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What is Adi Pepper?


Adi Pepper (Adi: “Beginning or first” in Kannada) is a variety of pepper found in the interior regions of Kodagu, nestled high in the Western Ghats. It is among the three indigenous species of black pepper exclusive to the Kodagu district.

Adi the wonder pepper or the "Black Diamond” as we call it, is the first and the only of its kind in the Piperaceae family. It is an indigenous species of black pepper with 30-40 different types of varieties.

Adi pepper has always been very popular among the locals thanks to its medicinal qualities. Almost every household in the highland region would vouch for its distinct qualities and benefits. However, for decades, this variety of pepper has been neglected due to a lack of awareness and favorable conditions for its cultivation. This “Black diamond” is the only pepper that lets you experience the awesome taste, flavor, and fragrance of the highlands of Kodagu.

Unfortunately, it has not got its due as it has never been cited in any scientific journals. We have been trying to create awareness and promote this hidden treasure. We sincerely hope that this website will give it a much-needed impetus.

From the misty highlands of Garvale!

It is estimated that only around 300 to 500 kgs are produced every year, and it has got a minimal market for it. Through our efforts, we hope to enhance production and create a niche place for it in the national and international markets.

Adi Pepper Demo Farm and Research Center is proud to announce that this new species of Black Pepper is recognized and registered as a "Farmers Plant Variety" by the "Plants Varieties Registry. This is the first-ever variety of Black Pepper in the world to be recognized and registered as a Black Pepper among the species.

Some different varieties of adi black pepper

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Do we need another type of black pepper?

Yes, for the simple reason that all crops have multiple species with varied characteristics and benefits. black pepper is no different!

Can all species of black pepper varieties be cultivated in all pepper-growing tracts?

No, All species of black pepper cannot be grown in all pepper-growing tracts. Different species of pepper are conducive to specific rainfall, altitude and other natural aspects. In the Kodagu district, we can see different species in different parts. Some species are common to all the areas and some are specific to some areas or landscapes.

How Adi pepper is different from other peppers?

 Adi pepper is indigenous to the interior regions of Kodagu. It is naturally distributed and is found in the highlands of  Garvale, Brahmagiri and Shanthalli regions of Kodagu. These regions are high-altitude regions and receive heavy rainfall and are damp for most of the year.

Yielding vine of Adi pepper

What is black pepper?

Piper Nigrum, also known as black pepper is the name given to the dried corns or fruits of some species of the Piperaceae family. Considered “Black Gold” for its value, it is the most prominent and commercially viable black pepper species to date. But we believe that the time is ripe for the "black diamond" to be the new premium black pepper!


Characteristics of Adi pepper:

  • Bold sized corns: 6mm. to 7 mm.

  • Flowering period: October to December

  • Ripening period: October to March

  • The maturity period typically is 12 to 14 months.

  • No need to irrigate for blossom or crop setting as it undergoes these processes naturally.

  • Turns to yellow and then to red color while ripening.

  • Dry recovery: 40% to 45 %  

  • Weight (g/L): 600 grams to 650 grams

  • 100 berries volume = 55 cc

  • 100 berries weight = 35 grams

  • Piperine content: 3 to 5.85

  • Oleoresin content: 9 to 10.39

  • Essential oil content: 3.80  to 5.00

  • Distinct flavor.

Corns of Adi pepper and Paniyoor 1 black pepper

To read Essential Oil profile click here

Comparitive Characteristics of different Species of Pepper found in Kodagu

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3. Piper Rukshagandam

This rare species is found in some parts of heavy rainfall and high-altitude areas. The color of the catkin is light pink. Low yielder, the flavor tastes like the betel leaf.

4. Piper Trichostachiyon

This rare species is seen in some parts of heavy rainfall and high-altitude areas, the color of the catkin is light pink. Catkin is very thin. Very bad yielder. The flavor resembles the betel leaf.

5. Piperomia/Namopathre/Mullesua

This species so far has been traced only to Garvale village, Kodagu district. The leaves are small and narrow, and the vines resemble the species Hymenophyllum but have no hairy structure. Spikes or catkins stand upward. Crops or fruits have not been seen on the species so far. Leaves are a bit sweet and hot when it is chewed and taste better than betel leaf. It can be used in culinary or chewed like betel leaves.

6. Piper nigrum

Ideally grown and used. This species is commercially cultivated in plain and normal rainfall regions.


7. Piper Adi

Self denominated. Details as mentioned above.

Did you know that there are six different species of the Piperaceae family other than Piper Nigrum?

Do you know that there is no natural distribution of any species in plains and the highest number of natural occurrences of different species are found in high altitude and heavy rainfall areas?

Details of these different species.

1. Piper Hymenophyllum

The natural distribution of this species is found in all pepper-growing tracts except plains and low-rainfall areas. This unique species produces high yields. The tender parts of the vines have a hairy structure. It is the only species in which the color (green) of the corn remains the same from the crop setting stage to the ripening stage. The color of the corn changes from green to light black before it dries on the catkin before it sheds from the vine. The corn size of this pepper is very small. It is the only species where fly activity is seen while flowering and it could be the mediator for pollination. The usage of this pepper is not known.

2. Piper Galeatum

This rare species is found in heavy rainfall and high-altitude areas. The corns of this species are bigger in size than any other species. It has a good flavor. It causes numbness or irritation if it is chewed.


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