Have you ever wondered how to truly test the quality of your ice cream? What makes some ice cream better than others? Are you getting what you paid for? How can you have the best ice cream experience possible? It’s all about the different sensory tests, and we perform them here at Hershey’s® Ice Cream. Do you want to learn how you can be your own ice cream evaluator? Follow these sensory tests and learn how!
Judging ice cream is performed by use of the senses of sight, taste, touch, and smell.
When you first open the ice cream container, look at the distribution of any add-ins that are incorporated such as nuts, fruits, syrups, candies, etc. You want to make sure there is no “irregular distribution.” A good distribution means a quality flavor in every spoonful. Last, you want to take a look at how the ice cream is packaged. Make sure your container is properly filled with the amount of ice cream you paid for!
There are two components to the flavor characteristic – taste and aroma. Taste includes the sweet, salty, sour, and bitter characters, each of which is perceived at different locations on the tongue. Aroma, which is perceived in the nose, includes all other elements of flavor. It is the aromatic properties that identify flavor. Here are a few descriptive terms that will help you when describing flavor.
Lacks Fine Flavor – Describes a flavor that, while pleasing, falls short of the perceiver’s concept of perfection.
Sweetness Level – The reference point for establishing whether a product lacks or is too high in the level of either flavoring or sweetness is the intensity standard that has been established within the company for that flavor.
Harsh – Describes a situation where the flavor very rapidly rises to a peak, and is perceived to have an unpleasant sharpness.
Lacks Freshness – Degrees of an unpleasant stale character that develops during the storage of concentrated dairy products.
Touch is broken down into two categories – Body and Texture.
The term “body” is a reflection of the overall structure of the product. Here are a few terms to describe the body of your ice cream.
Weak – Ice cream lacks substance and offers little resistance to manipulation in the mouth.
Gummy – This is the opposite of weak. It is a character in which the product may string out when dipped, and feels sticky in the mouth, almost like you ate a gum drop.
Crumbly – This characteristic is best observed in the dipping or spooning process. In crumbly ice cream, the structure breaks apart readily when it is dipped, making it difficult to remove portions without small pieces falling off.
Fluffy – is a light, marshmallowy character.
Soggy – identifies a heavy, dense character.
The term “texture” refers to the relative smoothness of the ice cream perceived during the process of manipulating a portion of the ice cream in the mouth. This characteristic is directly related to the size of “crystalline material” present. Here are some terms to test the texture of your ice cream.
Coarse or Icy – These two terms are used to describe a lack of smoothness produced by the growth of ice crystals to a size just big enough to recognize. The degree of roughness is what makes the “course” or “icy” character.
Sandy – This term is used to describe a rough texture that is caused from ice crystals. Also referred to as “gritty.”
Greasy – This term is used to refer to a condition where a film of milk fat is perceived in the mouth or on the lips as the ice cream is being eaten. This results from the presence of large agglomerates of fat that have developed under the rapid agitation that is applied during the whipping and freezing process.
Smell is the least used when it comes to judging ice cream quality. However, it directly correlates to aroma (as previously mentioned). If the ice cream is not fresh, your nose can let you know before you take your first taste!
Here at Hershey’s® Ice Cream, we test all of our products to make sure we are only serving you the highest quality ice cream you can find! But don’t take it from us. Test it yourself!