Olivia MarcyRestaurants & Commercial Kitchens

Have You Noticed? Restaurant Ice Melts Slower

If you’re like most people, you go to a restaurant to enjoy the experience and the food! You’re not sitting there contemplating the speed at which the ice in your beverage is melting. Well, what can we say? We’re not like most people. We’ve got ice on the brain a lot—or as we like to call it, a perpetual brain freeze. 

Whether you’ve noticed it or not, it’s true that most restaurant ice melts slower than the ice you’ll get from your average refrigerator dispenser. We’ll explain the mysteries behind this phenomenon and how you can get restaurant-quality ice at home. 

The Science Behind Why Restaurant Ice Is Slower To Melt

Shouldn’t all ice melt at the same rate? You might think so, but actually clear ice melts more slowly than cloudy ice. Clear? Cloudy? What does this mean in ice terms?

Clear ice is probably what you think of when you think of ice. It’s almost transparent, and there’s no opacity in the center at all. Cloudy ice, on the other hand, is murky and has air bubbles frozen into white clouds at the center. 

The reason clear ice melts at a slower rate is because of its higher density and the absence of air or impurities. That means it can retain a lower temperature for an extended period compared to regular ice. What does that mean for you?

"Clear ice effectively keeps your drink cooler for longer without diluting your iced coffee, tea, or cocktail."

What Makes Ice Cloudy?

Cloudy ice cubes are typically the result of impurities or air trapped in the cube. When water freezes, it forms ice by the slow crystallization of water molecules. There are 2 leading causes of cloudy ice:

The most common culprit of cloudy ice cubes is the presence of dissolved gasses, particularly dissolved oxygen (remember the O in H2O). As the water freezes, the gasses are unable to escape and become trapped in the ice, causing the cloudiness.

Another factor that can contribute to cloudy ice cubes is the presence of minerals or impurities in the water. These are usually naturally occurring minerals that are in your tap water, such as calcium carbonate or magnesium. When the water freezes, these impurities can form tiny crystals or particles, giving the ice a cloudy appearance.

By the way, let’s clear up one thing about cloudy ice: even though cloudy cubes are aesthetically less appealing, they are still safe to consume and don’t pose any health risks.

How To Get Crystal-Clear Ice

By now, you’re probably coveting slow-melting clear ice. You’re probably wondering how you can get your hands on some. Some people resort to boiling water or using distilled water to get rid of impurities and air bubbles, but we’re here to tell you there’s a better way.

Invest In An Ice Machine

Ice machines are designed to produce ice by controlling the freezing process more effectively than your refrigerator ice maker. Here's how:

Consistent Freezing

Most ice makers use a specific freezing technique called "directional freezing" or "top-down freezing," which allows impurities and bubbles to settle at the bottom of the ice tray, resulting in clearer ice at the top.

Filtered Water

Most ice machines use filtered water or have built-in water filtration systems. These filtration systems remove impurities and minerals from the water, resulting in cleaner and clearer ice production. With fewer impurities in the water, ice machines dispense clear ice cubes.

Water Circulation

Ice machines usually have a constant circulation of water, which helps prevent the formation of bubbles and allows dissolved gasses to escape. The continuous flow of water helps maintain a uniform freezing process and reduces the chances of trapped air, resulting in crystal-clear ice cubes.

Freezing Chambers

Lastly, ice machines often have insulated compartments or specific freezing chambers that allow for a slower (i.e. more controlled) freezing process. Slower freezing rates promote the formation of larger ice crystals, which tend to be clearer than fast-forming ice. Another perk: the insulated compartments reduce temperature fluctuations and minimize the formation of cracks or cloudy spots in the ice.

Memphis Ice: The Crystal-Clear Choice For Quality Ice

When you’re ready to serve up clear ice, we’ve got the ice machine for you. Whether you’re delighting your customers with aesthetically pleasing cocktails, or pouring a drink for yourself, we have commercial and residential ice machines for every need. We even have a selection of used ice machines! Schedule a call with one of our ice machine experts today to learn more!

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