HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
What are you cooking today? Get great advice

seeking saffron

caryjones Jun 5, 2009 02:11 PM

Can someone advise me where to purchase reasonably priced saffron in San Francisco or the bay area?

  1. o
    OldTimer Jun 7, 2009 01:06 PM

    This happens to be a subject I know something about. My daughter was setting up a web site to sell saffron, but abandoned the idea last year. We were buying saffron from San Francisco Herb and Spice (always the best spice prices) for $30.00 oz. Good quality Mancha premium grade. Then came the drought...priice is now $144.00 oz. Daughter decided too risky at that price. SF Herb sells the same grade for $7.90 gram. The prices have been fluctuating so much, I see saffron as a spice of the past. I have seen slightly better prices for Iranian, but for some strange reason, people don.t seem to trust Iran.

    1. w
      whiner Jun 7, 2009 09:10 AM

      Another vote for Trader Joes

      1. p
        poulet_roti Jun 7, 2009 07:44 AM

        Queen of Sheba Market on Sutter at Larkin - saffron imported from Iran, far superior to most you will find from Spain.

        1 Reply
        1. re: poulet_roti
          Nancy Berry Jun 7, 2009 10:29 AM

          I'll bet that they get their saffron from Vanilla, Saffron Imports.

        2. x
          xanadude Jun 6, 2009 08:34 PM

          Some costcos have it.

          1. Veggo Jun 6, 2009 07:17 PM

            Does anyone know how long saffron keeps, i.e. shelf life, and does it degrade?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Veggo
              wolfe Jun 6, 2009 07:28 PM

              Apparently several years when stored in a tightly sealed container. Potency decreases slowly and after a while you may have to add more to get the same effect.

            2. escargot3 Jun 6, 2009 04:16 PM

              ps- at LhasaKarnak.com you can order online. For years, I especially have loved their bulk mint tea -- super flavorful.

              1. escargot3 Jun 6, 2009 04:15 PM

                i like shopping at the fab herb store: Lhasa Karnak. There are 2 locations in Berkeley.
                Competitive prices (& possibly the cheapest), and great quality. I think they have 2 kinds of saffron -- plain and fancy.

                1. n
                  Nancy Berry Jun 5, 2009 06:45 PM

                  Vanilla, Saffron Imports, on Valencia in SF, sells excellent Iranian saffron at very good prices. You can buy from them online. Here's the link:


                  By the way, they also sell a number of different excellent vanilla extracts (Tahitian, Madagascar, Mexican, etc.) and vanilla beans, also at very good prices.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Nancy Berry
                    mochimunchie Jun 7, 2009 10:58 AM

                    Thanks for this link. I read through the info pages on saffron - very educational.

                  2. Paul H Jun 5, 2009 06:37 PM

                    Spanish Table carries several sizes of saffron. The most reasonable seems to be 4g for $30 or $210 per oz. I would also think that the quality here would be pretty good.

                    1. r
                      rosiella1 Jun 5, 2009 06:37 PM

                      I usually get mine at Trader Joe's but I've seen them at Cost Plus as well.

                      1. Shane Greenwood Jun 5, 2009 06:11 PM


                        Penzeys Spices
                        771 Santa Cruz Ave, Menlo Park, CA 94025

                        1. Shane Greenwood Jun 5, 2009 06:10 PM

                          Penzey's spice house in Menlo Park sells a few different varieties. As I recall they went up in price depending on the quality. They have a pretty detailed description of each in the store but I can't recall the exact details right now. I bought a middle tier Spanish one that was great, much stronger flavor than the stuff from Trader Joes.

                          1. Zeldog Jun 5, 2009 05:24 PM

                            Trader Joe's sells 0.7 gram for about $5. Not a great price, but no complaints about the quality.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Zeldog
                              wolfe Jun 5, 2009 05:30 PM

                              That's about $200/oz, sounds fair.

                            2. wolfe Jun 5, 2009 02:24 PM

                              What may be reasonable may not be saffron.

                              1. m
                                mochimunchie Jun 5, 2009 02:22 PM

                                I got my last tin at Vik's in Berkeley - I think it was around $40. The also have saffron at Milan's on University.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: mochimunchie
                                  Zeldog Jun 5, 2009 05:28 PM

                                  $40 for how much safron?

                                  1. re: Zeldog
                                    mochimunchie Jun 6, 2009 03:54 PM

                                    1 oz....guess it's not the real thing though :(
                                    I've used it and been happy with the results.

                                    1. re: mochimunchie
                                      wally Jun 6, 2009 04:55 PM

                                      If you are sure it is an ounce, it is about half what penzey's charges. I really haven't seen it for $200

                                      1. re: wally
                                        mochimunchie Jun 6, 2009 05:33 PM

                                        yes, it's an ounce...comes in a nice tin...from Spain...imported by Vik's.
                                        I think it is just a lower grade as I do need to use a generous pinch to get the level of saffron flavor I want. Still, it works fine for me.

                                        1. re: wally
                                          wolfe Jun 6, 2009 06:54 PM

                                          The Penzey on line catalog has .25oz high grade Spanish saffron at $81.99.

                                  Show Hidden Posts