Alchema is a home cider making system that promises to combine smart technology with home brewing. Here’s our Alchema review.
What is Alchema?
Alchema is a home brewing system that promises to turn your fruit into alcohol using smart technology.
The system launched on Kickstarter in summer of 2016. Now, it’s available for the general public to order online.
The Alchema system, in the official website’s own words, wants to help you “make your own delicious craft cider at home from fresh fruit”, letting you “explore creative flavor combos with your friends and family.”
After launching on Kickstarter, Alchema successfully achieved its funding target with around $350,000 in backing support.
Does Alchema really work as advertised to turn your fruit into alcohol? Is making your own cider really this easy? Let’s take a look at how the $500 home-brew system works.
How Does Alchema Work?
Alchema lets you homebrew your own hard craft cider. The system works in a similar way to brewing a pot of coffee.
With Alchema, you can make your own craft cider in 1 to 2 weeks, make your own mead in less than 1 week, and make your own wine in 16 weeks.
Best of all, you do this all with smart technology through the Alchema app. Here’s the step by step guide:
Step 1) Choose a recipe from the Alchema app. The app features a database of recipes, including the required amount of fruit, sugar, and water.
Step 2) Add ingredients (like fruit, sugar, and water). The Alchema device will actually weigh each ingredient as you add it, letting you know (through the app) when you’ve added enough of each ingredient.
Step 3) Add your yeast packet. Yeast is needed for fermentation. Different types of yeast work in different ways. Alchema will tell you which type of yeast is best for your recipe – like whether you want to make bubbly or still cider. You can buy additional yeast directly from the Alchema website or from a local homebrew store in your city. If you buy from Alchema, you receive a three pack of yeast with 1 yeast for sparkling cider, one for fruity cider, and one for making cider with strong alcohol content.
That’s it! the Alchema will then notify you when the batch is finished. You let the brew mix together in the Alchema container, then close the door and let it sit in your home until it’s ready. It takes about 1 to 2 weeks to make a batch of cider.
If you’re skeptical about Alchema and how it works, then you can watch a video of the machine in action here.
What Ingredients Do You Need?
How do you make cider from your Alchema? A sample recipe might call for the following ingredients:
- 39 oz of dried apple
- 9 oz of sugar
- 1 yeast packet
You add the ingredients to Alchema, then watch on your app as the app tracks your additions. If you need to add 39 oz of dried apple, for example, then you can watch as the app counts down from 39 as you continue to add more ingredients by weight.
Making each recipe essentially requires dumping all of the ingredients into the Alchema pot together, then activating the machine and letting it sit. Some recipes have slightly more complex instructions, but you’re basically just putting fruit, sugar, yeast, and water into a machine and then letting it do its thing.
What’s the Difference Between Alchema and a Cider Kit?
You can walk into a supermarket or homebrew store in your neighborhood and buy a cider-making kit. Why do you need Alchema? Well, Alchema comes with all of the following benefits over a conventional cider-making kit, including:
- Medical UV-C LED Light (tracks contamination and alerts you if there’s a contaminant in your brew, which can disturb the flavor; LED light also cleanses bacteria and other contaminants)
- Air Pressure Sensor with Auto-Release Valve (constantly monitors pressure to keep the machine safe)
- Cloud Calculation (You can check the alcohol level of the cider from your app)
- Automatic Notifications (The Alchema app delivers notifications when the brew is ready)
Alchema Tech Specs
How does the actual Alchema device work? Let’s take a closer look at the tech specs and what’s involved in the system:
- Sealing rubber
- Air pressure sensor
- UV-C LED sanitizing light
- Gas release valve
- Built-in weight scale (shows on the app the weight of each ingredient you’ve added)
- Bottom light
- Completion indicator bar (Fermentation monitor)
- Touch panel
- Wi-Fi indicator light (Wi-Fi adapter on Alchema lets you track the progress of your brew from anywhere)
How Does the Alchema App Work?
The Alchema app is straightforward and easy to use. Its five key features include the following:
- Explore Recipes: Browse from hundreds of cider recipes, with new recipes being added regularly.
- Follow a Recipe: Put your cider together while following along with the recipe step-by-step on the app.
- Create a Recipe: Create your own recipe, then customize the alcohol content and sweetness to your preference.
- Monitor your Cider: Get notified about your latest batch while on the go.
- Share: You can share your recipes with social media or the public through the Alchema platform (“get ready for taste-testers!”)
The app is available for iOS and Android (iOS 8.0 and later and Android 5.0 or later).
Alchema is available to order for $429 USD.
That’s $70 off the final retail price, which will be $499 USD.
Alchema is now available to order in the United States, Canada, and Taiwan. You can order through the official website (Alchema.com). The device is expected to start shipping in fall 2017. All purchases come with a 60 day refund and a one year warranty.
Your purchase includes 1 Alchema device, 1 Alchema pitcher, 3 kinds of yeast packets to make 3 types of cider, 1 micro-USB cable, and a 10W USB power adaptor.
Should You Buy Alchema?
Alchema is an upcoming device scheduled to start shipping in Fall 2017. The device will let you make cider in your own home simply by cutting up a bunch of fruit and then adding sugar, yeast, and water. That’s it. You can track all of the added ingredients on the app, then receive notifications when the brew is ready.
If you’ve always wanted to make your own cider at home, but don’t like the traditional at-home cider making kits available from supermarkets and homebrew stores, then Alchema may be the right choice for you. It’s available for $430 toady, although some may want to wait until reviews of the device come out before they make their purchase.