The quest for the perfect ice cream scoop
A long time ago, I Kickstarted a project to create a better ice cream scoop.
I’ve tried many different scoops. Metal, non-stick coatings, swivel heads, razor-sharp edges, anti-freeze filled, heated, you name it. None of them work.
This one, however, had promise. It was designed by an engineer trying to improve a basic tool that has remained essentially unchanged since its inception years ago. That’s always a promising start.
What happens when an engineer goes after an iconic tool?
After many late-night (midnight, get it?) sessions playing with different scoops, taking notes, then later, testing prototypes, Michael came up with an idea different from all the other scoops out there.
You see, the problem with regular scoops, including every one I listed earlier, is that they rely on the relatively weak muscles of your wrist to drag the scoop through the hard ice cream.
The solution to this was a design that allows you to use the strength of your arm instead, to push the scoop head through the ice cream. The ice cream is no match for the kind of pressure your arm can exert.
Durability and construction
In addition to a new design, it was also important to make the scoop durable, because a flimsy plastic handled scoop would quickly break under the increased pressure. To counter this, he made his scoop using solid 6061 hot-forged aerospace-grade aluminum. Even if you ran over this with a car, I doubt it would be harmed other than some scratches. Even though it is solid, and has a hefty-feel in the hand, it isn’t too heavy to use. If it were steel, it would be, but aluminum is light enough to be perfect for the application.
The long road to the perfect color
As with most Kickstarter projects, it took a long time between prototype and manufacturing thousands of them, and there were the inevitable snags along the way. I pledged for a Kickstarter green scoop and a graphite scoop.
The Kickstarter green scoop had so many problems when it came back as a manufacturing prototype, that Michael was forced to drop it altogether and gave me a natural scoop instead, which is polished aluminum, with no coatings or coloring added.
The graphite scoop worked well at first, but the graphite coating quickly started chipping, which is odd because how can ice cream chip things?
I contacted Michael about it, sent him a picture, and he told me that there was a problem with the graphite scoops. He offered some alternatives, and I decided to wait and get a new one after the problem was solved. After all, I already had my other scoop, the one in natural, so I could just use that while I was waiting.
And waiting. And waiting. And waiting some more. A lot of waiting. I have no idea what Michael went through to get this color right, but it ended up taking an entire year to perfect it.
The good news is that although I liked the original graphite finish, the revised version is absolutely stunning. I actually wouldn’t call it graphite anymore, though. The term black chrome gives a much better idea of what this looks like. I was just amazed when I took it out of the box. If you told people this scoop cost $125, they would believe you.
How much does it really cost? Well, more than the scoop you are using now, I’d wager. They are $50 each, regardless of color, and in my view it is worth every penny of it. It will never break, it works well, and will continue to work just as well throughout its entire life. This really will be your last ice cream scoop.
There is one drawback to be aware of. Because this is made of solid aluminum, you cannot put this in the dishwasher. The chemicals in there don’t play well with aluminum, and they will ruin your new scoop. So, make sure everyone knows to keep it out of there. It is easy to rinse with hot water and a little soap to clean, so it isn’t a big deal other than you will have to be vigilant to make sure it doesn’t try and sneak in there when your friend is helping with the dishes.
I like good packaging in general, but it is almost imperative when giving something as a gift. No worries about that here. The box is a heavy matte black. When opened, it reveals the scoop, packed in dense, black foam with a cutout that looks like an exclamation mark that perfectly holds the scoop. Honestly, I thought the exclamation mark cutout was the coolest idea, ever. It looks very artistic, high-end, and (lets face it) clearly someone really enjoyed designing the packaging.
Ever get a product where it is clear that not only was it a labor of love for the designer, but you can tell they also truly enjoyed creating it? It is a great thing.
I checked the website, which is http://midnightscoop.com/, and I see that the original finishes are still there. Black, white, natural, gray, and… what’s this? A new one! Gold!
I have the natural one, and there is nothing wrong with it, though it looks a bit industrial and utilitarian. I now have the gray (black chrome) one, and it looks fantastic. Black is black, and white is white.
I recommend either the gray one, or possibly the gold one. You could do what I did and get two, intending to give whichever one I liked least as a gift. Just be careful about that, because I liked them both so much I kept them for myself.
Highly recommended, no reservations, just buy one!