By David St John
Updated February 12, 2024

Mastic nuggets vs. droplets: what’s the difference?

A guide to Greco Gum mastic for the discerning customer.

Which one is right for you? Photo by Greco Gum.

One of the most-asked questions from prospective first time Greco Gum chewers is which of the two sizes of mastic gum pieces they should choose, the popular smaller “droplets”, or the larger, rarer, and highly desired “nuggets”.

Woman holding mastic droplet in thumb and forefinger
Does size really matter? Photo by Greco Gum.

The short answer to this is, it boils down to personal preference, so pick up one of each and discover which one you like best.

The long answer is, although neither one is clearly “better” than the other, some benefits are stronger in the droplets, others stronger in the nuggets. Let’s look at each in turn.

The difference between nuggets and droplets

The first thing to know is that mastic gum is hardened resin that “weeps” from a small incision made on the trunk or branches of the rare and precious mastic tree, which grows only on the island of Chios in Greece.

Mastic resin on a tree
The fabled Tears of Chios, dreaming of someday becoming Greco Gum. Photo by Esin Deniz.

The size of the tears is determined by where on the tree a grower makes the incision. Cuts on the trunk will result in a heavier flow of sap, due partly to the force of gravity, and partly to the fact that there’s simply more sap to be found there. These big blobs become what we call “nuggets”.

Incisions made higher up, on the branches of the tree, where the sap flows less vigorously, will result in more delicate tears, which dry into what we call “droplets”.

The result is a whole lot of little droplets, and comparatively fewer large nuggets. Also, the nuggets do require a bit more preparation before they’re ready for the market, as they need cleaning to remove bits of bark and soil (some tears fall to the ground before they can be harvested), and polished to give them that jewel-like appearance that nugget aficionados have come to love.

Rare and rarer

While we do our best to ensure a steady supply of both nuggets and droplets, the thing to understand is that mastic gum itself is quite a rare commodity, especially when our standards for what we bring to market are so high. We offer only the very highest quality tears, from growers with whom we have built a relationship of trust over many years.

What this means to you the chewer is that sometimes there is simply no gum to be had for love or money. Of the entire harvest of mastic gum per year only 10-15% of it is nuggets or large pieces. The rest of the harvest is droplets or small pieces.

The extra rarity of the nuggets, and the extra care and preparation that goes into getting them into the tin means that we have to offer them at a higher price. And STILL they sell out within days (sometimes even hours) of coming online.

If you are (or intend to be) a nugget fan, we strongly suggest you join our email list, and follow Greco Gum’s Instagram and X. We’ll give you plenty of advance notice so you’ll never miss a nugget drop.

Desk with laptop and almost-empty tin of Greco Gum
Keeping a stock of nuggets: the struggle is real. Photo by David St John.

Other differences

So aside from size and rarity, and a slightly different price point, what are the differences and relative advantages of droplets and nuggets?


If you’ve never tried Greco Gum, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by its subtle yet distinctive flavor. Most of our fans rave about the clean, fresh, naturally earthy evergreen taste. For some (particularly those whose only experience with gum is sickly-sweet artificially flavored plastic grocery store crap), it was an acquired taste, but definitely one worth acquiring.

That said, you may notice a slight difference in flavor between the small droplets and the big nuggets. Perhaps due to their origin on the branches of the tree, the droplets are reported by some people to have a bit more assertive initial flavor, while the nuggets seem a bit more mild from the start.

The taste of both nuggets and droplets mellow out after a few minutes, and the flavor remains consistent even after hours, days, and even weeks (no kidding!) of chewing. For more on the taste of mastic gum, check out this post.

Tin of Greco Gum on the ground with leaves in foreground
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the fresh, earthy, evergreen flavor. Photo by Greco Gum.


Again due to their positions on the tree, droplets and nuggets have a slightly different texture profile. Swiftly and thoroughly dried by both the brilliant sun and persistent sea breezes while still on the tree branches, the droplets are harder and drier to begin with, and on first bite they tend to crunch into smaller fragments, which then, warmed by your mouth, soften into a stiff wad that maintains its resilient consistency for a long, long time.

Nuggets are harvested from the trunk, and their larger size means they retain more moisture, for a crisp outer surface and a chewy center. They are quicker to soften into a wad of gum than their little droplet siblings, and so may be a good choice for first-time chewers.

Jawline training strategy

If, like most of our ardent fans, your primary goal in obtaining Greco Gum is to maximize the shape and size of your jawline, a good strategy would be to pick up a tin (or two) of each, nuggets and droplets. Start out with one or two nuggets, then as your gum gets easier to chew, stiffen it up with a judicious addition of a couple droplets. With the smaller droplets, it’s easy to find just the right resistance level, without adding a lot of volume to the size of the wad.

With time a seasoned chewer will inevitably chew only droplets since it offers the greatest level of resistance.


A small pile of eight to ten droplets is about the same amount by weight as one or two large nuggets, though the droplets “seem” like more. Also it’s easier to pick those two nuggets out of the tin rather than to grab a few pinches, or shake the droplets out into your hand.

This convenience factor has other uses as well. I am a Greco Gum evangelist: I carry around a tin wherever I go, and when the conversation turns to my distinguished, heroically chiselled jawline (as it inevitably does), I am quick to whip out the little blue tin containing my secret weapon, and offer my interlocutor a free sample.

Obviously, this is much more neatly and suavely done in the form of handing over one or two nuggets, rather than trying to shake out the equivalent amount of droplets into the other person’s palm.

Taking a nugget from the tin
Nuggets make handing out samples a lot more convenient. Photo by Greco Gum.


Coming full circle, let us reiterate that there really is no “best” in the contest of nuggets vs. droplets. Best would be to pick up a tin of droplets AND a tin of nuggets (if they haven’t already sold out), so that you will be adequately equipped for every possible mastic gum eventuality, from taste and texture, to jawline training progression, to going on the road as an evangelist yourself, spreading the gospel of mastic seduction.

This article originally appeared online in 2024; it was most recently updated on February 12, 2024, to include current information.


David St John

David St John has been a soldier, teacher, fitness coach, consultant, wilderness instructor, and an award-winning copywriter; equally at home in the jungles of Burma and Sumatra, and the corporate jungles of Singapore and Osaka.