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Vanilla Beans: The Topic


torakris
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I vacuum seal mine. I am still using ones I bought 4 years ago on ebay, they are still moist. I've got Tahitian and Mexican, paid about $10/lb at the time.

Lisa - can you describe the differences between Tahitian and Mexican vanilla beans and do you have a preference? I have Tahitian vanilla beans that are wonderful but have never used the Mexican variety.

I know this is going to sound stereotypical, but, Mexican beans are kind of spicy. The flavors are bolder, with an edge sort of like how cinnamon is hot, without being really hot -or cinnamony. Mexican is a good choice when you're using vanilla along with other spice flavors, it stands out more.

Tahitian is a different species, and is more subtle and floral. Tahitian also tends to have a bit more of the red liquorice notes to it -at least when starting a batch of extract. It's good in dishes where it's the only spice, like pots de creme or pastry cream.

The nice thing about the B-grade beans on eBay is that they are cheap enough to try several and maybe share with friends. Or, make big batches of extract to give as gifts for the holidays. The homemade stuff is remarkably better than store-bought.

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I have ordered from beanilla and have been very happy with them. I have also purchased the Costco ones. I just checked and the vials don't say what their origin is but if I recall correctly, they are from Magagascar. They too, are good.

I just got some and they are indeed from Madagascar.

Mark

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  • 9 years later...

I want to hear all about your vanilla bean experiences!

 

I just ran out of beans and before I order my next batch, I would love to hear if you prefer one brand/grower over the competition.

 

In the past, I have always bought bourbon vanilla beans from Neilson Massey. They are easy to come by where I live and reasonably priced (for vanilla anyway).

 

This time, I am considering Valrhona's sister company and their Norohy beans. I have also seen that Kriss Harvey endorses Laie Vanilla company in Hawaii. I would love to try those Hawaii-grown beans, but they would cost me about $40 extra just to ship to Canada, making the substantially more pricey than the local options (Neilson and Norohy).

 

Have you tried all or any of these? Can you detect a difference in the flavor or the quality of the beans? Are there any other options you would recommend. I would love yo hear about it!

 

Christy

- Christy -

Christy's Confections

"My rule is to welcome you with hospitality and to send you away in peace." - The Deserts Fathers

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Posted (edited)

I've ordered from Vanilla Saffron Imports: https://saffron.com/

I've seen a lot of recommendations in other cooking groups for IndriVanilla and their Vanilla Bean Co-Op: https://indrivanilla.com/vanilla-bean-group-faq

SloFood Group: https://www.slofoodgroup.com

and Beanilla, as @ElsieD mentioned 

 

 

 

Edited by blue_dolphin
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Posted (edited)

I have been very pleased with Madagascar beans from SloFood Group: https://www.slofoodgroup.com.  Their prices are better than most, and perhaps 90% of the beans are fatter and more moist than others I have tried.  They also have a substantial variety of vanillas and offer frequent sales.  I looked at the Hawaiian ones Kriss Harvey likes, and the beans look wonderful (at least the ones in the photos, and especially in the photo I saw from Kriss on Instagram).  As far as price goes, the nearest comparison I could do of Laie and Slofoodgroup is 1 oz. of Laie is $50 whereas 2 oz. of Slofood is $30.  Most recently I bought a 4 oz. bag from Slofood for $50, and it contained approximately 20 beans.   Even if a few of the Slofood beans are not as juicy as one wishes, the price difference is substantial.

Edited by Jim D. (log)
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I just received an order from these folks who sell on eBay. They are advertised as Madagascar grade A late 2021 harvest. They are as described, very moist and fresh. I've seen fatter beans, but these are pretty good, considering the price at less than two dollars a bean. I use a half a bean, scraped out, plus some of the scraped pod for a pot of rhubarb w/ strawbs compote, or for a batch of rice pudding.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/325149509480?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2648

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Fiji grow really nice vanilla and I would think the pricing would still be good.

I cannot remember what we have paid in the past.

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Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I am not familiar with most of these suppliers. I love the variety of beans sold by a lot of these websites. I will definitely be ordering a fun variety of beans to try this time around. I am really grateful for all the feedback!

- Christy -

Christy's Confections

"My rule is to welcome you with hospitality and to send you away in peace." - The Deserts Fathers

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