Not All Ice Is Flake Ice

When growing up, we learn that ice is essentially frozen water and that it’s cold. However, ice isn’t just frozen water. It can occur in as many as 15 different crystal forms, as well as two amorphous forms. These amorphous forms are otherworldly - meaning they’re found on comets and asteroids. The other 15 crystalline forms, however, are found here on Earth. 

At temperatures below 32 °F, liquid water starts to freeze and becomes the ice that we typically find in nature, commercial ice makers, or household freezers. However, not all ice is created equal. In fact, different shapes and sizes of ice have different properties, making them ideal for some uses but not for others. When determining which type of commercial ice maker you may need for your home or business, it is important to understand the types of ice and the science behind the cube. 

  • Cube Ice: This type of ice is a larger rhomboid ice cube and is typically found in most establishments and home ice makers. It offers a high ice-to-water ratio, meaning it melts slower than smaller nugget ice does. This type of ice is often found in bagged and bulk options.
  • Crushed: This type of ice cools liquids more quickly, but also melts faster. This means that drinks may get watered down quickly. It is often used in frozen drinks or blended drinks because it is causes less damage to blenders and other mixing devices. Many are familiar with crushed ice from the dispenser of a household refrigerator. These ice dispensers will reverse an auger and crush the cubed ice in the storage bin for various customer uses.
  • Top Hat Ice: These are hollow cylinders that are as tall as they are wide. They resemble the shape of a gentleman’s top hat. This type of ice is sometimes found in upscale restaurants and bars. It melts slowly, so it’s ideal for mixed drinks that shouldn’t be watered down.
  • Nugget Ice: This type of ice gets its name from its small diminutive shape. Sonic, the popular fast food restaurant, built their drink menu around nugget ice. Nugget ice has more liquid content than flake, cube, and crushed ice. This chilled liquid provides reduces the hardness of the ice allowing it to be safely chewed by the customer. This chilled liquid content makes the ice melt more quickly in applications.
  • Their “Flake Ice”: Competitors “Flake Ice” is created by similar machines that produce nugget style ice. It can have an ice-to-water ratio between 60%-85% which makes it heavy on chilled liquid water content. This will show when used in critical cooling applications like seafood and produce preservation. This ice also has poor surface area which can create localized high heat transfer areas on products being cooled. This will create damage to the product and potentially reduce sales from perceived quality issues.
  • Howe’s True Flake Ice: Flake ice is the perfect choice for presentation settings, such as seafood and produce presentation and buffets. Flake ice for specialty drinks works wonderfully in drinks that are primarily spirits and can even be used in smoothies and frozen drinks. Its 90%-100% ice-to-water ratio makes it light, and its high contact surface area makes it perfect for keeping seafood, produce, and perishable items fresh and free from blemishes. 

Howe’s Flake Ice is Longer Lasting & Energy Efficient 

Did you know that Howe flake ice machines produce from 1,000 to over 20,000 pounds of ice at 100% hardness every single day? Harder ice means longer-lasting ice. When you choose Howe flake ice machines, you’re getting the most energy efficient flaker in the industry and the coldest, longest lasting ice on the market. Howe flake ice outlasts our competitor’s ice by 2-3x. 

Flake ice has the most surface contact area of any other form of ice. This means flake ice for specialty drinks is the preferred ice form as it offers more cooling capacity than crushed, cubed, nugget, or tube ice. 

When you choose a commercial ice maker, it is important to consider all of your needs. Flake ice can be a great way to store produce, pack fish, transport goods, and even present your products beautifully and easily. For over 100 years, Howe has been the world leader in flake ice and refrigeration equipment. For any questions regarding ice flake machines or any of our products, please contact us. 

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