of Vanilla Beans
the curing process has been completed, vanilla
beans are graded for quality. Beans are separated
according to length, plumpness, color, shape,
appearance, and moistness. Better quality beans
demand a higher market value.
qualities, or grades, of vanilla beans are as
Whole, uniform, fine, fatty, oily pods. Deep,
dark, chocolate brown in color. No defects,
blemishes, or galls. Pleasant aroma, pliable
with good moisture content, about 8 inches in
length. The finest of all beans.
Similar in quality and characteristics to Prime
grade beans, but slightly less fatty.
Slightly smaller than Prime and 1st grade, and
not as fatty. Dark brown in color with a good
aroma. About 6-7 inches in length.
The pods are not uniform; they are thinner,
twisted, and not as pliable as higher grades.
The skins tend to be harder with a low moisture
content. Reddish-brown in color with numerous
galls. Fair aroma; about 5-6 inches in length.
(Ordinary) pods may have numerous galls, are
reddish in color, and have no distinguishing
The lowest category which contains all pods
that cannot be classified into one of the above
categories. Pods are of varied lengths, are
very reddish in color, and are hard and dry
with low moisture content.
six grades of beans are used to classify the
Bourbon Madagascar variety. The Mexican grades
are very similar to the Bourbon. There are six
corresponding grades of "split" beans
(beans whose skins have split during the curing
process). Manufacturers generally use a mixture
of several grades and, sometimes, a variety
of bean types when making Pure Vanilla Extract.