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.:: Grade ::.

 

Minimum saffron colour
grading standards (
ISO 3632)

ISO Grade
(category)

Crocin-specific
absorbance (Aλ) score
(at λ=440
nm)

I

> 190

II

150–190

III

110–150

IV

80–110

Source: TarvandHYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffron" 2005b

Saffron is graded via laboratory measurement of crocin (colour), picrocrocin (taste), and safranal (fragrance) content. Determination of non-stigma content ("floral waste content") and other extraneous matter such as inorganic material ("ash") are also key. Grading standards are set by the International Organization for Standardization, a federation of national standards bodies. ISO 3632 deals exclusively with saffron and establishes four empirical colour intensity grades: IV (poorest), III, II, and I (finest quality). Samples are assigned grades by gauging the spice's crocin content, revealed by measurements of crocin-specific spectroscopic absorbance. Absorbance is defined as Aλ = − log(I / I0), with Aλ as absorbance (Beer-Lambert law) and indicates degree of transparency (I / I0, the ratio of light intensity exiting the sample to that of the incident light) to a given wavelength of light.

The most important factors which are very important in saffron are crocine (color), picocrocine (flavor) and safranel (aroma). 
Higher number of these factors = higher quality of saffron ISO (the international organization for standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standard bodies (ISO member bodies) they have set a classification of saffron base on minimum requirements of each quality, this is called ISO 3632. According to this classification, they established 4 categories. 

 

Table 1  -  Classification of saffron in filaments

 Categories

Characteristic

Extra I

II

III

IV

Floral waste
% (m/m),
max.
Extraneous
matter
% (m/m)
max.



0.5



0.1



4



0.5



7



1.0



10



1.0

 

 

 

Table 2  -  Chemical requirements for saffron, in filaments or in powder form

Characteristic

Requirement

Test method

Saffron in filaments 

Saffron in Powder form 

Moisture and volatile matter, % (m/m), max

12

10

ISO 3632-2, clause 9

Total ash, % (m/m), on dry basis, max.

8

8

ISO 928 & ISO 3632-2 clause 10

Acid-insoluble ash, % (m/m), 
on dry basis, max.
Categories I and II
Categories III and IV




1,0
1,5




1,0
1,5

ISO 930 & ISO 3632-2, clause 11

Solubility in cold water, % (m/m), on dry basis, max.

65

65

ISO 941

Bitterness, expressed 
as direct reading of 
the absorbance
of picrocrocine at about 
257 nm, on dry basis, min.
Category  I 
Category  II
Category  III
Category  IV 







70
55
40
30







70
55
40
30

ISO 3632-2, clause 13

Safranal, expressed as 
direct reading 
of the absorbance
at about 330 nm, on dry
categories
min.
max. 






20
50






20
50

ISO 3632-2, clause 13

Colouring strength, 
expressed as direct reading 
of the absorbance of crocine at about 440 nm,
on dry basis, min.
Category  I
Category  II
Category  III
Category  IV







190
150
110
80







190
150
110
80

ISO 3632-2, clause 13

Total nitrogen, % (m/m), on dry basis, max.1)

3.0

3.0

ISO 1871

Crube fibre, % (m/m), on dry basis, max.1)

6

6

ISO 5498

 

Main producing countries of saffron have the different classification and names of saffron, here are some common commercial names and results in producing countries :

 

IRAN

result 2000/2001 = 160 ton
Classification: 1-Sargol    2-Dasteh    3-pushal

Spain

Classification base on coloring strength :

 

 

International Organization 
for standardization
(ISO 3632)
Minimum Standard



Spanish Government 
Standards



 

 

 

Greece

Commercial name : red saffron

India

Commercial name : Mongra, Lacha

 

As you aware by now the most important factor in saffron is color strength. Here in Tarvand we provide to our customers the photospectometry report which show the crocine (color strength), picocrocine (flavor) and safranal (aroma). Additional we supply our customers with Iran standard institute certification which is official organization for saffron analysis.

 

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