Starbucks Is Finally Getting Nugget Ice

Your favorite blended and iced drinks from Starbucks are about to undergo a cool new change. Starbucks revealed this week that it will be changing the type of ice cubes it uses to the popular nugget ice, which is the same type of ice that is widely incorporated in Sonic locations around the United States. Right now the popular coffee chain uses a style of chipped ice cubes to make their chilly drink concoctions such as Refreshers, Cold Brews, as well as the iconic creamy blended Frappuccinos.

Although the entire transition from the current chipped ice to the new nugget ice may take a few years to complete, Starbucks hopes that the change will be for the better sake of increasing efficiency and overall enjoyment for the customer. Starbucks will need new ice machines capable of creating uniquely chewable ice to bring the nuggets into every store. In a statement to Insider, the Starbucks company said that "Like many of our recent investments, this machine allows partners to focus on delivering the Starbucks experience while hand-crafting the same delicious, high-quality iced beverages our customers have come to expect from Starbucks." Let's take a look at exactly what nugget ice is and how it will affect the future of your icy Starbucks beverages.

How nugget ice differs from regular ice

Those who are scratching their heads wondering why Starbucks would make such a seemingly arbitrary move to switch out the type of ice cubes need to delve deeper into the nuances of regular ice cubes compared to nugget ice, or pellet ice as it is sometimes known. At its core, nugget ice is made of just the same water as any other ice cube, but it is how it is made that makes all the difference. Unlike traditional crushed ice or ice chips, which are created from cutting or blending normal ice cubes, nugget ice is created by layering flaky bits of ice together so that air can be trapped in little pockets throughout the pellet. This is what gives the nugget ice its signature chewy texture.

What this means for your future Starbucks frozen and iced beverages is that you will get to enjoy a drink that can retain its coolness while providing an enjoyable chewy crunch or in the case of a blended beverage, may increase the smoothness of the overall mouthfeel. On the business side, lighter, less dense ice could make blending their product quicker and more efficient for the baristas who make the drinks. This is important, as iced beverage sales have dramatically overshadowed hot beverages over the years, according to Starbucks. The special machines needed to make this type of ice also use less water, which will assist with the company's dedication to environmental sustainability.