When reading other vendors' claims and descriptions of their vanilla bean products, we sometimes cringe at the misinformation presented to the buyer. We wrote this page in hopes of clearing up some of the claims.
Part of the problem comes from the lack of experience many vendors have with vanilla beans. Our senior partner at Vanilla Products USA has over 20 years experience in the vanilla bean business. We have seen many vanilla bean vendors come and go on Ebay over the years. Many vendors that you see today have only been selling vanilla beans for a few months.
In no particular order, we present some of the misinformation that we have seen about vanilla beans on Ebay:
"Not cured in alcohol like all other vanilla varieties"
No one cures vanilla beans in alcohol. Alcohol is used in making vanilla extract with vanilla beans that have already been cured.
"Raw, live food"
In order for the curing process to start, the vanilla beans have to be killed. A raw vanilla bean would still be a green pod - and you cannot import uncured vanilla beans into the United States unless by special permit and only in small quantity.
"The only difference between Grade A and Grade B is appearance."
Wrong. Grade A has a more intense flavor and smell, as well as a higher moisture content. For some, the grade A beans are grown at a higher altitude resulting in a thicker skin.
Seeing as the curing process takes about 6 to 9 months, how can they be described as fresh? Properly stored, vanilla beans can keep for years.