Tahiti vanilla beans have a one-of-a-kind fruity aroma, with cherry/chocolate hints and licorice/caramel tones. It's a flavor sensation when extracted properly and will liven up any dish. Particularly dishes like lemon bars, tarts or orange rolls.
There are 5 types of vanilla beans that originated from Tahiti:
- Haapape - The most common version with a relatively large bean and strong aroma.
- Rae Rae - Meaning "Yellow". It is the most fragrant and given its name because the vanilla pods actually turn yellow early in their growth.
- Tahitensis or "Tahiti" or "Tahitian" - A robust vanilla pod that is a cross between planifolia and odorata vanilla pods. It is grown in Tahiti still, but also in the Philippines, Indonesia, PNG and even South American. It is very fragrant and typically smaller than a traditional planifolia.
- Potati - Develops into an abnormal shape and is difficult to cultivate for commercial purposes.
- Purahurahu - Long leaves with a pod that is also very long and, therefore, difficult to cultivate.
While Tahiti as a country does produce vanilla beans, "Tahiti" or "Tahitian" vanilla beans can be grown in many places around the world. Much like the planifolia vanilla bean that originated in Mexico and is now mostly grown in Madagascar, the Tahiti bean has its roots in Tahiti, but is grown in larger quantities in areas around the world with more farmland and favorable climate. On a global scale, Tahiti remains a relatively small producer of vanilla beans.