All the answers to all the questions you have about our business, think something's missing or can't find what you're looking for, get in contact.
Firstly bring your apples to us. See point 17 if you want us to pick your apples. The address for drop-offs is:
Unit 15, Windrush Millennium Centre, 70 Alexandra Road, Manchester, M16 7WD.
Buzz at the gates and security will let you in.
We weigh your apples when you bring them to us. We call this your ‘dry weight’.
We estimate that we can extract 50% of the juice from your donation we call this your 'wet weight'.
You then get 50% of this 'wet weight' back as juice or cider.
It ferments over the winter, ready to be bottled, labelled and boxed-up for you to collect in the spring of 2016.
You pay for the bottling, labelling and boxing up of your share at £0.50 per bottle for a 500ml crown cap labelled as 'Donor Cider'. See below about pure apple juice pricing.
We’ve had people bring us as much as 600kg of fruit in the past which equals 150lts of juice, or seven 20lt bag-in-boxes with some bottles left over too, that’s a whole lotta cider!
Bring us 20kgs of apples (your dry weight), that's 10lts of juice (your wet weight) from this you get 5lts of juice/cider.
AFTER YOU'VE DROPPED OFF YOUR DONATION
We'll contact you by email as to the breakdown of how you'd like your donation returned to you. Now, more than ever, this is a complex piece of administration. You will receive an editable pdf form which will need filling in on your computer and returning to us. Sounds complicated, it's not and we'll send you home with a copy of these FAQS which equate to the Ts and Cs of our arrangement with you as an donor.
CIDER & PEAR BOTTLING COSTS
For cider your donation will be broken down into 500ml brown glass, crown-cap bottles (always in stock). The cost for each bottle produced is £0.50. Due to space issues and the fact that we can't find the right affordable bottle washing solution we can no longer offer a refundable deposit on our bottles. See notes below if you are a previous donor and have bottles to bring back.
PURE APPLE JUICE BOTTLING COSTS
We're looking into the options for glass bottles for our juice. Please check back in September when we hope to have this sorted.
PREVIOUS DONORS & BOTTLE DEPOSITS
2013 Donors: Cut off date for deposit returns 31.12.14
2014 Donors: Cut off date for deposit returns 31.12.15
Due to the situation we find ourselves in we currently cannot process your bottle returns. You are entitled to your deposit if you wish. However we'd encourage you to recycle at home and see your deposit as an investment back into the project. To receive your £0.50 per bottle back you will need to bring your bottles to us. We will then recycle them on your behalf.
We're looking into the idea of bringing our labelling in-house. This will allow you to select the name of your cider. Rather than it saying "Donor Cider" it could be your family name, or whatever you can think up, within reason! It will still be labelled "not for resale" but we feel this will make your bottles all the more special. As we know so many of you like to give our cider out as gifts. This will be subject to a further admin fee. We'll hopefully have all these details sorted by the time you drop your apples off.
THE STYLE OF CIDER WE PRODUCE:
Your apples will be processed with others from across the region. This gives us a more balanced cider/juice and means we can maximise space in our containers. We cannot guarantee you will get your juice back. Our cider tends to be dry, tangy but highly quaffable. It's best served chilled and mulls really well at Christmas time.
We can only process cider for you if you are 18 or over, please don't be offended if we ask for proof of age.
1. What do I get if I donate apples to you and is there a minimum amount?
We'll never turn a good apple down, but if you want cider or juice in return you'll need a minimum of 4 kilos. That would get you either 1 bottle of juice (1 litre) or two bottles of cider (2x500ml).
2. Can I join in on the juicing?
Yes, we love our donors and the wider community getting involved. Just sign up for a session on our volunteer page HERE.
3. Why do I only get 25% of my dry weight?
We like to think we're offering a pretty good service. We’re turning your apples into cider or juice. We have invested a lot of time, effort, energy and cash into buying equipment to process your donation. Plus there are our overheads of rent, utilities, rates and now after 5 years of pressing we have staff costs too.
4. Where can I buy your cider?
See our stockist list here: themossciderproject.org/stockists/
5. I’ve made an apple donation so when will my cider be ready for collection?
Usually around March-April the year after you make your donation. It takes about 6 months to ferment, mature bottle and label.
6. How long will the cider last?
Your cider is a living product, it will bottle condition and get better with age, like a good wine. There is currently no regulation for a best before date on our bottles.
7. I don’t like cider. Can I have juice instead?
Yes, we have a pasteuriser so if you are donating apples and you would prefer juice in return just tell us and we’ll prepare it for you so that it lasts for 12 months from time of bottling. If you catch us at the right time you may even get a fresh sample straight from the press.
8. When you have made the cider what bottles do you use and how much will it cost?
By default your donation will be returned to you in 500ml brown glass, crown capped bottles at £0.50 per bottle. This is non-refundable.
By request you may have your donation split into a 20 litres bag-in-box for a bottling fee.
20 Litres = £10
A bag-in-box once opened will remain fresh for up to 3 months. We know some donors like to break down their donation in different ways as you may want to keep some back for yourself for a summer party or allow it to mature until Christmas... it's great mulled. So a couple of bag-in-boxes could be a good option for you. But, you might want to give some bottles away as presents too. We're flexible, you decide. We'll double check that your total amount adds up to your entitled wet-weight.
PLEASE NOTE: You're cider will come labelled 'Not for resale' if you'd like to sell-on our cider let's chat.
9. What should we do with the empty bottles?
From 2015 we request that you recycle your bottles at home. We currently do not have the facilities to safely store and wash your bottles effectively.
10. Will I be able to sell the cider you make for me?
No. Your cider will be labelled “Not for re-sale”. If you'd like to sell on our cider please call us and we'll see if we can help you.
11. How do I get my cider?
We will notify you via email (and follow up with a text if we don’t hear from you) when it is ready and on which days you can come and collect it.
12. What times are you open?
Our opening times can fluctuate, please check our homepage, social networks and events page for up to date timings.
13. Will you collect my apples or can I bring my apples to you?
We would prefer you to bring us your apples when they are ripe and ready.
14. How do I know my apples are ripe?
Most varieties are ready when they come away from the tree with a simple twist of the stalk and their pips are dark brown in colour, not white. Apple trees will often drop some of their crop naturally but you’re likely to notice if you have a pile of apples under your tree, especially during bad weather and strong winds. In fact one of the best ways to strip your tree is to give it a really good shake on the day you want to pick and bring your fruit to us.
15. Do you take fallen or bruised fruit?
We’ll accept all fruit as long as it is not rotten. If you have a lot of fallen apples we’d prefer you to keep these aside so that we can wash and sort them separately from your best looking apples.
16. Can you prune my trees for me?
This is currently not a service we offer, although if we get enough requests we may consider running a workshop with the help from a trusted specialist.
17. Will you pick my apples for me and how far will you travel?
We sometimes have volunteers that can pick on our behalf. The charge for this is a further split on your share. The picker will get 50% of your share of the juice. So we encourage you to drop off. You would also still need to collect your finished cider.
18. Why we don't climb up the trees?
Our own Health and Safety guidelines stipulate strict rules governing this and we simply cannot afford the insurance premium for our staff/volunteers in the event of an accident. In our experience, a good shake will get most of the apples down that are ready... We can’t stop you from climbing your own trees though! Or come and borrow one of our extending apple picking poles.
19. Do you accept pears?
Yes, we’d love some pears to experiment with this year. We’re not too fussy about variety at this stage but preferably when they are still firm and not mushy.
20. Do you accept crab apples?
Yes please! Crab apples are good for the tannin levels we need for great tasting cider.
21. What types of apple do you accept?
We accept ALL types, shapes and sizes of apple from Crab to Cox and Bramley to Braeburn they all go in the mix. Even better if you have a nice rare local variety like the humungous ‘Withington Welter’.
22. Why is it sometimes so hard to get hold of anyone on the phone?
We are a start up company and currently do not have sufficient resource to man the phones 24/7. We also have other commitments that do not allow us to be at the cider house full time. We will call you back so please leave a message or alternatively you could email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
23. What happens if the cider goes bad?
Sometimes we make bad cider. It’s not an inevitability but it occasionally happens when dealing with the living organisms that turn fresh-pressed apple juice into tasty cider. Now that we ferment in larger vessels, when things go wrong it has a big impact. We track your apples throughout our process, so know whose apples are in which batch. If a batch turns bad it could unfortunately be because of your donation.
We try our hardest to avoid contamination and have strict procedures in place including full HACCP reporting with the local environmental heath authority (EHO), but despite our efforts, a bad batch may have succumbed to any number of issues, infections and/or other factors.
In the event of a bad batch we commit to doing the following:
1) Alerting you by email that we’ve had a bad batch at the first sign of trouble.
2) Making sure that you don't go home empty handed. Your share of the total give-back we have committed to you will be cut back to 10%. This will come from our share in another batch (a good one!) so will will minimise the affect on us and other donors.
This outlines the terms of our 'bad batch policy'.
24. Can I have my own custom labels e.g. for my wedding?
Seeing as our founder Dan is a graphic designer by day, if you ask him nicely we’re sure he could knock you something up for a small additional fee.
25. Do you have limits on what you can produce?
When we reach our limit on cider production, 7000 litres, we revert to only producing apple juice. Due to the complexities of pastuerisation we are unable to process the same level of fruit as a typical cider pressing day. Therefore we reserve the right to limit the amount you may donate. This will be in discussion with Moss Cider staff on drop off days and we may have to send you home with excess fruit or can offload this to other cider makers/projects outside of Greater Manchester. This may mean that for a portion of your drop off you will get no cider or juice in return.