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I opened the bottle of your vanilla extract last weekend to bake some cookies and the difference in taste is extraordinary." – Judy

Tahitian Vanilla Extract

If you have never tried Tahitian vanilla but you like fruity, floral, flavors and aromas, treat yourself to this marvellous extract!

Tahitian vanilla (Vanilla tahitensis) did not originate in Tahiti.  It appears that Spaniards brought vanilla plant stock to the southern Philippines, one of its colonial outposts.  Vanilla planifolia was crossed with Vanilla odorata in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries. This particular plant stock was taken to Tahiti in the early 1800s and planted in Papeete. Missionaries saw the vanilla growing there in the early 1900s and encouraged the Tahitians to grow vanilla for resale.  The original stock has been hybridized, creating at least five different varieties of Tahitian vanilla.  Unfortunately, not many Tahitians are now growing it, and as Tahiti is a French country and trades in euros, Tahitian vanilla is quite expensive.

Tahitian vanilla is classified as a distinct species as it’s considerably different in appearance and flavor from Bourbon vanilla. It is sweeter and fruitier and has less natural vanillin than Bourbon and Mexican vanilla. It contains anis aldehydes, which gives it a more cherry-like, licorice, or raisiny taste. It has a very floral fragrance, the bean is fatter and moister than Bourbon vanilla, and contains fewer seeds inside its pod.

Tahitian is especially nice in fruit compotes and desserts, custards and creme brulee, and in sauces for poultry, seafood and wild game. The Tahitians always use it in seafood dishes such as mahi-mahi in white wine, vanilla and cream sauce. Delicious!

Unfortunately, Tahitian vanilla extract from Tahiti costs nearly $300 a gallon, a bit too pricey for most of us.  Enter Tahitian vanilla from Papua New Guinea (PNG). The vanilla beans grown in PNG are somewhat different from true Tahitian beans.  Farmers in PNG planted Vanilla Planifolia next to the Vanilla tahitensis.  As a result, the beans are a hybrid and look more like Bourbon beans.  Nevertheless, they have a definite Tahitian flavor and extract made from the beans has the distinctive Tahitian vanilla sweetness.

Rain’s Choice Tahitian vanilla extract comes from Papua New Guinea, so it is quite affordable.  We carry true Tahitian vanilla beans as well as Tahitian beans from Papua New Guinea.  Our Tahitian beans are sourced through a Tahitian family who has been in the business for several generations.

Buying Rain’s Choice vanilla extracts helps us to continue working with farmers in the tropics.  Thank you for your purchase.


Patricia Rain
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I was given a small bottle of Rain’s Choice in a gift basket and I have been hooked ever since. The flavor makes all of my baking so much better! I will never use grocery store vanilla again!

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For an update on the 2016 vanilla shortage, please see “Why is Vanilla so Expensive?”