The only raw material used for the elaboration of the natural cider is the apple.
Apple's harverst starts at the end of September, when the apple is ripe, and finishes at about half-full of november.
The fruit is picked directly from the ground by hand or with a "kizkia", a half-meter-long stick with a sharp hook at the end, or also using machines.
The apple is taken to the company in bags or in bulk. Once arrived the apple is unloaded to the zone destined to such aim and is taken to the channel where the dragged and washed is made, for its immediate processing.
Transtation to the cider house
Tractors are used to remove the apple of the terrains and trucks are used to transport the apples to the cider house depending on the distance. Formerly apples were transported in carts pushed by oxen.
Cleaning and selection
In the unload zone there is a channel that is connected to a water store, forming a closed circuit. This water can be sourced from the municipal net of supplying or a near spring, which must go through a chlorination system before it arrives to the store.
The apple is moved to this channel of water, usually by the force exerted by the water, and is transported by a pumping system to the next point, that is usually the apple's draining and washing. In this moment the washed is made, usually by spurts or showers of potable water under pressure.
The separation of the too ripe apples is made in the conveyor belt, in the cazos' elevator or in the selection table placed to such aim.
This practice has as its principal target the elimination of the too ripe apples because they can affect in a negative way the production of a natural, safe and organolÈpticamente correct cider.
Once the apples are washed and selected they go into the crushing machine, where the process of bursting the cells that contain the must in the apple's pulp takes place. This procedure makes their later pressed process easier.
By this activity the must paste coming from the crusher is obtained. The yield is usually between the 50 and 75% depending of the variety of apple used.
The must, (apple juice), obtained from the pressed is cloudy, sweet and thick.
Cooling (Cool storage)
Ocassionally, there is a proccess that involves a technique where we reduce the must temperature (5oC aprox.), that is done to clarify the must. This proccess allows the solid particles that are suspended on the liquid to get together, and due to its own weight they deposit in the bottom. This process lasts between 12 and 24 hours.
This process is to storage the cold must from 12 to 24 hours in inox barrels in which The cooling, rest and settle down of the must make the juice clean and pure.
After the must extraction, it is deposited through a bomb and pipe system for the fermentation. This storage places are made of wood. Sometimes other materiales are used as Polyester or inox steel.
Once the must is in the cellar, the first step is the alcoholic fermentation, where yeast transforms the sugar into alcohol, under anaerobic conditions (wihtout oxigen). This step lasts 2 week aprox., and alcoholic grade is near 6-6,5%.
Once this step is finished, the cider is called dry cider, because the quantity of sugar that the must used to have, has been reduced significatively.
It is a common thing to do during the natural cider process. This technique is used to reduce the ranks and haces that cider may have. It consists in bringing the cider from one store to another. This is done under low temperature conditions to avoid loosing carbonic. By mixing ciders of different deposits, it is tried to combine the characteristics of these ciders, obtaining a natural cider that fulfills the wished attributes.
Process of bottling
This process is made during the whole year, thanks to the refrigarator systems. Years ago this process was made bebore the cider warm up and reaches high temperatures.
Years ago cider was not made to comercialize. Currently, cider houses are not only in charge of the elaboration but also they have to introduce cider into the market. Fortunatlly, you can find this product in the menu of the most popular restaurants.