The Best Way to Make Apple Cider

Lehman's Cider PressNow you can make the best cider you’ve ever tasted! All natural, safe to drink and full-bodied. What’s the secret? Making it in a press so easy to sanitize that pasteurization is not needed.


Making cider is simple – two hours from start to finish. It is a great family activity that your children and grandchildren will remember for years to come. But whether you are a serious cider maker or a curious cider maker, you are going to need a cider press.

lehmans cider press
Our stainless steel cider press is available at

The Story of Lehman’s Cider Press

Years ago, we wanted to offer a cider press, but when we looked at what was available we couldn’t locate a cider press that was high-quality, hygienic stainless steel – the best for fresh, healthy and safe cider. So we decided to make our own!

The idea came from Galen Lehman (CEO of Lehman’s and son of founder Jay Lehman), and our products development team did the design work and built the prototype. This amazing machine is now made for us locally and assembled by Lehman’s craftsmen in our Kidron, Ohio shop.

“We looked at the best antique cider presses we could find,” said Galen. “We saw that the wood frames were consistently cracked, warped, broken or damaged by insects. Also, we know that the natural sugars in cider soak into the wood and create a perfect medium for bacteria. So, we started from the position of saying it must not be made of wood.”

top of cider press
Fun fact: it takes about 34 apples to make one gallon of cider. This press can crank out up to 18 gallons in an hour (depending on what kind of apples you use).

The idea of using stainless for all metal parts exposed to food is what restaurants do. It’s the right way to handle food, which is why we designed our all-stainless-steel cider press to have many advantages over traditional wooden presses.

  • No wood that must be treated against rot and mildew
  • Nothing touches your fruit except hygienic stainless-steel components – from whole fruit to pulp to juice Smooth-action nylon bearings
  • Frame is rust-resistant powder-coated steel
  • Heavy-duty flywheel (15 3/4″OD) on apple grinder is made of solid cast iron from an Ohio foundry
  • Flywheel has comfortable wooden handle
  • 12″OD cage can hold close to a bushel of apples at one time
  • Manufactured in the USA close to our Ohio retail store – other presses are merely assembled in the USA
  • Store-bought cider is pasteurized, which is required by the FDA. It tastes watery and lacks body, color and flavor – not to mention the reduction in nutritional value.

The Type of Apples You Need

fruit harvesterYou can make pure, full bodied cider (not juice) using only one ingredient: apples. The only secret is which type of apples you use. The qualities that apple experts consider when classifying apples into groups are sugar (sweetness), acidity (tartness), and tannin (bitterness). Mixing apples that carry these various attributes is what gives a homemade cider a robust flavor and satisfying “mouthfeel”. Apple aficionados recommend a mix that is 15% bitter, 35% sharp and 50% sweet. Experiment with the mix of apples until you get the robust, earthy taste you like best – there is no wrong mix!

Sweet Apples
Sugar! These apples make your cider sweet, but they’ll need partners from the other groups:

  • Golden Delicious
  • Fuji
  • Gala
  • Red Delicious
  • Jonagold

Sharp Apples
Tartness comes with higher acid levels:

  • Gravenstein
  • McIntosh
  • Northern Spy
  • Winesap
  • Liberty

Bitter Apples (including Bitter-Sweet and Bitter-Sharp)
Bitter-sweets are high in the tannins that add complex flavor to ciders, and high in sugar. Bitter-sharp and bitter-tart are two names for the group of apples that are high in tannins, with plenty of acid:

  • Dolgo Crabapple
  • Cortland
  • Newtown
  • Foxwhelp
  • Porter’s Perfection

Good luck and happy cider-making!

Editor’s Note: This article was first posted in August 2018.


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Mark Koziorowski
Mark Koziorowski
1 year ago

We have a cider press and just love it. It’s a great way to gather the family and friends for a good time and to share something that everyone made, cider. We like to add pears with the apples for a super tasting cider.

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