During those 17 years, and even now, there was a sharp decline in the use and production of block ice. Every year it became less and less convenient for shaved ice business owners to use block ice in their shaved ice stands. The convenience was gone because ice manufacturers were no longer making it. Aside from shaved ice, there are not a lot of industries creating a demand for block ice. So they began to cheat.
If you look at the block ice available in your local corner store, you will see what is now referred to as “compressed block.” What they do is take pieces from their cube ice, add it to a block mold, compress it, add water, and then re-freeze it. What this produces is block ice that is essentially the same quality as rough cubes. Within the block, you have fragments of ice that have air voids around them, which creates pieces of crunchy ice that make their way into your snow. It has traditionally been our theory that if you are going to use a block ice shaver, then you also need to figure out how to obtain or produce a high-quality solid block to shave from. While we still carry this belief, we have changed a few things on our latest block ice shaver that now make even compressed block ice workable.
When using compressed blocks on traditional ice shavers, a pressure source pushes the block into the shaving blade. If that blade can only shave so fast and you increase the pressure, then you inevitably add more tension between the blade and the block of ice. With a solid, smooth block of ice, you would rarely notice this extra tension. However, with compressed block, whenever you hit a less dense section, the machine will rapidly catch up to itself through that weak area of the block and produce chipped ice rather than snow. With our new block ice shaver, it will shave at a consistent rate at all times, thus eliminating those jarring jumps through voided areas in the compressed block of ice; with this innovation, our machines give you snow that is very similar to that from a solid block of ice.
Because of the decline in block ice production, our focus during those first years shifted heavily to cube ice shavers. Our goal was to make cube ice shavers that were quick and would produce snow that rivaled block ice shavers. We changed the quality, and therefore the perception, of shaved ice that was produced from cube ice. We achieved those results very quickly and continue to produce the fastest, snowiest, and most reliable cube ice shavers available.
Before we sold our block shaver (and even now) we would have customers who were adamant about only using block ice come to our shop to see how well our cube ice shavers compared. After tasting a shaved ice from our cube shavers, we would often hear them say, “Wow! That is close enough for me!” Then they would begin to daydream about how convenient working with cubed ice would be. They would say things like, “Oh, I will be able to get ice anywhere, no matter where I am” or “I can’t imagine not having to make my own ice any longer. That alone will free up much of my time.”
Because of the nature of cubed ice, you will always have some unpleasantly crunchy ice pieces making their way into the shaved ice. There are corner edges, rough edges, and tiny pieces of ice that will inevitably make their way through the blade opening and end up in your product.
With the worst cubes you can get, your ice piece percentage is about 5%. Let me clarify that a bit. If you shave from an undesirable batch of cubes, your cup in the end will be 95% wonderful snow, and 5% tiny, crunchy product. This percentage is actually so minimal that if we did not have a block ice shaver next to the cube, most people would not notice the difference. But when you compare them side-by-side, you do notice.
We also have a good percentage of customers that will say, “I actually like that little bit of texture in it.” We are always surprised by this comment, but we do hear it a lot! We focus so hard on making perfect, snow-like, shaved ice that it becomes easy to forget that some people prefer some texture.
However, if you do want to get that perfect snow from our cube ice shavers, here are your main focal points: you want to get the largest, roundest, and coldest cubes you can get. If you make an effort to satisfy these three categories, then you can get your product close enough to block that you can hardly tell the difference. In fact, if you were able to shave from perfectly round balls of ice, your snow would be identical to that from block ice.
There is a phrase that is always echoing throughout our shop here at Snowie Shaved Ice: “There is always a better way.” Here, innovation never stops. In just the past year, we have made some incredible changes and improvements to our block ice shaver. Many of these changes came by way of feedback from our customers. We listen! We also do what you do. Not only do we manufacture everything you need for running your shaved ice business, but we run those businesses as well. We have stationary locations, we do events, we drive the Snowie Bus, we sell at arenas, and we do so much more. We experience everything you do on a daily basis, and this fuels our innovation significantly!
Try one of our shaved ice machines today – you have 10 days to see that it will change your shaved ice business completely.