The ice machine is an important part of the restaurant bar puzzle. But what are the different ice types that operators need to know in order to specify the most suitable system for their business? FEJ finds answers from the people who know it best.
As the industry once again welcomes customers back to their venues and talks about another upcoming heat wave, food service operators will increasingly turn their attention to ice machines for beverage cooling and display.
Given that there is no shortage of options for them to choose from, what do operators need to know when choosing the right type of ice for their site?
“They need to determine the amount of ice required during the busiest period of the site and ensure that the machines they order have sufficient manufacturing and storage capacity,” suggested Robert Wager, Sales Director of Maidaid Halcyon as a starting point.
"We recommend finding the type of ice that best suits the requirements of the site. The ice maker is extremely important to the on-site trade. The crystal clear ice will leave a lasting first impression on any organization, whether it is in the simplest form or traditionally used. The most complex pebbles/crushed ice form for cocktails. The highest quality ice cubes must be provided."
Maidaid ice cubes range in size from 7 grams to 33 grams. Wager reports that pebble ice is now becoming very popular in many applications, and one liter of water can produce one kilogram of ice. Granular ice is traditionally used for cocktails and displays, and flake ice is a practical solution for displays.
He continued: "The quality of the ice produced will depend on the quality of the water supply. The ice maker essentially must have a good drainage device, the ice will melt, and the produced water must be discharged to the drainage system.
“The requirements of the venue will determine the relevant ice cubes needed. Usually, frozen fish counters require different types of ice cubes than the country bars. Choosing the right location and ensuring that there is enough available space is crucial,” he added.
Wager pointed out that it is very important for operators to ensure that the environment does not exceed the equipment's air and water temperature limits and that the necessary utilities are available, including the correct voltage power supply.
The last thing that is often forgotten is the maintenance space around the machine-it is recommended that the left, right and rear of the air-cooled model be at least 15 cm.
The capacity of the ice maker depends on the size of the machine installed; smaller machines usually have lower capacities. The production of equipment is affected by the location of the machine.
"The installation of the cellar will change the ambient temperature with the change of seasons, which will lead to huge changes in the performance of the machine."
At Hoshizaki UK, National Sales Manager Roz Scourfield said that in order to specify the best ice-making solution for the site, it largely depends on the type of ice the operator needs to use to enhance the beverages offered.
"For example, the crescent-shaped ice produced by our KM series is very suitable for fast food restaurants that require a large amount of ice cubes to fill the cup, and has a low melting point, so it will not dilute the beverage. Our IM series can produce an oversized cube, which is very suitable A high-end cocktail bar, where they can add a bit of “theatre” with a single shot of spirits. Or, our ice balls are perfect for highball glasses with popular gin and tonics, while gold nuggets ice It is very suitable for mojito.
"It is also important to remember that not all ice is created equal. Hoshizaki ice cubes are very compact, dry, tasteless, consistent and slowly melting, and only need to be diluted in a moderate amount-this is the aesthetics of bartenders in ice, Everything you need in terms of taste and function."
The amount of ice produced in each cycle will depend on the shape and size of the cube. Hoshizaki's ice ball machine will produce 15 ice balls every 20 minutes — about 26 kilograms of ice — but the same large ice machine will produce 62 kilograms of ice.
Scourfield said: "The usable area does not necessarily determine which types of ice can be specified, because ice machines can have the same size, but can produce different types and quantities of ice. The main point to consider is that customers want in their beverage products What is the goal to achieve? We have machines of various sizes, which can provide different cube sizes and shapes such as hearts and stars to provide more unique things."
Welbilt brand Manitowoc also offers a series of ice machine models in different sizes to suit various situations. These machines provide specific ice type solutions and daily capacities.
Jonathan Smith, field marketer of ice and mixed ice for Welbilt Europe, Middle East and Africa said: “Each machine is designed according to the type of ice it produces, and then Manitowoc provides machines of different sizes to suit different Outlet location and different capacity options. Available space and operator needs will affect the type and size of machines that can be installed, such as modular or under-counter."
In an ideal situation, operators will be equipped with specific ice making machines for each area of their business, but in terms of operation, if they need a machine to cover different beverage products, then the supplier will best match their needs. The best ice making solution.
For example, a large bar might use ice cubes to make cocktails, spirits, and soft drinks, and might only need an ice machine for its venue. They may even have limited space and need to place the ice maker under the counter. Smith said that in this case, Manitowoc would recommend the cube.
"The cube is a medium-sized cube that can be used for a variety of different beverages and is more flexible-an all-round cube that looks good in high-quality spirits and can also be mixed in cocktails."
Regarding which kind of ice is suitable for each application, Smith elaborated: "Ice cubes are usually suitable for bars that serve spirits, block ice cubes are suitable for cocktails and drinks that require softer ice to be mixed, and flake ice is mainly used for display of food. ."
As with different types of ice, the specifications of the ice maker will be largely affected by the available space, how it is used, where it is placed, and the output required.
Manitowoc NEO ice machines can be used for undercounter solutions, while for larger capacities, the Indigo NXT series can be deployed in larger areas and provide LuminIce II virus and bacteria inhibitors.
Mark Hogan, the commercial director of FEM, who supplies the Manitowoc series of ice machines to the UK market, agrees that changes in the shape and size of ice cubes are an important consideration when recommending ice machines, because certain types of ice cubes are best suited for specific purposes. As beverage trends change, so does ice trends.
"Due to the increasing popularity of smoothies and cocktails, the demand for block ice and flake ice machines has grown significantly in the past few years," he said. "At the same time, the trend in gin-based beverages is also paying more and more attention to large ice cubes that melt slowly.
"Larger delicious ice cubes are octagonal and provide the maximum cooling effect with an ice-to-water ratio close to 100%, thereby avoiding dilution. The compact Manitowoc Ice Sotto undercounter ice machine can produce delicious ice cubes."
Hogan added: "In addition to considering the beverages that the operator needs ice, and therefore what type of ice is needed, it is also important to consider ice production during peak working hours-and how this changes during the year. For example, within the Sotto range , In terms of the amount of ice produced in 24 hours, there are a variety of sizes to choose from. The smallest in the understage range will provide 22 kg of ice, and the larger one will provide 76 kg."
Kelly Gothard, regional business manager at Foster and Gamko, said that the shape and size of the ice cubes determine the duration of the ice cubes and the amount of water entering the beverage being served, so it is important to understand how these factors affect their effectiveness.
"Traditional ice cubes from the tray tend to dilute the beverage faster, because more ice cubes means a larger surface area and a faster melting rate.
"Therefore, the size and shape of the ice will be different. The most common shape of beverage ice is still a cube. The standard cube is suitable for almost every cocktail, but it is important to ensure that they are the same size so that they are also consistent. The ground melts."
Foster's ice maker uses a spray system to produce crystal clear ice cubes with a patented shape, which can be stored for longer in cold drinks.
"In recent years, you may have seen more and more use of larger ice cubes. These are very suitable for strong cocktails like Manhattan and Martini, because the dilution rate is slower-very suitable for serving bourbon or whiskey.
"On the other hand, some beverages benefit from the addition of crushed ice-especially tiki drinks like Mai Tai-because it dilutes syrups and juices. Crushed ice can be made in two ways. Ice can be put in a bag Among them, it is crushed manually with a mallet or rolling pin, but the less labor-intensive method is to use a machine such as the Foster ice shaver, which has a high output and an integrated storage box."
Gothard also pointed out that due to the accumulation of scale, the relative hardness of the water will affect the efficiency of the ice machine: "If the water in the area is particularly hard, it is recommended to use ion cleaning equipment."
At Hubbard Systems, which provides the Scotsman series of ice machines to the UK, David Rees, Group Marketing Manager of Hubbard’s parent company HTG Trading, asserted: “Different types of ice require specific freezing methods, so one ice machine can only produce one type of ice. Type to ensure its quality is as high as possible. For operators who need multiple ice types, two different ice making machines can be connected to the same partitioned storage refrigerator to create a flexible modular ice making solution.
"Companies with limited space and low ice-making requirements may only need one machine to make high-quality ice cubes that can be turned into crushed ice, such as using Scotsman Crushman 360. Larger sites with different levels of demand should consider using separate ice making Machine to meet their different needs.
“A hotel or restaurant may need a large-capacity hypercube machine to hold drinks, plus a smaller flake ice machine to meet the kitchen’s needs for food production and display. A single ice machine can be installed close to where they need it. , Reduce handling and transportation, and help ensure good ice hygiene," he added.
Rees said it’s important to recognize that different ice types develop at different rates: “The gourmet super cube is formed by spraying water upwards into a freezing mold, which helps it freeze into a solid and pure form, but It takes longer than other systems.
"For example, dice ice is cup-shaped with a hollow center and is produced faster than hypercube ice, so you need a larger machine to produce the same amount of supercube ice as dice ice in 24 hours. Flake ice and blocks Ice production is very fast, allowing relatively small machines to produce large amounts of ice.
"In order to directly compare two standalone ice machines with similar footprints, the EC127 Super Cube produces 72 kilograms per 24 hours, while the NU300 produces 142 kilograms of ice at the same time."
However, the biggest limitation of installation is usually the use of utilities. "Electrical connections and fresh water supply are usually not a problem, but wastewater treatment often has problems," Reese said. "For these situations, Scotsman's EC series free-standing ice machines are equipped with a progressive drainage system that automatically pumps the water away so that they can be placed 15 meters away from the nearest drain pipe, or even lower than the height of the nearest drain pipe. ."
Ice-cream maker Carpigiani is a new name in the field of ice-making machines and recently took over the Ice-O-Matic brand from Classeq under Winterhalter. Ice-O-Matic brand director Adam Lenton followed the brand to his new home.
He commented: "The required capacity and type of ice are rarely a problem, because Ice-O-Matic has a full range of ice machines, including block, flake, cube, semi-cube, large ice cubes and gourmet food. These Each of the product series has machines that can produce enough ice to meet the needs of the site. However, it is important for the site to consider the amount of ice they need on peak days and time of year-so they can choose to make Ice machine and choose the right size storage refrigerator to ensure that they always have enough ice to meet customer needs."
Lenton revealed: "Ice-O-Matic's Elevation modular ice maker series has a unique dual exhaust device designed to exhaust hot air from the sides and top of the device. This increases the area where Ice-O-Matic machines can be installed. The number also reduces the possibility of exhaust blockage. The backrest area that may not previously be considered suitable for standard ice machines can now be used to install Elevation modular ice machines."
The available space will ultimately determine the size of the machine, but this should not be a determining factor in the type of ice cubes provided.
"Ideally, the style should be determined by the use of ice cubes," Lenton suggests. "If there is a problem with the space in front of the house, another factor to consider is whether you can choose to place the machine behind the house in a specific ice machine area.
"Other factors related to the installation should include checking the voltage and current characteristics of the power outlet where the ice maker is located, whether there are utilities and floor drains within one meter of the machine, and whether the water source is turned off."
When choosing an ice machine for their business, operators obviously need to consider many factors, but when those long and hot summer days begin, it will be worthwhile to have the right model.
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