Not to be confused with apple juice, true apple cider contains fruit solids and is unfiltered, hence its cloudier color and richer, tangier flavor. It is made by crushing freshly harvested apples and wrapping and pressing the pulp to extract the juices. Although mass produced cider is pasteurized in order to improve its shelf life, fresh apple cider is not.
Many producers believe that certain apples are better for cider than others, and the apples used to make the beverage are divided into two categories: bittersharp, which has a higher acid content, and bittersweet. Both categories encompass apple varieties that are rich in tannins, which are said to make a better tasting cider.