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Discount Vanilla Beans - Good Information


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#1 CaliPoutine

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 08:36 AM

I just ordered a 1/4lb of Tahitian vanilla beans from vanilla beans. I paid 26$, shipping included.

I was amazed at how cheap they are. I did some seaching around and I found another site that sells the same amount for 75$

I'm hoping this wont be a case of caveat emptor.

Any thoughts?

Thanks

#2 Patrick S

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 08:54 AM

Looks like a damn good deal to me. Let me know if you're happy with what you get.

Not to change the subject, but one thing I never understood is the price differences between vanilla beans and vanilla bean paste. A bottle of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon bean paste is 4 fluid ozs for $17. Since 1Tb of paste is equal to 1 bean, the 4oz bottle is equivalent to 8 vanilla beans. Yet NM sells 2 beans for like $13, or about $52 for the equivalent of a 4oz bottle of paste.
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#3 CaliPoutine

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 09:05 AM

Looks like a damn good deal to me. Let me know if you're happy with what you get.

Not to change the subject, but one thing I never understood is the price differences between vanilla beans and vanilla bean paste. A bottle of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon bean paste is 4 fluid ozs for $17. Since 1Tb of paste is equal to 1 bean, the 4oz bottle is equivalent to 8 vanilla beans. Yet NM sells 2 beans for like $13, or about $52 for the equivalent of a 4oz bottle of paste.

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I bought that paste and Im not that thrilled with it. It just seems weirdly gummy to me( yeah, I know its a paste). I paid 13.99 for it at the spice house. They have wonderful spices too. I bought some fabulous smoked paprika and some grains of paradise.

#4 rickster

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 09:50 AM

I use the Nielsen Massey paste all the time and it's not gummy at all. My bottle is more like a syrup. Can't explain the price difference though.

Edited by rickster, 26 January 2005 - 09:52 AM.


#5 cotovelo

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 10:14 AM

I just ordered a 1/4lb of Tahitian vanilla beans from vanilla beans. I paid 26$, shipping included.

I was amazed at how cheap they are.  I did some seaching around and I found another site that sells the same amount for 75$

I'm hoping this wont be a case of caveat emptor.

Any thoughts?

Thanks

View Post


I just ordered a 1/2 lb from them to try out. That is the cheapest that I have ever seen. My distributor is currently selling Tahitian beans for $89.95 for a 1/2 lb! I hope this is not too good to be true. Thanks for the website.

Chris

#6 Moopheus

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 10:42 AM

Apparently the wholesale import price (the price paid by the importers to their suppliers in the originating countries) has started to drop, but this has only very slowly started to filter through to retail prices, depending on the quality of the beans.
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#7 mklynch

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 10:46 AM

I ordered 1/4# of beans from these folks last fall and they are very nice. I also got an ounce of saffron, and it's the best I've ever had. Great service, I put my order in on a Friday and had the product early the next week.

#8 duckduck

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 11:55 AM

Good to know! Thanks! I've been searching for a less expensive source.
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#9 Bond Girl

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 12:20 PM

Just ordered 1/2 lb of Tahitian Vanilla from them. Keeping my fingers crossed on quality.
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#10 mignardise

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 12:50 PM

I've tried there other extracts from specialty stores, not bad.

#11 Ajl92

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 01:43 PM

I just placed my order for a quarter pound as well. It is almost uncanny that I have known about this site for a while and was thinking about posting for other eGullet members' opinions. I always thought it did look a little too good to be true, but we shall see! Free shipping is another great perk of the site!

#12 Anni

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 03:12 PM

Thanks CaliPoutine, for this web site! I was gearing up to look for an affordable source for Tahitians, so excellent timing! I ordered a 1/4# to try them out. I'm in CA, so hoping for delivery by the end of the week.

#13 CaliPoutine

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 06:47 PM

Thanks CaliPoutine, for this web site! I was gearing up to look for an affordable source for Tahitians, so excellent timing! I ordered a 1/4# to try them out. I'm in CA, so hoping for delivery by the end of the week.

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Ok, well now Id like to know what you all prefer? The tahitian or the Mexican? I read that the Mexican is more of a true vanilla, but Tahitian is what Im most familar with.

What do you all think?

#14 David Lebovitz

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 07:03 AM

I've dealt with them when I lived in SF and they were trustworthy. I get (real) Mexican vanilla from Patricia Rain at www.vanilla.com, which has a lovely aroma, like vanilla ice cream. Her site is really informative as well. I find Tahitian vanilla is a floral and a bit vague-tasting, whereas I much prefer to use Bourbon or Mexican. I find the Tahitian works well with tropical fruits, where you want the vanilla to be more subtle.
The price of vanilla, which went up something like 2000% last year, is dropping a lot this year, back to reasonable levels. So I suspect we'll see a revision of pricing.

#15 Anni

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 10:24 AM

I've always found the tahitians more appealing than bourbons (just MHO). But David makes an interesting point about the different aromas, uses, and flavor pairings for the beans. Now I'm really interested in trying out the true Mexican vanilla beans. Hmmm...

BTW, it's nice to know that the price of beans is dropping back! I was starting to wonder if that was ever going to happen. Although now I'm curious as to what effect the tsunamis in SE Asia have had/will have on vanilla production (and thus, pricing) for the coming couple of years. Anyone have info/thoughts?

#16 glossyp

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 10:50 AM

Thanks CaliPoutine, for this web site! I was gearing up to look for an affordable source for Tahitians, so excellent timing! I ordered a 1/4# to try them out. I'm in CA, so hoping for delivery by the end of the week.

View Post


Ok, well now Id like to know what you all prefer? The tahitian or the Mexican? I read that the Mexican is more of a true vanilla, but Tahitian is what Im most familar with.

What do you all think?

View Post

Has anyone tried the Hawaiian vanilla grown on the Big Island? Jim Reddekopp and his family are the only commercial growers of vanilla in the US and the product is exceptional - it's also pricey. I find it more like the Mexican than the Tahitian. This is the vanilla all the best caliber chefs (well known and otherwise) here in the islands use. Here is a link to their website <a href="http://www.hawaiianv....com/">Hawaiian Vanilla</a>.
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#17 hayasaka.k

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 04:32 PM

$12 S/H to Canada. :sad:
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#18 andiesenji

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 04:56 PM

I make my own vanilla extract and use only the Bourbon for this purpose. The flavor is stronger and "cleaner" or rather has only the vanilla without the floral overtones fo the Tahitian, which I do not care for in the extract. It does have its place, particularly when the bean is infused in milk or cream.
I have tried the Hawaiian vanilla, a friend who lives there send me a couple of beans. It was quite good but in my estimation, did not warrant the increased price over the other types.
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#19 Betts

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 10:46 PM

I've heard Gale Gand recommend mixing Tahitian. Madagascar and Mexican beans when making your own infusion.

#20 Chef Metcalf

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 11:19 PM

I paid 26$, shipping included.


CaliPoutine
How did you get the shipping included in the price...assuming you are getting it shipped to Canada.
Thanks
CM

#21 plunk

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 11:50 PM

Silly question here, what does "Planifolia" indicate?

Hayasaka, where do you live? If you're in greater Vancouver, you can ship to Point Roberts, drive over to pick it up and pay the duty/tax like you normally would. You would save on S/H and the customs brokerage fees that the shipping companies normally charge.

#22 Patrick S

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 07:07 AM

Silly question here, what does "Planifolia" indicate?

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Vanilla planifolia is a Linnean name for a species of vanilla plant. The term planifolia refers to the morphology of the plant leaves -- they are planar, hence planar foliage, hence planifolia. The two other species of Vanilla are V. pompona and V. tahitensis.

Edited by Patrick S, 28 January 2005 - 07:15 AM.

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#23 Patrick S

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 07:14 AM

I found some other interesting information on the different composition of vanilla beans. Apparently Indonesia beans are the most 'potent' in terms of vanillan content, which is by far the major flavor component in vanilla beans, but beans also differ with respect to other flavor/aromatic compounds.

    The fermented fruit contains about 2% vanillin, depending on provenience (México 1.75%, Sri Lanka 1.5%, Indonesia 2.75%); in vanilla pods of exceptionally good quality, the crystallized vanillin may be visible on the surface in the form of tiny white needles (called givre, the French word for “frost”).

Besides vanillin (85% of total volatiles), other important aroma components are p-hydroxybenzaldehyd (up to 9%) and p-hydroxybenzyl methyl ether (1%). Even trace components do significantly improve the flavour; about 130 more compounds have been identified in vanilla extract (phenoles, phenol ether, alcohols, carbonyl compounds, acids, ester, lactones, aliphatic and aromatic carbon hydrates and heterocyclic compounds). Two stereoisomeric vitispiranes (2,10,10-trimethyl-1,6- and methylidene-1-oxaspiro(4,5)dec-7-ene), although only occurring in traces, also influence the aroma.

The quite different fragrance of Tahiti vanilla is due to its additional contents of piperonal (heliotropin, 3,4-dioxymethylenbenzaldehyd) and diacetyl (butandione). Vanillin content is about 1.7%.


Vanilla planifolia
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#24 CaliPoutine

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 07:42 AM

"How did you get the shipping included in the price...assuming you are getting it shipped to Canada"



Hi,

I buck the system and have it shipped to my PO box in Port Huron, MI. I wont declare it when I cross back because its food. Food is tax and duty free.

I usually go to Port Huron once a week and I often do grocery shopping there. Since I'm American, I still have money in US funds. Chicken is so incredibly cheap in MI so I usually bring back a lot of that.

#25 Bond Girl

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 07:46 AM

I prefer different Vanilla for different purposes. For ice cream I prefer the subtle floral tone of the Tahitian vanilla, the same goes for cream infusions like panna cotta or a creme anglais sauce.

Bourbon Vanilla for pies, tarts and cakes that has a dark rich taste like a pecan pie or a flourless chocolate cake.

Last year when using vanilla in savory dishes such as shrimp or cod, I use Mexican vanilla, which stands up to the savory overtones.
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#26 Chef Metcalf

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 05:45 PM

$12 S/H to Canada. :sad:

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But for a quarter lb (40 to 46 beans), including shipping, it still works out to only about a buck a bean Canadian.
I imagine duty etc will be more but I think it will still work out a lot cheaper than the $4-5.00 I'm paying now.
Well, I hope so anyway....I'll post the total cost when it arrives.


cm

#27 CaliPoutine

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 06:38 PM

Do you have to pay duty on food?

#28 plunk

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Posted 29 January 2005 - 12:11 AM

Vanilla planifolia is a Linnean name for a species of vanilla plant. The term planifolia refers to the morphology of the plant leaves -- they are planar, hence planar foliage, hence planifolia. The two other species of Vanilla are V. pompona and V. tahitensis.


Sorry, I should have been more clear with my question. The website has two kinds of vanilla beans that you can order. I'm familiar with vanilla bean type descriptions like Tahitian, Mexican, Bourbon. I've Never seen "Planiforia" used on an online store or on any vanilla products that I've bought so I was wondering what it was like compared to other vanillas that I know.

#29 CanadianBakin'

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Posted 29 January 2005 - 12:28 AM

hayasaka.k - Mailboxes, Etc. is great with getting things from the US. They have a PO address at locations just across the border and will receive even very large items. Then you just have to cross the border, pick up your parcel and head back, of course declaring if needed. Can save a lot of money with shipping although it would probably cost you more than $12 in gas and time for the vanilla beans so it might be worth it just to pay.
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#30 CaliPoutine

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Posted 29 January 2005 - 07:01 AM

I just ordered a 1/4lb of Tahitian vanilla beans from vanilla beans. I paid 26$, shipping included.

I was amazed at how cheap they are.  I did some seaching around and I found another site that sells the same amount for 75$

I'm hoping this wont be a case of caveat emptor.

Any thoughts?

Thanks

View Post



Ok, I went back to this site and now the same amount of beans is 24.75. Whats up with that? Has anyone received their beans yet?