We work closely with farmer partners in the following regions of India while incorporating principles of food traceability. This involves keeping all the lots separate right from the start from when it is procured and all the way until it is processed and packaged.
What you get to experience with The Sabor Co. is single-origin spices at an individual farm level in most cases.
Idukki District, Kerala, India
The Sabor Co. has strong relationships with farmer-partners across the Idukki district of Kerala who are mainly involved in the cultivation of green cardamom and black pepper.
The Idduki district comprises forms a high-altitude plateau with rugged mountainous terrain, several river valleys, and deep gorges.
A part of the Idukki district in the Southern Western Ghats is a mountain range known as the Cardamom Hills, providing a favorable climate for the growth of cardamom, pepper, and coffee. Rich in flora and fauna, this hilly area is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Cardamom and pepper are generally grown between 600 to 1500 meters above MSL in the Idukki district and if you go any higher in terms of altitude, you will find lush tea plantations.
Wayanad District, Kerala, India
The Waynard district also known as the land of the paddy fields situated in the northwest of Kerala as a part of the Western Ghats. It is the only plateau in Kerala.
Situated at a height between 700 meters and 2100 meters above sea level it provides the right climatic conditions for the cultivation of pepper, cardamom, tea, coffee, cocoa, vanilla, and other spices.
The Malabar and Telicherry pepper grown in the Wayanad and Idukki districts have been given a geographical indication tag or a GI tag, making them unique varieties that can only be grown in these regions in India.
The harvesting season for pepper in the plains starts in December and lasts until January and when it comes to the hilly regions of the Western Ghats, the crop is harvested between January and April.
Varieties of Indian Pepper
In India over 75 varieties or cultivars of pepper are grown. Karimunda and Panniyur are the most popular among them.
Karimunda is a wild or cultivator variety that is grown in Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.
The plant has dark green, ovate-shaped leaves with clusters or spikes of flowers on which the fruits emerge.
This variety of pepper has a yield of 3-5 kg per vine with high levels of Oleoresins, Piperine, and an above-average level of Essential Oils.
The Panniyur on the other hand is a hybrid variety of pepper with the first variety developed at the Panniyur Pepper Research Station in Kerala over three decades ago.
There are plenty of other hybrid varieties that have been developed over the years including Sreekara, Subhakara, and Panchami, each hybrid variety has its own distinct characteristics and may be suitable for different growing conditions.
Grades of Indian Pepper
Black peppercorns are graded based on their diameter, density as measured in grams per litre (g/l), and the appearance or shape of the peppercorn. Below are the most commonly used grades that have been defined by AGMARK.
The words garbled and ungarbled refer to whether the pepper has been graded or ungraded. While garbled pepper tends to have a uniform black colour whereas ungarbled pepper will have a mixture of black and brown berries.
Also, with ungarbled pepper, there is no fixed size of berries that you will get i.e. the berries have not gone through the sorting process.
Malabar Garbled Black Pepper: Malabar Garbled Black Pepper has two different grades including Malabar Garbled 1 (MG-1) and Malabar Garbled 2 (MG-2).
While both grades can have the same size and density i.e. around 3.5 mm and a density of 550-600 g/l, the difference between these two grades is the percentage of extraneous matter and the percentage of light berries in a given lot.
MG 1 has 0.5% extraneous matter while MG 2 has 1% extraneous matter and MG 1 has 2% light berries and MG 2 has 3% light berries.
The moisture content of both these grades is also the same i.e. not exceeding 11%.
Malabar Ungarbled Black Pepper: Malabar Ungarbled Black Pepper can be further broken down into the following grades, Malabar Ungarbled 1 (MUG-1), Malabar Ungarbled 2 (MUG-2), Malabar Ungarbled 3 (MUG-3L) and (MUG-4L). The main difference in each of the above-mentioned grades in the amount of extraneous matter ranges from 0.5% to 4% and the percentage of light berries in any given lot, can range from 2% to 20%.
Tellichery Garbled Black Pepper: Telicherry Garbled Pepper can be broken down into 3 further grades mainly based on the size of the peppercorn – Tellicherry Garbled Special Extra Bold (TGSEB) with a size of 4.75 mm, Tellicherry Garbled Extra Bold (TGEB) with a size of 4.25 mm and finally Tellicherry Garbled with a size of 4 mm.
Pinhead Black Pepper: Pinhead grade refers to smaller under-developed peppercorns that are milder in flavour and can sometimes also be used for further processing. These can be sorted in sizes ranging from 1 mm to 2.5 mm
The table below gives a breakdown of each of the different grades including their density, size, and moisture content.
|Grade||Diameter||Weight (g/l)||Moisture Content||Extraneous Matter||Light Berries|
|MG -1||3.5-3.75 mm||550-600 g/l||11% Approx.||0.50%||2%|
|MG - 2||3.5-3.75 mm||550-600 g/l||11% Approx.||1%||3%|
|MUG - 1||-||-||12% Approx.||2 %||5%|
|MUG - 2||-||-||12% Approx.||2%||10%|
|MUG - 3L||-||-||12% Approx.||3%||15%|
|MUG - 4L||-||-||12% Approx.||4%||20%|
|TGSEB||4.75 mm||-||10% Approx||0.5||2%|
|TGEB||4.25 mm||-||10% Approx||1%||3%|
|TG||4 mm||-||12% Approx||2%||4%|
|Pinhead||1-2.5 mm||-||13% Approx||-||-|
* The specifications provided above are approximate only and may vary based on the lot.