Cardamom is one of the world’s oldest spices. It’s cultivation dating back some 4000 years. The recorded history of cardamom itself goes back a long, long time, to ancient Sanskrit texts. And while it was always revered for its culinary value, it has also been recognised for its medicinal benefits. Discoveries that go far back in time to ancient Indian, Greek, Babylonian and Assyrian civilisations.
While Guatemala overtook India as the world’s largest producer of cardamom sometime around the turn of the millennium, India has always remained cardamom country! It’s from where the finest and best quality of cardamom is still grown and exported to the rest of the world.
A Legacy of Quality
The reputation for the quality of Indian-grown cardamom, specifically from the state of Kerala, can be traced to the Raja of Travancore. When he realised that traders came from distant lands in search of this Queen of Spices, he decreed that all cardamom produced within his kingdom had to be sold only to his official, who then routed the consignments to the main depot at Alleppey which was the kingdom’s key port, and to where merchants from across the seven seas flocked.
The Raja further decreed that the best quality pods would be handpicked and earmarked for export. Native experts soon developed this into an art, and this tradition was passed down through the generations.
As the tradition was religiously maintained, Alleppey Green Cardamom became a symbol of world-class quality. Of course, at the core of it all, it had to do with the climatic conditions that Kerala is blessed with – conditions perfect for the cultivation of superior quality of cardamom.
Surviving the Test of Time
But cardamom is all about its aroma and flavour. And so, the bigger challenge lay in retaining freshness of the produce while transporting over long, arduous journeys to far-flung places around the world. The aroma and flavour of cardamom are a result of the oil content within the seeds. When kept exposed, or improperly stored, this volatile oil gradually evaporates, and the pods become discoloured. Devoid of the oil, cardamom loses its aroma and flavour, and hence its potency. In effect, it becomes useless.
To prevent such a situation, traders would pack it in layers of sacks, to withstand the long sea journeys. Perfecting the packaging became the biggest challenge of them all.
When Emperor Akbar Cardamom came on to the scene, everything changed! During the early R&D stage, the brand focused its resources on this vital factor – developing packaging that would maintain plantation freshness, not just over transportation journeys, but also while being stored by the end user, over a prolonged period of time.
The brand tackled the issue across two levels. For the shipment journey, special cartons were constructed that were UV coated and additionally lined with black paper insulation. Between them, they made the master carton an all-weather packaging that could even survive submersion in water; while preventing the pods from discolouring during transit.
That took care of the shipment journey. But something needed to be done to ensure the plantation freshness remained sealed in, even after being received and used by the end customer. And so, Emperor Akbar Cardamom developed special Aroma-lock packs. The contents now didn’t need to be transferred to another container for storage. Instead, as long as the user sealed back the Aroma-lock mechanism after extracting the necessary pods, the remainder would retain their oil content and hence aroma, flavour and potency for years!
Pick your Colour!
Emperor Akbar Cardamom is forever looking at ways to delight its customers. Well aware that different users – traders, chefs and retail customers – each have varying needs in the cardamom they buy, the company developed a unique grading system… Grading by diameter size – not by quality… the quality always remains premium and non-negotiable across every pack colour.
And so, soon after the cardamom pods are picked from the high ranges of Kerala’s Alleppey district and processed at Emperor Akbar’s state-of-the-art HACCP-certified facility, the skilled native artisans get down to work, using their inherited sorting skills to separate the finest pods and cluster them by size.
Size wise, the pods are then sealed into colour-coded packaging for easy identification. The largest pods of diameter around 8 mm go into the purple pack; around 7.5 mm diameter into the pink pack; up to 7 mm, green pack; up to 6.5 mm, orange pack; and finally up to 6 mm into the red pack. But this is only grading by size and not quality. Grading by size is done because for different applications different pod sizes are required. The quality remains world-class across all packs and sizes of pods.
The Promise of Quality
Quality and transparency are the two things that Emperor Akbar never compromises on. No wonder they are the brand of choice for discerning buyers right across the world. The brand sells briskly in the Middle East, Far East and Europe. In fact, more and more buyers across the world are realising that the higher oil content and hence intensity and potency of Emperor Akbar’s produce actually makes it the more economical choice in the long run. Because, for example, just one pod of Emperor Akbar’s cardamom can achieve the same intensity that three pods of an inferior quality can.
Next time cardamom is on your shopping list, don’t fret any more about quality and long-term freshness. Simply go online at shop.emperorakbar.com and blindly place your order for the required quantity. Quality and long-term freshness will both be delivered to your doorstep!