Sunday, October 13, 2019

Kingston Black

Large conical red-orange apple
Kingston Black is famous!

But not for eating.

My Kingston Black is a large and very conical apple with a streaky red blush, saturated and dark in places, over what I take to be yellow. In any case, there is an orange tinge in the red.

The fruit has small brown lenticel dots that are more obvious in the photo than real life, and this sample has a russet-blasted crown. There is moderate ribbing and an open calyx.

I know Kingston to be a cider apple and its reputation is not great for eating. Let's see what it has to tell us.


The bite is soft, into spongy white flesh that is fine-grained and on the dry side, yet sweet. 

Fermentation turns sugar to alcohol, so this is not a surprising quality in a cider apple, though I confess I was braced for a tannic spitter.

The flavor is intensely fruity, with lychee and cane sugar notes and something floral. There is a quick flash of bitterness in the peel, though.

Were Kingston Black crisp and hard rather than cottony, the flavor might make it appealing, if a little too sweet for my tastes.


Kingston B really comes into its own in hard cider. It is a "bittersharp," and whole new orchards of flavor emerge with fermentation. 

Also known as Taunton Black, it is originally from the area near Kingston St. Mary in Somerset, England. 

There's not much online about eating this apple, but the internet sings its praises for cider.


  1. I have Kingston Black in my orchard and think it is one of the appealing apples flavour wise. When I eat it, it is crisp, and it's only soft if it sits too long. If I ate it and found it cottony, it would be because I didn't get one at it's best.

    1. Thank you, Richard! I am grateful for the tasting note.

      These were unavoidably off the try for a bit.

      I'll keep my eyes open for a chance to try this one again sometime.


Join the conversation! We'd love to know what you think.