Behind the scenes at King of Pops

The mobile frozen treat company reveals their five-step pop process


Photographs by Amber Fouts

King of Pops’ wheeled carts and colorful umbrellas have become such a familiar part of summer that it’s easy to forget the Inman Park–based business started just four years ago with one cart. Steven and Nick Carse have built a mini-empire out of ice-pop sticks (they now have thirty carts in the city and outlets across the South), but the brothers and their small staff still get their fingers sticky. Here, a blackberry-ginger-lemonade pop, from fruit to soggy stem.

Step 1 Juicing

While the ginger is hand-fed into a masticating juicer, the lemons are run through the automatic bad boy below. One batch—around 150 pops—takes a quart of lemon juice and 1 ½ cups of ginger extract.

Step 2 Mixing

Twelve pints of blackberries are blended with evaporated sugar cane juice in a bucket. Eighteen quarts of the deep purple liquid are then strained of seed and sediment before the lemon and ginger are mixed in. Final touch: A dash of sea salt not only accentuates the flavor, but lowers the freezing point so the pops don’t wind up rock hard.

Step 3 Freezing

The mixture is poured into a mold—twenty-eight pops per rack. An attachment holds the sticks as the mold is submerged in a subfreezing ethanol bath. At -30 degrees Celsius, the pops take just thirty minutes to solidify.

Step 4 Packaging

Last summer the company bought a used automated packager — but they don’t yet have a variable printer to label the cellophane for each variety. As a result, many of the pops are still sheathed and sealed by hand.

Step 5 Enjoying

. . . before the summer heat leaves you with nothing but a wet stick.

This article originally appeared in our June 2014 issue under the headline "Freeze frames."

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  • Trish Malone

    These popsicles are so goood! King of Pops was at the City Xperts
    Southern Summer Launch party. The taste of these popsicles was
    incredible! If you have had these, email me at
    and let me know what you think of them.