda bottles and cans are manufactured, the ingredients are mixed with carbonated water and then sealed under pressure.

When a can or bottle is opened, the pressure is released, causing the carbon dioxide to escape as fizzy bubbles. When the carbon dioxide interacts with water, it also produces small amounts of carbonic acid, which imparts the unique tangy flavor that soda enthusiasts enjoy.

The soda you obtain from a fountain is made instantly when you press the dispenser lever. A pressurized carbon dioxide tank and a water pump deliver pressurized carbon dioxide gas and cold water to a carbonator, where they blend together and the gas dissolves into the water.

When you press the rim of your cup against a dispenser lever, the carbonator releases carbonated water while, simultaneously, a separate pump mixes in flavored syrup to create the desired beverage. The latest soda fountains, such as the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, can combine fruit flavors with soda flavors to produce a multitude of possible soda combinations.

The syrup to carbonated water ratio is carefully controlled by the soda fountain, but these settings can differ from place to place. This is why soda from a soda fountain might have a slightly different taste compared to bottled or canned soda. Whether you prefer soda from a can, bottle, or soda fountain is a matter of personal preference, but there will always be fans of the highly carbonated soda fountain!

Give it a try

Feeling thirsty? Ask a friend or family member to help you explore the following activities:

– Have you ever wanted to have a restaurant-style soda fountain in your own home? Well, now you can! Kind of… just take a look at How To Make an Awesome DIY Soda Fountain Out of Cardboard online. It might not be easy, but it would be a great project for you and an adult friend or family member.

– Want to experiment with carbon dioxide in a fun, hands-on way? If you have some Diet Coke and Mentos candy, then you already have almost everything you need. Check out the Mentos Geyser Experiment online for instructions. Have fun and make sure you have assistance from an adult friend or family member.

– Do you have a preference for soda from a can, bottle, or fountain? Put your taste buds to the test by conducting your own blind taste test at home. You’ll need samples of canned, bottled, and fountain soda, as well as help from an adult friend or family member. Enjoy comparing the different tastes of products that are all supposed to taste exactly the same! Which one do you prefer? And why?

Sources of Wonder

– http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/soda-fountains1.htm

– http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-07/coca-cola-freestyle-most-advanced-soda-fountain-ever

– https://www.cnet.com/news/appliance-science-the-compressed-chemistry-of-carbonation/

– http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/24/coca-cola-taste-test-can-bottle-fountain_n_3142151.html


1. How are fountain drinks different from bottled drinks?

Fountain drinks and bottled drinks differ in several ways. One major difference is the carbonation level. Fountain drinks are often more carbonated than bottled drinks because they are mixed with carbonated water directly from the fountain machine. Bottled drinks, on the other hand, are carbonated during the bottling process and may have a lower carbonation level. Another difference is the taste. Fountain drinks can vary in taste depending on the mix ratio set by the establishment, while bottled drinks have a consistent taste as they are produced in a controlled environment. Additionally, fountain drinks are typically served in larger quantities and often have free refills, while bottled drinks are sold in standardized sizes.

2. Are there any health differences between fountain drinks and bottled drinks?

In terms of health, there can be some differences between fountain drinks and bottled drinks. Fountain drinks are often served in larger cup sizes, which can lead to excessive consumption of sugary beverages. Bottled drinks, on the other hand, come in standardized sizes, making it easier to monitor and control portion sizes. Additionally, fountain drinks may contain more artificial additives and sweeteners compared to bottled drinks, as the mix ratios can vary. It’s important to note that both fountain drinks and bottled drinks should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

3. Can the cost of fountain drinks and bottled drinks differ?

Yes, the cost of fountain drinks and bottled drinks can differ. Fountain drinks are often more cost-effective, especially when purchased at fast food restaurants or convenience stores, as they are typically sold in larger cup sizes and may offer free refills. Bottled drinks, on the other hand, are individually packaged and have a fixed price per bottle. They can be more expensive when purchased from vending machines or in certain establishments. However, the cost can vary depending on the brand, size, and location where the drinks are purchased.

4. Are fountain drinks or bottled drinks more environmentally friendly?

When considering environmental impact, bottled drinks tend to have a higher carbon footprint compared to fountain drinks. Bottled drinks require the production of plastic bottles, transportation, and disposal, which contribute to pollution and waste. Fountain drinks, on the other hand, are dispensed directly into reusable cups, reducing the need for single-use plastic bottles. However, it’s important to note that fountain drinks still require the use of syrup and carbonated water, which may have their own environmental impact. To minimize environmental impact, opting for tap water or refillable water bottles is the most eco-friendly choice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *