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Tricia uses many different apples for her homemade cider blend.
Surprisingly, that would not taste very good.
Create the best apple cider with a mixture of apples from different groups
The qualities that apple experts consider when classifying apples into groups are sugar (measured by Brix), acidity, and tannin. Mixing apples that carry these various attributes is what gives a homemade cider a robust flavor and satisfying “mouthfeel”.
To get you started, here are some popular apples in each group. Seek out your local apple orchards to find varieties that grow especially well in your area, and create a special blend based on your county’s best apples, and your own preferred flavors.
Tricia explains in our cider-making video that a good blending starting point for new cider makers is 50% sweet, 35% sharp, and 15% bitter.
Sugar! These apples make your cider sweet, but they’ll need partners from the other groups:
Tartness comes with higher acid levels:
BITTER including BITTERSWEET and BITTERSHARP/BITTERTART
Bittersweets are high in the tannins that add complex flavor to ciders, and high in sugar. Bittersharp and bittertart are two names for the group of apples that are high in tannins, with plenty of acid.
For more information about apple cider, including making hard cider or vinegar, here’s a useful article from the University of Georgia Extension. We also have a detailed booklet on Making the Best Apple Cider.
Let us know what blends of apples you use in your cider!