The image below shows a type of vanilla imperfection — a tattoo. At first glance this could be mistaken as insect damage, but it’s actually the initials of the grower. This practice is common in Madagascar where bean rustling is a problem. Read more about it towards the end of the Riziky vanilla review, and see the vanilla tattoo gallery.
The Malagasy alphabet can help you identify the tattoos on your own beans: a, b, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, t, v, y, z.