Frequently Asked Questions
Why did we make the switch from glass jars to tin packaging?
Our decision came down to four main factors - environmental impact of production, transportation, usage benefits, and recyclability.
- Environmental Impact:
We are sourcing materials produced in lower impact ways that minimize waste and materials used. We sourced producers for the tins that specifically use ethical labor practices, such as fair wages & safe places to work.
While glass is definitely reusable, it is hard to recycle! Tins can be recycled and reused infinitely without being downgraded. Our tins are made from 100% recycled aluminum.
Aluminum is lighter and can be packed together more tightly- which means cheaper to transport and more durable, ultimately saving on shipping costs and emissions!
We've wanted to move our production to India for a long time to create good jobs and move our operations closer to the source. So this allows us to do that! Once a spice is harvested, it is packed and sealed at the earliest possible date to retain maximum freshness! Tins are also compact, stackable and lightweight! Meaning they'll look super cute in your kitchens and help save that precious cabinet space!
What does sustainability mean to us?
First and foremost, this is a learning process for us as well! We're constantly in the cycle of research > implementation > feedback > repeat!
For us, sustainability means sourcing materials that are produced in lower impact ways with ethical labor practices (fair wages, safe places to work) and minimizing waste.
We wanted to create packaging that could continue to be reused or recycled. Our focus is the entire life cycle of a product, not just the part that we're responsible for!
How is the new packaging “sustainable”?
We're going to break down how the new packaging is more sustainable in three key areas: production, distribution, and disposal.
Production: We are using recycled aluminum for our tins. Recycled aluminum requires 95% less energy to produce & produces 95% fewer greenhouse gasses than virgin aluminum (source). In comparison to glass, recycled aluminum is 85-90% less energy intensive (source). We've worked closely with our new copacker in India, where the team is focused on minimizing waste during the production process.
Distribution: Lighter packaging means lower emissions during transportation. Tins are lighter than glass and require smaller/ lighter shipping boxes - average 60% less weight! We've estimated 60% fewer carbon emissions in shipping spices from our warehouse to your door (source). Our cardboard box partner uses and generates their own 100% recycled materials and we're using recyclable paper-based tape!
Disposal: Aluminum tins are reusable and easier to recycle in comparison to glass. Only an estimated 31-33% of glass containers are collected for recycling, and not all of that collected glass is actually recycled (source, source). An estimated 50-55% of aluminum cans are collected for recycling (source, source) and 75-89% of US recycling facilities accept aluminum food/ beverage containers (source, as of 2021). Plus the tins are reusable in your own homes!
How do I recycle Diaspora Co. tins?
Recycling will depend on your state's rules and regulations, but generally the majority of our packaging is home-recyclable:
- Tins are made of aluminum and recyclable but must be rinsed before putting in recycling bins (must be free of food residue)
- Shipping box and tape is also recyclable in cardboard/paper bins
- Labels, neckband are not recyclable and must be removed and put in the garbage
There are many ways to reuse the tins in your home too! You can refill the with spices you already have, or use them store pills/ vitamins, toothpicks, matches, secret messages, or some magical herbs ;) Share with us how you reuse your tins on Instagram!
How will the new tins fit into the Masala Dabba?
Sadly, they won't - this is a tradeoff we had to make for all of the other advantages. Luckily, our Katoris fit perfectly into the Masala Dabba, so all you have to do is empty the tins to the Katoris and you're all set! Or if you don't have our Katori set, our old spice jars still fit perfectly into the dabba - simply empty the spices from the tins.
How are the spices stored in the tins?
The spices are stored directly in the tin. The tin is heat sealed with a food-grade foil seal beneath the lid, and a plastic neckband around the top of the lid to keep your spices completely fresh and safe!
Will you offer refill bags/ options in the future?
Unfortunately, we will not be offering refill bags - there just hasn't been enough demand for them as we would have liked and hoped for. This could potentially change in the future depending on the demand, so feedback is always welcome!
What are the dimensions of your tins?
- Base tins:
- Approximately 1.75in x 1.75in x 2.75in
- OR: 4.4cm x 4.4cm x 7.1cm
- Baby tin (Kashmiri saffron only):
- Approximately 1.75in x 1.75in x 1.38in
- OR 4.4cm x 4.4cm x 3.6cm
- Chef tins:
- Approximately 1.75in x 3.38in x 5.38in
- OR 4.4cm x 8.6cm x 14.3cm
How much does shipping cost?
Domestic US Economy Shipping is $9 flat rate for orders under $70, and free for orders over $70! Standard shipping is $14, and Expedited is $40.
International Shipping costs depend on the weight of the order, and the shipping tier selected. Most international shipping costs around $20.
In order to make everything work with the launch of our new tins, we've had to raise our flat shipping cost from $8 to $9. As you can imagine, shipping is expensive! Especially in a world where the cost of all goods is rising. We're very excited to lower the cost of an individual unit of spice but, in order to prevent ourselves from continuously losing money on shipping, we needed to raise the flat rate cost. That being said, orders over $70 still ship for free!
How long does shipping take?
The shipping times listed are the time it takes an order to be delivered from the day it is shipped, not from the day it is ordered. If you place an order later in the day, it will usually ship out the next day, so the shipping time starts after that.
Economy shipping is sent via USPS and can take 8-10 days to arrive, and Standard & Expedited are sent via FedEx or UPS. Standard shipping take 6-8 days and Expedited takes 1-2 days.
International shipping is usually sent via DHL, and can take 8-21 days to arrive.
Do you ship internationally?
We ship to Canada, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and the EU!
Currently, we are not able to ship to the UK due to VAT restrictions, but we are actively working on this, and hope to be able to ship to our UK friends later in 2023!
Customs & duties are calculated and applied at checkout to avoid orders being held at customs.
Can I change my shipping address?
Yes! Shoot us an email with your new shipping address, and as long as the shipping label has not been printed yet, we’ll change it!
If the order has already shipped, we cannot change the shipping address en route. If your order goes to an incorrect address or is returned to sender, we can resend the order to you, but you are responsible for covering the shipping costs of having it resent.
Can I change my billing address?
If you entered the wrong billing address, as long as the payment was processed, it’s usually not an issue. If it does actually charge the wrong person, let us know, and we can refund the order to that person and send you an invoice
Can I add a gift note?
Yes! Gift notes are added at the time of checkout and are included on our packing slips. If you need to edit your gift message or want to check what it says, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
This order is a gift, can you leave out price info?
We don't include prices on our packing slips so you're all good!
Can I modify my order?
Yes, just shoot us an email at email@example.com and as long as the shipping label for the order has not been printed we can update the order :)
Can I cancel my order?
As long as the shipping label for the order hasn't been printed, you can cancel an order.
Once the shipping label has already been printed, we cannot cancel an order. However, we can send you a return label to send the order back to us, we just ask that you cover the cost of shipping, and then we'll refund you for the cost of the order.
My package was marked as delivered, but never showed up. What do I do?
Usually, your package will show up within a few days to a week. Sometimes shipping carriers will mark packages as delivered a day or so before they actually are in order to meet quotas, so consider it a delivery window and keep an eye out for the delivery! Once the package has left our warehouse, the carrier is responsible for your package and delivery. If it has not shown up after 5 business days of being marked delivered, we'll resend it to you!
If your order is lost, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will resend it to you! If your order is lost because you entered the wrong shipping address, however, you are responsible for covering the shipping costs of having it resent.
My order is missing an item/I received the wrong item, help!
Sorry to hear that! Shoot us an email at email@example.com, and we can resend missing items to you at no further cost, or refund you for them :)
The tracking hasn't updated on my order, help!
If you just received a shipping notification email, the tracking may not be working yet. It usually takes a day before it starts updating.
If your tracking never started working, or started and has not updated in a long time, let us know and we will look into it. There have been lots of delays with packages, and usually the packages will arrive, it just might take some time :) If your tracking has not updated in 2 weeks, then we will resend the package to you. If your order is international, we will resend your package if it has not updated in 30 days.
Do you offer gift cards?
Yes! We have digital gift cards you can buy for varying amounts, that you can purchase here for yourself or for a friend to spread the spice joy!
Spice Care & Questions
Are all your spices organic?
Yes! All our spices are 100% pesticide and chemical free (we lab test every harvest!), and all our partners are regenerative and natural farmers dedicated to taking care of their land and soil, but the organic certs in India are VERY expensive, and a 4 year process. So whilst some of our farm partners are in the process of being certified, many do not feel it is worth the cost, and that given that their product is the highest quality, they shouldn't need to pay a Western certifying body to tell them that!
Are the spices gluten free?
They are! The only spices with extra ingredients are the ground Guntur Sannam Chillies, which contain salt and sesame oil. We’re very careful during the milling process (for turmeric and chillies) to ensure that the spices don’t come into contact with any other spices that might be contaminated with pesticides, other spices, or other ingredients.
Is the turmeric lead-free?
Harmful levels of lead contamination are between 28-52ppm, while our turmeric has a tested lead content of 0.184ppm, which is similar to the amount you'd find in your own body, and therefore completely safe! You can check out our most recent test results for lead here!
What is the best way to store the spices?
Store them in an airtight container in a dark, dry place. Do not store spices in direct sunlight, as this will shorten their shelf life.
When do the spices expire/how long do they last?
Most of the spices are good 2 years from the mill date, which is listed on the harvest label sticker on the jar or bag. That being said, our spices are extremely potent and fresh as we take incredible care to source yearly and aim for quality, so 2 years is our most conservative guideline, compared to most spices in the grocery store which are often 5-10 years old upon purchase.
What does the best by date mean?
The best by date is when the spices stop remaining at peak, peak freshness — our absolute, most conservative guideline for max potency. It is 2 years from the mill date for most ground spices, and 3 years from the harvest date for whole spices. The spices do not go bad after this date, and will still be fresher than anything you can get at the grocery store!
What pepper grinders do you recommend?
We’ve spent a lot of time grinding pepper, and these are our top 4 favorites!
1. Männkitchen: very expensive, but comes with 5 year guarantee, and super high quality. Use the discount code DIASPORA for 10% off your order!
2. Unicorn Pepper Mill: affordable, but hard to find anywhere except Amazon
3. Vipp: smaller than the Unicorn, a little more expensive, a solid third
I’m not sure how to grind or process the spices, help!
For whole spices, you can use them whole or ground, depending on the needs of the recipe.
For general spice grinding, you can use a mortar and pestle, or you can an electric grinder such as the Krups coffee & spice grinder, which truly lasts forever.
What is tadka?
If you love spices and want to unlock their full flavor potential - that’s where “tadka” comes in. “Tadka” is the technique in which whole or ground spices are roasted in oil or ghee (clarified butter) in order to release their essential oils, in order to make the flavor more aromatic. Tadkas are perfect to round out your dal, stews, veggies, rice, and more.
Returns & Exchanges
At Diaspora Co., our goal is to provide our customers with the highest quality of goods. We want you to be happy with your spices, so we strive to make sure our return policies reflect that.
If you’re not happy with your order, email us within 30 days of receiving the order, and we will refund it. We can accept returns of unopened, unused spices; however, we cannot accept returns of any opened spices because of our food safety and sanitary protocols.
To return a non-food item (masala dabbas, sweatsuits, tadka spoons, totes, dishtowels), email us within 30 days of receiving it and we’ll email you a return label.
You are responsible for the shipping costs of returning the item. Please let us know the reason you are returning it, for our records. We are unable to offer refunds for items that are returned to us in anything less than like-new condition.
Sweatsuit Exchange Policy
If you would like to exchange your sweatsuit size for a better size, please email us within 30 days of receiving your order, and we will email you a return label to send back the incorrect size.
Shipping for exchanges is free. Any duties & taxes owed for international orders however, are the responsibility of the customer.
Do you sell wholesale?
How can I be a wholesaler?
Fill out our wholesale interest form here. This has prewritten questions that you can respond to that will give us a better idea on how we can potentially work together!
What are the dimensions of the Tadka Spoon?
Length: 14.9 in
- Cup: 2.17 in x 5.12 in
What is the Tadka Spoon made out of?
Tiipoi uses materials that can be recycled easily in one piece, which is why our Tiipoi x Diaspora Co Tadka Spoon is made completely out of iron sheets and can be used the same way as mini cast iron pan. When it comes to the end of its life, it will be able to be melted and re-used or returned to the earth.
Is the Tadka Spoon compatible on an induction stove?
Since the Tadka Spoon has a flattened bottom, you can use it on any stove, even induction and especially in the oven! The Tadka Spoon works best on a gas stove but is induction stove compatible, depending on your personal stove.
What heat setting should I use with my Tadka Spoon?
Heat your spoon over a low flame and add a little bit of fat - either a generous spoonful of ghee, a little bit of oil or both. This helps the pan heat evenly. Allow the oil to heat up before introducing the spices. The spices need to sizzle as soon as it is added to the oil. When your spices are ready, you want to be quick to turn off the heat and add your fresh finished Tadka over your bowl of dal, rice, chutney - the options are truly endless!
Do I need to pre-season my Tadka Spoon?
No! It comes pre-seasoned with either coconut or sesame oil. However, you will want to season it occasionally just like a cast iron pan, especially if it shows wear or starts to rust from being left with water. You can season with a neutral oil like flaxseed.
How do I care for and clean my Tadka Spoon?
To keep your Tadka spoon in really pristine condition, you can care for it, the way you’d any cast iron pan.
The first thing you want to do is wipe down the excess fat from the spoon with a thick paper towel. If you’re doing a quick Tadka or frying an egg, this is all you’d need to do! You do not want to over scrub your Tadka spoon either!
But for when your spoon does need more TLC, you have to wash it by hand. The dishwasher is a big no-no!
Never use cold water to clean the spoon - always make sure to use boiling hot water. You can scrub those stubborn food bits by scrubbing with coarse kosher salt and a stiff plastic brush.
You want to dry it immediately after washing to get out any excess moisture and prevent rust. You can then wipe it down with a dish towel and put it on low heat to make sure all the water has evaporated.
Care video here!
What should I not do with my Tadka Spoon?
Our Tadka Spoon is really good at retaining heat, so handle carefully! It’s best to avoid touching the bowl of the spoon entirely. Your spoon has an extra long handle to keep your fingers safe and cool. After cooking, do not let food stay in the spoon for too long - it's best to remove any food from the spoon immediately after cooking and before the food cools. Ensure not to leave your Tadka Spoon in your sink overnight!
What do I do if my Tadka Spoon starts to rust?
If your Tadka Spoon starts to rust- don’t fear! This is normal with products that are made from iron. Usually your spoon can begin to show signs of rust if water was left on it after cleaning or if not enough oil used when cooking. If your spoon starts to rust, you treat it similar to a cast iron pan!
Gently scrub off any rust with salt and a vegetable scrubber.
Then using a paper towel, coat it with a neutral oil, like flaxseed.
Pop it in the oven for 1-2 hours at a low temperature.
The next time you use the spoon, make sure there is enough oil while you’re cooking and the coat will return to its original glory.
Repeat this process as needed!
What is a Masala Dabba?
A Masala Dabba is the way most people in South Asia store their spices! You’ll find it in every South Asian kitchen! Think of the seven spices you grab most in your kitchen while cooking - this could be cumin, your favorite chilli, turmeric, black pepper - as the spices you store in your dabba! Masala dabbas come in all shapes, sizes and materials - we were especially excited to team with Tiipoi for our version! This is a beautiful heirloom piece that can be passed down for generations from one kitchen to the next.
What are the dimensions of the Masala Dabba?
Diameter: 7.42 in or 188.4 mm
- Height: 3.09 in or 78.4 mm
What’s the best way to store my Masala Dabba?
The best way to use the dabba is to have the spices in katoris, or with all the lids open, all the spoons in and ready to throw spices into a pan! The smells will get mixed over time, so if you find yourself not using the spices in the dabba as often, then it's good to store them in jars with lids instead to retain max oil content and freshness.
How can I get my Masala Dabba engraved?
Congratulations! You're the owner of a beautiful Dasala Dabba! To help you take your dabba to the next level, we have partnered with several engravers across the nation to customize your dabba in the signature Diaspora font. Email any of the engravers in the list below asking for the "Diaspora engraving", along with:
The exact text you want engraved. Most engravers can accommodate special characters (e.g. hearts, ampersands). Currently we only offer engravings using the English alphabet due to font limitations
Your mailing address
The engraver will get back to you to confirm the engraving text and cost and share their mailing address where you can send your dabba lid. We recommend you send only the lid to minimize shipping costs. The engraver will invoice you for the engraving and send back your lid once the engraving is complete. From there - share photos with us and enjoy your personalized dabba!
|Heirloom Engravers||San Francisco, CA||$2.00/letter, $20 minimum||Wade Dickinsonfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Engrave Detail||Grandville, MI||$12 for 12 characters, $0.50 for additional characters||Amy Ericksonemail@example.com|
|Charleston Engravers||Charleston, SC||$15 flat fee||Johnfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Beach Engraving||Virginia Beach, VA||$30 flat fee||Brandonemail@example.com|
*If you would like to find an engraver closer to you, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can tell you what questions to ask them! The ones above have been thoroughly vetted though, so we recommend choosing one of them.
How should I clean and care for my Masala Dabba?
Your dabba is made from brass, an alloy of copper and zinc. Like copper, brass is a living metal which develops a patina over time giving it a warmer tone with use. Some people like this aged look, while some prefer to keep it shiny and bright! Clean the dabba as and when you need to, or as a nice seasonal ritual, it's up to you!
Just like you season a cast iron pan, begin your relationship with your dabba by rubbing all over with a little coconut oil and then wipe down with a clean towel to create a protective coating. This will help prevent stains from fingerprints or food touching it, and help it patina more beautifully and evenly.
To clean your patinated dabba:
1. Make a paste of flour and white vinegar (no special ratio, you're just creating a carrier paste for the acid which helps remove the tarnish).
2. Scrub the paste onto the dabba with a soft brush, like our favorite vegetable scrubber or toothbrush. Do not use any kind of steel wool/metal scrubber!
3. Once the stain is removed, rinse with warm water and wipe dry. You may have to do this twice for tougher stains.
4. Finally, rub all over with coconut oil to seal, and wipe off with a soft towel for a smooth shine!
Note: You can also use Brasso or Flitz powder if this is process does not work.
You can also check out this process step-by-step on the diasporaco instagram!
How often should I clean my Masala Dabba?
This will depend on you and your location! If you like the natural patina formed by the brass, you can clean your dabba less often. If you are in a humid location, then you will have to clean your dabba more often. We recommend once every three months!
I’ve developed some coloration on my Masala Dabba, what do I do?
Because brass is an alloy of copper and tin, it does develop a patina over time, as it’s exposed to moisture and touch. So the more you use your Dabba, the more you might realize that it needs some TLC every now and then. Just like you season a cast iron pan, you need to begin by rubbing some coconut oil on the Dabba and wiping it down with a clean towel to create a layer of protective coating between the outside and the Dabba.
To clean your patinated Dabba, we recommend using Flitz - it’s a chemical cleaning paste that is USDA certified Food Safe. If you would like to use a more natural cleaning method, you can also use our flour & vinegar method.
Dabbas might also arrive to you with what looks like slight discoloration- this is actually just a by product of having a handmade item!
What are Katoris?
Katoris are the small spice jars made out of hand spun brass to fit perfectly in your Masala Dabba. It makes for an essential in most Indian households where each family puts spices they use most frequently and according to their taste preferences.
What are the dimensions of a single Katori?
- Diameter: 2.33 in
- Height: 2.75 in
What are the dimensions of the Roshni Mortar & Pestle?
- Mortar Diameter: 6"
- Mortar Height: 3.25"
- Pestle Length: 6.9"
What is the Roshni Mortar & Pestle made of?
It is made of Kansa bronze - a 4:1 ration of tin to copper - the purest form of bronze.
Where should I store my Roshni Mortar & Pestle?
You can keep it on your kitchen counter (preferably in a cool & dry place to avoid tarnish).
What can I use my Roshni Mortar & Pestle for?
You can use it to grind spices, make ginger garlic paste, and even crack your Anamalai nutmeg! However, we do recommend not leaving acidic ingredients, like vinegar or lemon juice, in your mortar & pestle for too long as they may cause stains.
Can there be variations in Roshni Mortar & Pestle coloration?
Yes, the pestle is a little lighter in color when compared to the mortar because the composition of copper is higher in the pestle to ensure that it doesn’t break easily.
How do I clean my Roshni Mortar & Pestle?
Kansa bronze is made by melting tin and copper together. Bronze can be fragile, so the pestle has a higher tin ratio so it is stronger and won't break if it falls.
To avoid tarnishing over time and to help maintain its original shine, you can either:
- Make a paste with flour and vinegar, apply it on the mortar & pestle, and wash it off.
- Use Flitz or Pitambari for stronger tarnishing! View our cleaning video for our Masala Dabba for more deets!
How often should I clean my Roshni Mortar & Pestle?
It absolutely depends on your personal preference. If you feel like your mortar & pestle is looking a little oxidized, you can always use Flitz Metal Polish to retain the shine!