Vanilla grows best in tropical environments with a warm climate and nutrient rich soil. Vanilla tahitensis is a cross between the Vanilla planifolia and Vanilla odorate varieties and has a lush fruity, floral aroma. The vanilla is planted at the base of a tree and grows using the tree as a support. The flowers of the plant are greenish white and are followed by bunches of short, broad bean-like pods. Farmers fold back the top of the plant to stimulate the flower growth and as the flowers bloom they are hand pollinated and take anywhere from six to nine months to develop beans. When the pods turn reddish brown in color, they are collected by hand and sent to be cured. When the beans have been harvested the growth of the pod needs to be stopped to release enzymes responsible for the aroma. The curing process starts with soaking the beans in cool water and fermenting the beans which takes about two days to complete. Over the next three months the beans are sundried during the day and placed in sweatboxes overnight. As the beans dry in the sun they lose moisture and become supple and oily. When sweating they turn from light brown to dark brown in color and start releasing aroma. When the beans are ready they have long wrinkles, are dark, slightly moist, supple and oily. Right before shipment, our beans are freshly ground into fine powder, sifted and packaged to ensure maximum freshness, aroma and flavor.
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We’ve found the most fragrant and flavorful vanilla beans on the tropical islands of Papua New Guinea. The mineral-rich soil yields premium vanilla beans that are then harvested by hand, sun cured and ground into a fine powder.