Cider-making technology also affect the colour of the beverage: The method of aging cider in oak barrels, which adds tannin and turns the colour of the cider darker, is very rarely used in the Baltics. Most Baltic ciders are light yellow. The methods used in this region are divided by a very simple principle: single fermentation (bottle conditioned) and double fermentation (the traditional method).
The traditional method is used by two cider makers in Estonia – Tori-Jõesuu and Jaanihanso. This method gives cider a flavour quality that is similar to that of sparkling wine, as another yeast culture (used for sparkling wine) is added during the second fermentation stage. This method also allows for a higher alcohol content; the first fermentation usually results in 4–5%, but the next fermentation with added yeast and sugar increases alcohol content. Sometimes higher alcohol content is desirable to make sure that the acidity is not overpowering.
Another characteristic of Estonian craft cider is that we cannot harvest apples all year round due to the climate, so cider is made only once a year. This is one of the most important differences between craft cider and cider sold at supermarkets, which is made of apple and pear concentrates and therefore allows for year-round production.
Unique cider house in the Baltics
The only cider house in the Baltics that deals exclusively in craft cider sells products from all 8 craft cidermakers in Estonia, Latvian craft cider and beverages of the sole Lithuanian craft cider producer. In total, the Cider House has about 100 ciders from 8 countries. All foreign ciders have been imported by the Cider House itself and the store manager Kaire Jakobson has met most of the cider makers in person as well. For example, the Cider House offers a rare German cider – Stefan Vetter 2015; only 400 bottles were made and the Cider House bought 360 of those.
This is not your usual store! As Kaire knows cidermakers across the Baltics, any visitors of the Cider House, regardless of whether they are new to the delights of cider or experienced sommeliers, can hear a lot of fascinating tidbits from her about each product. All delicious beverages on sale can be tasted right at the Cider House, you can also get information on which craft cider suits a certain event or dish. In addition, the Cider House organises private cider tasting events for small groups (these should be booked in advance). Kaire speaks English, Russian and Finnish, so foreign visitors to Tallinn are welcome to use this opportunity. The Cider House gets more and more visitors who have travelled to Tallinn just to see this exceptional store.