United States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign Commerce.

Consular reports, Issues 188-191 online

. (page 74 of 102)
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what a drinking water should be. The result of his analysis is surprising.
Of the twenty-two samples of purified water examined, no less than eleven
were either equal or superior to the water of the Vanne on the same date,
as regards bacterial purity, while the average of the whole set of samples of
purified water gave a figure which does not greatly exceed the average of the
Vanne water. The average number of microbes removed was 99.57 per cent
of those existing in the original water. The Boulogne works being the first
really designed throughout to work the Anderson process, it was of great
interest to see how the working expenses came out. It is satisfactory to find
that the cost of purification is very low. The following detailed figures
give the working expenses for one year:


Iron (at 7 francs per 100 kilograms),

Cleaning decanting reservoirs

Cleaning fillers

New sand

Coal, oil, waste, etc


Working expenses.







150. 54






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Installations have also l>een made at Libourne, Nice, Monaco, Mentone,
and Villefranche-sur-Mer. The total output of the Nice works ranges from
6,000 to 8,000 cubic meters a day, or from 1,300,000 gallons to 1,700,000
gallons. The installation works well and the purity of the water is all that
can be desired.

Marly in 1894 a contract was signed between the prefect of the Seine,
acting on behalf of the department, and the CorajMignie Generale des Elaux.
The C'ompagnie des Eaux in this contract undertook to construct works on
the Seine and the Marne, above Paris, capable together of purifying 70,000
rnbic meters daily, or nearly 15,000,000 gallons, and to remove 99.6 per
cent of the microbes in the original water. These works were to he in full
operation by the ist of January, 1896. The total cost was estimated to
be 12,000,000 francs ($2,310,000).



Havkk, February 27, i8q6.



With the (Iodine of the grai>e crop in France, increased attention has
been paid to the cultivation of apples and the production of cider, which
has, in a measure, su|>erseded wine as the national drink. Official statistics
just published show that there were 678,000,000 gallons of cider produced in
France in 1895, being an increase of 197,000,000 gallons over the preceding
year and of 365,000,000 gallons over the average for the ten i)receding years.
The departments of the Mancheand Calvados (in this consular district) alone
produ( etl 302,000,000 gallons. The importance of the industry to the State
was shown ])y the comprehensive manner in which it was treated in the dis-
(iissions of the thirteenth congress of the Pomological Association of France,
recently held in Laval. The subject received more attention than any other
before the congress, and many hours were consumed in its discussion.


It may be well to state, before describing the several processes of cider
making, that the quality of the cider will depend to a great extent upon the
pr()i)er fermentation of the must, or crude juice, of the apple. So fully is this
recognized that it has given rise to the French proverb, ** No good cider
without good fermentation and good ferments."

Several days after the must is placed in barrels, a sort of ebullition is pro-
duced in the mass; bubbles of carbonic acid are disengaged, foam or froth
rises to the surface, and the lees, or dregs, of the juice settle to the bottom;
finally, the must loses its sweet taste, the sugar which it contained being con-
verted into alcohol. This disturbance, or transformation, is produced by
infinitely small infusoria or microscopic beings called microbes, which, seen

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under the microscope, have the appearance of small cells, of which the diam-
eter is not more than the one-hundredth part of a millimeter. These are the
** ferments."

But there are different kinds of ferments, as there are different kinds of
apples. The microbes of fermentation differ not only in their exterior form,
but also in their manner of existence ; they are, moreover, distinguished by
their chemical properties, and produce very different effects upon the same
must. One will produce a sweet cider, another a **dry," or ** sharp," cider;
one produces a fragrant, limpid drink; another gives a flat and turbid cider.
There is still another kind of ferment, consisting of an aggregation of mi-
crobes, commonly known as "mother of vinegar," which, when introduced
into cider, transforms it into vinegar. In order to make good cider, it is
quite as important to distinguish useful and proper ferments from those that
are noxious as it is to separate the unsound from the sound grains of rye to
make good whisky.

In passing in review the different manipulations for the making of cider,
it is necessary to call attention to the several steps to be taken in the process,
such as selecting and gathering the apples, preparing the barrels, crushing
and pressing the fruit, fermentation of the must, decanting and bottling the
cider, etc.


The must, or expressed juice of the apples, should contain all the elements
necessary for the development of the ferments, viz, sugar, albuminoid sub-
stances, mineral matters, etc. To be complete, it should contain some tannin
and a certain degree of acidity. In a word, to make good cider, one must,
of course, have the proper kind of apples.

(i) Sugar. — Why is sugar necessary? Because it is this substance which,
by fermentation, is transformed into the alcohol which gives to the cider its
strength and body, its preservative property, which renders it possible to
keep the cider for a length of time and transport it, if desired. Good ap-
ples contain from 14 to 15 per cent of sugar, and certain varieties well known
in France, as the Bamtot, the Reine-des-Pommes, the Medaille-d'Or, and the
Petit Doux Veret, contain as much as 17 or 18 per cent of sugar. In our
American orchards, it is well known, there are apples which have'less than
8 per cent of sugar and without other qualities to compensate for this de-
ficiency. It is unnecessary to say that such apples will not make good cider.
To a certain extent, one may overcome this defect by adding sugar, say 3^
pounds to a barrel of the must.

(2) Tannin, — This astringent principle does not appear to have much
influence on the process of fermentation; it is preeminently the clarifying
and antiseptic principle of the cider, and it also serves to modify the alcohol.
Cider without a certain amount of tannin affects the brain like bad whisky
or brandy. Moreover, without tannin, the cider will soon become thick and
ropy. In apples of good quality, there should be from 3 to 4 grains of tan-
nin per thousand. Certain sweet apples do not contain more than 2 grains
No. 190 14.

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per thousand, which is insufficient. In orchards where the sweet varieties
predominate, the trees should be grafted with others richer in tannin, or such
as bear better fruit. The union of the two varieties of trees thus obtained
will produce an apple that gives a very rich cider.

(3) Albumen. — This substance gives body and softness to the cider. It
is deposited, more or less, during fermentation, and by its progressive pre-
cipitation, contributes largely to clarify the cider. It contributes also to
preserve it, by preventing the transformation of the alcohol into acetic acid
or vinegar. The must contains the albuminoid materials which provide the
ferments with the nitrogen necessary for their development.

(4) Acid. — Moderate acidity (malic or tartaric acid) is absolutely indis-
pensable for proper fermentation. It has been observed that the juice of very
sweet fruits ferments badly ; very sour apples, or apples containing more than
five per thousand of acidity, give a very active fermentation. Acids, partic-
ularly such as are formed during fermentation, act upon the alcohol as it is pro-
duced and form an ether, which gives to the cider a characteristic taste and
smell known as "bouquet.*' It is not necessary to separate systematically
sour apples from the general mass; their presence may be very useful in in-
creasing the flavor of the cider, not only improving its taste, but rendering
it more digestible.

(5) Mineral matters. — These, including the nitrogenous matters, furnish
to the ferments, or fermentation germs, the elements necessary for their
nutrition and activity. Most apples contain sufficient mineral matters, with-
out which the microbes would die and there would be no fermentation.

To sum up the qualities needed to produce good cider, it maybe stated
that the fruit should be ripe and fragrant, averaging from two to four per
thousand of acidity, containing, with some mucilage, a notable quantity of
tannin (3 to 4 j^er cent) and a large proportion of saccharine matter, say 15
per cent. It is generally a good rule to mix several varieties of apples, so that
the merits of one may compensate for or attenuate the defects of another.


Too often, when once gathered from the trees, the apples are left in large
piles in the orchard or a courtyard, exposed to rain and, it may be, to frost.
The disadvantage of such a practice is well known. Water penetrates the
fruit, depriving it of part of its flavor and diminishing the quantity of sugar
it contains. This washing, moreover, deprives the apples of certain ferments
which are found on their exterior and which later on exercise an important
influence on the process of fermentation. Care should be taken to protect
the fruit against mud or other extraneous substances, which, if introduced
into the must, retards fermentation and impairs the quality of the cider. In-
telligent fruit growers avoid these evils. They gather the apples properly
and with care; house them, or, at least, place them under cover in well-
aired sheds, in piles 12 or 15 inches deep, which prevents the fruit from be-
coming heated and at the same time protects it from the effects of frost. It

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is almost unnecessary rosay that the apples ought to be perfectly matured be-
fore being placed in the press. It is not to be understood, however, that
they should be overripe. All rotten apples must be rigidly excluded. Some
cider makers contend that a few rotten apples will not affect the flavor of the
cider; that the evil effect they might produce is destroyed by the process of
fermentation. Others say, with reason, that one might as well pretend that
a good omelet can be made by mixing one or more spoiled eggs with the
fresh eggs. The experience of the French cider makers is that even a few
decayed apples will cause the cider to be flat and of bad flavor. They also
advise against the practice of gathering different varieties of apples without
reference to their time of maturity, and thus mixing with the properly ma-
tured fruit either green or overripe fruit.


Before entering upon the details which are necessary to be observed in
making good cider, it will be well to consider another important preliminary
step, viz, the preparation of the barrels or vessels which are to contain the
fluid, especially such as have been previously used for the same purpose.
Where the lees have been left in a barrel, washing it with water more or less
hot will generally prove insufficient to remove the musty taste which such a
barrel will impart to the new cider. A better cleansing agent is water and
sulphuric acid — i quart of the latter to an ordinary bucketful of water. Pour
this mixture into the barrel, and then roll it from side to side, or agitate in
such a manner that the liquid will come in contact with the entire inner sur-
face of the vessel ; then rinse several times with clean water, and subsequently
fumigate the interior with the fumes of burning sulphur. This fumigation
can not be too highly recommended. It prevents the formation of mold,
keeps the barrel i)ure, prevents secondary fermentation, and contributes to-
ward preserving the cider sweet for a longer period of time. In other words,
this process of disinfecting the barrel destroys the vinegar microbes which
form in the lees and adhere to the inner surface of the barrel, ready to set
up acetous fermentation the instant they come into contact with the cider.

The cellar or other storage place must likewise be kept scrupulously clean.
It often happens that in drawing cider more or less of it is spilled on the
floor; this soon becomes acid, producing germs or microbes, which gener-
ally find their way into the barrel, and, multiplying rapidly, soon convert
the cider into vinegar. The French think that absolute cleanliness is more
important in fermenting cider than in fermenting wine, and they think,
moreover, that cider is the most healthful of all drinks.


Having carefully selected the fruit, the next step is to thoroughly crush
it. For this purpose, many kinds of patent appliances are employed. A
perfect crusher should conform to the following conditions:

( i) It should be so constructed as to effect a complete mash of the fruit,
not breaking it up merely, but grinding it to a fine pulo.

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(2) It should be so arranged that it will not easily become obstructed
during the process of grinding or mashing the fruit.

(3) The mechanism should be as simple as possible, consistent with the
object to be attained and the rapid crushing of the fruit.

In France, a great variety of apple mills are used, but the best known
are the systems of Simon, Savary, Mabille, Gamier, and Chapellier. The
Simon mill, which seems to be the most used, is founded on the principle
above mentioned. It is said to do excellent work.

After mashing the apples, the usual practice is to place the pulp in un-
covered vats or tubs and leave it twelve or fourteen hours before pressing,
stirring it meanwhile, from time to time, with wooden shovels, in order to
bring the mass into contact with the air. The principal advantage claimetl
to be derived from this maceration and aeration is that it improves the color
of the cider and makes it richer in tannic acid; but recently it has been
found that these advantages can be attained as readily by aerating the must,
or crude juice, and it is now the practice at the large cider factories to press
the fruit as soon as it has been mashed. Vats or tubs are only had recourse
to when water is added to the pressed mass for a second pressing.


Of all appliances employed in the fabrication of cider none is of more
importance than the apparatus for pressing the pulp, which has now been
brought to great perfection. The ancient cider presses are too well known
to require description ; they were very primitive in construction and only
pressed out about 40 per cent of the juice. The modern press is much
smaller, and retjuires much less labor to oi>erate than the former, and ex-
tracts from the pulp 60 or 70 per cent of juice. It consists of a circular
cage, with a proper bottom on which the pulp or mashed apples are placed
and then pressed by means of a screw — at first slowly, then progressively,
until the operation is completed. When the pulp has been thus drained, it
is taken out and placed in vats or tubs, where it is macerated with a certain
quantity of water, say 2 or 3 gallons of pure, soft water to 100 pounds of
pulp, for twenty-four hours, after which it is subjected to a second pressure.
In this way, one obtains from every hundredweight of pulp several gal-
lons more of cider, which is, of course, of less strength than the first run-
ning from the press. It is scarcely necessary to say that these various
processes in the manufacture of cider should be conducted as rapidly as


The expressed juice of the fruit, known as the must, having been placed
in barrels, the next step is to obtain proper fermentation, the most delicate
and troublesome process in the making of cider, and, at the same time, the
most important, since upon it depends the quality of the product. The
fermentation of cider differs essentially from that of wine. In the case of
wine, all the sugar ought to be completely transformed into alcohol by the

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ferments, or fermentative microbes, which, as we have already seen, play such
an important part in this process. For cider, on the contrary, it is neces-
sary that fermentation be promptly established and last only a short time, in
order that the must may be clarified before the sugar has been entirely trans-
formed into alcohol. The sugar which remains after the first active fermen-
tation will still maintain a slow fermentation in the cider, which prevents it
from becoming too acid and being transformed into vinegar. While very
little direct action can be exercised on the progress of fermentation, which
depends primarily upon the ferments or microscopic germs, that know well
how to profit by every favorable circumstance to increase their number and
keep steadily at work, we may, nevertheless, greatly modify their action
by attending to conditions which are known to influence their activity. It
is all important, therefore, to know the conditions which influence fermen-
tation and how to employ them. Of these, there are three which may be
considered preeminent, viz, temperature, aeration, and the acidity of the
crude juice.

Temperature, — This plays an important role in the process of fermenta-
tion. At 32° F. fermentative germs cease to multiply and become inactive;
at a temperature of 130° to 140° many of them die. It is between d^^ and
78^ that they are most active. If, therefore, the temperature is too low, it
will be necessary to warm the must in order to accelerate fermentation.
This can be done most conveniently by heating a small quantity of the fluid
to about 135° or 140° F. and then pouring it into the barrel. In France, a
specially constructed warming apparatus (chauffe-cuve) is used for this pur-
pose. The practice of making a fire in the caves or cellars, although very
much followed, is to be condemned. In the first place, it is very difficult
unless the barrels are small to heat the must; on the other hand, when the
fermentation has been once established, the overheating of the cave or
cellar will be hurtful, as it tends to increase the action of the ferments to
the point of lessening the transformation of the sugar into alcohol.

Aeration. — Oxygen is an essential element in the process of fermentation,
and it is, therefore, necessary that the must be thoroughly aerated. This
operation is not difficult. Stir the liquid from time to time; draw off" a
quantity now and then and return it to the barrel; leave the bunghole open,
or, preferably, it may be stopped with a bit of cotton wool, which admits
the air, and at the same time excludes any injurious microbes that might find
their way into the barrel. Not only ought the inside of the barrel to be open
to contact with the outer air, but it is, moreover, unnecessary at first to fill
the barrel completely with the must; it should not be filled more than two-
thirds or three-fourths. In this way, a much larger surface of the liquid will
be left exposed to the air.

Acidity. — In sjMte of all precautions, it sometimes happens that fermen-
tation is retarded. This is the case when too many sour apples have been
used, the result being an acid must. Some persons neutralize the acidity by
throwing a handful of wood ashes into the liquid and then agitate it; but

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the best makers think this manner of treating the must produces a flat cider,
without color, and is not, therefore, to be recommended. They say it is
better to avoid an excess of acidity by a proper choice of fruit. When fer-
mentation is active, a characteristic brownish foam rises to the surface ; other-
wise, there will be a white scum, which is a bad sign. It is necessary, then,
to employ the means which have been already indicated to produce more
active fermentation. Another means of increasing fermentation, much used
by the French cider makers, is by adding a small quantity of must made
from the best apples to the indifferent must, which acts as a leaven to pro-
duce fermentation. The ferments of good fruit thus added set immediately
to work and multiply the fermentative germs so rapidly that the deficiency
in the must to which it has been added is soon overcome and a fresh and
complete fermentation takes place. In like manner, a good cider may l)e
destroyed by the addition of a bad ferment, often unwittingly added, by not
taking care to clean minutely the instruments and vessels employed in the
fabrication of the cider.

In France, an artificial leaven made from apples of the best growth is an
article of commerce, and is much used to correct deficiencies in must of a
poor quality. A quart of this leaven, costing about $1, will serve to im-
prove as much as 130 to 140 gallons of an indifferent must. This leaven, or
artificial ferment, has been used with very satisfactory results for several
years and is apparently growing in favor with the large cider makers. This
would seem to indicate that, in order to produce the best results, an intimate
correlation should exist between the nature of the must and the leaven em-
ployed. It is the application of that principle in nature which teaches that
** like produces like.*'


After ten or fifteen days, fermentation ceases, a densimeter introduced
into the cider shows its specific gravity to be from 1015 to 1020; the liquor
has become clear, the grosser lees settling to the bottom and the lighter
rising to the surface, so that the cider is, as it were, between two layers of
lees. This is the time to draw it off. Some cider makers are averse to
drawing it off, under the impression that the lees nourish the cider and that
the operation tends to produce a flat cider, which does not keep well. This
theory, however, is apparently not well founded. It is paradoxical to sup-
pose that relieving the cider of its impurities and protecting it against the
action of bad ferments, which are eventually formed in the lees, can in any
way impair its good qualities. It is, therefore, better to rack it at the pro|>er
time, and this can be best effected by a siphon or spigot. Care should be
taken not to place the tap low enough to disturb the lees at the bottom of
the barrel.

The cider having been drawn off into a clean barrel, undergoes, after a
certain time, a second fermentation, very much less energetic than the first.
When this second fermentation becomes feeble and carbonic acid is no
longer disengaged, the barrel should be completely closed until the time

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arrives for using the cider, when it should be again drawn off, ad libitum,
by a spigot or faucet. Cider is preserved well enough in barrels when com-
pletely full, but when the barrel has been partly emptied, there is danger of
its degenerating in quality. This is so well understood in France that when
a certain quantity of the cider has been drawn off, the remainder is protected
by what is known as "Noel's protector,'* much the same as a simple cover-
ing or thin layer of oil, which excludes the air and prevents the entrance of
noxious microbes, which would soon transform the cider into vinegar.


Bottling cider has become a large industry in France. Good cider in
bottles ought to be clear and sparkling, and, when properly prepared, is a
popular table drink, not only on account of its pleasant and refreshing taste,
but for the still more important reason that cider is now regarded in France
as the most hygienic of all drinks, much more so, indeed, than the best of
wines. As evidence of the growing popularity of the beverage and the
extent to which it is used by all classes, it may be stated that of the many
hundred millions of gallons made last year, not more than 500,000 gallons
were exported.

It is sometimes difficult to obtain cider having all the requisite qualities
for bottling. It is important to choose the proper moment for bottling, that
is to say, when fermentation is neither too active nor too feeble. When
bottled too soon, cider will froth violently and become muddy; a new fer-

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 188-191 → online text (page 74 of 102)