A brief history
Black pepper (Pipir Nigrum) is a luscious green, climbing vine that produces small white clustered flowers, eventually turning into green berries. Just when these berries start turning yellow they are picked, cleaned, dried and turned into what we know as peppercorns. Green, black, white and red pepper all come from the same plant, it all depends on how long the berries mature before picked.
Cultivation of Pipir Nigrum has its origin in the Malabar coast in Southern India but can today be found all across the equator. It is unclear if all black pepper stems from the Malabar Coast or if there are other origins across southeast Asia. Pepper is the most traded spice in the world and has been so for the last 4,000 years. Once pepper featured in more than 70% of Ancient Roman recipes and was once worth more than gold. This made the pepper trade one of the triggers of the European exploration of Asia and the Americas.
The ancient history of Black Pepper is interlinked with that of Long Pepper (Pipir Longum), which was the first pepper that was traded and used in Europe. It was not until chili peppers reached Europe from the Americas that Long Pepper almost completely disappeared from European cuisine, and was replaced by Black Pepper. Long Pepper still plays an important role in many Asian, North African and Middle Eastern cuisines as well as in Ayurvedic medicine.
Even though Sichuan Pepper, Batak Pepper and Pink Pepper are called pepper, they are actually not in the pepper family and something we are calling Flower Peppers, deriving from different plant families. Sichuan Pepper and Batak Pepper come from the plant family Zanthoxylum (citrus family) and can be found in over 300 different varieties all over the world, while Pink Pepper is actually more related to cashew tree than of the pepper.
We like to think that all our peppers have actually found us, and not the other way around. They have been calling, sending out sounds for centuries and we when we heard their unique vibrations, we jumped on a plane, bus or motorbike and followed the scent. That is what our quest is all about.
We know how many hands have picked the pepper we sell. We know when the harvest is and how this years harvest will turn out. We know if its been raining a lot, if the dry season came too early, if a storm has affected the plants. We know this because we are in constant contact with our pepper, through our famers and partners.
All our pepper is handpicked, hand-sorted and sun-dried to ensure absolute best quality and hold on the the traditional way of making pepper. We have made sure that we only sell harvest based pepper and supports all our suppliers throughout the process. From better work conditions to vacuum machines so that the pepper farmers can develop their business and keep the quality of the pepper on the journey over the oceans to Sweden.
We are evolving with our pepper. Using methods from one place and trying it out at another. Sharing the knowledge we are gaining though our research and travels with our suppliers. It changes from location to location. Some places have been cultivating pepper from centuries, others are just in the beginning of understanding best practices. All our farmers are using organic methods of growing and we are pushing even more in this direction.
Hopefully as we grow we will have the means to help each farmer get organic certificates.
Follow our journey on social media and the blog!