Saffron can be classified based on its characteristics. Saffron is collected by hand and only a small amount is produced per flower, so the price can be very high.

Features that are assessed:

(1) color

(2) appropriately dried and not mushy or dump

(3) source

(4) taste

(5) aroma


Saffron is graded several ways, some of which are used regionally.


The highest grade of saffron is a dark red in color and consists only of the tips of the stigma.

The lowest grade of saffron consists mostly of whites and yellows.


The ISO/TS 3632 specified photospectroscopy to classify saffron, which measures the color given off by crocin,



ISO/TS 3632


> 200


170 to 200


120 to 170


< 120



Terminology in Iran



3 stigma threads attached together to form a cluster; considered premium quality; may be associated with ISO readings > 270

sargol (top of flower)

only dark red stigma tips (equivalent to ISO Class 1)


includes the orange part of the stigma (equivalent to ISO Class II)


includes a large amount of yellow material from other parts of the flower


Spain uses: coupe, mancha. rio and sierra

Afghanistan uses: negrin, sargol, Pushal, khooshe and koni

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