Learning About Cider from Peter Mitchell

July 5, 2010

This last week, I was in Mt. Vernon, WA studying cider with Peter Mitchell. Mitchell is a cider consultant who, in addition to teaching cider classes, tastes cider for issues and helps plan or troubleshoot cider facilities. Because he is a consultant, he is very good at not making judgments about certain practices in the industry and/or even the taste of the cider as long as they do not hurt the consumer or is a waste of money. For example, when he tastes a cider that a student made, he is objective and only comments on if it is bad if he can detect some bacterial or chemical flaw with it, and comments on what he tastes reflect just that and not his opinion. Therefore, when it came to certain practices such as adding sugar or water to cider, or making cider from concentrate, he goes ahead and teaches them so that the technique is done correctly.  These practices are sort of frowned upon by craft cider makers, and at first we, as craft cider maker students, kind of held our breath in resistance, unsure that it was acceptable to learn such topics. Mitchell assured us we didn’t have to use those techniques, but that we should know about them so that we could make up our own minds if we wanted to incorporate the knowledge into our own personal products or not. As I said, he was being objective and not judging us, but instead giving us the tools to decide on our own how we want to make cider, and therefore knowing correctly how to use the tools. However, Mitchell still believes in a good quality product.

The class was a five day event, which included learning about apple trees, going though the steps of making cider, starting to ferment some cider and doing some laboratory work, touring three cider production facilities, and a little bit on performing objective cider tastings. It was a very good class which I recommend to anyone interested in making cider, and I will talk more in depth about it in the coming days.


7 Responses to “Learning About Cider from Peter Mitchell”

  1. […] to the bad bugs, and if your fermentation doesn’t start, you have also wasted money. Since I took Peter Mitchell’s cider class, I now wait to get the fermentation up and running before I add yeast nutrient as he […]

  2. […] at the pear table grew and brought in a lot of the perry pears, and I found out he was also a Peter Mitchell student, though many years […]

  3. […] at the pear table grew and brought in a lot of the perry pears, and I found out he was also a Peter Mitchell student, though many years […]

  4. […] instead opting for a lower ABV like beer. Secondly, he is only letting it ferment 7 to 10 days, and Peter Mitchell taught me that dessert apple juice should be allowed to sit at least a month, and most books would […]

  5. […] went to Mt Vernon, WA to study cider for a week. I got to work with British cider expert Peter Mitchell, and I learned about cider apples, worked in a laboratory, toured other cideries, and went through […]

  6. […] and Orchard next door. I had actually taken classes from Moulton and Zimmerman as part of my cidermaking class last summer with Peter Mitchell. In fact, there is a large acknowledgment to Mitchell in this publication, and even a few of the […]

  7. […] I was told in my cider making class by Peter Mitchel that cider does not suffer from light struck. That is to say, light does not change the flavor of […]

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