Types of Saffron

Different Types of Saffron

The saffron produced in each geographical region has a specific name, appearance, and chemical properties based on regional climatic conditions, saffron flower processing, and its culture use. Therefore, different types of saffron are produced all around the world. This blog post explores saffron types including Iranian saffron, Spanish saffron, and Keshmiri saffron.

Types of Iranian saffron

Iranian saffron is becoming more popular worldwide and is recognized for its superior quality. Persian saffron has long been renowned for its excellence and flavor. Although saffron cultivation is concentrated in a few Iranian provinces, Persian saffron accounts for over 90 percent of the global saffron supply. Currently, various types of saffron are exported to more than 53 countries. We provide a brief overview of different types of Iranian saffron. For more detailed information about each type, please refer to the links below:

The Iranian saffron types include:

  • Super Negin saffron
  • Negin Saffron
  • Sargol Saffron
  • Poushali or Filaments Iranian Saffron
  • Bunch Iranian Saffron (OR Filaments Grade 4)
  • Ground or Powder Iranian saffron
  • Konj or white Iranian saffron

There are two important factors, which highly affects the quality and types of saffron:

  • Physical structure, which is maturity and the amount of red or white saffron
  • Chemical parameters such as coloring, fragrance, and saffron taste power

These two factors, along with many more factors such as planting to harvest methods and conditions, different ways of stigma stripping, drying, and storing, have a great effect on the type and quality of saffron. In the rest, you will learn about different types of Persian saffron, called Zafaran locally.

Types of Iranian Saffron

All Red Saffron

All Red is one main category of Persian saffron , named so for its completely red look and absence of style. All Red saffron consists of three subcategories: Sargol, Negin, and Super Negin.

Super Negin Iranian Saffron

super negin saffron

Super Negin is the most potent and finest saffron type in the world. Super Negin, as the highest quality and luxurious saffron type, only includes long-flat and thick stigmas, without the yellow styles. Super Negin Saffron has the longest stigmas and the best appearance of all types. The stigmas are cut symmetrically, without any wave. 

Super Negin is the most desired saffron for various uses, as it possesses great coloring power and aroma. Producing Super Negin Saffron is challenging and requires professional manual skills and the use of technical equipment compared to other types. Consequently, it demands more time and effort, making it the most expensive type among other Persian saffron varieties.

Read more about Super Negin Saffron?

Negin Saffron

Negin Iranian Saffron

Negin Iranian saffron is ranked second in terms of quality and price. There is no difference between Negin and Super Negin, except for the length of the stigma and physical appearance.

In terms of appearance, Negin saffron is not long and flat, but it has the typical look of saffron threads. It is worth noting that Negin Saffron has a higher coloring power of over 220 usp. Due to its lower price compared to Super Negin, it is more popular for home use.

Features of Negin saffron:

  • It only contains the red, long, stigmas of the saffron flower with few small broken stigmas.
  • It is produced after complete separation of styles by natural or machine drying process.
  • They differ in the size and thickness of the stigmas and their special drying methods and conditions, compared to Super Negin saffron.

Read more about Negin Saffron? 

Sargol Saffron

Sargol saffron 

Sargol saffron is shorter in size in compared to Negin Type. In pure Sargol, the style is removed from red stigmas. Sargol Saffron and Negin saffron are alike in terms of quality and coloring power. Sargol saffron is derived from Poushal or filament saffron.

The main sub qualities of Sargol saffron are:

Sargol Momtaz (Sargol Premium)

With a Crocin level (coloring strength) higher than 220, has few broken particles of saffron stigmas. Additionally, its coloring power is better than Sargol Grade one. In Momtaz, the stigmas are relatively larger and thicker than Sargol Grade One.

Sargol Grade One

On the other hand, there is Sargol Grade One, in which more broken stigmas can be found. In Grade One, Stigmas are smaller than Momtaz or premium quality, while its coloring power reaches 200 USP.

Features of Sargol saffron

  • It has total red stigmas, with no sign of style or white saffron. This type can include broken stigma particles as it is obtained from Poushal.
  • Pure Sargol coloring strength may be as high as Negin and Super Negin, as it lacks styles.
  • The more broken particles and wavier look it has, the lower quality of Sargol saffron you get.

Read more about Sargol Saffron?

Poushal Saffron

Poushali or Filaments Saffron

Poushal Iranian saffron, or Filaments saffron, includes red color stigmas with a 1-15 mm long creamy style. Farmers can yield about 1kg of Poushal from 80-100 kg of the saffron crocus flower. Depending on stigma size and thickness, Poushal or Filaments have less coloring power than Negin and Sargol types, as they contain styles.

Poushal or Filaments is classified into four grades:

Filaments Grade One

Filaments Grade One: Poushal Grade One consists of stigmas along with a 1-6mm style attached. In this grade, there are smaller and thicker stigmas than in grade two. The coloring and appearance of Grade One are lower than All-Red Types. The coloring strength of this type of saffron is a minimum of 200 units.

Filaments Grade Two

Filaments Grade Two: Poushal Grade Two has longer styles, mainly 6-10mm. This grade is weaker than Grade One, in terms of appearance and coloring power. This grade is thinner than Poushali’s Grade one. In recent years, saffron dried in open air has been categorized as Poushali G2, because it seems weak in terms of appearance compared to machine-dried ones. The minimum coloring power in this grade is 180 units.

Filaments Grade Three

Poushal Grade Three has longer styles, mainly 10-15mm. the longer the styles are, the weaker they become in terms of appearance and coloring power. It may have a darker color compared to other grades. The coloring power of this grade is 150 units at the minimum

Filaments Grade Four

Known as Dasteh or Dokhtarpich saffron, which will be explained as a separate type of saffron.

Features of Poushali saffron

  1. It includes red color stigmas with a 1-15 mm long creamy style.
  2. In terms of quality, there are three filament grades of saffron.
  3. The Poushal coloring power varies in different qualities because the length of style and the plants’ genetics differ in each Poushali product.

Read more about Poushal/Filaments Saffron?

Bunch Saffron one of saffron types

Bunch Saffron (OR Filaments Grade Four)

Bunch Saffron, locally known as Dasteh or Dokhtar-Pich, has a lower coloring power than All Red and Poushal Types. The reason is that bunch type is associated with a lot of yellow styles attached to red stigmas, all threads wrapped like a cluster. The more style it contains, the less expensive it becomes in the market.

Features of Bunch saffron

  • Known as the mother of saffron types, it includes all parts of the saffron (contains both stigma and style).
  • The style in this type varies between 10-20 cm and its coloring power is 140 units at minimum.
  • The humidity level of this type of saffron is high as it contains most of the saffron style.

Read more about Bunch Saffron?

Powder Saffron

 Ground Or Powder saffron

Powder saffron, or ground, is the saffron stigmas in a powdered way. Saffron powder is made of saffron stigmas, which have been dried and ground. Even if you have saffron threads, you can use mortar or pestle to make saffron powder. The saffron powder can be easily used instead of saffron threads. Another benefit of saffron powder in cooking is that there is no sign of saffron stigma in your dish. Moreover, you can add the saffron powder directly into your dish, with no need to toast or pre-soaking.

Features of Powder saffron

  • It is the most affordable type, yet more risky to buy because there is a higher risk of fraud and fake saffron.
  • Powder saffron is results from grinding any type of saffron, from Super Negin to bunch. Therefore, it gets the coloring and properties of that type of saffron.

Read more about Powder Saffron

Konj or white Iranian saffron

Konj saffron

Konj or white saffron is the yellow style of saffron, with no red stigma. Konj saffron maintains more moisture because of its textual differences. However, the main worthy properties of saffron, such as Crocin, are hidden in red stigmas. Konj or white saffron has no coloring power, however; used for many purposes, which will be explored more in the below link.

Features of Konj saffron

  • White saffran is produced by separating the white part of the saffron thread (style) completely from the red stigmas.
  • White saffron is the cheapest type of saffron with the lowest coloring power as they do not contain any stigma.

Read more about White Saffron

In addition to Persian saffron types, there other types of Spanish, Keshmiri, Moroccan, Italian and Greek saffron which will be addressed in the following lines: 

2- Types of Spanish Saffron

Spanish saffron is placed in second position in terms of quality and flavor after Iranian types of saffron. Spain is one of the largest producers of saffron, and it produces several varieties, each with its characteristics. Here are some types of Spanish saffron:

  • Coupe Saffron: 

Coupe saffron is the highest grade of Spanish saffron. It consists of only the red stigmas of the Crocus sativus flower, without the yellow style. Coupe saffron is known for its intense aroma, deep red color, and potent flavor. It is considered the best quality saffron and is highly prized in culinary applications.

  • Mancha Saffron: 

Mancha saffron is another popular variety from Spain. It includes the red stigmas along with a small portion of the yellow style. Mancha saffron is known for its vibrant color and strong flavor. It is widely used in Spanish cuisine, such as in paella, stews, and desserts. This type of Spanish saffron is similar to Poushal Iran saffron in terms of appearance.

  • Rio Saffron:

Rio saffron is a type of Spanish saffron that is primarily cultivated in the La Mancha region. It is a high-quality saffron variety with a deep red color and a distinct floral aroma. Rio saffron is valued for its flavor and is commonly used in traditional Spanish dishes.

3- Types of Kashmiri Saffron

Kashmiri saffron, also known as “Kashmir saffron” or “Kashmiri Kesar,” is highly demanding saffron in the global market for its quality and flavor. This product is native to the region of Kashmir in India with a vibrant red color, strong aroma, and intense flavor.

There are mainly two types of saffron cultivated in Kashmir:

  • Mongra Saffron: 

Mongra saffron is another type of Kashmiri saffron. In this type of saffron, only the stigma parts of the saffron flower are dried. The stigmas are carefully handpicked from the saffron flower and dried to preserve their flavor and aroma. Mongra saffron is considered to be of the highest quality and commands a premium price in the market.

  • Lachha Saffron: 

Lachha saffron contains a stigma and some of the saffron flower’s yellow parts. This type includes saffron crumbs and is of lesser quality than keshmiri saffron type. Lancha saffron is slightly less expensive compared to Lachha saffron but still maintains a high quality. 

 4-Types of Moroccan saffron:

Moroccan saffron is mainly cultivated in the region of Taliouine, Morocco, and harvested through an intricate labor-intensive process to produce four grades of All-Red saffron, Thread, tied bunch and bunch saffron:

  • Grade one Moroccan saffron is flat-shaped, red stigma just like Super Negin Iranian saffron type
  • Grade two or thread, with slightly less intense coloring power than grade one, is equal to Negin saffron
  • Grade three of Moroccan saffron is tied bunch, consisting of threads that are tied together in bunch format. 
  • The lowest grade of morrocan saffron is called bunch and is mostly used for bulk purposes or as a coloring agent which lacks the intense flavor and aroma of higher grades.

5- Types of Italian saffron:

Italy is not a major producer of saffron, however, around five regions in this country produce this valuable spice with distinctive features. Therefore, Italian saffron types are categorized based on their geographical place of cultivation, including:

Aquila Saffron (Zafferano dell’Aquila):

  • Origin: Grown in the Abruzzo region, particularly around the city of L’Aquila.
  • Characteristics: Aquila saffron threads are long, vivid red, and have a strong aroma. They infuse dishes with a rich flavor and are prized by chefs.
  • Usage: Ideal for risottos, pasta dishes, and desserts.

Sardinian Saffron (Zafferano di Sardegna):

  • Origin: Cultivated on the island of Sardinia.
  • Characteristics: Sardinian saffron has a slightly milder flavor than other varieties. Its threads are deep red with golden tips.
  • Usage: Perfect for seafood-based dishes, broths, and saffron-infused liqueurs.

Lombard Saffron (Zafferano di Lombardia):

  • Origin: Grown in the Lombardy region, including areas near Milan and Lake Como.
  • Characteristics: Lombard saffron is delicate, with a floral aroma. Its threads are bright red.
  • Usage: Enhances rice-based dishes, such as saffron risotto.

Tuscan Saffron (Zafferano Toscano):

  • Origin: Cultivated in Tuscany.
  • Characteristics: Tuscan saffron is known for its balanced flavor profile, combining floral and earthy notes.
  • Usage: Adds depth to soups, stews, and sauces.

Umbrian Saffron (Zafferano dell’Umbria):

  • Origin: Grown in the Umbria region.
  • Characteristics: Umbrian saffron threads are intense red and have a robust flavor.
  • Usage: Used in traditional Umbrian dishes, including saffron-infused bread and pastries.

6- Type of Greek saffron

Greece is not a major saffron producing country, and it only cultivates saffron on small scales. Greek saffron, known as Krokos Kozanis, is a well-known spice with a rich history. Greek saffron has a penetratingly husky and earthy flavor with notes of honey complex taste. Compared to other types of saffron, Greek saffron tends to be earthier and slightly more bitter, but its honey undertones are also more intense.

How to purchase Iranian Saffron Types?

SunLand has made it easy to order different types of saffron online. SunLand offers all the aforementioned Iranian saffron types. More importantly, SunLand delivers bulk and wholesale saffron of all types for export and local use. Many international customers have become loyal to SunLand for its commitment to quality standards. SunLand’s consumer packaging is suitable as saffron souvenirs and gifts. Additionally , SunLand offers private and white labeling for numerous customers and trade partners worldwide.


Frequently Asked Questions Types of Saffron

Which Iranian saffron is best?

The best Iranian saffron is Super Negin saffron, which has better fibers than Negin saffron. Also, Super Negin precious saffron has a richer red color.

How many types of Persian saffron are there?

Persian saffron have 4 type and their name are Super Negin Saffron, Negin Saffron, Sargol Saffron and Pushal.

Why Persian saffron is so expensive?

Because Iranian saffron has a higher quality than its competitors and also the collection of saffron flowers is done manually, which makes saffron picking desirable.

What is the most expensive type of saffron?

Super Negin is the most expensive type of saffron because it is the best type in terms of quality and appearance.

Which type of saffron should I buy?

You can choose a type of saffron based on your budget and type of usage.

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