Stumbling upon mentions of Grains of Paradise, I got curious and ordered some. But what I got hardly does anything.
Sampling the grains straight there is prominent heat, maybe one quarter as strong as black pepper, also clear floral notes and some woodiness. Yet after using them hot or cold, raw or toasted, nothing but bitterness seems to remain in the product, which quickly gets unpleasant with liberal amounts.
I also read around, and a single article among several did allow that you need to use a bit more. But if this is the stuff they had before the sea route to india, saving money over pepper seems unlikely. Admittedly the offering was labeled "trial price", but so were the green peppercorns I ordered at the same time and those are fine -- at least I wasn't scammed.
So either the medievals used Guinea pepper to have some spice without expecting it to be like pepper, or I got a second-rate batch. How strong and how aromatic is it supposed to be?