I didn’t know a Tell cherry pepper from a mobile phone pole. But I’ve discovered a lot, therefore i thought I’d do a little peppercorn pontification now and promote the knowledge.

Setting up THE RECORD In a straight line ON TELLICHERRY

So what is the difference between Tellicherry peppercorns and regular dark-colored pepper? Actually, there’s a lot of misinformation out there on the topic. Curiously, some websites state that Tellicherry peppercorns come from metropolis of Tellicherry, India. Not true. It has nothing in connection with the place that they come from. Other sites say that Tellicherry peppercorns are still left on the vine much longer. Nope. Not true either. They’re left on the vine the same timeframe as regular peppercorns.


Tellicherry Peppercorns and “regular dark pepper” both result from the exact same vine. (And for example, so do green and white peppercorns, but that’s another subject matter for another post.) All are the kinds called Piper Nigrum.

At the end of the growing season, in Feb and March, the pepper berries is selected from the vine. The pepper is dried out over a series of days and eventually shrivels and becomes what we know as dark peppercorns.

  • All the peppercorns are then transported to “garbling” facilities. They are places that kind the peppercorns by size and then tote them.
  • The sortation machines have a number of different large flat metal screens with thousands of identical slots in them.
  • The machines shake the peppercorns so the smaller peppercorns get started dropping through the displays. The tiniest peppercorns show up to the very bottom screen.
  • Once sorted, the many peppercorn sizes are called different things and sold for different prices.

So a Tell cherry pepper is really dependant on size. When a dark peppercorn is 4.25 mm pinhead or larger, it’s “Tellicherry.” That’s all there may be to it. Because Tellicherry are so much bigger than the other peppercorns, they constitute a much smaller percentage of the crop. Oftentimes they signify 10% or less of any given harvest. There’s less of them, so command a higher price at market.

There’s actually another size category of Tellicherry peppercorns. When the peppercorns are 4.75 mm pinhead and above, they’re called Tellicherry Special Extra Striking Peppercorns. That’s what we sell. Read more.


So is bigger really better? And if regular dark-colored pepper is significantly less than 4.25 mm pinhead, what’s the taste difference between the two varieties?

Well, I’m thankful you asked. And I’m glad that you’re still awake because you have made it this considerably in your blog post.

Tellicherry: the winner

As peppercorns expand bigger, they lose just a little temperature. But, with less temperature comes a larger aroma. Therefore the bigger the peppercorn, a lot more fragrant. There’s more room inside the peppercorn for good stuff to happen, more starches.

Our Tellicherry has strong lime, lemon and orange notes. When you grind our Tellicherry, the citrus aroma is immediate and beautiful (if we don’t say so ourselves). That’s what grabbed me the first time I tried out our Tellicherry peppercorns. It had been the beautiful and fragrant Tellicherry scent that led me to start Reluctant Trading. If you don’t believe me, watch the video.

When it comes to Tellicherry Peppercorns  vs. Regular Dark colored Pepper, Tellicherry wins every time. Learn more details at