To call something “vanilla” is to infer that it lacks excitement. What is it about vanilla that people find boring? This association couldn’t be further from the truth! The warm sweetness of vanilla is what makes things taste scrumptious – everything from bakery items to tea! In fact, I have found an increasingly steady trend of vanilla tea options recently. Some teas are nutty, some are creamy, some are fruity, some even combine vanilla with mint! My favorite, which has prompted me to reconsider vanilla’s lackluster reputation is Bourbon Street Vanilla Rooibos. Talk about a jazzy blend that will start your morning on the Sunny Side of the Street! The warmth of cinnamon, almonds and vanilla mix with the natural sweetness of the rooibos in a near perfect blend of deliciousness!
Did you know that Vanilla is a member of the orchid family? Also, it was originally native to Mexico and was used for centuries by the Aztecs. It is now grown in tropical areas around the world. The majority of our vanilla comes from the Madagascar region of Indonesia. Also, it is the second most expensive spice in the world (after saffron). Natural vanilla tends to be very expensive because its production is extremely labor and time intensive. As the process, from planting to curing, can take anywhere from 1.5 – 3 years, it has given rise to the popularity of (and economic advantage of) artificial vanilla.
Vanilla comes in pods or beans, in extracts, in liquid form, and in sugared form. It is sought after for cooking, baking, perfumes, and aromatherapy. Even Coca-Cola uses vanilla in their formula – which is probably why it tastes so good! So, someone tell me where the “boring” part comes into play!
In case you haven’t seen what they’ve been doing with vanilla in tea lately, let me give you some examples of some teas you may want to try. Because of its natural hint of spiciness, vanilla makes a great addition to chais, like Twinings French Vanilla Chai. If a fruitier blend is more your cup, sample Taylors of Harrogate’s Raspberry Vanilla Tea or Harney & Sons White Vanilla Grapefruit. And for something really bold, check out the Golden Moon Tea Company, who offers both Vanilla Mint, and Vanilla Jasmine.
As you can see, vanilla is anything but boring. This highly sought after bean blends well with other flavors. And for those who want just “plain vanilla”, you’ll be captivated by its enticing aroma and its exquisitely warm and cozy taste, which is anything but plain.
Madam Potts’ blog, Mad Pots of Tea!
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