Vanilla Beans

Growing & Preparation

Growing vanilla is a labour-intensive process.

Every vanilla flower must be hand pollinated using a toothpick during one critical window that lasts 24 hours every year. In Mexico where vanilla originates the Melipona bee or a hummingbird performed the pollination. In 1841 on Réunion Island 12 year old Edmond Albius invented a technique for pollinating vanilla orchids. Albius’ technique revolutionized the cultivation of vanilla and made it possible to profitably grow vanilla beans away from their native Mexico.

Nine months after pollination vanilla beans are ready for harvest after which they undergo a length preparation of blanching, sweating, drying and fermentation to bring out the vanilla flavour we know today.

Supporting the independence of the local farmers of Timor-Leste


Our Vanilla beans come from a tropical orchid called Vanilla Planifolia. Vanilla is the only orchid that produces edible products for human consumption.

There are a number of species, the most common are: Vanilla Planifolia (also known as Bourbon) and Tahitian Vanilla.

The vanilla planifolia species is considered to have a classical flavour.

Vanilla Today

Vanilla flavours are usually found in desserts, though it has a wide variety of uses. Most vanilla-flavoured food products found on the market today is made using synthetic vanilla. This is major difference between vanilla essence and vanilla extract – extract is made using real vanilla beans, while essence is entirely synthetic.

The intensity of each bean derives from the level of vanillin present, which is affected by factors in the growing and preparation process.


Why is Vanilla so expensive?

Vanilla is one of the most expensive spices available today. The time and labour requirements to grow the sensitive tropical orchid is one factor.

On top of that, in 2016 the world’s primary vanilla producer Madagascar faced some problems, leading to a widespread shortage of the spice. The industry is still recovering and the price of vanilla has remained high.

Gourmet Vanilla & More


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