original iranian saffron

6 ways to determine the quality of Saffron

How to distinguish between original and fake saffron spice

When it comes to buying saffron there are many types and origins on the market and it is very hard to distinguish which type to buy, especially from amateur point of view they all look and smell the same.

In this article we are explaining factors to be considered when buying saffron.

The origin:

90% of world’s Saffron production is in lran. The weather and the soil of North West of lran is ideal to grow the Crocus flower. Spain, India and Greece also are the producers of this spice. The problem starts when some dealers try to sell fake or enriched product instead of original Saffron. If you buy from original well-known seller, you have strong chance to get the original pure Saffron.

After purchase, we recommend you to carry out stages below to identify the quality of your product.


Original saffron threads are swelled at one end and straight at the other end. Also if you roll couple of threads between two fingers and squeeze them, the moisture of the fingers results in some trail of orange color on your fingers and also raises more saffron scent.


The smell is very strong. If you are familiar with the smell it is quite easy to recognize the original scent. If not, some say that the smell is the mixture of the hay and honey. Indeed threads smell sweet but they do not taste sweet as we will explain further in this article.

original iranian saffron



In spite of the sweet smell, the taste is bitter. Put some threads in your mouth and start chewing, if you feel sweet taste, you are tasting low quality or in some cases fake.

Cold water test:

Water test is the best way to identify real saffron from the fake or low quality one. Fill a glass with tap water and wait until the water is settled. Then put some threads on the water and wait for 15 minutes.

If the color of the water did not changed or changed rapidly, you are testing a fake saffron, whereas in case of original product, the color changes slowly and it takes more than 15 minutes to change the color of the entire water.

After the experiment take out the threads and let them dry. Now it is the best time to identify the quality in the most certain way. In case of the original high quality saffron, the threads retain their color whereas in fake case, threads lose their color and look yellow.

Boiling water test:

This method is also as reliable as the cold water test, this is what we recommend to do if you are trying to buy Saffron wholesale from UK-Saffron. Fill a transparent glass with boiling water and put some threads into the water. Wait for 5 minutes and take out the threads. Firstly, the color of the water changes slowly over the 5 minutes time. In case of the fake product, the color distributes rapidly same as when you drop ink in the water. Secondly, after 5 minutes, the threads have the same color as before the experiment. In case of fake/low quality, the threads turn either yellow or white.


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