100Sargol Weight: 100 g $1,700.00
Well first you should learn how to recognize a lesser quality saffron. In addition to the red stigmas you should also look for lots of white or yellow strands and even a mushy texture (this is due to a higher water moisture content used to add weight to the product). As mentioned earlier the yellow is from the style which provides no flavor or aroma – too much yellow or moistness are both sure signs of a lower grade saffron.
Top grade saffron possesses a deep red color, is dry to the touch and the stigmas will be 3/8” to 1/2” in length.
Saffron is graded by the International Standard Organization (I.S.O.). Saffron is graded via laboratory measurement for color (crocin), flavor (picrocrocin) and aroma (safranal) content. Samples are assigned grades by gauging the saffron's color content. The higher color content (also known as coloring strength) signifies a greater color concentration and intensity.The I.S.O. classifies saffron into four grades of Coloring Strength with Category IV being the lowest quality followed by Category III, Category II and then Category I (highest quality). These coloring strength grades range from lower than <99 (applies to all Category IV saffron), 100-149 (for Category III), 150-189 (for Category II) and 190 or greater (for Category I). The market prices for saffron are determined by these ISO scores.
While this grading is now the standard many sophisticated home cooks and top quality chefs reject such lab test results. They look at saffron more like wine connoisseur and prefer to sample saffron threads for taste, aroma, pliability and color. Now while we also prefer to let our noses and taste buds make the final determination for us we also recognize the importance of uniform testing that the I.S.O. grades provide as they’re less arbitrary (easier to do side-by-side comparisons). Our Saffron is the highest rated Category I and grades at 260 on Coloring Strength and has as an unmistakable aroma that is sharp and floral. The taste is light, cutting, warm, bitter and it then slowly dissipates from your palette.