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Where are Vanilla Beans Grown?

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planifolia vanilla orchid plant

When we think of vanilla, it gives up that spine-tingling moment when you walk close by a bakery with a warm aroma, coming from the freshly made macarons, profiterole, and crème brûlé.

If you’re an ingredients enthusiast like us, you may wonder where vanilla gets its unmatching rich aroma and creamy flavor. In this article, you will further discover:

  • Where vanilla comes from
  • How the vanilla beans grow
  • Why do chefs prefer Indonesian-grown vanilla
  • Where to buy vanilla beans in bulk

Where Does Bulk Vanilla Beans Come From?

vanilla farm indonesia java

Vanilla grows as a vine, a healthy bright green plant with elegant, cream-colored blooms. The vanilla vine grows by its surrounding support of existing trees, poles, or other sustainable bases. Surprisingly, out of the 100+ varieties of orchids, vanilla Planifolia is the only one that grows vanilla beans.

Vanilla grows in a very small subsection of the world. Overall, every step of the harvesting process is timely done by hand.

The Vanilla Story 

Born and discovered in Mexico over 500 years ago, the humble vanilla plant has traveled wide and far.

Imported into new territories, it has either been modified or adapted to a new climate. As a result, it produces a distinction in smell and taste. It was then the beginning of Mexican bulk vanilla beans, Planifolia vanilla.

It wasn’t until late within the 19th century that vanilla orchids first made their way from Mexico to Madagascar. At that time, they produced 80% of the world’s vanilla. Afterward, this plant migrated to Indonesia, Tahiti, Uganda, Hawaii, India, and Papua New Guinea.

Despite the high production of vanilla in Madagascar, vanilla bean growers fell victim to the ravages of cyclones in 2017. Through the years before and up to the present time, Madagascar vanilla growers have experienced robbery. Resulting in not only higher crop security, but cutting the pods earlier than the needed harvesting time to produce top-quality vanilla beans in bulk.

Why would this occur? Vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world behind saffron. This means that as a hot commodity, it attracts thieves and crime.

Through such events affecting the vanilla’s quality, this has led vanilla buyers to search for alternative locations to acquire natural vanilla beans in bulk directly from the source. Setting the stage for Indonesia’s introduction of Planifolia vanilla in the 1980s

Proving itself a high achievement by 2018, Indonesia has become the second-biggest grower, producer, and exporter of Planifolia bulk vanilla beans in the world.

In fact, Indonesia has proven to be a paragon of sustainable vanilla production due to its stable climate and the equator line’s geographic location that enables thrivability in the islands providing rich volcanic soil.

Let’s compare the varieties of vanilla around the world:

  • Mexican Vanilla- bold, dark, smokey
  • Tahitian Vanilla- floral, cherry chocolate
  • Indian Vanilla- full, chocolate
  • Tonga Vanilla- earthy, fig, raisin
  • Madagascar Vanilla- rich and creamy
  • Indonesian Vanilla beans – oily, caviar-rich, mild, well balanced

Vanilla Farming in Java Island, Indonesia

Indonesia is responsible for tropical rains and sunshine which is perfect for vanilla bean growth. Resulting in rich and bountiful harvesting quantities of fresh bulk vanilla beans year after year. Among them, there is the Java vanilla bean plant which is incredibly difficult to grow and is labor-intensive.

Walking through the jungle of Java Island, Indonesia, you’d imagine the wholesome aroma of warming vanilla. However, this doesn’t actually occur until the pods have been treated and cared for.

Stages of Production:

  • Harvest

Harvested when the vanilla pods are green and immature, they are odorless at this stage.

  • Sweating

The pods tightly wrap for 7 to 10 days under hot (45c-65c or 115F-150F) and humid conditions. Pods are often the compounds in the pods into vanillin and other compounds important to the final vanilla flavor.

  • Drying

The pods are going through the sun-drying process to prevent rafting and to keep the aroma in the pods. Often pods are laid out in the sun during the mornings and picked up in the afternoons.

When 25%-30% of the pod’s weight is moisture (as opposed to the 60%-70% they began drying with) they have completed the curing process and will exhibit their fullest aromatic qualities.

  • Grading

Once fully cures, the vanilla is sorted by quality and graded: Vanilla beans Grade A & Grade B

Only then, is the unforgettable scent of vanilla finally procured; a large undertaking that requires time, dedication, and expert knowledge, but one that is immensely rewarding that continues to be the preferred vanilla of chefs.

Where to Buy Vanilla Beans in Bulk & Vanilla Bean Powder Bulk – A-Direct Trade Vanilla Supplier

Sourcing and working through the logistics of importing vanilla beans in bulk to the U.S. should be stress-free. Today, you can remove the accommodation budget when buying vanilla beans in bulk directly from the country of origin. Because direct-trade vanilla suppliers do the direct sourcing of vanilla beans in bulk and send it directly to your locations. Now, just make sure you know where your bulk vanilla beans come from and how’s the production process.

Essence Food & Beverage, LLC is a highly reliable direct-trade vanilla supplier of Indonesian bulk vanilla beans, vanilla bean powder bulk, and gourmet spices. We shorten the supply chain where the connection is between the farmers and you. Through our triple-check-inspection program, we ensure every shipment you receive will be 100% fresh, on time, and at the lowest price. Order bulk vanilla beans and vanilla bean powder bulk online through our website now.

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