Concentrate vs. Juice
Ciders can be made from fermenting either freshly pressed juice or juice concentrate – the difference is one of style as opposed to quality. Apple juice concentrate is produced by boiling off water to produce a syrup. This reduces volume to around one seventh and therefore reduces storage and transport requirements. As such, cider production can be delayed until closer to actual market demand for the finished cider. Producing cider from fresh juice leads to a cider that is high in primary apple aromas. But it means there is reliance on a consistent supply of fresh juice and being ‘supply led’ necessitates producing cider earlier than required for bulk storage in tanks.
Dry vs. Sweet
Dry ciders are characterised by low sweetness, often as a result of a lower level of residual sugar post fermentation. Sweet ciders have a high level of residual sugar and, as a result, often more body.
Fruit blended ciders vs. Flavoured ciders
Cider can only be made from apples and pears, but the term ‘fruit cider’ is often used to describe ciders that have been blended with fruit, or flavoured. To be sold in supermarkets in New Zealand the cider must be blended with real fruit – either as fruit wine, fruit juice, or fruit concentrate. Flavoured ciders cannot be sold in supermarkets.
Cider made in a style similar to the traditional European cider made from ‘cider apples’. These apples are grown specifically for cider production and are typically much higher in tannin than culinary apples – resulting in cider that is higher in tannins and with more body. The most significant class of traditional cider apple is referred to as the ‘bittersweet apple’ and the term bittersweet is often used in relation to this style of cider.
Cider must be produced from at least 75% apples (with up to 25% pears). Perry must be produced from at least 75% pears (with up to 25% apples). The term Perry is now largely replaced by ‘Pear cider’ and these terms are interchangeable.
Traditionally scrumpy is a style of cider produced in the West Country of England. It is famed for its “rough” character and often higher in alcohol. Scrumpy in the UK is usually sold unfiltered, uncarbonated, and is less refined compared to other cider styles.
In New Zealand the term Scrumpy just means a strong cider – in terms of both alcohol and taste.