Outside the Box

A Cream Come True

The inside scoop on liquid nitrogen ice cream

Everybody loves ice cream. It’s just one of those things that puts smiles on everyone´s face and Creamistry founder Jay Yim is no different. But the ice cream that Creamistry serves most certainly is.

»As soon I could drive, I began doing deliveries for my father’s bakeries.«

Have you ever walked into an ice cream store and felt like you were in a science lab? That’s how you might feel at a Creamistry store in California. Here, ingredients are kept in chemical flasks, mixed by “Creamologists” and transformed before your eyes in what looks like some sort of science experiment! Why? Well instead of conventional freezing, Creamistry use -320°F liquid nitrogen produced by Linde to flash freeze ice cream on a made-to-order basis - individually mixed and frozen for each customer. The result: Flavours like Cookie Butter or Sea Salt Caramel that are making people’s mouths water all over the West Coast. Creamistry is now ready to take on the world.


For Creamistry’s founder, Jay Yim, satisfying everybody’s sweet tooth is a family tradition: “I grew up in the business.” His grandfather owned a bakery and ice cream company in Korea and his father followed suit when he moved the family to the US. “As soon as I could drive”, Jay remembers, “I began doing deliveries for my father’s bakeries.”  Eventually, he took over one of the shops alongside his wife Katie. But it was on a visit to his motherland that the idea for Creamistry was born. “I went to Korea in 2002. This was the first time I saw the concept. There was a lady on the street, in a tent, mixing ice cream by hand and freezing it from a canister of liquid nitrogen.”

Jay was fascinated: Ice cream that freezes instantly before serving – that means it would be untainted by preservatives or emulsifiers that prolong shelf life. “My wife and I loved the idea!” Jay says and admits: “It was really her interest, passion and years of experimenting in our garage at home that drove us to say: ‘let’s just do this’.” In 2013 they mustered all their courage and opened their first store in Irvine, California, US.


Since the minute its doors opened Jay has not looked back – he hasn’t had the time! “The public response was just completely out of this world!” says Jay. “Within one hour there were 500 people queueing to get their scoop!” The line wrapped around the building and Jay’s team ended up running out of nitrogen on the first day and dairy on the second. “I worked behind the counter from day one and couldn’t step away from it for about six months!”

As a result, the idea to franchise the business was born. The company now has five stores open in California with another 30 sold and 12 under construction. “The goal is to have a store in every major US city and become a recognised national brand – like the next Cold Stone,” says Jay. Soon, stores will open in Nevada, Florida, New Jersey and New York. But why stop in the US? The first international Creamistry outlets are due to spring up in Dubai and Qatar with others already sold in Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea.

A cloud of nitrogen appears as the mix is frozen

Founder Jay Yim behind the Counter (Copyright, Linde AG 2015, Daily Pilot. Reprinted with permission.)

»We use only the highest quality, premium, natural ingredients and we source our dairy locally.«


Hearing Jay talk about his ice cream is guaranteed to make you crave it. “We use only the highest quality, premium, natural ingredients and we source our dairy locally.” The liquid nitrogen from Linde is essential as it causes smaller ice crystals to form since it freezes so quickly, thus creating a silky smooth texture. The ice cream flavours are constantly tried, tested and perfected by Jay and Katie. Take for example their Green Tea flavour  made from 100 percent organic imported matcha green tea from Japan; or their Roasted Black Sesame flavour – freshly hand roasted in small batches to ensure optimal flavour and freshness; or their Thai Tea flavour – made from loose leaf brew freshly prepared in-house.

A visit to Creamistry however is about more than just ice cream – it is a feast for all senses. Customers are greeted by innovative touches like the flat screens adorning the walls, the chemical flasks, the liquid nitrogen tanks in-store and the live social media feed which allows customers to take pictures of their experience, add the Creamistry hashtag and see it appear on the screens. Jay knows this adds to the whole experience and keeps customers coming back - “It’s the cool factor. It’s a hotspot, just a really cool place to be and hangout!”


Jay doesn’t stop at the stores - he is also taking the show on the road. He regularly visits elementary schools to educate kids about science and nitrogen through quirky demonstrations like shattering a frozen balloon. It is this involvement with people on a daily basis that provides most satisfaction for Jay. That, and of course, sampling his product whenever he wants.

The cool factor in the Creamistry stores

A scoop of liquid nitrogen ice-cream


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