Update 1: Purchased spices from World Spice Merchants, Savory Spice and The Spice House.
Update 2: Received the spices from World Spice and Savory Spice. Updated their info below
I love cooking, but like a lot of folks, something I've taken for granted over the years is the quality of spices I cook with. I've probably done what most people out there have done and just gone to the grocery store and buy some McCormick and be done. It wasn't until we started growing our own that I realized the enormous difference between high-quality spices and what you can get in most grocery stores.
Now we grow some of our own when possible but we're noob gardeners and still exploring those so for now I'm going to stick with "store" bought spices that I can buy online.
To start this quest, I turned to the only reliable place on the internet these days, Reddit. Reddit can be impossible to sift through well enough to really uncover the good information, so I've done it for you. Side note: that's a good affiliate idea, coming soon.
I'll be adding to this post as I get more research and hands-on with some of the products.
There are some basics that seem to be universal advice:
- Get a small spice or a cheap coffee grinder so you can...
- Buy whole spices when available and grind your own.
Easy enough. Most seem to be $15-20 range. I'll investigate those too but for now I'll stick with spices.
The criteria I'm looking at initially will be shipping, pricing and offerings. I'll update this later with quality of spice and other notes.
All of these retailers were mentioned more than a dozen times across various threads and I didn't bother to include the ones that I only saw once or twice.
Penzeys.com - https://www.penzeys.com
The one that was mentioned far more than any other retailer was Penzey's. I have never heard of them before but they are a national spice retail chain-based in Wisconsin. There is one in my town too, who knew?!
- Free Shipping over $39.94
- Spices and mixes
- Price for 4oz of vanilla extract $27.95
- Price for 1oz Smoked Spanish Parika $4.95
World Spice Merchants - https://www.worldspice.com/
Has to be the best imagery of any of the sites. Beautiful.
- $5.95 shipping
- Spice club / subscription offering
- Only sells vanilla by the bean $9.95
- Price for 1 oz Smoked Spanish Paprika $2.75
Update 1a: Purchased 1 oz of the following: Alderwood Smoked Salt, Cumin seed (whole), Cumin seed (toasted, whole), Garlic granules, garlic powder, Paprika (smoked, sweet), Ground Worcestershire. $27.70 after shipping.
Update 2a: Received pretty quickly and packaging was fine. What I don't like is the individual spices are packed in vacuum sealed bags that you can't close. It's not a huge deal but something to note. I rolled them up and placed a rubber band around the ones i've opened until I get proper spice jars.
I've used the smoked paprika on eggs and it is easily more fragrant and flavorful than any grocery store version I've previously used. More to come as I break into the other spices.
The Spice House - http://www.thespicehouse.com/
One Redditor said "I second The Spice House. I can actually buy my spices from them and have the shipped and it still comes out cheaper than my local grocery store. And they are nice, high quality spices.." This sentiment was echoed by quite a few peers.
- Free Shipping over $49
- Really nice mix of packages
- Price for 4oz vanilla extract $23.99
- Price for Smoked Spanish Paprika 1oz $2.07 (sold in 2.4oz)
Update: Purchased Dutch Cocoa Powder, Garlic Pepper, Paprika (smoked, sweet), taco seasoning, California basil. $27.95
Whole Spice - Wholespice.com
A company in Napa Valley that was one of the few that sells very large quantities and wholesale for restaurants. Although their website is meh, their selection is strong.
- Free Shipping over $75
- 20% off first order
- Not sure where their spices are sourced from
- Only sell vanilla by the bean $7.00
- Price for Smoked Spanish Paprika 1oz for $2.80 (sold in 2.4oz)
Spice Trekkers - https://spicetrekkers.com/
- Free Shipping over $75
- Included them because they have a large variety of unique spice varieties (ie 6 varieties of vanilla beans.
- Price per 4oz of Vanilla Extract $23 (make yourself)
- Price per 1oz of Smoked Spanish Paprika $7.03
Market Spice - https://www.marketspice.com/
I really only included them because they have a large variety of coffee and teas that I want to try but they do have some spices and were in my notes.
Savory Spice Shop - https://www.savoryspiceshop.com/
I didn't recognize it until visiting their website but they make one of the sauces for Hot Ones, which is an awesome Youtube channel to sub to. I really appreciated their descriptions and identifying the origins of the spices. Solid site.
- Free Shipping over $49
- Huge variety and species of spices.
- Price per 4oz of Vanilla Extract $10.95
- Price per 1oz of Smoked Spanish Paprika $3.08
Update 1b: Purchase Native Texan BBQ Rub, Extra Coarse Black Malabar Pepper, 40z Vanilla Extract. $23.60
Update 2b: Used the Texas rub on some chicken wings for lunch yesterday and the wife loved it. I think it is a pretty standard rub recipe but the flavor pops more than when I've made similar rubs in the past.
The black pepper smells and tastes wonderful. I've used it on just about everything. Highly recommend.
Spiceology - https://spiceology.com/
Via a recommendation from a friend. One of the better website experiences out there with strong descriptions, imagery and origins of their spices. They tend to push their mixes and blends more than their spices.
- Free Shipping over $40
- Love their jar/bottle designs
- Unique flavor combos.
- Price per 1oz Smoked Spanish Paprika $4.00
- Do not have vanilla.
If you liked this or just want to follow along, sharing/liking the thread on Twitter is really appreciated. I'll update twitter as I update here. Thank You!