The Complete Guide to Types of Ice
64 days ago..

Last updated: 2019-10-17 10:40:08

 

Commercial ice machines are one of the most essential pieces of equipment in all foodservice businesses. But choosing the right ice machine for your business can be tricky.

The first thing to consider is what you need the ice for. Do you need higher-quality ice for your cocktails? Or are you just looking to keep chilled displays cool? Either way, you need to choose the right type of ice for the job.

There’s a commonly held misconception that all ice is the same. But that certainly isn’t the case. Ice comes in a range of shapes, sizes and varieties, each with their specific applications.

Knowing the purpose of each type of ice can help you choose the right ice machine for your business. To help, we’ve made a list of the most commonly used types of ice and what they’re best for:

Full and half ice cubesCube Ice (both half and full cube)

  • Also Known As: Diced Ice
  • Characteristics: This is the most versatile and commonly used type of ice. It’s normally used in drinks because it takes much longer to melt in the glass compared to flaked or bullet ice—thus keeping a drink cooler for longer without watering it down. Cubed ice can vary in size but it’s suitable for most drinks in bars, catering businesses and quick-service restaurants. They can also be made very quickly and relatively cheaply, making it ideal for businesses needing high volumes of ice.
  • Melt Rate: Slow
  • Ice-To-Water Ratio: 100%
  • Best for:

    • Soft and mixed drinks
    • Ice dispensing machines
    • Quick service
    • Maximum cooling

 

Flaked Ice

  • Also Known As: Shaved Ice
  • Characteristics: Flaked ice is made up of small, hard bits of ice, ideal for preserving delicate perishables such as seafood. It can keep fresh produce hydrated for longer periods of time than other types of ice—making it perfect for frozen retail displays and buffets. The large surface area allows the ice to be easily moulded, packed, and shaped around whatever it is that you’re trying to cool down. It can also be used to make blended cocktails and smoothies because it puts less wear and tear on blender blades. However, it has a low ice-to-water ratio and melts fairly quickly.
  • Melt Rate: Fast
  • Ice-To-Water Ratio: Approximately 73%
  • Best for:
    • Produce, seafood, and meat displays
    • Transportation and storage
    • Salad bars

 

Nugget IceNugget ice

  • Also Known As: Cubelet Ice or Soft Ice
  • Characteristics: Nugget ice is soft enough to be easy to chew while also being dry enough to be dispensed. It’s made from random cylindrical sized pieces of compacted flaked ice, allowing it to have a slightly slower melt rate.
  • Melt Rate: Moderate
  • Ice-To-Water Ratio: Approximately 90%
  • Best for:
    • Carbonated beverages
    • Blended cocktails and drinks

 

Crescent Ice

  • Also Known As: N/A
  • Characteristics: Due to its distinctive half-moon shape, crescent ice can move more freely around a glass or cup without packing together. It’s better able to fill the glass or cup because it’s uniform with its curved sides, creating exceptional liquid displacement.
  • Melt Rate: Slow
  • Ice-To-Water Ratio: 100%
  • Best for:
    • Soft and mixed drinks
    • Ice dispensing machines
    • Bagging

 

Sphere of iceSphere Ice

  • Also Known As: Hoshizaki Ball Ice
  • Characteristics: Spherical ice is an increasingly popular alternative to the standard cubed ice. But it’s not just used to impress customers. A sphere exposes far less surface area for the same amount of volume as a cube—around 24% less. Therefore, it melts much more slowly, allowing drinks to be chilled without being diluted.
  • Melt Rate: Very Slow
  • Ice-To-Water Ratio: 100%
  • Best for:

    • Specialist cocktails
    • Spirits

 

Bullet Ice

  • Also Known As: Ice Chips
  • Characteristics: As the name implies, bullet ice is shaped like a bullet. It’s cylindrical with a rounded tip on one end and often has a hollow centre. It’s common in self-service machines because it’s quicker to produce than cubed ice. However, it also melts much more quickly. It’s ideal for establishments where ice is essential, but the quality of the ice is not necessarily important.
  • Melt Rate: Fast
  • Ice-To-Water Ratio: Approximately 90%
  • Best for:
    • Ice dispensing machines
    • Quick service
    • Carbonated drinks

 

Gourmet IceGourmet top hat ice

  • Also Known As: Top Hat Ice
  • Characteristics: Gourmet ice has a unique octagonal or cylindrical shape with a prominent brim. This crystal-clear ice has a particular aesthetic appeal making it an attractive option for special occasions. It will also not dilute the flavour of the drink due to its slow melt rate. However, it can take considerably longer to make.
  • Melt Rate: Slow
  • Ice-To-Water Ratio: 100%
  • Best for:
    • Cocktails
    • Upscale restaurants and bars
    • Weddings and special events

 

Crushed Ice

  • Also Known As: N/A
  • Characteristics: Unlike other types of ice, crushed ice isn’t produced from scratch. Instead, this texture is achieved by crushing standard cubed ice in a typically counter-top ice crusher. Crushed ice is a cost-effective alternative to flaked and scale ice. However, it doesn’t perform as well.
  • Melt Rate: High
  • Ice-To-Water Ratio: Approximately 70-90%
  • Best for:
    • Produce, seafood, and meat displays
    • Salad bars
    • Blended cocktails and drinks

Scale iceScale Ice

  • Also Known As: N/A
  • Characteristics: This type of ice is extremely hard and cold industrial flaked ice. It typically ranges from 1mm to 3mm in thickness and is preferred for the most rugged applications. Its dry texture and cold temperature—often as low as -12 °C—make it ideal for packing and transporting fresh food.
  • Melt Rate: Slow
  • Ice-To-Water Ratio: Approximately 98%
  • Best for:

    • Produce, seafood, and meat displays
    • Transportation and storage

 

Whatever type of ice you need and for whatever application, we can provide a commercial ice machine to get the job done. Read our definitive ice machine buying guide and make sure you make the right choice for your business.

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