Apple Cider Options

One of the seasonal treats during the  fall is the sweet tartness of freshly harvested fall apples.  Whether Winesaps, Granny Smith or Red Delicious, apples have long been a mainstay of the fall season and staples of state fairs and harvest festivals for generations.  Out of this harvest, fresh-pressed apple cider is a treat that delights the senses, packing a wealth of flavor in each cup.  Whether its drank chilled or warmed, or with a cinnamon stick and a dash of nutmeg, apple cider is a treat for all.

Each fall our customers call to ask about cider options in their coffee shop and how they can offer this treat.  There are several options available to the coffee shop to offer cider.  Among these options are the dried powder mixes, fresh cider, and cider concentrates.  All these are a delightful beverages whether served chilled during the warm fall days for the Southern tier of states or warmed and spiced for chilly evenings and mornings.

While all the cider sources can produce quality, great tasting drinks, we usually recommend to our customers to go local on the cider.  This is a great time to visit local farmer’s markets to find great tasting cider.  Your local grocery may also carry it, as well.   This will help your local farmers, but also has several operational advantages. Trying to judge demand for a seasonal drink is always difficult and buying smaller amounts locally allows you to better balance inventories and demands.  You know your product will be fresh!

To warm cider, you can you use the frothing wand and pitcher on your espresso machine to warm it to the desired temperature and served. You can garnish with a cinnamon stick or other spices such as nutmeg.  Other common additions include caramel syrup or sauce in the cider for an extra buttery sweetness.  However, you should test your specific caramel flavorings and cider first.  Some caramel flavorings, especially sauces, are produced using dairy products.  This low acid base, when mixed in a highly acidic liquid like cider, may cause separation and discoloration of the drink.  Not the best presentation in the world.   Cinnamon flavoring syrup is another popular flavor to use.

Last, but not least, remember the in-store marketing for the cider.  You can add some simple signage near the register or on the doors announcing the cider, as well as being liberal with sampling the first week or two.  The smell of the cider warming is bound to whet the appetites of your guests and a small sample should hopefully seal the deal and generate a purchase.

Jeff Vojta
Co-founder and CEO
Stockton Graham & Co.