Uganda produces Bourbon-style vanilla beans similar to Madagascar beans but has a higher amount of vanillin, offering vanilla lovers around the world a bolder, sweeter flavor. Ugandan vanilla beans imparts an earthy, wooded aroma with hints of chocolate, caramel, figs and raisins. The intense flavor profile pairs well with creamy desserts, ice cream, pastries and beverages.
Ugandan vanilla beans are heavier and darker than Madagascar beans. The pods are longer than average, have a distinctive copper hue and a wider, flattened shape. They’re slightly less fatty than the common v. Planifolia variety and have a matte appearance.
You’ll be amazed at the number of seeds in fresh Ugandan beans and their thick, sticky consistency. The moment you slice open a pod, you’ll pick up its deep woody notes, with hints of leather, dried fruit and berries. The reason Grade A gourmet vanilla beans from Uganda are so popular is they have a higher-than-average moisture content. They’re supple and plump and have no imperfections. The Grade B beans are drier but packed with flavor. They release their delicious, buttery notes more quickly because they contain less moisture, making them ideal for homemade vanilla extract and paste.
Uganda is located in East Africa and is the third-largest exporter of vanilla. The plants are grown under certified by Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and vanilla farmers are supported by enterprises such as the Sustainable Vanilla Initiative (SVI). Uganda is one of the few vanilla-growing regions with two distinct dry seasons per year and can provide fresh pods year-round for export.