Why you should be excited
Kingston Black is a reknowned English cider apple that’s one of few that excel in single varietal cider.
The story of Kingston Black
Most quality cider – the serious stuff, not the sickly sweet artificially-flavoured plonk most North Americans know as cider – is made from a blend of apple varieties. Striking just the right balance of sweet and sharp, bitter and not, a crafty cider-maker can do exciting things when equipped with a range of traditional cider varieties.
Or, they can use one great ‘vintage’ variety that achieves this balance in a single apple. Kingston Black is one of those special varieties.
The apple is small and the tree can be a pain to grow – especially organically – due to its susceptibility to canker, scab and other maladies. But the apple and the cider it makes are worth the trouble.
Kingston Black Facts
Discovered in Kingston, Somerset, England, mid to late 19th century.
Flavour, aroma, texture
A bittersharp cider apple highly respected for its ability to produce an excellent cider on its own (known as a 'vintage' variety).
A small, dark maroon-flushed apple. Colouring can be deep enough to fully justify the second half of its name.
When they’re available
Very late season (usually in early November).
Quality for fresh eating
Unless you're looking for a good puckering, you'll leave it for cider.
Quality for cooking
Not used for culinary purposes.
Quality for cider
Some will say Kingston Black is the best apple there is for cider, due to its near-perfect balance of sugar, acid and tannins.
No point in trying to keep it. Just get that cider fermenting!