Apples – the main ingredient of cider. Aside from a little yeast, it is the only ingredient
Acidity – the acidity of your juice directly affects the flavour of your finished product so learn to taste the juice before fermenting and record your impressions about how acidic it is. Then compare with the finished product. After a few batches you will be able to determine whether the acidity is right before you start brewing.
Blending – The process of choosing quantities of different varieties of apples to blend into a well rounded cider is the ‘art’ part of making cider.
Brewing – A catch all term for making alcohol through the use of yeast. Technically only beer is brewed while cider is made, but life is too short to worry about that sort of thing.
Fermentation – Allowing the yeast to turn juice into alcohol is what brewing is all about. This process also adds all the subtle flavour notes that makes cider so very drinkable.
Keeving – A clever technique for creating a long slow fermentation. If you have ever drunk cidre bouché from France, then you have tried keeved cider. Complex to carry out, but the results are stunningly good.
Mash – Another term stolen from beer brewing. We sometimes describe the pulped apples as the mash.
Maturation – The reason that we leave cider to mature for a few weeks or months is that chemical changes occur in cider over time. After the first month a number of flavours appear that simply weren’t there in the freshly pressed product.
Milling – Apples can be milled to turn them into a pulp whom which the juice can then be pressed.
Pulp– To squeeze the most juice possible out of apples we reduce them to a pulp first.
Pommace – another word for apple pulp
Specific Gravity – a measure of density. As sugars are turned into alcohol the density of the juice reduces, so by measuring the specific gravity at beginning and end of fermentation we can calculate how much alcohol there is in out cider.
Yeast – The little organisms that do all the work. Fermentation is basically just the process of yeast eating sugar and excreeting alcohol as a byproduct of their digestion.