The basics of cidermaking were known to the ancient celtic tribes and so as you might expect, cider can be brewed with very little equipment. At its most basic you need to crush and squeeze the apples and put the resulting juice in a container while yeast turns it into booze. A heavy wooden hammer will crush an apple ok, but will make a mess of the kitchen. A bath is a container that holds water, but how are you going to wash yourself if the bath is full of apple juice?
So, here is a practical guide to the basic equpment for brewing cider.
Firstly to extract the juice for the apples you can use an apple juicer. However, if you haven’t got one already, don’t go out and buy one for cidermaking. They are not ideal because they are slow and small. A gallon from a juicer will take half a day, but if you have the time and equipment, go ahead and use what you have got.
Otherwise, I strongly recommend a pulpmaster, which is basically a blade you attach to a drill and bucket to make a very big blender. They cost under £20 and are absolutely brilliant at turning apples into mush very quickly.
Next you need to squeeze the juice from the pulp. Here is a tip, wait a few days between picking and pulping. When you come to press the pulp you will get more juice out.
They sell 1 litre ‘fruit presses’ on the web and I bought one once. I have regretted it ever since. Too small. You pulp a bucket full of apples in under a minute and then spend hours pressing small quantities. A large (minimum 5 litres) press is essential, but if you are handy with a drill you can make one from wood and screws and old vice parts for under £50. There are plenty of plans online and buling a press is a great diy project.
Ok, so you now have a gallon of fresh apple juice. Your third piece of essential equipment is a buket. A food grade plastic container is the best choice for the home brewer.