I started thinking about how our vanilla beans compare to the vanilla beans I can get at local stores. Knowing that our bean prices are extremely economical, I wanted to also compare the quality, because after all, price isn’t everything. If you can’t use the vanilla bean, what is the point of buying the bean? I ended up purchasing 3 different “beans” from 2 stores, although, I found others that I could have purchased as well. Since I am located in Phoenix, I have a large number of stores to find vanilla beans, but many smaller towns/cities only have grocery stores, no specialty stores.
The first store I visited is a national chain, but is only found in larger cities. This store carries a variety of items, everything from furniture and household items to European candies/chocolates to toys to spices. Neither spices nor cooking supplies is their primary business. I was shocked with what I found. The prices were not as high as I expected, but I was very disappointed in the first package I picked up. These 2 beans were being sold for $2.99. Yes, you are seeing correctly, one of the beans is broken. The bean has dried out so much, it has broken and according to the expiration date these beans are good until 2015. I would have been very disappointed if I had just stopped there, but I did some digging and found some that were better.
In the following pictures, you will see the 3 vanilla beans that I decided to purchase. Beans #1 & #2 were both purchased at the same stores, while bean #3 was purchased at the local grocery store. I was very hesitant to purchase the beans in the jars, because I was unable to determine if the beans were soft and moist, or dry and brittle. Here are the prices of each of the beans.
#1: 1 Tahitian Vanilla Bean, $3.99 (if purchased on their website, add $4.95 for shipping)
#2: 2 Madagascar Vanilla Beans, $2.99 (if purchased on their website, add $4.95 for shipping)
#3: 2 Madagascar Vanilla Beans, $8.99
Here are how the vanilla beans measure up to our different grades of vanilla beans. The 3 “purchased” beans were all very similar in size, right around 6 inches each, which is comparable to our Premium grade beans.
P=Premium Grade $0.50/each U=Ultra-Premium $1.00/each L=Luxury $1.50/each
There were beans at other stores that I could not bring myself to purchase based on the prices (1 bean $10.99–no country of origin; 2 beans from Madagascar for $13.49)…I think you can understand why I couldn’t pay those prices. I also located several on-line sites that are very well known for cooking supplies and spices, you get 2 beans for $10.00, which would be 20 of our premium vanilla beans.
Based on size and price, the beans from the 1st store are priced nicely if you only need 1-2 beans and if you have access to that store. But for the price you would pay for the #3 beans, you could purchase 8 beans from us (our shipping starts at $5). With us, the more you purchase, the cheaper the beans become. So if you use vanilla beans frequently or would like to use vanilla beans more, our vanilla beans are a very economical choice. Especially since you learned how to store your vanilla beans indefinitely in our previous blog.
Visit us at www.indrivanilla.com to see our different vanilla bean options, along with cinnamon and pure vanilla powder.