Jul 04, 2023

This Ice Maker Cyber Monday Deal Is Your Ticket to Never

By Lauren Joseph

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I’ve often had a feeling I might be living under a rock. Somehow, despite owning a smartphone/using social media/being required to participate in the internet for my job, I’ve never seen the meme, learned the dance, or been able to tell you who is an “old” or “not an old” based on where they part their hair. Does this make me cheugy? What is cheugy?

So the good ice, the pellet ice, the GE Profile Opal nugget ice? That’s a niche too small and too cool for my unhip existence. But last year, like the rest of the internet, I did (if a few days late) read along as The New Yorker’s Helen Rosner compared the crunchy layers of said ice to “well-laminated pastry.” “The good ice makes average drinks great, and great drinks godly,“ Rosner writes. After years of being out of the ASMR loop, the idea of ice that “makes a soothing, gently percussive shuffling sound” sent a pleasant shudder down my spine. It’s been over days since I first read about the good ice, and I haven’t looked at a normal ice cube the same since.

While classic ice cubes are simply solid, a chipped tooth waiting to happen, the good ice is cush. Made of compressed ice flakes compacted into tiny cylindrical spheres, this type of ice is simultaneously chewy, crunchy, and airy. When soda fills the crevices in the good ice cubes, the carbonation turns what was formerly just ice into a chompable little snack in your drink, a sensory experience extending beyond the brute force of frozen. So, where do you find this chewy, good ice? Drive ins, Sonic, and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf are good bets. Also hospitals, where pellet ice is prized for its low choking risk and chewability. Thankfully, you can get the good ice at home, thanks to the GE Profile Opal Countertop Nugget Ice Maker, which is currently on sale for Cyber Monday.

I turned to TikTok, a social media platform I had heard about, to learn more about this Black Friday ice maker. For hours I lapped up videos of expansive suburban kitchens, a shimmering, stainless steel GE Profile Opal nugget ice machine churning away on each counter. The Opal, you see, is not only Rosner’s choice for best ice maker, but also the rest of the internet’s. Affectionately called She across TikTok, like a seafaring vessel laden with a precious cargo of crunchy ice, the Opal churns out a whopping one pound of ice per hour. While cookware stalwarts KitchenAid and Magic Chef make popular competitor ice makers, the GE Opal is unparalleled to her legions of internet fans. Plus, the GE Opal is a fully portable ice maker, requiring no water hookup, should you want to take this ice show on the road. Just fill the water reservoir and wait as She quietly whirs away. Use the cute included ice scoop to dip into the storage bin, fill a Big Gulp–size cup with chewable nugget ice, and aah.

With an ice storage capacity of three pounds, the most standard model (if we can call the exquisite GE Opal standard) produces up to 24 pounds of ice in a day. That’s likely more than enough for a full house of ice chompers in a hot climate. But you’re also welcome to supplement the built-in water supply with a side tank, which allows you to increase your ice production threefold. If you’d like to get your ice cubes going from the next room, get the GE Profile Opal 2.0 with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. This is primo pebble ice making; expect all the features. The whole freestanding contraption, while obviously bigger than the plastic ice cube tray that gives you stale, freezer-burned bricks, still takes up less counter space than a microwave—a reasonably compact design even if your kitchen is, like mine, definitely not suburban-size.

At full price, a GE Opal 2.0 is $629–no cheap thrill. But this ice maker Cyber Monday deal clocks in at under $450, and after hours on TikTok I’ve yet to find someone who’s had buyer’s remorse. Rosner writes, “The GE Opal was an absurd purchase, unnecessary and indefensible. But it brings me the good ice, which brings me an absurd amount of delight.” I use my Vitamix blender and my espresso machine every morning—and for the price of those two I could have purchased three GE pellet ice makers—but my love for them cannot hold a candle to the passionate, obsessive ardor that Ice People have for their Opals. If you’re going to splurge for one big-ticket cookware item amongst all the Cyber Monday kitchen deals, you might have been leaning towards one of the tempting air fryer deals or maybe a sensible vacuum. I love a crispy potato wedge as much as the next gal, but the ridiculous joy of crispy ice is calling.

With no childhood memories of Sonic ice myself, I’m still mulling it over. But just in case, I asked my dentist. “I can’t ever endorse ice crunching,” he told me. “But that soft, chewy food court ice? That’s not as bad. Actually, I’ll admit’s kind of good.”