Learn about our vanilla products
FAQS on our products, where they come from, how to use them, and how to store them.
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GENERAL FACTS ABOUT VANILLA
What is vanilla?
Vanilla is a flavoring derived from the seed pods, also known as beans, of two edible species of orchid; vanilla planifolia and vanilla tahitensis.
What is vanillin?
Vanillin is a chemical compound that is the primary component (out of around 300 components) of the extract of the vanilla bean. Natural vanillin is extracted from vanilla beans and is a warm, amber hue. Synthetic vanillin is usually manufactured from guaiacol or lignin and is devoid of color. Synthetic vanilla does not include the additional 300 flavor components that make natural vanilla flavor rich and complex.
Where is vanilla grown?
Vanilla Tahitensis JB Moore is grown in French Polynesia, of which Tahiti is the largest island. Papua New Guinea vanilla farmers planted both vanilla planifolia and vanilla tahitensis next to each other, so the PNG beans are a hybrid that are thinner and drier like Bourbon beans, but still have the flavor of Tahitian beans. The largest quantity of vanilla planifolia is grown in Mexico and Madagascar (Note the term Bourbon refers not to whiskey, but to the Bourbon Islands of Madagascar, Comoro, Seychelle and Reunion that were named after the Bourbon kings). Increasingly, vanilla planifolia is grown in tropical climates around the globe like Indonesia, India, and Africa
What is the difference between types of vanilla?
Basically, each type of vanilla has a different flavor profile. None is better than another, just different.
Tahitian vanilla, vanilla tahitensis, is a rare luxury. Tahitian vanilla is more plump, moist and sweeter than other beans. Tahitian vanilla is known for it's heady fragrance redolent of ripe cherries, caramel, chocolate, flowers and anise. Tahitian vanilla adds depth and complexity. It brings out other flavors like chocolate and fruit.
Bourbon-Madagascar vanilla, vanilla planifolia, is the most common and accounts for the great majority of vanilla on the market. Sweet with flowery notes and a clean, smooth flavor, this is the flavor most associated with vanilla. This vanilla is best in dishes where vanilla is the predominant flavor.
Mexican vanilla, also vanilla planifolia, is rich, creamy, nutty and has a potent smokiness and spiciness that compliments chocolate, cinnamon and cloves. Avoid Mexican vanilla that doesn’t include vanilla beans as an ingredient, as it may be a cheap, copy-cat, synthetic extract possibly made from tonka beans which contains a toxin called coumarin.
Why is vanilla so expensive?
The short answer is because it is so time- and labor-intensive. It takes about three years just for a young plant to grow and produce fruit. Then after each plant is individually hand-pollinated, it takes another 9 months for the fruit to mature before harvesting. Add several months for the drying and curing process and you get the picture. All of the work is done by hand!
Is vanilla an aphrodisiac?
Vanilla has been considered an aphrodisiac since the Spanish observed Moctezuma’s success with Aztec ladies after consuming a concoction of tlilxochitl and xocolatl (vanilla and chocolate). That was way back around the year 1520 or so, remember?
Where is Tahiti?
What is Monoi and how can I use it?
Heiva Monoï de Tahiti Vanilla is a multi-purpose oil that rehydrates the skin, repairs damaged hair, and can be used as a tanning lotion.
Tahiti has a hot climate and Monoi is always in a liquid state there, but when the temperature drops below 68°F (20°C) it becomes solid. To make it fluid, gently expose it to a heat source (sun, radiator, warm water, etc). The transition from solid to liquid does not affect the Monoi de Tahiti. However, do not expose your oil to a sudden temperature change, like a microwave, that could alter its flavor and aroma.
Following is more information about Monoi...
Regenerate your skin:
• Monoi moisturizes the upper layers of the epidermis in a progressive and sustainable way, and softens the skin.
• Applied to dry or wet skin, Monoi leaves your skin soft, satiny and delicately scented. Used daily, even on the face, it provides natural moisture, instantly penetrating your skin. The hydration lasts 6 hours.
• Monoi is used before and after sun exposure, to nourish your skin, moisturize, soften. It will restructure faster, regenerate efficiently, and therefore facilitates a healthy tan faster.
• By submitting a hydrophobic film on your skin, Monoi protects against cold, sea salt and biting wind, like a second skin!
• During a massage on all or part of the body, a small amount is enough to hydrate the body. Heated in the palms, Monoi is ideal for the driest of the body (elbows, knees, hands, feet), to warm a feverish body, or just for the pleasure of a massage!
• A few drops in your bath Monoi scent that moment of relaxation.
Nourish your hair:
• Monoi repairs and protects dry or damaged hair leaving it soft and silky.
• In daily use on dry ends, Monoi balances the texture of your hair. It is used preventively before a bath, pool or in the sea to protect your hair from chlorine or salt.
• In weekly hair mask on the entire hair, Monoi is a great repair treatment for your hair to regain volume, suppleness and radiance.
Tip: After you apply the oil on your hair, wrap it in a towel and leave it as long as possible (overnight is ideal). Finally wash with a mild shampoo. This is especially recommended after prolonged sun exposure (hair scales are totally open, leaving the Monoi penetrate deep capillary fiber.
Vanilla From Tahiti imports only the highest quality true Tahitian vanilla bean pods (official name: Vanilla X Tahitensis) directly from local partners on the islands of Tahiti. We partner with specialists in the vanilla market to ensure that our extract is 100% pure. Nothing except Tahitian vanilla bean extractives, grain free alcohol (synthetically derived ethanol), and water is included in our extract. That means no fillers, sugars, alternate lesser forms of vanilla, or other extractives. Our extract is safe for people with gluten allergies, as it is grain-free.
Where is your vanilla grown?
Our vanilla is grown on the islands of Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, and Tahaa in French Polynesia.
How are your vanilla beans harvested and cured?
Tahitian beans are harvested when the beans are fully mature and the complex Tahitian vanilla aromas and flavors have developed. Tahitian beans have the advantage of not splitting when ripe. Bourbon-Madagascar beans are harvested before they are fully mature because they tend to split and lose some aroma and flavor when ripe.
The curing process preserves both the pod and the delicate perfume over a period of 4-5 months. The phases of curing are browning, cleaning, sunning, air drying, grading, maturing and ripening. The curing process is done entirely by hand.
Why do you sell three different sizes of vanilla beans?
Vanilla grows to various lengths ranging between 15-23 centimeters (6-9 inches) long. By offering all three sizes, users are able to eliminate waste when a smaller amount is required. Since all three sizes are Grade A quality, the larger beans are often used when presentation is important. When the beans will not be part of the plated dish, smaller beans are often used.
What is that white crystalline coating on my vanilla beans?
It could be vanillin, or it could be mold. Contrary to popular belief, the vanillin that migrates to the surface is not an indicator of quality, but indicates an exchange of air as the beans dry. Note there is no frosty coating in vacuum packed beans because there is no air. To make sure the white coating is indeed vanillin and not mold, run a finger along the coating—if it goes away, it is mold. Don't worry! You can simply discard moldy beans to keep the mold from contaminating the good beans. Insider tip: mold is most often found on Bourbon-Madagascar beans.
Is your vanilla certified kosher?
Yes. Our ground vanilla powder is certified kosher by Grand Rabbin in Paris, France. Our vanilla extract is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union in New York, USA.
Is your vanilla extract gluten-free?
Yes. We use the best-quality, grain-free, synthetic alcohol in our extract which is made from our own Tahitian vanilla beans.
Is your vanilla extract allergy-free?
Yes. Our extract manufacturing facility takes allergen cross-contamination very seriously. It is certified by the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Institute and the allergen control plan is reviewed annually.
Is your vanilla certified organic?
To our knowledge there is no such thing as organic Tahitian Vanilla yet. Most vanilla farms in French Polynesia are small, family run enterprises and getting certified organic has not been economically feasible. We are working with our growers to bring organic Tahitian vanilla to market. While not certified organic, our vanilla is grown naturally.
Is your vanilla certified GMO-free?
Yes, our vanilla beans are naturally grown in French Polynesia and we do not use Genetically Modified Materials. Our extract is also certified Non-GMO.
Is your vanilla fair-trade?
Although there is no certification, we believe that our vanilla growers are fairly compensated for their effort. In fact, the growers set the price for the vanilla we buy from them. Our growers are paid more than other workers in French Polynesia because they offer the best quality beans.
Where can I buy Vanilla From Tahiti products?
You can buy our products
Can I buy your vanilla wholesale?
ABOUT VANILLA BEANS
How does one use a whole vanilla bean?
Most recipes that call for a bean use the seeds and not the entire pod. There are many videos online showing how to get the seeds out of the pod. That said, here is the process in a nutshell: Cut one end off the bean, then cut the bean in half lengthwise from end-to-end. Lay the bean flat on the cutting board and scrape the seeds out with the knife. Reserve the spent pod for another use.
What do I do with the spent vanilla pod after I have split it and used it?
• Bury a pod or three in your sugar bowl to make vanilla sugar.
• Snip off an inch or two and add it to a cup of coffee, hot chocolate, or tea.
• Infuse honey, maple syrup or simple syrup.
• Bury a pod or three in natural (non-iodized) sea salt to make vanilla salt.
• Let pod dry, then grind into powder.
• Infuse vodka, rum, bourbon, what have you.
• Bury a pod or three in your bag of coffee beans to make vanilla coffee.
• Add a pod or three to store-bought extract to boost the flavor.
• Bury a pod or three in loose leaf tea.
• Infuse port with figs and pods. Sip or make reduction for roast pork loin.
• Vanilla sugar or salt can be used as a bath scrub.
• Toss a pod in an appropriate soup to add flavor. Think carrot or fruit soups.
• Put a pod in your underwear drawer or any drawer or closet or cabinet.
• Add to a fruit compote.
• Add to a marmalade.
How should vanilla beans be stored?
Store your vanilla beans in an airtight, preferably glass container, and keep in a cool, dry, dark place. Avoid extreme temperatures, and moist, humid, warm places. Do not freeze or refrigerate vanilla, as it depletes flavor and could encourage mold growth.
How long do vanilla beans last?
When stored properly, vanilla beans, can last in excess of two years.
What are exhausted vanilla seeds and what are they used for?
Once a bean has been used in the extraction process, the depleted seeds are collected in bulk. These exhausted seeds are purely for aesthetic effect, as the vanilla flavor has been extracted. They are primarily used to indicate the presence of vanilla in a visual way.
What is vanilla extract?
Vanilla extract is an solution containing vanillin, alcohol and water. The flavor and fragrance of vanilla is contained in the oil of vanilla beans and seeds. When the oily beans are steeped in alcohol, the vanilla essence in the oil is dissolved and the flavor is extracted. The alcohol evaporates in the cooking process leaving the flavor of vanilla in your food.
The US FDA requires that the solution contains a minimum 35% of alcohol and 100g of vanilla beans per litre. Natural vanilla extract is derived from real vanilla beans, while imitation vanilla extract contains vanillin derived from guaiacol or lignin, a byproduct of the wood pulp industry.
Where is Vanilla From Tahiti extract made?
Our extract manufacturing partner is based in the USA.
What is your vanilla extract production process?
Our manufacturing partner uses a proprietary method to extract vanilla from our own Tahitian vanilla beans. We believe it is a superior to the traditional method of maceration and percolation.
Does Vanilla From Tahiti extract contain sugar?
No. Our Tahitian vanilla extract contains no added sugar, sweetener, or additives of any kind. Our extract is made in the USA and is 100% pure, grain-free, gluten-free, allergy-free, vegan, and kosher.
How should vanilla extract be stored?
Store vanilla extract in an airtight, preferably dark glass container, and keep in a cool, dry, dark place. Avoid extreme temperatures, and moist, humid, warm places. Do not refrigerate or freeze.
How long will vanilla extract last?
Vanilla extract improves with age and when properly stored will last indefinitely, as the alcohol acts as a preservative. Treat it it as you would a fine liqueur.
What is double strength vanilla extract?
Our two-fold vanilla extract is made with double the amount of beans used for the same volume of single-fold extract. This means you'll get a concentrated (double-strength) extract and will only need to use half the amount that your recipe calls for.
Are your containers BPA-Free?
Yes! Resin used in the manufacture of bottles for Vanilla from Tahiti/NUI Enterprises contain no added bisphenol-A (additive concentration of BPA: 0.0ppm). Additionally, these bottle resins comply with FDA Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 177.1630, making them compliant for food contact applications.
What is ground vanilla bean powder?
Our ground vanilla powder is 100% pure, whole Tahitian vanilla beans that have been freeze-dried and ground to a powder. That’s it. No additives, sugars, or fillers are added.
Where is Vanilla From Tahiti ground vanilla bean powder produced?
Our ground beans are processed in France from our Tahitian vanilla beans.
How should ground vanilla bean powder be stored?
Store ground vanilla powder in an airtight container, and keep in a cool, dry, dark place. Avoid extreme temperatures, and moist, humid, warm places. Do not refrigerate or freeze.
How long will ground vanilla powder last?
Stored properly, the shelf life of ground vanilla powder is in excess of two years.
Is your ground vanilla bean powder kosher certified?
Our ground vanilla powder is certified kosher by Grand Rabbin in Paris, France.
What does Tahitian vanilla smell and taste like?
The most common descriptors for Tahitian vanilla are: floral, fruity, chocolate, cherry, aromatic and complex.
How is vanilla used?
Vanilla is most commonly used as a flavoring in ice cream, pastries, desserts, and in chocolate confections. But don’t limit yourself to sweets and baked goods, see the answer to the next question.
Can vanilla be used in savory dishes?
Of course! Vanilla in savory dishes is more common in other countries than in the USA. Tahitian vanilla in particular can impart depth and complexity to sauces for pork, poultry, and barbecue as well as Mexican moles. Tahitians use vanilla in cream or wine sauces for seafood dishes. Use Tahitian vanilla in salad dressings, fruit soups, pork dishes or pork brines, dry rub for beef, marinades, carrot soup, squash soup, sweet potatoes, the list goes on and on.
Can vanilla be used in drinks?
It certainly can. Put a pinch of ground vanilla in your coffee, hot chocolate, cocoa, tea, and smoothies. Drop a bean or two into a bottle of vodka, bourbon or rum for a couple weeks or so to infuse the spirit. The use of vanilla in creative cocktails is limited only by your imagination.
What are the equivalents for a vanilla beans, extract, and powder?
It depends, as they say, on a lot of things including your preference. If the vanilla beans are fresh, you might not needs as much as if the beans are dry. A plump, moist, aromatic Tahitian vanilla bean can be twice the size of a grocery store bean and twice as intense. Is the vanilla extract natural and gourmet quality, or is it synthetic, imitation or simply flavoring from the supermarket shelves? Is the ground powder pure vanilla bean or does it have added sugar, starch or other fillers? Adjust accordingly. Here is a general starting point: 1 Tsp extract = a 2” section of bean = ½-1 Tsp ground powder.