In the world, there are nearly 110 species of vanilla. Only 15 are fragrant and 3 of them have a sufficiently developed perfume to be marketed: Vanilla Pompona, Vanilla Tahitensis and Vanilla Planifolia. The vanilla, native to Central America, has undergone several genetic variations caused by the environment, due to its implantation in countries other than its country of origin: Mexico.
What makes it different from others?
For a long time considered as a mixture of vanilla planifolia and vanilla pompona, it is close to the species vanilla odorata. Tahitian vanilla is produced mainly in Tahiti, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Cook Islands and Niue.
Vanilla Tahitensis is an orchid that produces vanilla mainly in Tahiti. Like vanilla planifolia, it is fertilized by hand.
Gustatory and physical characteristics Gustative
Very fragrant and fruity, this variety has attractive characteristics. Indeed, contrary to the species vanilla fragrans, this vanilla is indehiscent, it means that it does not open with maturity. It remains however fleshy. It can thus reach its paroxysm in terms of aroma and taste. Thus, it has real aromatic and agronomic qualities.
The vanilla pods are of excellent quality, revealing a most exquisite aromatic palette with a sweet intoxicating scent.
Vanilla Tahitensis pods are distinguished by their size. Indeed, a pod can be 4 to 5 centimeters in diameter, which is double or even triple the size of a vanilla fragrans pod.
Vanilla beans contain about 40 to 45% of water unlike bourbon vanilla which has 30 to 37%. However, the vanillin content is lower than the vanilla planifolia variety. Half a Tahitian vanilla bean is needed to have a vanilla fragrance and aroma compared to a bourbon vanilla bean from Madagascar which needs to be put in its entirety.
This variety is relatively rare and luxurious since it has a low production. It is in high demand and reached, in late 2019, it is sold at 800 € per kilo.
The Bourbon Vanilla label
Tahitian vanilla is not part of the « Bourbon vanilla » label. Indeed, since 1964 this label concerns vanilla of the variety vanilla planifolia of the Indian Ocean. Thus, they will be distinguished from other vanillas around the world. This label is therefore exclusively reserved for Madagascar, Reunion, Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles.
The other varieties
Vanilla planifolia is the most sold variety of vanilla in the world. To date, 95% of the world production comes from Madagascar, an island where vanilla planifolia has found refuge and where climatic conditions are favorable to its development.
Vanilla pompona, from the West Indies, can also produce vanilla. Its relatively short fruit is also called vanilla. Buy Vanille de Madagascar