Where does the vanilla flavour come from?

In this short article, we will answer the question “Where does the vanilla flavour come from?” and will show you the vanilla products available in the market.

Where does the vanilla flavour come from?

The seeds of a certain orchid in the Vanilla genus are where true vanilla is found. Even though there are over a hundred different varieties of vanilla orchids, only two—Vanilla planifolia and Vanilla tahitensis — produce the seed pods used to make vanilla extract. 

The vanilla bean is the common name for this orchid’s seed, which is also known as the pod. But since the plant doesn’t come from the legume family, it isn’t really a bean. Between eight and nine months only after blooms are pollinated, vanilla pods are fully ripe. 

The pods are plucked when still having a yellow-green tip. The pods do not yet have a perfume of their own, in contrast to the blooms, that are aromatic even before pods are formed. 

The vanilla pods are then dried in the sun, placed in hot water, or let to sweat to mature over a period of many weeks to cure them. The pods oxidize during this period, turning from green to brown. 

Thanks to a substance called vanillin, they also get slimmer and acquire the traditional vanilla flavour and aroma. These pods’ flavours can be extracted by soaking them in alcohol to make vanilla extract.

A less expensive form of this flavour is the fake vanilla flavour. Vanillin, the chemical that provides vanilla with its distinctive flavour, is available at lower costs. And the vanilla plant isn’t the source of this thing.

This is referred to as imitation vanilla, and it’s utilized as a flavouring in cakes, cakes, candies, cereal, and more, as well as a scent in items like fragrances, candles, and potpourri. 

The majority of imitation vanilla comes from petroleum, is produced as a waste product from the manufacture of rice bran oil, or is made by extracting vanillin from materials like cloves, castoreum (excreted from beavers), and wood pulp.

Why does vanilla cost so much?

The second most costly spice in the world is vanilla, to start. Saffron is the first of these. The majority of the vanilla is used in cooking, but some of it is also utilized in the perfumery industry.

Actually, this shipment—which is intended for perfumeries—is the strongest in terms of aroma and is typically highly expensive, costing around $6,000 per kg. However, why is vanilla so pricey?

Type of orchid

Vanilla is derived from a plant that belongs to the orchid family. And if you know even a bit about plants, you should be aware that the orchid is not at all a cheap plant, and that the cost rises when it comes to this particular variety.

Additionally, Vanilla is not widely accessible. This is true in certain countries, but access is difficult, for instance, which is already making the spice more expensive even before it is planted.

Obstacles to cultivation

The difficulty of growing vanilla is one of the factors contributing to its high cost as a spice. 

The soil needs to be extremely rich in order for the orchid to develop healthily enough to provide the vanilla bean, and this necessitates a whole process of fertilizing before planting, in addition to the fact that it needs to be taken care of during culture.

Additionally, because the Vanilla orchid is a climbing plant, planting the seedlings all at once requires a large area. Leaving out the light! Orchids require moderate light, therefore they cannot be planted almost anyplace.

The least amount of light is required for the plant to be able to do this, thus they need some shade from trees or some other manually constructed mechanism so that they are not completely exposed to the sun and are also not always in the shade. photosynthetic process

The price of the vanilla bean increases as a result of all these procedures as well as the labour-intensive harvesting and selection operations.

What vanilla products are available?

Vanilla bean: 

Depending on the city in which significant markets are located, the matured and ready-to-use pod is more expensive and typically simpler to locate. It is more typical in emporiums or specialist stores.

It is constructed of a viscous foundation, and vanilla paste (sugar syrup and thickeners). Vanilla is introduced as an extract, whole processed beans, powdered used beans, and/or leftover whole beans from extract production. 

When it comes to ground fava beans, the flavour and perfume are less important than the visual aspect. It is less typical and more concentrated in the sense of aroma and taste.

Vanilla extract: 

It is a mixture that contains at least 35% alcohol and 380 grams of vanilla beans (dry, with a maximum moisture content of 25%), or 70% alcohol and at least 12% fava beans. One gallon is equal to 3.785 litres.

Ground vanilla: 

It still contains some moisture, so it is not a dry powder. It could be one of two things:

  1. A whole bean that has been ground;
  2. a used bean that was not employed in the production of extract. 

Although the aroma tends to fade more quickly when it is ground, the preparation looks more appealing because of the abundance of dots. 

Carbon dioxide is used to create vanilla extract in the super-critical fluid state, which leads to a more effective extraction and a more potent final extract. It is still a rather new and pricey product, though.

Synthetic vanilla:

Synthetic vanillin diluted in alcohol and caramel colouring; artificial essence. Depending on where and which one you purchase, the value changes.

Vanilla sugar: 

Icing or refined sugar that has been artificially flavoured with vanillin. However, the bean is employed in some variations. Vanilla beans are now simpler to find on the market than in previous years. 

Unfortunately, there is still a problem with the extract. Versions available for purchase in the nation are incredibly pricey for the number shipped. similar to the folder


In this short article, we answered the question “Where does the vanilla flavour come from?” and have shown you the vanilla products available in the market.


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