Troy submitted these questions through the contact form:
Hello, Good grief you know allot about vanilla. Thank you for such an insightful web-site, It really helps. I wanted to ask you, I purchased Madagascar, Tathitian, and Mexican beans from Arizona vanilla for my wife to make extract. She made her first batch with the Madagascar beans. Which bean out of the Mexican and Tahitian bean would be best for another batch of extract. We are not sure what these are used for. Also, Where is the best place to buy beans.
Thanks Troy. Mexican and Madagascar vanilla beans are actually the same plant, vanilla planifolia, grown in different locations. I personally think that good Madagascar vanilla has the spicy nose of a freshly opened cola (which is mostly vanilla…), while Mexican vanilla is woody. The difference between Madagascar and Mexican vanilla beans is minor compared to the massive difference between planifolia and tahitensis (Tahitian) vanilla beans. Tahitensis vanilla, grown in Tahiti or Papua New Guinea, is a mutated variety of planifolia with an exotic, floral taste you might not be used to.
Which should you do next? That’s up to you, but I would suggest trying the Tahitian vanilla if you’ve never used it — the aroma is distinct and surprising.
The best place to buy beans depends on your personal needs (service vs quality vs price). I don’t have a favorite — every vendor listed on this site sells some decent beans. I did cause quite a stir yesterday when I mentioned that Arizona Vanilla Company was my least favorite vendor on the site.
Thanks for writing,
Feel free to submit your vanilla questions via the contact form.