Cider Apples

Cider apples are a group of apple cultivars grown for their use in the production of cider. Cider apples are distinguished from “cookers” and “eaters”, or dessert apples, by their bitterness or dryness of flavour, qualities which make the fruit unpalatable but can be useful in cidermaking.

In the United Kingdom the Long Ashton Research Station categorised cider apples in 1903 into four main types according to the proportion of tannins and malic acid in the fruit. For cider production it is important that the fruit contains high sugar levels which encourage fermentation and raise the final alcohol levels. Cider apples therefore often have higher sugar levels than dessert and cooking apples. It is also considered important for cider apples to contribute tannins, which add depth to the finished cider’s flavour.