Review: True Cubes Tray

, | December 29, 2021

Editor’s Note: This accessory was provided to us as a review sample by True Cubes. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

So you’ve got to read the instructions on this one. 

It would seem that they’re not hard, and they’re printed right on the side of the box.

Step 1: Fill the True Cubes tray with water from the tap.

Step 2: Place the True Cubes tray in any freezer.

Step 3: Pop-out 4 perfect, pure, crystal clear ice cubes.

Well.

True Cubes Tray review

True Cubes Tray (image via Talia Gragg)

The first time I tried this tray, I filled it all the way appropriately, but expected the yield to be eight cubes. All of the water was entirely frozen, it was nearly impossible to get all of the cubes out, and they were absolutely not what I would call “perfectly clear.”

So the next time, I filled the tray only to the bottom of the top piece. That ice was again not clear, though it was admittedly better than the first round and a bit easier to get out of the mold. 

And then I went to the True Cubes website. They have a “Tips, Tricks & Techniques” section that is a wealth of knowledge and instruction above and beyond the instructions on the box. Even just the basic instructions for how to use this product are different and more detailed than what the box gives you. 

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For example, the instruction of filling to the fill line on the top piece. The box mentions no such line, and unless you were carefully examining every single segment of the top mold, you wouldn’t notice the tiny writing on only one segment. Very useful tip. 

Another important tip is the time frame. The online instructions direct you to freeze the cubes only for 18-20 hours. Again, nothing mentioned on the box. I had frozen the cubes for several days the first two times I tried this mold, resulting in very frozen ice. According to the extended tips and tricks, if the proper time frame is observed, the top tray will be frozen and the bottom will be only to the level of slush. They do provide extra instruction for if the cubes do remain longer in the freezer as to how to remove the trays, but the idea is that you would still dispose of the bottom four cubes.

Okay, so take three. Water has been filled to the fill line and placed in the freezer. While that’s freezing, let’s talk about the product itself and how it works. 

The tray is made in three pieces. The first is the grey hard plastic outer shell that the other pieces sit inside of. The next piece is the tray itself that gets filled to the top of the segments then placed directly into the grey shell. The third piece is the top that goes directly onto the tray, and looks remarkably like a tray itself, albeit with four round holes in each cube section. 

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After filling the middle piece with water and placing the top on, you just put the tray in the freezer. True Cubes has a patent pending on the design that they claim freezes ice in a way similar to how nature does. This process is called directional freezing – forcing the water to freeze from the top down forces the Total Dissolved Solids (the elements that create clouds in the ice) downward as well. 

Directional freezing is the method used by commercial ice makers when they produce large, clear cubes. Crystal Cubes LLC, the maker of True Cubes, partnered with Brelje and Race Laboratories to develop their tray-style technique. They claim that the True Cubes tray is able to achieve a 98% reduction in cloud-causing TDSs in tap water. The point of all of this is to create ice that melts slower and more evenly, creating better ice that dilutes your drink less quickly.

True Cubes is explicit that you use only tap water in this product. It’s one of the instructions printed on the box, and is discussed in more depth in the tips and tricks section. Their claim is that the process of the freezing naturally purifies the water, making distilled water unnecessary. My question here though: would using distilled water do any harm? Or are they simply trying to save their consumers the extra step of acquiring distilled water. My money’s on the latter. 

Okay, it’s been about 23 hours – a few hours past the recommended window, but hopefully not detrimental. And, voila, I have… half frozen ice. The cubes were only partially formed (though the frozen parts are remarkably clear) and the water in the bottom wasn’t slushy at all, just cold. 

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On to attempt number four. 

True Cubes Tray review

Ice made with the True Cubes Tray (image via Talia Gragg)

Review: Crystal Cubes True Cubes Tray

Details: True Cubes is a three piece directional freezing system consisting of a plastic outer shell, and two inner silicone ice molds that fit within it. Crystal Cubes LLC prices this product at $45, which is significantly more expensive than a simple plastic or silicone mold but about average for more advanced systems. 

Impressions: So when I finally got four cubes, they were just alright. Shape-wise they were stellar, but not the promised perfectly clear. I did leave them 48 hours this time to ensure they would freeze, which is outside the advised timeframe, and all of the water was frozen. Overall, they are much better than the large cubes you would get from the basic silicone trays, but an ice mold with this many specific needs may not be what most home cocktail and spirit enthusiasts really want. 

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Talia Gragg

Talia is part of the Portland service industry community, and an alumna of the Multnomah Whiskey Library. She’s an avid spirit and cocktail enthusiast, and likes to experience them both academically and recreationally. When not sipping whiskey she’s a ceramic artist and lover of travel.