Origin: Madagascar (Northeastern coast), Reunion Island, Archipelago of Comoros, Seychelles (designation of origin ‘Bourbon’).
The Vanilla Coast is formed mainly by the region of SAVA (abbreviation of 4 cities: Sambava, Antalaha, Vohemar, Andapa). It is located in the northeast of the island, swept by the trade winds of the Indian Ocean. It is named the windward coast. Vanilla trees thrive in lush forests with optimal shading, hygrometry and humus.
Bourbon black vanilla comes from the variety ‘Planifolia’, known for being the best in the world.
The 5 categories in post-processing
1 Gourmet Black Vanilla
Not split, length 14 + / 17 +
• Vanillin level of 1.8% – 2.4%
• Humidity level of 30 – 35%
2 Red Vanilla
The extraction quality for industrial production, for the manufacture of oleoresin and natural extracts.
Red vanilla US type, more dry produced for North American industries.
Red vanilla Europe type, more humid.
• Vanillin level of 1.4 – 1.8%
• Humidity level of 18 – 30%
3 Vanilla TK (Intermediate Quality)
Vanilla TK or vanilla is lower in moisture content than its superior, the Gourmet, and serves as a realization of natural extracts of vanilla and vanilla powders.
Its vanillin content is between Gourmet and Red.
Europeans are the main consumers.
TK vanilla can be split or not split.
• Vanillin level of 1.6 – 2.2%
• Humidity level of 24 – 34%
4 Vanilla « The Cuts »
Vanilla “Cut” is the least worked vanilla. It looks like all other categories of vanilla but its size is lower (- 12 cm). Its vanillin content is lower but remains the demand of manufacturers by its attractive purchase price.
• Vanillin level of 1 – 1.2%
• Humidity level of 20 – 25%
5 Vanilla Powder
The vanilla powder is made from vanilla TK specially selected for its olfactory qualities. Vanilla will be dried, pulverized and milled without the addition of other products. Vanilla powder is 100% natural.
• Granulometry of 400 microns
• Vanillin level of 1.2 – 2.0%
• Humidity level of 5 – 10%
HOW TO RECOGNIZE A VANILLA OF GOOD QUALITY?
The place of production as well as the time before the harvest (8-9 months of maturity on the vine after fertilization of the flowers), soaking in boiling water (scalding at 62 ° C for 2 to 3 minutes), enzymatic stimulation (24-48 hours of baking), drying in the sun (2-3 hours / day for 2 weeks or more depending on the humidity present), drying in the shade on rack (15-30 days) and the vanilla maturing time (8 months in box) are for 50% in the quality of the pod.
The length of the pods varies from 12 to 22 cm, for a width of 3 to 8 min, for a weight of 3 to 7 g.
A good vanilla bean can be recognised first by its appearance. Its colour must vary from light brown or dark brown; its texture, supple, slightly oily and shiny, smooth in appearance, without deposit of mould, with flawless ends, or slit, with the possibility of knotting it without breaking it, feeling it fleshy without being swollen, giving off an intense scent with suave cocoa, woody and delicately floral notes.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE A VANILLA OF POOR QUALITY?
It is already recognized by its appearance.
Duller and lighter in colour; a degraded chestnut colour. Its coat is streaked, irregular, crumpled, sometimes dotted with stains. It is dull and not really greasy and because of its low vanillin content it also has a faint aroma. These are the signs of a premature or poorly preserved crop; a vanilla that is too exposed to the sun and poorly ventilated.
A swollen pod, full of juice (water) which is wrinkle-free and soft at finger pressure with a phenol, rancid or mildew odour, a sign of poorly prepared vanilla (lack of maturity, bad scalding, lack of drying and refining).