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Where to buy inexpensive whole vanilla beans?

Pamela Jun 17, 2008 01:07 PM

Whole vanilla beans are awfully expensive. Trader Joe's didn't have any when I looked today, and the regular grocery stores (Ralphs) sells a single vanilla bean for anywhere between $8.99 to $12.99!

Can any of you recommend me a place that sells somewhat affordable whole vanilla beans? I live in Southern California (Torrance, to be precise).

  1. NYCkaren Jun 17, 2008 01:40 PM

    You can get them on eBay but I'm not sure about the quality.

    1. Pamela Jun 18, 2008 10:51 AM

      Whole vanilla beans tend to be a seasonal product, so stock up during the holidays (I've seen them at Costco's and Trader Joe's). However, off season, I just discovered a valuable spice source: Penzey's Spices.

      At the mainstream supermarkets, a single whole vanilla bean ranged from $8.00 to $13.00. For one bean! At Penzey's Spices, you get three whole vanilla beans for $7.25.

      1. l
        LJS Jun 18, 2008 11:15 AM

        I know this is mean-spirited but I must confess I am kind of glad to hear you pay the same prices in Southern California as we do here in Toronto for vanilla beans....you pay SO much less for much of the produce I long for! My friend who lives near you now, an ex-pat from here, is constantly gloating about asparagus,oranges, lemons, dates or something that she just purchased for about 1/5th of what I would have to pay!

        Now, if you ever find yourself in my fair city, check out Carrot Common...they have organic VB's for "only" $6.50 for two, but they don't come in that impressive glass vial and they seem to dry out very fast...I use my 'spent' beans to flavour vanilla sugar when they are used and re-dryed.

        4 Replies
        1. re: LJS
          beany Apr 26, 2009 02:06 PM

          LJS, Bulk Barn has vanilla beans in the glass vials for $4.95 for about 5 I would guess. Imported from Germany.

          I totally agree though, the price differences between the US and Canada are astounding!

          1. re: beany
            LJS Apr 26, 2009 04:23 PM

            I would have answered sooner but I was out at Bulk Barn...thanks!

            1. re: LJS
              beany Apr 26, 2009 07:02 PM

              lol no problems, hope you got some!

          2. re: LJS
            chefathome Dec 28, 2010 12:45 PM

            I so agree! Prices for foodstuffs in Canada are often so much higher it's not even funny. Plus what we pay on the prairies is often higher than in Toronto! Not really fair...

            Regardless I always must have vanilla beans on hand not only for sweet and savoury recipes but for vanilla extract and, as LJS does, to flavour granulated sugar.

            BTW, bay leaves work well to flavour rice. Another topic...

          3. m
            morwen Jun 18, 2008 03:36 PM

            I got my beans here: http://myworld.ebay.com/vanillaproducts

            They were around $25 including postage for a pound of tahitian beans. They also carry madagascar. There were about 115 beans in the pound, nice sized, moist and fragrant. I'm very happy with them, they were exactly what I was looking for. I'll order from this seller again and try the madagascar beans next time.

            11 Replies
            1. re: morwen
              Pamela Jun 18, 2008 04:39 PM


              What a great deal! I wonder if this is what NYCKaren was referring to above. Didn't know buying whole vanilla beans online was an option.

              LJS: I hear 'ya.

              1. re: morwen
                roxlet Jun 19, 2008 11:31 AM

                This is a great resource -- thanks for the tip -- but what do you use a pound of vanilla beans for?

                1. re: roxlet
                  Pamela Jun 19, 2008 05:35 PM

                  I, too, would like to know what you do with all those vanilla beans. One pound is a lot!! Most recipes use one or two beans only!

                  1. re: Pamela
                    scubadoo97 Jun 19, 2008 06:31 PM

                    They seem to last a long time. Use them to make your own extract, put them in the french toast for the morning, make a sauce to top some fish. I made my own vanilla yogurt. Give some away to your favorite friend. For the price of say a dozen pods you get over 100.

                  2. re: roxlet
                    morwen Jun 21, 2008 09:04 AM

                    So far I :
                    put 10 split beans in a pint of vodka for vanilla extract

                    put another 10 in cognac for sipping

                    made vanilla pudding, steeping the beans in the milk and using the extract

                    rinsed off the steeped beans from the milk, patted dry and sunk them in a jar filled with sugar

                    was so happy with the vanilla sugar that the next time I made panne cotta I put those used beans in a jar filled with coarse sanding sugar for pies, scones, etc

                    discovered that some of the seeds scraped into a pan sauce for scallops was very tasty

                    flavored a clear white wine aspic encasing fresh strawberries

                    flavored whipped cream

                    made ice cream

                    I still have a lot of beans left and with so many beans at that price I feel I can be a little profligate in experimenting with them. I have a Handi-Vac food sealer and am able to revacuum the bag shut after removing the beans I need. It's been about 7 months since I got the beans and they're still as moist and fragrant as when I got them. I store them at room temp in my pantry.

                    1. re: morwen
                      Soop Jan 13, 2009 07:28 AM

                      How does the extract work? And would they go in rum?

                      *edit* Heheheh, just bought 50 for £8.49 :)

                      Thanks for the ProTip!

                      1. re: Soop
                        morwen Feb 8, 2009 10:25 AM

                        Sorry it took so long to reply, just found your query. The extract works great! I think it's called "essence" on your side of the pond. I imagine they would be very tasty in rum both for drinking and used as an extract. In fact, I think I recall an article online somewhere that suggested using the rum to make extract. I prefer vodka because it's mostly flavorless to begin with and I would imagine the rum itself would add flavor to whatever you were cooking. The bottle of cognac I flavored came out very nice. That was 10 beans to a 750 ml bottle as opposed to 10 beans in a pint of vodka for extract.

                        1. re: morwen
                          Soop Feb 9, 2009 02:12 AM

                          I still haven't gotten around to doing this. I kind of realised I don't really drink at home (and I'm not big on spirits). Every time I come close, I prefer a bottle of wine!

                          But it's really nice having so many vanilla beans at my disposal

                          1. re: Soop
                            morwen Feb 10, 2009 05:27 AM

                            We're not big drinkers either and generally wine is our go to as well when we have dinner guests, but I do offer spirits to guests when we're ready for dessert or with coffee and small talk. The flavored cognac is often requested and I've had so many nice compliments on it. I made it originally as a flavoring choice in my cooking arsenal but it's moved into the sipping realm as well. And the beauty of it is it doesn't spoil but seems to be getting better the longer it sits! I've been thinking of flavoring some Calvados with the beans to kick up the roasted apples I make based on the recipe in "Sunday Suppers at Lucques". The recipe already calls for a vanilla bean but I'm thinking vanilla extracted in the Calvados will add another layer of depth like it does when I use the extract, vanilla sugar and bean in vanilla pudding.

                            1. re: morwen
                              Soop Feb 10, 2009 05:29 AM

                              oooh, that's a good idea. You could make an awesome apple pie!

                  3. re: morwen
                    scubadoo97 Jun 19, 2008 03:58 PM

                    I also got a pound of grade A Madagascar Bourbon beans from this same dealer over 6 months ago. It was ~ $40 shipped. Now that's over 100 very long subtle pods. I keep them in a vacuumed sealed bag in a dark place in the cabinet. So far they are holding up well. When I think of the 3 for $10 in the jars in the grocery store that are half the length and are dry and nasty I know why I seldom purchased vanilla beans.

                  4. k
                    katecm Jun 19, 2008 07:09 AM

                    Do you have World Market where you are? They have affordable spices. I get saffron from them, as well.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: katecm
                      Pamela Jun 19, 2008 05:35 PM

                      Oh, another good idea. There is a Cost Plus World Market in the area. Didn't consider that, but I think Penzey's Spice has them beat in terms of prices.

                      1. re: katecm
                        morwen Jun 21, 2008 09:10 AM

                        There are also some saffron vendors on ebay. Haven't ordered from them yet or compared prices with other online vendors but am considering it. We don't have World Market, Whole Foods, or Trader Joe's in our area so I have to rely on the internet for some of these things. I like the fact that vendor ratings are available on ebay, helps make a choice.

                        1. re: morwen
                          davis_sq_pro Jun 22, 2008 12:00 PM

                          Here's a company that sells both cheap vanilla AND cheap saffron (I have not personally ordered from here yet, but have heard great things from a friend):


                          1. re: davis_sq_pro
                            HillJ Jun 22, 2008 03:59 PM

                            I'd be happy to vouch for www.saffron.com's vanilla pods. I've bought hundreds of vanilla beans from this supplier. Always reliable, fresh and delicious.

                            1. re: davis_sq_pro
                              cutipie721 Jan 22, 2010 10:47 AM

                              I was going to suggest this store. Although I don't have any personal experiences with them, I saw them being listed as a source at the back of either French Laundry or Bouchon book.

                        2. b
                          beth1 Jun 22, 2008 04:15 PM

                          Bulkfoods.com has great beans, and they're reasonably priced. I've bought from both them and a seller on e-bay, and the blukfoods.com beans were much better. Even after going through the mail to Florida in the summer, they were still soft, fresh, and sticky.

                          1. rcspott Jan 11, 2009 08:57 AM

                            7 Beans for $7.95 and free shipping


                            10 Replies
                            1. re: rcspott
                              puppymomma Jan 11, 2009 12:12 PM

                              I bought from this seller (JR Mushrooms). They used to sell on Ebay.

                              The quality was excellent and I found it was the best buy out there.


                              1. re: puppymomma
                                mr99203 Jan 17, 2009 08:01 PM

                                I second the recommendation for JR Mushrooms, I bought them through Amazon.com. The more you buy, the better the price (over 50 for $36 if you need a lot). Their dried porcini mushrooms are great and really well priced too.

                                1. re: mr99203
                                  HillJ Mar 23, 2009 09:06 AM

                                  One lb. is $19.95 and very fresh bean pods!

                                  1. re: HillJ
                                    scubadoo97 Apr 26, 2009 06:06 PM

                                    They don't say what the grade is but that's a damn good price. I paid double for a pound of grade A Madacascar bourbon beans. But how do your really know?

                                    1. re: scubadoo97
                                      HillJ Apr 27, 2009 05:15 AM

                                      I took a chance for 20.00 and was delighted. That price can't be beat unless you know a grower and she's generous. The beans are plump and generous in size. I make my own extract and I'm no longer stingy about using fresh beans at this price.

                                      1. re: HillJ
                                        scubadoo97 Apr 27, 2009 03:13 PM

                                        Thanks HillJ. I've purchased saffron from them and was pleased as well.

                                        1. re: HillJ
                                          coll May 20, 2013 04:19 AM

                                          It must be heaven to have enough beans to play around with!

                                          1. re: coll
                                            HillJ May 20, 2013 04:28 AM

                                            coll, truly. I was just singing the praises of this supplier (again) yesterday. I made three baked goods using the beans and was showing two of our party guests how I've made vanilla extract, sugar & syrup from my "host jar of empty pods" ...

                                            1. re: HillJ
                                              coll May 20, 2013 05:09 AM

                                              I'm thinking I should stock up before the holidays, and along with my usual baked goods send a couple of gift wrapped beans to all!

                                              1. re: coll
                                                HillJ May 20, 2013 05:35 AM

                                                Sounds like a plan!

                              2. c
                                cstr Jan 11, 2009 12:18 PM

                                Costco has 10 imported whole beans that come in 2 vials for $11.99, a steal!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: cstr
                                  ricepad Jan 13, 2009 06:11 AM

                                  *Some* Costcos, but sadly, not every Costco sells vanilla beans.

                                2. Soop Jan 13, 2009 07:15 AM

                                  Oh man, I know a place that did them for 99p each - but it's in the UK with me. Is that really cheap? i should have got more than 3

                                  1. s
                                    Sal Vanilla Jan 17, 2009 10:56 PM

                                    Costco. Look low near the spices. Cheap -o!

                                    1. alwayscooking Apr 26, 2009 08:38 AM

                                      For those in the NE,Ocean State has a set of 4 tubes containing 3 beans each for $5. Each tube has a different type of vanilla bean - Tahiti, Mexican, Madagascar, Papua

                                      1. shaogo Jul 15, 2009 05:47 PM

                                        Posts like this are why I enjoy CH so much. I thought that Penzey's was the only game in town. Boy, was I wrong.

                                        I cannot wait for the arrival of my vanilla beans. My creme Anglais will never be the same! And don't get me started on Saffron (one word comes to mind: Bouillabaise!)

                                        1. d
                                          didou5000 Nov 9, 2009 11:19 PM

                                          Try this website.


                                          Their beans are really good and inexpensive.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: didou5000
                                            mcf Nov 10, 2009 09:27 AM

                                            Costco has them, too, in the warehouse, but not online.

                                          2. d
                                            dagwood Nov 10, 2009 11:52 AM

                                            worldpsice.com. I buy all my spices through them. Vanilla beans are $3.50 each, plus shipping, which is always reasonable.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: dagwood
                                              scubadoo97 Nov 11, 2009 04:44 AM

                                              I last purchased grade A Madagascar Bourbon beans from Vanilla Products USA http://stores.ebay.com/Vanilla-Produc...

                                              When I bought mine they were $35 shipped for 1 lb of beans which is around 100-120 beans. Currently you can get 1/2 lb for $31 shipped. So that's about $0.55 per bean. They are super long and soft. Great flavor.

                                              1. re: scubadoo97
                                                Soop Jan 22, 2010 12:33 AM

                                                $3.50 per bean is very expensive IMO
                                                I got £50 for 12, which is roughly in line with Scuba's

                                            2. g
                                              gentlyferal Jan 21, 2010 05:06 PM

                                              A couple years ago, I bought 1/4 pound of vanilla beans for about $20 on eBay, from the Arizona Vanilla Company. (I still get marketing emails from them.) When the beans arrived, they were so fresh and supple I could tie knots in them. Beautiful flavor, even though they are now stiff as store vanilla beans. Price included shipping, by the way, for about FORTY vanilla beans. At this price, a half-dozen vanilla beans would make a great gift. I'm down to my last eight or nine beans; I'll probably buy more in a few months.

                                              11 Replies
                                              1. re: gentlyferal
                                                HillJ Jan 21, 2010 05:13 PM

                                                http://www.saffron.com/ and click to their vanilla bean line up
                                                I stand by this recommendation. High quality, generous lb. and delicious bean.
                                                They are currently selling organic v. beans.

                                                1. re: HillJ
                                                  gentlyferal Jan 21, 2010 05:35 PM

                                                  "Vanilla beans 1 lb.
                                                  Everyday lowest price in the USA $19.95"

                                                  I do believe saffron.com has me beat. Thanks!

                                                  1. re: gentlyferal
                                                    scubadoo97 Jan 22, 2010 05:01 AM

                                                    I've purchased saffron from saffron.com. Very happy. They don't specify the grade of vanilla but I often wonder if I could tell that big of a difference between grades.

                                                    1. re: scubadoo97
                                                      HillJ Jan 22, 2010 05:11 AM

                                                      I started out with the smallest order they offer and was delighted. Then I ordered a lb. for $20.00. Plump, healthy full of beauty pods and seeds. I'm still using that lb. all this time later with great satisfaction. Jars of vanilla sugar, homemade vanilla extract and hundreds of recipes later. I haven't bought the saffron (yet) but I can happily vouch for the v. bean.

                                                  2. re: HillJ
                                                    davis_sq_pro Jan 22, 2010 09:18 AM

                                                    Has anyone ordered multiple types of vanilla from them? I'm still working my way through my first order, 1/4 lb of the Mexican beans. (Which I ordered because they were the most expensive and--I assumed--the best. There is no information on the site regarding how the varieties differ.) I would be interested in hearing about the differences between them...

                                                    The Mexican beans are quite fragrant and I have no complaints, especially for the price. I took the recommendation on the package and have the beans stored in about 5 lbs of sugar, which has taken on a very nice aroma. All in all, a great purchase.

                                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                                      HillJ Jan 22, 2010 10:49 AM

                                                      I ordered a lb of the least expensive and have enjoyed the v. beans very much. I noticed today the site has been revamped; including a new organic variety which was not avail when I purchased my lb.

                                                      1. re: HillJ
                                                        BerkshireTsarina May 3, 2010 11:19 AM

                                                        Just returned from a trip to San Francisco, where I made sure to get to Valencia Street in the Mission District, to Xanath (the retail store name, where they sell the vanilla and saffron ice cream). It's the Saffron Co., just its other name. Bought wonderful Tahitian vanilla beans, although they sell other varieties and other vanilla products as well. Also bought saffron from them, but haven't tried it yet. Quality seems splendid and price is amazing.

                                                        1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                                                          HillJ May 3, 2010 12:17 PM

                                                          BT, you made my day! Isn't the area itself positively beautiful! Enjoy your purchases! I just made vanilla bean rice pudding this morning and enjoy knowing the source for these beans every time I use them. My vanilla sugar pot has lasted through dozens of pounds of organic sugar. The vanilla extract I made using rum & beans has generated enough gifts for the year. As for the saffron, well it's simply magical. Last time I made saffron & leek potato bake I used a generous pinch. So good. What did you think of their mushrooms?

                                                          So dear BT, have fun experimenting!

                                                          1. re: HillJ
                                                            BerkshireTsarina May 3, 2010 01:50 PM

                                                            MUSHROOMS? Oh dear! Will their wonders never cease. I never saw any mushrooms. Dazzled by the vanilla beans and saffron, I suppose. I'll use the saffron in paellas of various kinds. But what is the recipe for saffron & leek potato bake? It sounds great.

                                                            1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                                                              HillJ May 3, 2010 03:02 PM

                                                              this takes you to the mushroom farm offerings.

                                                              The recipe is a basic; one of those throw together deals but goes something like this:

                                                              Potato And Leek Bake

                                                              3 c leeks, cut Into 1/2-inch pieces

                                                              1/2 c Carrots, shredded (optional, we like the sweetness


                                                              2 T Olive oil

                                                              Salt and pepper to taste

                                                              1 t Powdered dry rosemary or 1/2 t fresh

                                                              1 c Vegetable broth

                                                              2 lb Unpeeled red potatoes, sliced in thin rounds

                                                              1/4 tsp saffron threads

                                                              Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In deep skillet, coat leeks and carrots with olive oil. Cover and simmer over low heat until soft. Add s&p and rosemary. Mix well. Layer a well-oiled 2-1/2- to 3-quart casserole (with cover) with 1/3 of the potatoes, then 1/2 the seasoned vegetables. Repeat and finish with last 1/3 of potatoes. Pour broth evenly into casserole. Sprinkle with saffron. Cover and bake for 50 minutes covered at 375 degrees. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes until pototoes are fork tender. Enjoy!

                                                              1. re: HillJ
                                                                BerkshireTsarina May 3, 2010 07:11 PM

                                                                Sounds good! And I've got the saffron to give it a try ----

                                                2. TheCooksCorner Feb 28, 2010 11:15 AM

                                                  I've just ordered 20 Prime Gourmet Tahitian beans from http://myworld.ebay.com/vanillaproducts for $5 plus $4 shipping (to Canada). That's less than 50 cents each!

                                                  I used to live in Mexico, where vanilla originated, but it was very hard to get there and not cheap at all. Also the quality was very uneven. I wish we'd had the 'net then, I would have ordered online!

                                                  I'll report back once I've tested.


                                                  1. Rojellio Feb 28, 2010 01:52 PM

                                                    Why not just get Vanilla Paste? Its already scraped out, and you get a lot more for the money.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Rojellio
                                                      davis_sq_pro Feb 28, 2010 02:34 PM

                                                      It's not the same thing. The pastes are extracts, made from the entire bean--not just the seeds, and contain, depending on the brand, some of the following ingredients that you may or may not want to use in your recipe: sugar, alcohol, thickening agents, etc. There are certainly good use cases for it but there's a reason that it's much less expensive than beans--you don't have the choice of what parts to use, how to use them, etc.

                                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                                        Soop Mar 2, 2010 01:19 AM

                                                        I imagine if it was purely seeds, it would possibly be worth about the same as gold...

                                                    2. i
                                                      IvoryWinds Dec 28, 2010 11:09 AM

                                                      I just ordered 2 Vanilla Beans/$3.50 at MySpiceSage.com. With ANY order you get 8 Vanilla Beans free + 1oz of any spice free. From what I understand the 8 Vanilla Beans free is a periodic special that they run. The shipping is $4.00 on any order. I've never ordered here before but read some good reviews. So my total order came to $7.50/including shipping and I ended up with 1 oz. of spice and 10 Vanilla Beans. I'll be back later to give my input on the quality of my purchase. If the quality is good then I'm in the money because the price can't be beat in my opinion.

                                                      1. m
                                                        morwen Dec 28, 2010 01:11 PM

                                                        I'm just finishing up my pound of beans that I bought back in early 2008 from this vendor: http://myworld.ebay.com/vanillaproducts (see post upthread). 2, nearly 3 years later I'm still very happy with them. I keep them in a vacuum bag in the back of a cupboard and they are nearly in the same condition as the day they arrived, still leaps ahead of those overpriced pathetic things that come 1 or 2 in a vial. A quick check at the website shows that the price per pound of the beans I bought has not gone up. That's 100-120 6"-7" beans per pound and if your order is over $20 they send an extra 1/4 pound of beans free. at that price I can be profligate with the beans. I'm off to order more.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: morwen
                                                          HillJ Dec 28, 2010 01:20 PM

                                                          morwen, I can say the same of the lb I bought from this seller and paid considerably less than you did thru ebay.

                                                          1. re: HillJ
                                                            Sam Salmon Dec 28, 2010 04:02 PM

                                                            The market in Neiafu town in the Tongan archipelago of Vava'u is a great place to stock up next you're there.

                                                            1. re: HillJ
                                                              morwen Dec 28, 2010 04:16 PM

                                                              Oh cool! Cheaper beans! Oh wait...these are the beans I bought: http://cgi.ebay.com/1-lb-Prime-Gourme... $28 including shipping plus an extra 1/4 lb free. Gourmet Tahitian Beans on your page are $28.95 before shipping. Or did you order the chef quality beans at $19.95/lb? What's the difference between "chef " and "gourmet "? Oh, I see. Gourmet beans at your site are shorter, chef quality are the same size as what I'm ordering. Huh. Wonder what it is that makes the shorter "Gourmet " beans $9 more expensive? Not much in the way of information there. But a quarter pound of the gourmet beans costs $9.50 and they don't offer that in "chef" so an equal amount of beans at your site would be $29.45 before shipping is added in. I think I'm doing better at my site, even if it is only by the cost of shipping.

                                                              1. re: morwen
                                                                HillJ Dec 28, 2010 06:29 PM

                                                                Over a year ago I paid $20.00 for 100 vanilla beans thru the seller cited. I've been enjoying them quite a bit; shared a good deal too. I did not pay anything more than $20.00 for them.

                                                          2. l
                                                            lrhr Dec 28, 2010 05:34 PM

                                                            Well, this revived thread inspired me: I just bought an assortment from http://myworld.ebay.com/vanillaproducts . 40 beans...10 Tahitian Gourmet Vanilla Beans grown in Papua new Guinea
                                                            10 Bourbon Gourmet Vanilla Beans grown in Madagascar
                                                            10 Bourbon Extract Grade Vanilla Beans grown in Madagascar
                                                            plus 10 grade B tahitian.
                                                            Under $15 with shipping. I'll know whether I like the cheaper or the more expensive (cause if I can't tell the difference, I won't shell out).

                                                            9 Replies
                                                            1. re: lrhr
                                                              morwen Dec 29, 2010 04:07 AM

                                                              Did you buy previously from HillJ's source? I'd love a comparison. Beside the fact that I'm extremely pleased with the quality of the beans, the free 1/4 lb of beans with my order is a big incentive to stay with my purveyor.

                                                              1. re: morwen
                                                                HillJ Dec 29, 2010 05:04 AM

                                                                I'd be happy to comparison shop. My daughter reminded me that we receive a free vanilla extract with our order. I've also bought the saffron and dried mushrooms sold by the same seller. But, I'm certainly curious about the quality too. I'll buy a small order from the ebay seller for myself next week and report back.

                                                                1. re: HillJ
                                                                  morwen Dec 29, 2010 05:26 AM

                                                                  Great! I really appreciate that! It's not that I'm adverse to change, I'm adverse to shipping charges with the tight budget I maintain during the winter and fear of disappointment. I'm about out of beans but have enough that I'll hold off ordering until you report back. That's so awesome! Thank you!

                                                                  1. re: HillJ
                                                                    DAVESGIRL Mar 28, 2011 05:48 AM

                                                                    HillJ, how did you make out with this? What's the verdict?

                                                                    1. re: DAVESGIRL
                                                                      HillJ Mar 28, 2011 06:18 AM

                                                                      Thank you for pulling me back into this thread, I did forget to report back.
                                                                      Ok, no issue with the purchase or with what arrived. I've got the entire order sitting in 2 inches dark rum staying nice and plump! All flavoring avenues have been tried but my preference remains with my original recommendation for a few reasons. One, I paid less (including s/h) and rec'd more individual beans for the money. 180 to the lb. They sell the beans by weight, because you get more value than buying bean by bean.
                                                                      Two, I can also order mushrooms and saffron from my seller which means less s&h costs under one order.

                                                                      However, ebay seller has good quality v. beans and it was a good first time experience.

                                                                      1. re: HillJ
                                                                        DAVESGIRL Mar 28, 2011 07:23 AM

                                                                        Thanks for this! I've gone on both sites and want to order beans today. I was previously eyeing a different site but see that I can make out cheaper going through one of these vendors.

                                                                2. re: lrhr
                                                                  davis_sq_pro Dec 29, 2010 08:43 AM

                                                                  Please report back with the differences between the beans. I bought the Mexican beans last time (from Vanilla Saffron), and will probably go for the Tahitian beans on my next order. Would really be interesting to have some better information on the actual differences between varieties.

                                                                  1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                                                    HillJ Dec 29, 2010 08:52 AM

                                                                    To be clear this is what I bought Tahitian Vanilla Beans 1 lb - Chef Quality $19.95 and rec'd a free bottle of vanilla extract with my order. Early 2009. I plan to comparison shop thru the ebay seller for the same type of beans (1/4 lb).

                                                                    1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                                                      awritermom Apr 24, 2012 07:03 PM


                                                                      this site has a description of the different beans.

                                                                      it sounds like saffron has the best deal... 34 cents a bean or less with shipping. vanilla products usa's variety pack is a nice option, but it is about 53 cents a bean.

                                                                  2. t
                                                                    thatswhatshemade Jan 5, 2011 06:17 PM

                                                                    I don't know if there is a home brewing store near you, but the one near me has great quality vanilla beans for SO cheap that I feel like I should tell them they are practically giving them away.

                                                                    1. r
                                                                      rcmullins Aug 15, 2011 06:12 AM

                                                                      Ok, I after reading these replies over, and over I finally jumped onto this and ordered from Vanilla Products U.S.A. I just couldn't resist the idea of buying vanilla beans and getting FREE beans in the process. Never having bought vanilla beans before I'm sure I'll be happy.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: rcmullins
                                                                        rcmullins Aug 18, 2011 08:09 PM

                                                                        Ok, bought from Vanilla Products USA (www.VanillaProductsUSA.com) and I am ONE HAPPY CAMPER! I don't have anything to compare it to never having bought beans but I have been making stuff like crazy. I bought 1/2 pound of Madagascar Grade A and got 1/4 pound of Tahitian for free! This is great.

                                                                      2. j
                                                                        jenniferfrance Mar 17, 2012 01:39 AM

                                                                        I bought mine directly from the producers. I live in France and I get them from Madagascar through a shipper. I get 100 long vanilla beans for 45 euros. They are organic and they are really great. If you can find a place directly from Madagascar, it would be cheaper. I usually go to a chocolate show every year and they come from Madagascar and Tahiti with them. Maybe I should start a business shipping them to people in the US. lol

                                                                        1. o
                                                                          olen1009 Dec 9, 2012 09:40 AM

                                                                          Sorry, but I am astounded when I see people think that 6+ dollars for one vanilla bean is a great price. Folks...in bulk, a pound or two, they cost about $40 delivered. Let's give the benefit of the doubt and call that $0.50 per bean. How much profit or markup is reasonable? 300%, 500%? These things keeps for 1-2 years, so spoilage isn't justification for a ridiculous price. Support the merchants that sell them for $3-4 maximum, and tell the others that they are ripoffs! BTW, while Penzey's has great spices, and being close to me, it is nice to visit a spice shop. But, I have found that one of the best places for spices is an unlikely source...a meat packer supply company. Except for the vanilla beans, which about match Penzey's price, every other spice price was less than half of Penzey's...at Butcher-Packer DOT com. Great variety, great service. I just ordered from them again, and got my order, in good order, (Qt of liquid smoke, & 1 pound quantities of ground anise, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley), in 4 days, Chicago to NJ, under $45 including shipping. Plus, I like that they use paper, recyclable, rather than "plastic popcorn" for packing material. So, I highly recommend Butcher-Packer. Now...don't get me wrong: If you check out the prices of the meat grinders, you might say they are expensive. But, they are not amateur quality for only occasional use. Don't judge the rest of their prices by the prices of professional equipment.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: olen1009
                                                                            HillJ Dec 9, 2012 10:13 AM

                                                                            then you didn't read my recommendation for chef quality v-beans at $20.00 for 100 beans from a seller in CA on this thread and about a half dozen others related to the purchased and use of vanilla beans.

                                                                          2. d
                                                                            DebinIndiana Feb 9, 2014 02:14 PM

                                                                            I ordered from http://www.saffron.com/ and made homemade vanilla extract for Christmas presents a few years ago. I was very happy with the price and the quality.

                                                                            1. monavano Feb 9, 2014 02:21 PM

                                                                              Forgive me if this has been mentioned as I haven't read all responses.
                                                                              I saw several vanilla beans at my area Home Goods.
                                                                              SO many great gourmet buys there!

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