How Does SCOOP! Rate Ice Cream Shops?

It sure looks yummy. But how does it TASTE?

Our approach to rating ice cream shops is simple: we only care about the quality of the ice cream. Our rating doesn't take into account décor, service or any additional criteria. Our reviews may discuss other features of a shop, but when determining the rating, we believe that the only thing that matters is how tasty the ice cream is. After all, most people take their scoops to go!

Our rating scale is from 1-10, and this score is determined by focusing on the three core aspects of ice cream quality: 1) density (3 points), 2) smoothness (3 points), and 3) flavor (4 points).

You can interpret our point scale as follows:

Anything Less Than 5. It's probably not worth visiting these spots. We at SCOOP! eat at these shops only in the name of science!

5: Worth Trying. Ice cream at these shops is passable, but don't expect anything special.

6: Happy Taste Buds. These shops can be pretty good. If you live close to one, you might consider visiting once a month.

7: Exceptional. A scoop at one of these shops will make you smile and brighten your day. Some of their flavors may be especially memorable.

8: A Top US Shop. If you live in a city with a shop scored 8, you should try out their scoops immediately. These shops have at least one or two options that are world-class, with several other ice creams that are well-worth the trip.

9: World-Class. At these shops, you can expect to find an attention to detail in texture and flavor that matches that of the world's greatest chefs. Ice cream from a shop scored 9 promises to be a memorable experience, and is highly recommended for anyone in the same city.

10: The Pinnacle of Human Ice Cream Civilization. If you are within a 600 mile radius of a shop rated 10, seriously consider a special trip. Shops rated 10 have been assessed repeatedly and rigorously, revealing scoops that are consistently perfect in texture and mouthfeel. Most shops rated 10 offer highly unusual, special flavors that will make your taste buds sing with boundless joy.

Now, let's get into the nitty gritty approach we use to determine what ice creams will change your life and what ice creams will make for good projectiles. Ice cream that is too soft or runny will lose points for lack of density, an important feature of good ice cream. Ice cream that has ice crystals or small particles will lose points for not being smooth. Points are not deducted for flavors that are not smooth because they contain well-integrated mix-ins, such as cookies or bits of nuts. An ice cream’s flavor is the most important component of quality, which is why this factor is given an extra point. Ice cream shops that have well-developed, balanced, layered and unique flavors will get full points. Ice cream shops with flavors that do not match the description, are out of balance, or are unoriginal will lose points.