How to recognize the origin and quality of vanilla beans
Always look for the information on the label on the origin of VANILLA.
The Vanilla Bourbon is an appellation of origin reserved exclusively for VANILLA BEANS belonging to the "Planifolia" species which are grown and prepared on the island of Reunion, Madagascar and the Comoros.
Another variety, with distinctive flavors, the Tahitian VANILLA (or "tahitensis") is grown in French Polynesia.
The VANILLA Bourbon, smell it, feel it! It should not be breakable and too dry but still moist, fleshy, almost oily with a beautiful shine.
Be careful not to confuse "mold" and "crystallization"! Very good VANILLA may be "frosted". Frost looks like flakes which appear on the bean. The explanation is that the vanillin crystallized on the surface. It is a sign of high quality, contrary to what one might think, and the cristallized vanilla is most appreciated by connoisseurs.