Vanilla Beans can be compared to Wine, where the flavor of Wine can come from the types of grapes used and the region in which those grapes are grown, the flavor and scent of Vanilla vary wildly on the species of Vanilla used and where it was grown. Here is a guide that explains the complex and unique flavors of vanilla that can be found around the world
Vanilla Beans come in 3 distinct species: Plantifola, Pompona, and Tahitensis
Plantifola - The Most common variety of Vanilla grown around the World. When people think of the classic vanilla flavor, they are probably thinking of these species
Tahitensis - Known as the pastry chef’s favorite vanilla, this species originally found growing on the Tahiti and was named after the pacific island. This species is known for its delicate, more fruity notes. This species now grows in numerous places around the world, with the majority coming from Papua New Guinea
Pompona - The rarest species in modern times, Pompona was the most common in the days of the Aztecs, and believed to be the original variety of Vanilla the Spanish encountered in Mexico. They are 4x larger than Plantifola, but have a far lower yield so they are rarely profitable to cultivate. They currently grow Wild in Mexico, Central, and South America.
While the species plays a large part in the flavor of the vanilla bean, the final is dependent on where it is grown. From the soil to rainfall to the environment as a whole, where the beans are grown can yield a wide variety of nuance flavors. Here are but a few of our Favorite Vanillas we use:
Madagascar Vanilla - the classic vanilla flavor. Described as creamy, straight forward, and sweet, it is by far the most widely available Vanilla.
Tahitian Vanilla- this vanilla is known to be delicate, flowery, and subtly cherry like, and pairs well with many desserts
Ugandan Vanilla- known to have a high vanillin content, this is a bold, assertive vanilla that stands out when paired with other flavors
Hawaiian Vanilla - the only vanilla grown in the USA, it is a beautifully tropical vanilla with subtle notes of pineapple and mango.
Wild Mexican Pompona - incredibly fragrant, this vanilla has notes of Marshmallow, with a smoky undertone like a campfire.