How to Grade Whole Premium Cashews


Cashews may not be graded in the same way elementary school students are, but did you know there is a standardized scale to judge them?  The scale was created so consumers and retailers could distinguish between the different levels of effort and quality put into the growth, harvest, and roasting of the cashews. Whole premium cashews are what we at Caju strive for, and here is why!

Top of the Class – W, S, or B?

For starters, cashews can be referred to as W for whole, S for split, or B for broken.  Yup, it’s that simple!  Just remember:

— W cashews are the most sought after and highest quality because they have not been damaged or split.

— S cashews are cheaper than wholes, and therefore are put into less expensive economy packages.  After roasting, splits tend to be crispier than whole, and are usually preferred for candy bars, pastries, and other baked goods.

— B cashews are not evenly cut down the middle like S’s.  They are the cheaper of the first classification, and are also primarily used in economy packages, recipes, or as a simple garnish.

Make the Grade

The next classification is a number, which refers to the amount of cashews per pound.  For example, a standard grade for a cashew could look like: W 240.   That means it is a whole (W) kernel that would produce 240 cashew kernels per pound.

Key point here:  The fewer cashews per pound, the larger the cashews are.  Therefore, it is preferred to have a lower number per pound for the best cashews.

Pass the Test

 The last classification is based on the coloring of the cashew nut.  What’s your favorite color? In descending order here’s how they rank:

— White kernels have a whitish ivory hue, and lack any dark black or brown spotting, making them the purest of the cashew grades.

— Scorched kernels have a darker reddish coloring than whites — due to overheating during roasting.

— Dessert kernels have been obtained by shelling and peeling the nuts, and have all the characteristics of a regular cashew.  Scorched, discolored speckles, and shriveled kernels are permitted in the dessert schedule.

As you may have guessed, broken kernels are the lowest quality and have little to no taste enjoyed by their high-ranking peers explained above.  Broken kernels actually vary in quality depending on whether or not they were broken naturally (preferred), or after the sieving process.

And the Winner is…

 So, what is the true definition of whole premium cashews?  The ultimate grade for a cashew is a W180; in other words, a white, whole cashew that produces approximately 120-to-180 cashews per pound.  This means, the higher the grade, the healthier the nut, the better the taste, the more nutrition within the nut.

The next time you pick up store brand nuts, remember that they try to pack in lower grade nuts, splits and broken, to reduce costs.  If you want to get the most out of your cashews and give your daily nutrition a large boost, then always be on the lookout for high grade, premium quality organic cashews.  Or skip the grocery lines and just order the best cashews right here around from



To learn more about cashew grading, check out these charts and websites —