Vanilla Bean Co-ops: How Long Does it Take to Get Your Beans
Vanilla Bean co-ops certainly have a growing level of appeal. Vanilla holds a spot as the second most expensive spice in the world by weight and the prices; and with the obscene inflation rates on just about everything in the last year, it’s no wonder folks are seeking ways to save money on ingredients used in the kitchen and beyond. But, are vanilla bean co-ops really the answer?
Even if you can see past the blatant deceptive marketing behind these falsely-named social media groups, there are certain aspects that need to be considered before making a purchase through one of these for profit organizations. Obviously, you want to know if there is any value in sourcing your vanilla beans through a co-op in terms of both price and quality of the product received; but there’s another facet that should be considered before you spend your hard-earned money on obtaining vanilla beans through one of these sources:
When will you receive your vanilla bean order from your chosen vanilla bean co-op?
Unless you have an unlimited window of time when you can fit projects in, based on unknown delivery dates, you may want to reconsider purchasing through a vanilla bean “co-op”. In many instances, the organization will not be able to give you an exact date, or even a small range of dates in which you order will arrive at your doorstep. This is especially true for the organizations who are actually doing what they say and pooling customers’ money for bulk orders.
We have dug a little deeper to get all of the frequently asked questions about vanilla bean co-op delivery times answered, so you can know what to expect before placing an order through one of these organizations.
What is the typical wait before my vanilla beans will be delivered through co-ops?
There really is no “typical” wait time for co-op deliveries. It can vary immensely based on several factors, including:
- Time of year
- Type of vanilla bean
- Quantity ordered
- Weather incidents
Harvesting and curing practices
Of course, those factors are mainly relevant when the co-op in question is truly pre-ordering the beans from purveyors using the culmination of the money acquired from members to make bulk purchases.
When this is the case, these orders can take many months and there will be no guaranteed delivery date because even the farmers can only give approximations as to when the beans will be ready for harvest.
In other instances, orders may be placed after the beans have been harvested but are not fully cured. In these cases, the vanilla beans will often take 3-4 weeks for delivery, but again, there will rarely be a guarantee.
Though not classified as true co-ops, because the companies are profiting off of the purchasers, the above two examples are the closest thing we have seen to a co-op, because they actually are pooling funds for purchase. But, extreme patience is required when waiting to receive orders.
There are other companies claiming co-op status within their social media groups that do promise quicker delivery times, but these are far from a true cooperative. They are actually just companies making false claims and hosting flash sales.
The short version is this: you can get a decent deal ordering from a co-op, but no better than you can get from buying in bulk from a regular vendor. The difference is that with a co-op you often wait many months before you receive your purchase. Considering the intended use for these vanilla beans is making extract, which also takes several months, it could be over a year before the extract is ready for use. Make sure you fully consider whether or not you are willing to wait that long before having the chance to use or gift your vanilla extract.
Will I be able to track my order?
Assuming you have decided you can maintain patience through the extended wait for your vanilla beans, you still may have curiosity pangs arise, making you wonder when your beans will be harvested, what stage in the curing process they are at, where they are within the delivery channel, or whether or not they have been packaged and are in route to your home or business.
As mentioned, all of the vanilla bean “co-ops” are different in their practices and promises and while not all of those questions will be answered by most of the organizations operating these co-ops, some do have practices in place that will allow you to track your order to some degree. While we do caution that you probably will not receive full specifics to satisfy your curiosity, if you are considering utilizing a vanilla bean co-op for your vanilla procurement, we recommend first checking their policies and tracking systems prior to ordering.
Are delivery times guaranteed?
Most vanilla bean “co-ops” do not offer delivery guarantees. This is because they are sourcing the beans from purveyors around the world who are dependent on weather patterns and an extremely finicky plant that produces these highly-sought-after beans.
If you see a guaranteed delivery time from any company claiming to be a vanilla co-op, that is a sure sign that they are just hosting a flash sale to quickly offload a previously ordered shipment of vanilla beans to the masses.
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