The only cider house in the Baltics

Source: Estonian Cider House

The only cider house in the Baltics

The Estonian Cider House is the only cider house in the Baltic region and one of the few in Scandinavia and Europe. Head to the Cider House if you want to taste real Estonian craft ciders!

What is cider?

Producers in Estonia, the Baltics and Scandinavia are new players in the cider world. None of the aforementioned three places has a long-standing tradition of cider making or specific preparation methods. Similarly, no apple varieties have been developed specifically for cider-making, therefore, regular apples are used for making cider in these regions. The difference between regular apples and cider apples is that cider made from regular apples tends to lack one of the three components of real cider apples. Cider apples make for a sweet, sour and bitter mix, whereas regular apples lack the bitter component. Due to the cold climate, apples of the Baltic region have high acidity, almost no sugar content or tannin, which is the component needed for the bitter taste. This is why a cider made of regular apples is characterised by a crisp sour taste and is oftentimes light and fresh due to the lack of tannin.

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).

Estonian cider

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.

Baltic cider

Photo: Estonian Cider House

Tips on how to pair cider

Craft ciders made according to the traditional method, which resemble sparkling wine in their bubble profile, are a perfect replacement for a welcome drink instead of sparkling wine. The advantage of cider over sparkling wine is that cider has lower alcohol content. Additionally, cider does not cause headaches the next morning, as it has less tannin in it. Cheese and cured sausages pair well with cider.

Estonian ciders that have not been made according to the traditional method go great with pork as they have high acidity, flavoured ciders (e.g. black currant cider and apple cider with raspberry juice) make an impression just by themselves.

Last updated : 16.05.2018

In category: Tallinn, Food & Drink & Nightlife