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The Traditional Process

Cider apples are usually harvested when very ripe & often a mixture of different apples is used. They are put through a crusher called a cider mill & the pulp is wrapped in cloth. These days nylon is most commonly used but hesian, canvas & even straw have been used in the past. Some traditional producers still use these materials.

The wrapped pulp (or pomace) is placed in a press & the juice is squeezed out & collected. This is called "must" & it is transfered to fermentation vats or casks. Fermentation is allowed to start naturally or a yeast culture is added to get it going. Cider makers often use champagne yeast to make cider.

For dry cider, the fermentation is allowed to continue until all the sugar is used up. For sweet cider, the juice is filtered before it is finished so there will be some sugar remaining to sweeten the cider.

Dry cider is often left on the sediment (lees) for up to three months to mature. It can then be filtered to remove sediment and cloudy appearance however, some traditional cider makers like to retain the natural cloudiness.

Most commercial ciders are artificially carbonated by adding carbon dioxide to the bottles. Traditional ciders can be carbonated naturally in the same way that bottle fermented beer is done. The traditional champagne method can also be used.