LAFAZA is the Malagasy word for a unique variety of tree grown along Madagascar’s east coast!
For a deep and rich home made extract, we like using six or seven LAFAZA Grade B vanilla beans for every 12 ounces of alcohol.
To make your own vanilla extract, spilt five or six vanilla pods lengthwise, leaving the top half of inch of the pod connected. Place the split beans in a clean glass container, and add about 12 ounces of good quality vodka or rum. Close the container and let it sit in a cool, dark place for one month (for rum) or three to four months (for vodka). You should gently shake the bottle every week or so. The longer you can allow the mixture to soak, the more rich the vanilla flavor.
You can also use brandy to make your extract. In this case, follow the steps above, but allow them to steep in the brandy for two to three months. Try making your own “vanilla sampler,” trying different types of alcohol bases to see which you like best.
The major variations between Grades of vanilla beans stem from two key factors: moisture content and appearance.
Grade A-1 beans are very dark in color, pliable and moist with an moisture content ranging from 30%-35%. These are the highest grade vanilla beans offered in the industry. A-1 beans are great to split lengthwise and scrape out the “vanilla caviar” inside the pod (the pod can be saved and used for infusions).
Grade A-2 beans are dark in color, with slight reddish hues or stripes in parts of the bean. The moisture content of these vanilla beans range from 25%-30%. A-2 beans are great for infusions, extract making (split them at home), or to split open lengthwise to scrape out and use the “vanilla caviar” inside the pod.
Grade B (or Extract Grade) have a deep reddish-black coloration, and up to half the pods may be partially or fully split or have cuts along the bean. They are aromatic, but a noticeably drier than the other Grades, and have moisture content range from 15%-24%. Grade Bs are useful for extract making, infusions, or grinding.
You don’t have to throw out your scraped vanilla pods after using the caviar! Try adding the pods to a stir-fry or sauce, putting them in your sugar bowl for a sweet treat, or add ground dried pods to your coffee grounds to enhance your morning brew.
We stand behind the quality of all our vanilla products. If you are not satisfied with any part of your order, you may return it within 30 days for a full refund.
To preserve the quality and freshness of your LAFAZA vanilla beans, we suggest you store them in either the resealable vacuum-sealed bags that LAFAZA’s 1/4 lb, and 1 lb. orders of beans are shipped in, or an airtight glass container such as a mason-jar. Store the beans in a cool, dry place (though not in the refrigerator or freezer!), and watch as they maintain their flavor for months and months.