You may be a shaved ice enthusiast, but if you want to be a smarter consumer or you're planning on starting your very own shaved ice business, then you should familiarize yourself with all of the industry terminology. To make this easier, we have compiled a glossary of the top terms we think you should know based on our years of experience.
- #1: Snow Cone
Made by shaving ordinary ice cubes into small coarse and crunchy bits. Snow cones are a popular treat often served at carnivals and ballparks. Flavored syrup is poured on top, much of which settles on the bottom of the snow cone cup, which is typically a 6 oz. cone-shaped, wax paper cup. Oftentimes, snow cones are served with just a few flavor options, commonly 2-5. Snow cones are quick and easy to make, making them popular with kids and adults.
Snow cones are also referred to as Sno cones, Sno-kones, or Snowballs.
- #2: Shaved Ice
Contrary to snow cones, shaved ice is typically made from blocks of ice. The flat shaving surface allows for a fluffy and snow-like texture. Flavored syrup is poured on top, and due to the fluffy texture, it doesn’t settle at the bottom, but rather, is distributed throughout the ice. You’ll usually find shaved ice sold in a variety of 20-plus flavors.
Like snow cones, shaved ice is also known by a few different names—Shaved ice, Shave ice, SnoBalls, Shavers, and Hawaiian Shaved Ice.
- #3: Concentrates
Unlike ready-to-use syrups that you just pour directly on your shaved ice, flavor concentrates require a bit of assembly. Concentrates need to be combined with water, sugar, and preservatives to produce flavored syrups that are ready for use. For shaved ice businesses, it’s usually more cost-effective to purchase flavor concentrates than ready-to-use syrups.
- #4: Ready-to-Use Syrup
In contrast with flavor concentrates, ready-to-use syrups do not require any mixing, as they already contain preservatives and sugar or corn syrup. You can use these syrups straight out of the container—they can be poured directly onto your shaved ice, and enjoyed right away. Ready-to-use syrups are ideal for home users rather than shaved ice businesses.
- #5: Cube Ice Shavers
Cube ice shavers are shaved ice machines that operate using ice cubes or bagged ice. The shaved ice produced is fine and fluffy, in appearance and texture. These machines are easy-to-use and easy for shaved ice business employees to learn. These machines typically shave ice very quickly and conveniently.
- #6: Block Ice Shavers
Block ice shavers are shaved ice machines that operate using block ice only. The ice must temper to the correct temperature in order to shave the best quality, snow-like consistency. The shaved ice produced is very soft and typically shaved fairly quickly, depending on the operator. While these machines are easy to use, it does take a little longer to train employees.
- #7: Tempering
If you’re using a block ice shaver, the temperature of your block ice can make a huge difference. Block ice that's too cold when shaved will not stick together, but if it’s too warm, the ice will create a clumpy mess. To ensure that your ice blocks are at the appropriate temperature, you can temper or warm up your ice blocks. Tempering ice allows it to reach the ideal temperature of 18 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
- #8: Spoon Straws
Consuming shaved ice can sometimes get messy. Thankfully, we have spoon straws for that! These are fun, yet practical utensils specially designed with a spoon on the end, so consumers can either eat OR drink their shaved ice, whichever is preferred.
- #9: Dome Ice Shaper
Making a neat, perfectly round helping of shaved ice can be tricky, unless you have a dome ice shaper. Once you shave the ice, twist the dome ice shaper on top, and you’ll have a clean, presentable snow cone or shaved ice sample. Dome ice shapers are generally made of either plastic or metal, and in a business setting, can speed up the production process.
- #10: Tiger’s Blood
Though the name might frighten you, tiger’s blood is actually just a delicious shaved ice and snow cone syrup flavor. It's a combination consisting of watermelon, strawberry, and coconut, and is named for its distinctive red color. Tiger’s Blood is easily one of the most popular flavors at concession stands all across the world, and no tigers were harmed in the making!
Stop by again as we continue to explore the colorful and flavorful world of shaved ice and snow cones!