What's your best vanilla bean source?

I just made a great carrot cake for Easter. But it needed 4 vanilla beans for the icing and I only had two on hand. Those two cost me over $10! Needless to say, I’d like to have some on hand for more baking, and I don’t want to pay that much for them.

Where do you buy your beans?

You can try My Spice Sage http://www.myspicesage.com/search/go?w=vanilla%20bean&asug=
2 Ugandan beans for $5; I’m not sure how they compare to Madagascar, Tahitian or Hawaiian vanilla beans. Very labor intensive crop.

I get mine from Penzeys: https://www.penzeys.com/

You can get 3 Mexican or Madagascar for about $9 or 15 for $35. I have a store local, so I’m not sure how their shipping is.

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I have gotten very nice vanilla beans on Ebay. There are quite a few recommended sellers who offer different grades of beans for varying prices. You’ll probably have to buy at least 10 at a time, but you can find them for $1 per bean or less.

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Spice Ace in San Francisco . I going there Saturday to spend my gift card I received for Christmas .

If I plan ahead I order them from Vanilla Saffron Imports in San Francisco.
Super nice company and very reasonable prices and quality. I learned of them years ago from several enthusiastic customers on CH.

If I need them quickly I go to Penzeys.

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Thanks everyone. I’m going to research all of them, and place an order. More carrot cake and homemade vanilla extract, here I come!

i’ve always found the best deals on amazon:

My experience has been that the different grades have to do solely with length of the beans, not the actually quality/flavor of the beans (someone else say if you’ve had a different experience with these shops). I almost always buy the shortest beans, nice they are the cheapest and honestly I use one of those instead of a huge long one (or cutting a long one in 1/2) - so it is a win win for me.

The only difference I have noticed other than the length is the moisture factor - the more expensive beans tend to be less dry and more flexible, with more easily-scraped goo inside. I really can’t tell a difference in flavor, though, so I tend to buy the Grade B beans and use them for everything including my own extract.

Honestly? eBay. It’s weird, but you can find great deals on vanilla beans there.

I find Tahitian beans to have the best flavor. Sourcing them, however…

I ended up buying them on ebay from Vanilla Products USA. I got both grade a for baking, and grade b for vanilla extract.

Thanks for all the recommendations.

Let us know what your perception is between the grade A and B! Just length - length and suppleness etc

The shipping was incredibly fast. I placed my order in the morning, and it had supposedly shipped in the afternoon of the same day. I’ll report back when I receive them on the different grades.

Anything else to distinguish them besides grades A and B? (what’s that mean, anyway?) COO listed?

The COO is Madagascar.

Grade A is very supple and pliable, with a lot of moisture content. They are easy to slice in half, and scrape of the vanilla beans.

Grade B is usually very dry to brittle. Much of the moisture is gone, and you couldn’t split them easily to get to the vanilla beans. That’s why they are used for extract. You just cut them up and let them soak basically.

Thank you!

The beans came amazingly quickly. They are a little over 6 inches long. The Grade A seem very pliable. They are vacuum sealed, and I haven’t opened the packages yet. So far I am very happy. They even come with a recipe for vanilla extract on them.

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My mouth hit the floor when I noticed this bottle is selling for $35 at Costco. Homemade extract makes alot of sense.