What is the most expensive spice by weight?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “What is the most expensive spice by weight?”. We will also discuss why saffron is so expensive and if it is worth the price. Moreover, we will also talk about the origin of saffron and what are the best quality saffrons.

What is the most expensive spice by weight?

The world’s most expensive spice by weight is saffron. It is also known by the name red gold because of its sky-high price and rich taste. Just one gram of saffron can cost as much as $9 and one pound of saffron can cost a whopping $1000. If you’re looking for raw and high-quality saffron, just one pound can cost as high as $5000.

Why is saffron so expensive?

The high price of saffron has a lot to do with the time and effort required while harvesting it. Unlike other spices, Saffron comes from the crocus flower and each stigma has to be handpicked to obtain the saffron. 

Once plucked, the saffron stigmas are termed saffron threads. Because each flower only bears three red stigmas, one pound of saffron requires 170,000 blooms.

Harvesting the saffron threads is undoubtedly no easy task and requires a lot of your time and energy. Harvesting one pound of saffron can take up to 20 hours of intense human labor, not to mention the cost of production that comes with it. Also, the crocus flower blooms only twice a year so you have to be very calculative and precise while harvesting the saffron threads.

Is saffron worth the price?

Although it is a bit too expensive, the people who have gotten a taste of it have only good things to say about it, definitely worth every penny. 

Its distinct flavors and aroma are out of this world. It pairs nicely with a wide variety of dishes, and even when it isn’t the main ingredient, its flavor, and distinct aroma lift the flavors of other ingredients to something ethereal.

Well, it is the most expensive spice in the world, so its consumers should at least have that much satisfaction. Saffron is also often used for its bright yellow hue, very similar to turmeric, but much better and brighter. 

Given its high cost, saffron is not particularly the right choice as a coloring agent. So, since the cost of these two spices differs dramatically, turmeric is a better choice for brightening up your recipes. 

Besides cooking, it is also used to make many expensive cosmetic products and perfumes. Saffron can do wonders to your skin and complexion so it is not a surprise that it is a popular choice for many cosmetic companies.

Where did saffron originate from?

For thousands of years, this exotic spice has been grown and used in the Mediterranean and Asia. It was previously used as both a red-orange dye and a spice. It is said that saffron was traditionally also used to tint the orange robes of Buddhist monks.

Saffron was originally brought to Spain by the Arabs, and Spain is now the world’s leading producer of saffron. It is cultivated throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and India.

Although saffron is cultivated in different regions of Afghanistan, Spain, Italy,  and India, the most renowned and expensive variety is produced in Iran.

What are the best quality saffrons?

The best quality saffrons come from Iran. They have a darker red color with a more prominent musk as compared to the normal saffronsBut most of the time, these saffrons can be harder to find because of difficulty in production and different export problems. 

If you can’t find Iranian saffron, try to find the Spanish ones. They’re not as great as the Iranian ones, but still, they are high-quality saffron with no compromise in flavors and aromas.

There are many qualities of Spanish saffron available. Look for names like coupe, outstanding, La Mancha, or Rio. Coupe is the best one on the list. 

It possesses the most crocin, one of the most important essential oils in saffron, and the least flavorless yellow stem. If you don’t want to go for a coupe because of its expensive price, you can choose from the other classes that are less expensive while still being of high quality. 

Get to know the different types of saffrons here.


In this brief guide, we have answered the query “What is the most expensive spice by weight?”. We have also discussed why saffron is so expensive and if it is worth the price. Moreover, we have also talked about the origin of saffron and what are the best quality saffrons.




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