Tellicherry Pepper (pronounced “the-luh-cheh-ree), Piper nigrum, is also called Tellicherry peppercorns, Tellicherry, or Tellicherry black pepper.
Tellicherry Pepper has 1% - 2.6% essential oil.
What is Tellicherry Pepper
Tellicherry Pepper is believed by many pepper aficionados to be the best black pepper that you can get, these connoisseurs refer to them as simply Tellicherry. Named after a port on the Northern end of India's Malabar coast, in the beginning, the Tellicherry peppercorn had the reputation for being truly superior in both the size of the peppercorn and the quality of the taste. However, now the term Tellicherry is used more as a designation to the quality grade of peppercorn.
Peppercorns from India are typically categorized by their place of origin. Two types come from India's Malabar Coast: Malabar and Tellicherry. Tellicherry comes from grafted Malabar plants grown in or around Thalassery (pronounced "tha-lasse-ry"), formerly Tellicherry, located on the Malabar Coast in the state of Kerala, India. While a single Malabar pepper plant can produce both types of peppercorns, Tellicherry peppercorns differ from Malabar peppercorns as the Tellicherry berries are left to ripen on the vines longer, which allows for a larger berry and fuller flavor to develop. Peppercorn farmers must be very experienced in order to manage the tricky balancing act involved that allows for a complete development in the flavor and size of the Tellicherry berries on the vine without allowing sugar content to rise to where losses will occur from spoiling. The result of this expertise is a slightly larger peppercorn that has a little less pungent flavor, but a more deeply rich and complex pepper flavor and aroma.
There are 3 quality Grades of Tellicherry Pepper. Tellicherry Garbled (TG) which are 4.00mm in size, with a 12% moisture content; Tellicherry Garbled Extra Bold (TGEB) which are 4.25mm, with 10% moisture content; and Tellicherry Garbled Special Extra Bold (TGSEB) which are 4.75mm, with 7% moisture content. The Tellicherry Garbled Special Extra Bold is less than 10% of the total available Tellicherry grades, is considered the highest grade and is the most expensive.
We carry the Tellicherry Garbled Extra Bold (TGEB).
History of Peppercorns
Black pepper has been known in Indian cooking since at least 2000 BC, with early trade routes popping up between Kerala and traders from the Middle East by at least 1000 BC. Peppercorns were included in Egyptian mummification ceremonies, including that of King Ramses II (reigned 1279–1213 BC). By 100 BC, peppercorns were being traded into China, where the wealthy preferred it over their native Sichuan pepper.
Ancient Rome also highly valued piper nigrum, even using it as currency. But pepper’s popularity in Rome would eventually fade with the introduction of Long Pepper, a genetic cousin of piper nigrum (and also from India).
With the fall of the Roman Empire (476 AD), Muslims acquired tremendous influence and control along the Silk Road. When Venice and Genoa merchants signed spice trade treaties with the Muslims this monopoly again drove up peppercorn’s value in Europe.
Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama arrived by ship in Calicut, India in 1498 and was not welcomed warmly by the Muslim traders there. The opening of this sea route would eventually bring an onslaught of competitors and by the 1700s the demand for pepper had continued to rise, but the increased supply lowered prices which allowed more and more Europeans to buy pepper.
Tellicherry Peppercorn Cultivation
Peppercorn plants can be grown through cuttings or seeds, but usually cuttings are used. The vines take about three years to mature enough to produce peppercorns. After the vines have matured and begin producing fruit, they will continue to do so for about fifteen to twenty years, but some may continue for even longer than that. Vines are frequently wrapped around poles to encourage upward growth. The plants may reach up to 25 feet tall if properly cared for. This style of upward growing saves space for more vines to be grown in a smaller space and helps the peppercorns get even sunlight exposure.
The plant requires a long rainy season, fairly high temperatures, and they do best in soils rich in organic material. Peppercorns in general are very sensitive to the sun so they need some protection from the direct rays, they are typically protected with coconut fronds or shade cloth on especially intense days.
The berries are harvested when fully ripe (orange to red in color) and the berries must be picked by hand. The fruits are then cleaned (separated from debris such as leaves, stems, dirt, and small stones), boiled for about 10 minutes and then spread out on mats or plastics under bright sunlight for 2 days, to dry. Depending on the weather, drying may also be done by solar or mechanical dryers. The drying process gives berries the wrinkled look and black color. Once dried, the peppercorns are taken to a sorting facility where they are run through a series of screens to sort them according to size.
Where is Our Tellicherry Peppercorns From
What does Tellicherry Pepper Taste Like
Slow burn, citrusy, and grassy with hints of cedar, cherries and juniper. These are not as intense as most black peppercorns.
What Is the Best Black Pepper in the World
Over the years we're tried peppercorns from Brazil, India (Malabar and Tellicherry), Indonesia (Lampong Peppercorns), and Vietnam. We tend to lean toward Tellicherry as the best in the world. Tellicherry peppercorns have two defining characteristics. First, they are 4-4.75 millimeters in size. And second, larger peppercorns tend to have less heat with more aromatic, full-bodied flavor.
Malabar Peppercorns are our 2nd choice. They have a slightly greenish hue, and while they come from the same area as Tellicherry, but they’re picked earlier, so they're not as mature and they are a bit more pungent in flavor.
Lampong Peppercorns are small and grayish in color, very pungent but not as aromatic as Tellicherry or Malabar pepper. Brazilian and Vietnamese peppercorns are both less robust in flavor and have less aroma that Tellicherry or Malabar pepper.
What is Tellicherry Pepper Good For
Use Black Tellicherry Peppercorns as you would regular black pepper. Make it a basic rub for roast chicken, or coat steak with this peppercorn, coarsely ground, for an unforgettable au poivre. This is a welcome addition to any hollandaise sauce, and will make roasted vegetables like cauliflower sing.
1/4 cup Black Tellicherry Peppercorns = approximately 1 oz. ground peppercorns.
What can be Used Instead of Tellicherry Pepper
Black Peppercorns can be substituted for one another, so you can use the Malabar Peppercorns in place of the Tellicherry at a 1:1 ratio.
|Also Called||Tellicherry peppercorns, Tellicherry, or Tellicherry black pepper|
|Recommended Uses||Use anywhere you would use black pepper|
|Flavor Profile||Slow burn, citrusy, and grassy with hints of cedar, cherries and juniper|
|Oil Content||1% - 2.6%|
|Botanical Name||Piper nigrum|
|How To Store||Airtight container in a cool, dark place|
|Shelf Life||1-2 years|
|Country of Origin||India|
|Dietary Preferences||Gluten Free, Kosher, Non-GMO|
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Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
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