One would think that Grade A would be better than Grade B, right? And in most applications one would be correct. But when it comes to vanilla beans, the distinction isn’t about quality, but use.
Grade A vanilla, also known as gourmet, prime or premium grade, is best for cooking and when appearances matter, say for a garnish. They have a higher moisture content and more seeds, also known as caviar.
Grade B vanilla, or extract grade, is best for making extract. Go figure. And when you think about it, appearances don’t matter at all for extract. Grade B beans have just a little less moisture. They also have some cracks and splits, and just aren’t quite as pretty, but cosmetics doesn’t affect flavor.
And as long as we’re talking about moisture, let’s bust a myth. Just because Grade B beans have less moisture doesn’t mean they are lesser quality. They have less moisture by design; they have been cured for a specific purpose. Think grapes vs raisins. Yes, extract can be made with Grade A beans, but don’t think that the quality of the extract will necessarily be better.
So now you know there is no difference in quality between grades of vanilla. Choose the grade that fits best for the final use.
By the way, here at Vanilla From Tahiti, we sell only Grade A, Tahitian vanilla beans.
Get your Grade A, Prime, Premium, Gourmet Tahitian vanilla beans here.
Get your Grade A, Prime, Premium, Gourmet Tahitian vanilla extract here.
Bake with love. Bake with Vanilla From Tahiti.