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How Is Caviar Graded?

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How is Caviar Graded?

Caviar is a delicacy that palates worldwide appreciate. This luxurious dish comes in numerous varieties that depend on the type of sturgeon which initially laid the eggs — or roe. Some kinds of caviar ascend above the rest. The most desirable caviar from each variety possesses certain traits that enhance the dining experience. 

At Imperia Caviar, we source and distribute top-tier caviar. As a company at the forefront of caviar production, we understand the nuances that distinguish premier caviar from that of lesser quality. This article will help you understand caviar quality levels and the factors that determine them. 

Caviar Grades

One crucial fact to understand about caviar is that there are different quality levels that make some varieties more desirable and valuable than others. 

Varying quality has led to the establishment of two levels of caviar that you can use to understand the product you are consuming. These levels — which weigh size, firmness, color and taste — are called grades.

Grade 1 caviar is the highest level. This grade consists of the largest, firmest and most delicate eggs. Grade 1 caviar has the most vibrant, distinguishable color and flavor. 

Grade 2 caviar is a modest step down from the top level. These eggs are slightly less firm than grade 1 caviar, so they are less delicate. Grade 2 caviar is also less rich in color and flavor than Grade 1. 

The Makings of Quality Caviar 

There are numerous physical traits to consider when grading caviar. Keep in mind — each type of caviar is unique. While the same characteristics apply to all caviar, the standards vary with each type. For instance, some types of caviar are larger than others, but you can still compare size within a given type. The following characteristics are the most critical to caviar grading. 

The Makings of Quality Caviar


The size of caviar influences its density and texture — two factors that influence how the eggs feel to chew. Larger eggs are more likely to create the desirable popping sensation. Grade 1 caviar will fit the expected size range for its type. Top-rated Beluga eggs, for example, are the size of a pea. 


Hardness also affects the texture and oral sensation. Grade 1 caviar should be hard enough that its consistency is tender but not so hard that it transcends poppiness into chewiness. 


Caviar will taste the best when the sturgeon lays the roe at the ideal point of its life. For example, optimal Ossetra caviar comes from a sturgeon that is between the ages of 12 and 15. 


Sturgeon eggs' colors will change as they age. The ideal color varies with the type of caviar, but each type has a color it must achieve to qualify for Grade 1. For instance, Ossetra caviar is a golden-jade color at its prime maturity. 

Egg Grain Separation

The best caviar lasts through the separation process. Caviar processors use specialized separation equipment that will damage overly delicate roe. Egg grain separation reflects the quality of the caviar and processing tools alike. 


The best caviar comes from fresh eggs, and one way to discern freshness is through aroma. Fresh Grade 1 caviar should smell like ocean water as opposed to a strong fishy scent. 


An egg's exterior should have a shiny, reflective coat to qualify for Grade 1. Lucidity indicates the use of proper storage processes that preserve the caviar's freshness. 


Ideally, caviar should have consistent physical characteristics from egg to egg. Uniformity allows for orderly plating while ensuring consistency from bite to bite. Grade 1 caviar displays uniform physical traits like color and shape. 

Premier Caviar Varieties 

Each type of caviar receives its name from the breed of sturgeon from which it's sourced. The following are some of the highest-quality types of caviar: 

  • Beluga: Rich-tasting caviar known for its dark complexion. 
  • Kaluga: Buttery caviar from the freshwater variant of the Beluga fish.
  • Ossetra: A smaller roe with a golden-jade color and a sea-salt taste. 
  • Sevruga: Small, gray and buttery caviar from either the Sevruga, sterlet or Siberian sturgeon 

Grade 1 Caviar at a Fair Price

Grade 1 caviar is rare and often expensive, but Imperia Caviar is able to deliver premier quality at a reasonable price. 

We keep prices low by selling our caviar directly to you. Other companies charge more for Grade 1 caviar because their roe undergoes more steps between the farm and your table. At Imperia Caviar, we source our roe directly from Grade 1 farms located around the world. Purchasing from the primary source reduces our costs, and we pass the savings on to you. 

When you purchase caviar through us, you can always count on Grade 1 quality. We offer a satisfaction guarantee that ensures we've examined your order to confirm its freshness and quality prior to shipment. 

Explore Our Delectable Caviar 

With Imperia Caviar, the best is within reach. We make it possible to purchase Grade 1 caviar at a reasonable price. One taste is all it takes — shop our caviar to experience the premier quality that has earned us over 2,000 verified five-star reviews. Orders over $300 qualify for free shipping, so place your order with Imperia Caviar today!

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