Grinding and Pressing Equipment

 

Overview

Whether you’re a home cidermaker or a commercial cidery, if you’re working with apples, you’ll need to process them into juice. Solutions for this are varied, from home-built grinders made from garbage disposals up to multi-horsepower electric grinders and commercial cider presses. I cover some of that spectrum below.

It does bear mentioning here that it’s not strictly necessary to work with apples to make cider–there are many hobbyist cidermakers and commercial operations alike which source juice directly rather than growing or sourcing apples. But if your goal is to start from apples, read on. And if your goal is to start by growing your own apples, sign up for updates and check the orcharding box to hear announcements of new content.

The equipment below can also be used for pears, in case you happen to be working with pears instead of apples.

 

Apple Grinders

Hand Crank Grinders

Your basic, entry-level apple grinder is a hand-crank grinder, often affixed to a basket press. These are typically made of steel or cast iron and consist of a collecting area (hopper), a crank, and a rotating cylinder with embedded teeth which grinds up the apples as they are fed into the hopper.

Hobbyist-scale options available for purchase include:

For the do-it-yourself crowd, there are various sources of grinder/press plans available, such as:

While effective for small-scale cidermaking–and quite a lot of fun–anyone who’s used a hand-crank press to grind multiple bushels of apples can tell you that it’s quite labor intensive. So, for large hobbyist projects or for commercial production, you’ll need to at least consider an electric grinder.

Electric Grinders

Electric grinders aren’t cheap, and you’ll need to be mindful of the electrical service available to you–for instance, in the U.S., the availability of three-phase vs. one-phase power when it comes to 220 volt and 230 volt supplies–before purchasing one, but doing so will vastly increase the speed at which you can grind/crush apples.

Options along these lines include:

 Apple Presses

Basket Presses

The most common hobbyist apple press is the basket press. Comprised of a wooden or steel frame with a crossbar, a steel screw (typically, an Acme screw), and a basket, the basket press relies on the screw to incrementally add pressure to the crushed apples (pomace) in the basket. Juice runs out of the sides of the basket and into a collection vessel below.

Options:

Basket Presses on eBay:

Red Oak Wood Fruit Press Basket, NIB, BIN

$59.88
End Date: Thursday Aug-24-2017 9:13:54 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $59.88
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

MacIntosh Apple Cider Press with Stainless Basket, NIB, BIN

$332.94
End Date: Friday Sep-1-2017 11:23:35 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $332.94
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

MacIntosh Apple Cider Press with Stainless Basket, NIB, BIN

$310.74
End Date: Friday Sep-1-2017 11:23:35 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $310.74
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Red Oak Wood Fruit Press Basket, NIB, BIN

$70.98
End Date: Thursday Aug-24-2017 9:13:54 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $70.98
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

MacIntosh Apple Cider Press with Stainless Basket, NIB, BIN

$310.74
End Date: Friday Sep-1-2017 11:23:35 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $310.74
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

As with hand-cranked grinders, a small, manually-operated basket press is perfectly fine for home cidermaking (though even that can be labor-intensive if you happen to have a productive, seedling apple tree on your hands), the commercial cidery that works with apples will need to consider larger options.

Bladder Presses

The bladder press uses hydraulic pressure to press pomace against the outer ring of a cylinder with holes in it for the juice to drain out. Commonly used in the wine industry, they can also be used to press cider or pear cider (perry). They have the advantage of coming in larger sizes than the typical basket presses, though that comes with a larger price tag as well.

Options:

Hydraulic Presses

Hydraulic Presses come in several forms, generally come from niche manufacturers, and are very expensive. They are necessary as a cidery scales up, however, as the press tends to be the bottleneck in a cider operation–electric grinders and automated washers move much, much faster than a mediocre press does, so investing in a good press is often critical in cideries wanting to increase their speed of juice production.

Options:

Coming Soon: Cidermaking, Meadmaking, and more.

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