The Importance of Tempering Ice

8 Aug

As you’ve all probably heard by now, it’s is MUY IMPORTANTE that your ice is tempered before shaving. Why, you ask? Don’t ask, just do it. Depending on the type of shave ice business that you have, the flow of customers will vary and so will the timing of taking out a block of ice to temper.

Ice is a funny thing and it reacts differently to temperature, environments (have you ever shaved ice outside with a breeze? Literally, hell), and other variables. In our experience, if your ice is too cold/hard, the shavings will not adhere to each other or hold its shape. Don’t ask us why, we’re not scientists, we just know it happens :O There is even the occasion when ice is SO cold that the shavings  freeze back together, losing its soft, fluffy texture.  Not to mention very hard ice is harsh on your blade. When you first take a block of ice out of the freezer, it’s opaque. When your bring your ice out to temper, you want it to “sweat” and have a glossy, clear appearance. This is will give the best shave.

Before tempering: ice has a cloudy, opaque appearance.

After tempering: ice has a glossy, clear appearance

Shave Ice Syrups: Concentrate vs. Ready-to-Use

18 Jul

A common question we get is whether a business should use RTU (ready-to-use) syrups or concentrate. Of course there will pros and cons to both options, so here are some things to consider.

RTU Syrups:


  • RTU syrups  don’t require any mixing or purchase of additional ingredients. Convenience is a big advantage. Just open the bottle, add a pour spout, and you’re ready for business.


  • Most RTU syrups use controversial HFCS or high fructose corn syrup. Check the ingredient list on your chosen brand.
  • If you will be ordering your product online, you will pay a significant amount more for shipping due to the “water weight”.
  • RTU syrups are 50-60% more expensive than if you mix the syrups yourself.
  • You will create more waste, since you will go through your product much faster.



  • Concentrates require a sweetener, sugar being the common option. Sugar is naturally more flavorful than what you will find in a bottled RTU syrup.
  • Because concentrates do not contain any sweetener, it gives business owners the option of offering sugar-free flavors. You may substitute sugar with Splenda, agave nectar, or any other type of sugar alternative.
  • Concentrate is the most economical for shipping rates and price per unit.
  • Shave ice concentrate can keep for up to a year, depending on the brand. Only the amount needed can be made, preventing spoilage and waste of unused syrup.
  • You can advertise your product as being “homemade”.


  • Mixing concentrate for your homemade syrups will take time.

Creating Shave Ice Cream Flavors

5 Jul

Many business owners opt to offer the sweetened condensed milk as a topping, also called a snow cap. It gives Hawaiian shave ice a velvety, cream texture that we especially love on root beer. YUM! But if you want to add a little something different to the menu, cream flavors can be a fun option. You can charge a little extra for the specialty flavors to offset costs and rotate a different flavor each week!

To make a quart of your homemade cream flavors:

Pour 4 oz. of evaporated milk to an empty quart bottle

Top off with your preferred flavor syrup (citrus or sour flavors are not recommended)

That’s it! Just be sure to keep refrigerated and cool 😉

Now if you would like to make an especially creamy syrup which will create a texture similar to that of ice milk, try the following recipe:

To make a quart of your homemade “ice cream” flavors:

Pour 2 ounces of syrup concentrate with one can of sweetened condensed milk into an empty quart bottle
Fill the quart bottle the rest of the way with milk.

That’s it! Also, keep refrigerated and cool.

*** Careful not to use evaporated milk or condensed milk interchangeably. Although they’re similar in consistency, condensed milk is 40-45% sugar, while evaporated milk is not sweetened. ***

Our favorite flavors to create cream flavors from are strawberry, coconut, and coffee. But be creative, the possibilities are endless!

Top 10 Shave Ice Flavors

2 Jul

If you are like most new business owners, you’re working with a budget. Establishing your menu can be a process, starting with the most popular flavors, then gradually adding more. Your customers will let you know what they want and you’ll quickly observe the continuously full bottles, which you may want to consider swapping out for a flavor that your customers will enjoy.

Here is a list of the top 10 shave ice flavors that should be the base of any menu. Enjoy!

1. Strawberry

2. Blue Raspberry

3. Watermelon

4. Cherry

5. Banana

6. Lemon

7. Lime

8. Root Beer

9. Coconut

10. Tiger’s Blood

Where Can I Sell Hawaiian Shave Ice?

30 Jun

Location, location, location. You have made your final decision to dive-in and start up a Hawaiian shave ice business! Now the questions are rolling around in your head. Where will we sell our shave ice? Will we choose to be mobile or a set up shop? Will it be a year-around or seasonal business?

Many of the questions will be dicatated by the region you live in and the weather conditions. Sure you can have an year-around shave ice business in Florida, but you’d be hard-pressed to do the same in, say, Illinois!

Here is a compilation of  suggestions on where you could sell your Hawaiian shave ice:

1. Parking lots of shopping malls, department stores, or supermarkets are hot and create impulse sales for shave ice that may have been lost inside the air-conditioned facility. Parents who have denied their children expensive purchases inside the shopping mall may treat the same children to a shave ice upon leaving. The parents will also be your customers after they sample their children’s delicious shave ice.

Lease or rent payments for space in these parking lots are sometimes negotiated so that the payments are reduced during the winter season.

2. Locations across the street from shopping malls, department stores or supermarkets will benefit from the advantages of these high traffic areas. Pedestrian access and parking are important considerations for such a location.

3. Inside shopping malls, department stores or supermarkets are high traffic areas suitable for shave ice sales.

4. Highway locations with ample parking and some neighborhood access are desirable.

5. Parks and tourist areas produce customer interest in the novelty of Hawaiian shave ice.

6. Mobile units are excellent for selling shave ice. It is best to have the mobile units conduct regular hours at specific locations rather than roam the streets. Direct current 12 volt motors are available to power machines with a 12 volt deep cycle marine battery.

7.  Special events can provide high volume sales. The most successful events for shave ice are any hot day events such as race tracks and rodeos.

Ample and convenient parking access is always important. There is no guaranteed successful location so each site needs to be considered for its advantages as well as its disadvantages. Location is one of your most important decisions when starting a new business.