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Peppercorns Growing: Kerala, India. Photo: Axel Steenberg. Flickr.

Pepper is the quintessential spice and includes the classic peppercorns - black and white pepper - through to the more unusual peppers - cubeb pepper and long pepper. In addition, pepper comprises false peppers that have been called pepper over the centuries. Arguably, chilli peppers also could fit into this category, but they have been kept separate.

Table of Types of Pepper and their Key Characteristics

Pepper Type Origins Appearance Taste
Allspice Jamaica Larger-sized ball, grey Spicy sweetness, clove with hints of pepper
Andaliman pepper Indonesia - Sumatra Small brown broken capsule with shiny 2-3mm shiny black seed Fresh lemon sherbet aroma, with citrussy taste with a numbing sensation
Cubeb pepper Indonesia Medium-sized ball and tail, grey-brown Slightly pungent, with bitter-sweet nutmeg flavours
Grains of paradise West Africa, e.g. Ghana Small pyramid-shaped, red-brown Warm, nutmeg sweet and woody, slight bite
Long pepper India, Indonesia Long catkins, grey-brown Sweet and spicy peppery kick
Pink pepper Brazil, Réunion Medium sound, pink berries Floral, oily taste, mild bitterness
Selim pepper Tropical Africa, e.g. Nigeria Medium long curved pods, dark brown Musty, slightly pungent, mildly bitter
Sichuan pepper China Medium round red capsule, small round black seed inside Initial citrus then numbing tingle on tongue
Tasmanian pepper Australia Large round, dark black berries Numbing heat
Vine pepper:
Black pepper Brazil, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam Medium round, wrinkled, dark brown-black Warm, resinous and a hot bite
Green pepper India Medium round, round or wrinkled, light to darker green Fresh, with mild pungency
Red pepper India Medium round, deep red, round or wrinkled Fruity with mild resinous taste and gentle heat
White pepper India, Indonesia, Vietnam Medium round, smooth cream berries Hot with hint of barnyard
Voatsiperifery pepper Madagascar Small ball and tail, red-brown Pungent, woody, hint of sweetness

Types of Pepper

For more detail, here's a list of peppers:



Further Reading

  • Hemphill, I., Hemphill, K. (2014) The Spice and Herb Bible, Robert Rose. ISBN: 9780778804932.
  • McFadden, C. (2007) Pepper: the spice that changed the world, Absolute Press. ISBN: 9781904573609.
  • Norman, J. (2015) Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference, DK Publishing. ISBN: 9781465435989.