5 Facts You Must Know When Buying Star Anise


Star anise is an attractive spice with a characteristic aroma and is used in many dishes in Asian countries. As a leading exporter of star anise in Vietnam, K-Agriculture has a lot to share with importers about buying star anise. In this article, we will tell you the facts about buying star anise that you may not know.

Buying star anise: Definition of star anise

When buying star anise, you should know what star anise is. Star anise is the dried fruit of an Asian evergreen tree called Illicium verum. It has a shape like a star with six to eight points, each point has an inner seed that gives off the unique smell and taste of the star anise. Star anise is a native plant in southern China and northern Vietnam. In the world, only Vietnam and China have star anise products.


Buying star anise

In Vietnam, the province that grows the most wholesale star anise is Lang Son, accounting for 70-75% of the total star anise growing area in the country, equal to 40,000 hectares. The annual output of star anise in Lang Son is about 7-10 thousand tons. Some other areas where star anise is grown are located in Bac Kan, Cao Bang and Quang Ninh. But the essential oil content of star anise in these regions is not as much as star anise in Lang Son.

5 facts you should know when buying star anise

Star anise is a common spice in a wide range of dishes in Asia. Here are a few tips you should know to choose the right star anise for your demand!

Spring star anise vs Autumn star anise

There are two main star anise crops in a year: Spring crop and Autumn crop. Star anises in the two crops are also different in shape and taste. Below is a table that compares the spring star anise vs autumn star anise:

Crop Time to harvest Description Price
Spring star anise From January to April Spring star anise is 2cm in diameter, which is smaller

than the Autumn star anise. But the essential oil content in the spring star anise is higher than that in the autumn star anise.

FOB Hai Phong: 7500 – 8000 USD/ton

(Price in Dec 2022)

Autumn star anise From June to October Autumn star anise looks more beautiful, with a flower diameter is about 2.5cm. But the essential oil content is lower than the spring star anise FOB Hai Phong: 8000  – 8500 USD/ton

(Price in Dec 2022)

Criteria to evaluate the quality and price

When buying star anise, the below criteria for classifying and evaluating star anise quality include:

  • Essential oil content: Just like cinnamon and pepper, star anise with a higher essential oil content will be more valuable and more expensive. When purchasing star anise, you should note that the essential oil content is as follows:
    • In fresh fruit is 1.2-2.61% by weight
    • In dried fruit is 7.69-12.24% by weight
    • The amount of essential oil in the leaves is 1.29-3.66%.
  • Size: Star anise that has a larger diameter of petals and more beautiful points are more expensive. Normally, the spring star anise is 2cm in diameter and the autumn star anise is 2.5 cm in diameter. Since the size of the autumn star anise is bigger, it has a higher price.

Spring vs Autumn star anise

  • Broken rate: Lower broken rate, higher price. Usually, the standard broken rate for star anise is 5%, depending on the customer’s request or budget, this rate can be changed to fit the customer’s requirement of buying star anise.
  • Moisture: Every agricultural product requires standard moisture. For buying star anise in bulk, the commonly accepted moisture content is about 12-14% max.
  • Foreign matters: The standard foreign matters in star anise usually do not exceed 1%.
  • Package: When buying star anise, the goods are normally packed in a 10kg/20kg carton box.

Vietnamese star anise and Chinese star anise

Star anise is a native plant of Vietnam. Therefore, only Vietnam and China have high-quality star anise in the world. Vietnam and China have the same star anise variety called Illicium verum. In Vietnam, Lang Son province is the place that can supply star anise with the largest quantity and the best quality. Besides Lang Son, some places have star anises such as Cao Bang, Quang Ninh, and Bac Kan, but the quality of star anise is not as good as Lang Son star anise. But it is still higher than the quality of star anise in China since Chinese star anise has a lower essential oil content. For that reason, the price of star anise in Vietnam will basically be higher than that of star anise in China.

The FOB price of star anise in Vietnam is starting from 7000 USD/ton (price in Dec 2022). To get the newest price, call K-Agriculture Factory on WhatsApp: +84 84 4444 867 for more information.

Vietnamese star anise and Japanese star anise

Because of their similar exterior shapes, Japanese and Vietnamese star anise are sometimes confused. Illicium verum, sometimes known as Vietnamese/Chinese star anise, is primarily grown in northern Vietnam and southern China. Shikimi is the Japanese name for the illicium anisatum, also known as Japanese star anise, which is grown in Taiwan, Korea, and Japan.


Japanese vs Chinese star anise

The below table indicates some differences between Vietnamese star anise and Japanese star anise which can help you distinguish those two types:

Vietnamese star anise Japanese star anise
Height of the tree 15 metres max 6 metres max
Shape of the leaves leathery, lance to oval-shaped leaves with tapering points that are grouped in groups of three to six slender, oval-shaped leaves that are about 5cm long and 2cm wide
Flowers small flowers in light yellow-green or pink-red colour little cream to light yellow-green flowers
Fruits bigger, spicier and pungent aroma smaller, the aroma is light, mild and weak
Usages in daily life can be used in cooking and medicine can be used in medicine and religion

Fake star anise and real star anise

The strong demand for star anise has led to the emergence of several varieties of “fake star anise” on the market. Therefore, there is a good probability that you may import star anise with fake quality if you don’t examine it attentively.

Due to their similar look, most people frequently confuse fake star anise, also known as mangcao, with the real thing. In order to get unfair benefits and mislead buyers, some dishonest sellers took advantage of this business opportunity by posing as an octagon for sale and employing mangcao. But mangcao is more affordable than star anise, and this imitation star anise is also poisonous, thus consuming it could be very bad for a person’s health. Here are 3 signs to distinguish:

Shape: The imitation star anise, especially mangcao, frequently has between 10 and 13 horns, and the tops of its feet bend. Real star anise is fatter and has fewer horns than false star anise; it can have anywhere between 7 and 10 horns, with 8 being the most common form. In contrast to the relatively flat corners of the real star anise, the corners of the fake star anise are upturned, like an eagle hook. Additionally, the real star anise has longer, bent stalks, as opposed to the shorter, straighter, slightly, curled stalks of the fake variety.


Fake star anise vs Real star anise

Taste: Spices like star anise have a strong, natural perfume and a noticeable sweetness, but fake star anise lacks this type of authentic aroma. The flavour of the artificial star anise is sour and disagreeable. In all honesty, phony star anise is believed to smell like camphor or toilet water.

Color: The hue of the star anise is another characteristic that can be used to distinguish it from imitations. True star anise has a brown-red tint or a vivid crimson, whereas fake star anise is generally khaki, frequently lighter with an earthy-yellow tone. When you place them side by side, it is clear which one is genuine star anise and which is fake.

A good place for buying star anise

K-Agriculture is proud to be one of the top star anise brands that supply the finest quality star anise. We are providing:

  • Spring star anise stem
  • Spring star anise stemless
  • Autumn star anise stem
  • Autumn star anise stemless

K-Agriculture is a good place to supply star anise worldwide

Being a giant in trading star anise products internationally in Vietnam – the biggest Vietnamese star anise exporter since 1996, K-agriculture is proud to bring buyers broken cinnamon with uniform quality standards and affordable prices.

We get our star anise from farms in Lang Son province The most discerning customer can be satisfied by the high oil content, powerful smell, and spicy flavour of our star anise. Our star anise price is starting from 7500 USD/ton

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    About author Camila Nguyen

    She has 13 years experience in connecting B2B customers around the world and provide best-quality agricultural products from Vietnam to them. She would love to share her knowledge about agricultural products through the blogs. You can contact her on Whatsapp via number: +84 84 4444 867 to get the free consultancy

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