Why is Tahitian Vanilla Special
Vanilla Tahitensis, or Tahitian Vanilla Beans, are a far cry from Vanilla Planifolia, or Bourbon Vanilla, the most common vanilla variety of vanilla bean on the market. Yet, individual preferences aside, they are neither superior nor inferior in flavor or aroma; they are simply different. They are a very unique ingredient, which has gained much popularity due to the traits that set them apart from many other varieties of vanilla beans.
Tahitian vanilla, though a species of its own, is actually a hybrid obtained from crossing two other species within the vanilla orchid genus: Vanilla Planifolia and Vanilla Odorata. Vanilla Planifolia is synonymous with Bourbon Vanilla and Madagascar Vanilla, and is the fruit behind most pure commercial vanilla extracts. It is responsible for that nostalgic vanilla flavor we all know and love. Vanilla Odorata is far less common and not widely distributed globally. For those who are familiar with it, they adore it for it’s long-lasting aroma.
If you have yet to lay your hands on Tahitian Vanilla or the products graced with its flavor and aroma, you are likely wondering what makes this particular vanilla bean so special. Well, as you guessed, it primarily comes down to flavor and aroma, that have been passed down by the parent species from which it was derived, but there is also a functionality aspect to this bean that other varieties do not possess. Let’s cover all three of these standout qualities.
How are Tahitian Vanilla Beans Different
Tahitian Vanilla Beans Have a Unique Smell
Tahitian vanilla is unlike any other variety of vanilla bean. That long-lasting aroma that was passed down from Vanilla Odorata, is very much present in Tahitian Vanilla. While Planifolia varieties smell of a deeply complex blend of of earth, berries, and sweet cream, Tahitensis is much more sweet and delicate, with intoxicating notes of jasmine, honeysuckle, and young lilacs. It is because of these aromatics that Tahitian Vanilla is what many perfumers and other fragranced product purveyors reach for when concocting their creations.
Vanilla Tahitensis is Incredibly Flavorful
While most types of vanilla boast flavor elements of cream, chocolate, and quite often, dried fruits, Tahitian X Vanilla comes across as a much more exotic in nature with a unmatched profile that is, quite often compared to the sweetest of stone fruits, edible flowers, fine caramel, and star anise. These flavor components perfectly align Tahitensis varieties for use in light pastries, custards, and liquors.
Tahitian Vanilla is Easier To Use Than Other Beans
Tahitian vanilla beans are typically at the top end of the moisture content spectrum and are chockfull of vanilla caviar, the tiny black seeds adored for the contrast they add to pale colored dishes. Because they are practically bursting with seeds and flavor, they possess a functionality component that other beans do not. While the other two primary commercial beans, Bourbon and Pompona, must be split and scraped to obtain that prized vanilla caviar, to remove it from a Tahitian bean, one need only run the back of a knife firmly down the length of the bean to pipe it out of the end.
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Check out these other vanilla bean posts to learn more about what sets Vanilla Tahitensis apart from other vanilla beans: