Iranian Verses Kashmiri saffron
Both Iranian and Kashmiri saffron is highly considered, both are high-quality products and they are hard to differentiate. Kashmir saffron tends to have a slightly broader stigma head. Both have high color and aroma yield. So the similarities are there for all to see.
Why choose Iranian Saffron over Kashmir?
There are a number of reasons why choosing Iranian saffron would benefit you. Firstly Iranian saffron is produced constantly in bulk for hundreds of years, this continuity of production means the farmers know their crop inside out, they know how to deal with the time of drought and heavy rains, they have the knowledge that no other country can provide in the growing of saffron. Iran produces the vast majority of the world's saffron, depending on whose figures you look at they produce between 80-95% of all saffron grown.
If you search the internet for articles on Kashmir saffron you will find items about various crises, whether that be with extended periods of bad weather affecting crop quality or to do with the adulteration of their crops, even to articles about Iranian saffron being smuggled into India to supplement the Kashmiri crop, there always seems to be one issue or another. All these issues can lead to inconsistencies in the quality of their crops
Iranian saffron is the same quality but is less expensive at the source. India has a high taxation on Iranian saffron to protect their own Kashmir market, and quite rightly so. This, however, has to lead to smugglers using ‘mules’ in the same way that drug smugglers do. Which leads to Kashmiri and Iranian saffron being mixed and sold as Kashmiri saffron, which, if you buy saffron you will know is much higher in price. So essentially you can be paying a lot more money and you could be using Iranian saffron anyway.
This incidentally also happens in Spain. Spain grows about 1 metric tonne of saffron each year but exports about 80-100 metric tonnes (over 30mt of this goes to the US marketplace) each year. This is enabled by Iranian saffron being imported en masse and mixed with La Mancha saffron and then sold as Spanish Mancha saffron, despite the majority of it is Iranian. Mancha saffron, of course, holds a higher price than Iranian saffron.
So buying Iranian saffron means you are buying high-quality unadulterated saffron from the home of saffron and where the vast majority of saffron is grown. Iranian saffron remains at a reasonable price compared to Spanish, Kashmiri and Italian saffrons. We are not saying Kashmir saffron isn’t good, what we are pointing out is Iranian saffron has that quality without the problems associated with Kashmir saffron. Is Kashmir saffron worth twice what you would pay for Iranian saffron? We do not think so and we hope you don’t either.