Guide to Commercial Ice Machines

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What Are Commercial Ice Makers?

A commercial ice machine is a piece of equipment that produces and sometimes stores ice for a commercial kitchen. With its attached water source and freezing ice tray mechanism, commercial ice machines are capable of making large amounts of ice cubes quickly throughout a 24-hour period. There are also flake ice machines and nugget ice machines that grind ice into nuggets and flakes for unique applications.

Commercial ice machines are designed to produce high-quality ice. Regular cleaning and water filtration are crucial to maintaining good ice and ensuring a pleasant and consistent taste.

commercial ice machine with storage bin

Why Are they Important?

Many restaurants, cafes and cafeterias serve soft drinks and beverages, stock salad bars or blend frozen cocktails. In order to do so, a commercial ice machine is essential. Purchasing the right unit ensures you have the right type of ice for your operation, and never run out of ice during business hours. With the right machine, you can also be sure that you have the best dispensing unit for your needs, be it a simple ice bin and scoop, a single-serve beverage dispenser, or a coin-operated hotel dispenser.

Types of Ice Makers

Choosing the right type of ice is one of the most important considerations when shopping for a commercial ice machine. Different types of ice are designed for different situations in order to maximize profits in unique applications. Using the right ice for the right situations makes for the best customer experience.

Full-Cube Ice


Full cube ice is also called “full dice” ice. It measures 7/8 of an inch all the way around, and resembles a cube in shape.

Benefits

Full cube ice melts slowly and has a lot of surface area. This helps cool beverages quickly and keeps them cold for long periods of time. Full cube ice also adds visual appeal to drinks like whiskey, scotch and other cocktails.

Ideal Uses

  • Salad Bars
  • Bagged Ice
  • Cocktails
  • Hotel Ice Dispensers

Types of Full Cube Ice Makers


Half-Cube Ice


Half-cube ice, also referred to as “half-dice” ice, is used in a wide range of applications. Most half cube ice cubes measure 3/8″ x 7/8″ x 7/8″.

Benefits

With its unique shape, half-cube ice can pack more tightly into a glass, displacing more liquid. This will increase your beverage profits since customers get a lot of ice in relation to the beverage. It also gives customers a super-chilled drink. Half-cube ice also blends more readily than full-size cubes, making it a good choice for blended coffee drinks or smoothies.

Ideal Uses

  • Blended Drinks
  • Iced Coffee
  • Mixed Drinks
  • Soft Drinks
  • Therapeutic Uses

Types of Half Cube Ice Makers


Flake Ice

As the name suggests, flake ice consists of small slivers of ice that are flaked off to provide a packable ice perfect for displays. Flake ice packs together well and effectively chills down products on display, from seafood in groceries stores to food in a salad bar.

Nugget Ice

Nugget ice is also known as chewable ice, pellet ice, pearl ice or “Sonic” ice. It is soft and chewable; a customer favorite.

Benefits

Molding ice around the product allows more even cooling results. Since flake ice is soft, the product is less likely to scratch or bruise. Flake ice can enhance the visual appeal of product displays while maintaining safe food temperatures.

Benefits

Aside from providing customer satisfaction, nugget ice also displaces more liquid than cube or half-cube ice, so operators will see even more beverage profits with this ice. It also blends easily and cools quickly, making it ideal for blended cocktails and smoothies. Nugget ice is great for flavor and color retention in beverages, too. Finally, health care facilities use this type of ice for patient drinks because it is so easy to chew.

Ideal Uses

  • Blended Cocktails
  • Ice Wraps/Therapeutic Use
  • Meat/Seafood Displays
  • Produce Displays
  • Salad Bars

Ideal Uses

  • Blended Cocktails
  • Carbonated Drinks
  • Health Care Settings
  • Smoothies

 


Specialized Ice Makers

The aforementioned ice types are the most common, but there are a handful of specialized ice styles that add a little extra flair to a drink. The majority of these ice types are available in undercounter commercial ice machine units only, and will be placed in the back bar area for use in mixed drinks.

Gourmet Ice

Gourmet ice has a distinct top-hat shape and adds extra sparkle to the drink. The visual appeal makes this ice type ideal for mixed drinks or cocktails. It also melts slowly, so customers can enjoy their drinks at a slower pace without it becoming warm or watered down.

Crescent Ice

Crescent ice has the shape of a crescent moon. It is ideal for soft drinks or other beverages. The shape allows the ice to pack together better than full or half cubes, displacing more liquid and further increasing your beverage profit margins.

Octagonal Ice

Octagonal ice has the same function as full-cube or half-cube ice, in that it displaces a lot of liquid while quickly cooling the beverage. It just has an octagonal shape, appealing to operators who want to break with the tradition of serving standard cubes in their beverages.

Types of Crescent Ice Makers

Types of Gourmet Ice Makers

Types of Octagonal Ice Makers

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