Paprika is an odd spice, usually assumed to be it’s own species, but is actually from the humble bell pepper plant! That’s right, paprika is another variety of chilli pepper. Paprika isn’t hot. Quite the contrary, it’s very aromatic and naturally a little sweet.
Paprika has been used for supposedly 400-500 years, starting in Hungary and Spain. Over the last 100-200 years, it’s usage has become more widespread because of the natural colouring properties of the spice. So too, has the cultivation. Amongst the world’s top 3 producers of Paprika is now China, who is in fact the biggest exporter of Paprika to the USA and most of the western world. So what happened with Hungary? Hungarian Paprika is known to be sweeter than Chinese. But Hungarian Paprika unfortunately isn’t able to reach the colouring strength that some cultivators have managed to in China. In the last 10-15 years, Chinese production has also excelled to be far more superior in terms of hygiene, quality control, and capacity… using more high tech machinery and bigger facilities than ever before.
Paprika quality in trade is measured by it’s ASTA value. ASTA is an international standard, and these values refer to the colouring strength of Paprika. A deeper red colour means a higher ASTA value. A stronger colour also means a stronger flavour, as both are interrelated due to the composition of natural oils inside the Paprika.
Most chilli powders are at around the 100 ASTA mark. Unlike Hungary, Chinese Paprika has been able to reach deeper red colours than ever before. Whereas a strong Hungarian or Spanish origin paprika could get to an Asta level of 140 or 160, Chinese can reach 180, and in rare instances 200. Our Regency quality is fixed at 180 ASTA minimum throughout the year. Take a look at the graphic above to see what they all look like side by side!
Learn more about our Paprika through this link