When the love of chemistry and love of ice cream combine
HBCU Alumna, Kelli Bain is putting her chemistry degree to use for a sweet purpose. As the owner and founder of [N7] Kream Lab, Bain has found a way to stick out amongst the competition by using liquid nitrogen. [N7] Kream Lab is a liquid nitrogen-based ice cream parlor that opened back in 2021 in Ellenwood, GA.
According to HBCUBuzz, Bain's passion for ice cream began in Indianapolis under the tutelage of her grandfather. Her grandfather was a gourmet chef and educator who hosted Sunday dinners that ended in his signature homemade ice cream. Bain, eager to learn how to make the treat, would go to his house on Saturdays because the dessert took 24 hours to freeze.
“I would be so excited to see all the things that he put into the pitcher to make the ice cream base, even though it would take so long to freeze,” Bain shared with HBCUBuzz. “Papaw would say ‘Kelli, this is a family recipe passed down from generations, so we have to make sure we get it right.’ We’d add the liquid to the metal insert, put the top on it, add it to the bucket with the ice, then begin the churning. Papaw would say ‘add the ice slowly around the can, then sprinkle the salt evenly over the top of the ice.’ I would reply ‘why,’ and he would say, ‘because that’s the only way to freeze the ice cream.’”
These cherished family moments eventually led Bain to purse a chemistry degree from Tuskegee University in Alabama. She furthered her studies with a Master of Science in Analytical Chemistry. After gaining substantial experience as a chemist and instructor, Bain wanted to incorporate her family tradition. “I decided that it was time to pass down the tradition of ice cream making, but I needed to make it interesting and fun,” she said to HBCUBuzz. Thus, [N7] Kream Lab was born. The process of making liquid nitrogen ice cream is quicker and healthier as compared to traditional dairy ice cream. She uses the cryogenic freezing process, where materials can quickly be frozen to less than -285 fahrenheit. “So, equipped with my grandfather’s homemade ice cream recipe, my children and husband as taste testers, a Dewar purchased on eBay and some nitrogen from Mr. Johnson, [N7] Kream Lab was born,” said Bain. “We took a family tradition and made it a family business.”
Even while being a chemist and business owner, Bain makes sure to include philanthropy as part of her business goals. [N7] Kream Lab is dedicated to improving the level of STEM education for underrepresented minorities. Thus, she has launched several programs for her younger patrons to take part of such as Reading for Scoops. She also launched the Khem Lab Initiative Project Inc, a not-for-profit dedicated to advancing public engagement in STEM working to address the systemic and structural barriers.