Where Does Vanilla Flavoring Come From
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Where Does Vanilla Flavoring Come From?

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  • Post last modified:November 17, 2022
  • Reading time:15 mins read

Where does vanilla flavouring come from? Real vanilla beans are always in demand in the food industry. After all, authentic beans can add up a rich flavor profile. You might not be aware of this, but food companies consider real vanilla pods as luxury food. So, if you have been looking to purchase vanilla flavoring, it is natural to be curious about their source. Besides, the source can help you spot the distinction between natural and imitation vanilla.

Keep reading as we dive deeper to answer all your doubts about where the world sources its vanilla flavoring!

Where Does Vanilla Flavouring Come From?

Vanilla is one of the most popular flavors in baking. But where does this vanilla flavouring come from? Is it a naturally occurring spice, or is it synthetically created? Vanilla, the most popular of all flavors in ice cream and baked goods, is derived from a plant.

Vanilla is a spice derived from the vanilla orchid, native to Mexico. People have been using it for centuries as a flavoring in foods and beverages. It is one of the most popular flavors in the world. The word “vanilla” comes from the Spanish word ‘vainilla,’ diminutive of vaina (vase), meaning “sheath” or “pod.” It refers to either the shape of the pods that grow on this vine or where vanilla was grown initially since many vines are known by their local name.

Other Source of Vanilla Flavor

The other source of the vanilla flavor is castoreum. Don’t be surprised when we say that castoreum is anally excreted beaver’s goo. Weird, right? National Geographic explains that the beaver’s butt releases a chemical compound, called castoreum, to mark their territory. The castoreum contains a combination of anal glands secretions. 

Due to the beaver’s diet which contains barks and leaves, the castoreum doesn’t stink. Also, Food and Drug Administration has approved castoreum, a chemical compound almost same as vanilla, to be safe for use in perfumes and foods. This dark brown ingredient, called castoreum, has a musky vanilla fragrance. 

What Are the Best Types of Vanilla Extract? 

Are you looking for the best vanilla extract? Well, to spot a high-quality vanilla extract, you should know two things – quality and the type of vanilla bean used in the flavoring. The method of producing the vanilla bean makes a significant difference in the quality of the resulting extract. 

The quantity and quality of vanilla bean, the temperature of production, extraction temperature, duration of extraction, alcohol quality, and type of alcohol affect the flavoring’s quality. Producing quality vanilla flavouring involves both science and art. The second factor is the type of vanilla bean that goes into the product. Here are some common vanilla bean types: 

  • Tahitian Vanilla Beans or Beanilla Vanilla: It is a blend of Tahitian vanilla and bourbon. This combination has a smooth, floral aroma and cherry-chocolate-like taste. 
  • Mexican Vanilla Beans: It is a variant of vanilla beans that look dark, bold and consist of tones of smoke. 
  • Madagascar Vanilla Beans: If you are looking for a rich and creamy flavored vanilla extract, buy the one that uses Madagascar vanilla. 

What Makes Vanilla Beans So Different? 

After knowing where vanilla flavouring come from, you might be curious about what makes one vanilla flavouring different from the other. You’ll be stunned to learn that there are more than 150 types of vanilla. The origin and species determine the vanilla’s appearance, aroma, and flavor. 

Origin of Vanilla

Like a good wine, the location of the vanilla farm significantly contributes to its characteristics. It is because each area has unique production methods and attributes. The method of curing and drying vanilla beans varies from region to region. Based on different production methods and factors such as weather and temperature, vanilla flavourings can be distinct. 

Species of Vanilla

You’ll find only three primary species of commercially produced vanilla – vanilla pompon, vanilla tahitiensis, and vanilla planifolia. Each of these species has unique and distinct characteristics.  For instance, most vanilla-producing countries use the planifolia species. Madagascar, Hawaii, and Mexico are the largest producers of this species of vanilla. In contrast, vanilla planifolia is plump and round than the other two species. 

On the other hand, the Tahitian vanilla or vanilla tahitiensis has a more floral taste and aroma. Additionally, this species of vanilla typically has less vanillin content. Another fact worth mentioning about this variant is that it is flat and wide.  

Tips on How to Differentiate Between Imitation Vanilla and Pure Vanilla? 

It is one of the most common questions that bother a buyer. Because of the variety of vanilla flavorings in the market, it might be tricky to tell apart pure and imitation vanilla. Besides, you don’t want to end up paying big bucks only to find out that the vanilla you recently purchased is synthetic.

Thankfully, most new vanilla flavouring products come with labels that make it apparent. Other ways to ensure that your vanilla is natural are to include checking the list of ingredients and the hue of the extract.

FAQs About Vanilla Flavouring

What Makes Vanilla Flavouring ‘Grade A’ or ‘Gourmet’ Quality? 

If you are new to the world of vanilla beans, this question might be one of the firsts to pop up in your mind. The quality of vanilla beans depends on bean length and moisture content. You can spot an ‘A-Grade’ vanilla if it is incredibly moist. The high-quality beans have an outer layer of oil which is quite visible. After touching a vanilla bean, if it leaves an oily residue, you can rest assured that they are of top-notch quality. Besides, it will have a soft texture. Lastly, a good-quality vanilla bean will be more than 15 cms long. You should also note that stiff or cracked beans are lower-quality ones. dried real vanilla

Is Vanilla A Challenging Plant to Grow? 

Typically, vanilla is one of the most temperamental crops. A vanilla farm has hundreds and thousands of trees reserved for one vanilla vine. What’s more surprising is that vanilla flowers can take up to three years to mature. Another challenge to growing vanilla is that the orchid only blooms for one day. So, if the producers want to continue growing vanilla, they must pollinate the orchid by hand on that specific day. Apart from the difficulty of growing the plant, harvesting vanilla also requires a significant investment.vanilla plant

Why Is Vanilla Flavouring So Expensive? 

The vanilla industry is one of the world’s most expensive spice industries.  The vanilla plant is complex and finicky to grow. Moreover, growing and harvesting the vanilla pods require skilled manual labor. Madagascar, one of the largest producers of vanilla, has been experiencing several natural calamities that have destroyed numerous vanilla pods. Such factors contribute to the selling price of vanilla. As a result, it is hard to find authentic and quality vanilla flavouring at nominal prices. 

Try Our New Vanilla Emulco 

Our Vanilla Emulco, approved by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration, is a great high-quality alternative to real vanilla extract. It gives your baked goodies almost a natural flavor. Most artificial vanilla extract products in the market cause an artificial taste. It ruins that perfect batter you worked so hard to achieve. Not Vanilla Emulco.

It seamlessly mixes with your batter. Vanilla Emulco is a food additive and has an easy-mix formula. It is as flexible as it can be. You can use Vanilla Extract Emulco as a food additive to make many tasteful products such as cakes, cupcakes, cookies, bread, and ice cream.

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Wrap Up 

So, where does vanilla flavouring come from? Now that you have an idea, the next time you want to get the best natural vanilla extract to make some vanilla ice cream or vanilla cake, don’t forget to look at the sources from which they’re made. These days, artificial vanilla extract that is used as food additive have become quite common. Hopefully, this article has answered all your doubts about the source of vanilla flavoring.


Over the years, HICAPS has helped bakers and businesses make delicious products by offering ingredients like ChiffonAide Cake OilMagic Whizk Whipping CreamRed Velvet Flavor Emulco, and Instabake Brownie Mix

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