A process for preparing a natural vanilla extract is described. Recently harvested fresh green vanilla beans, partially cured vanilla beans or preserved green vanilla beans are used as a starting material, along with a preparation containing natural tea enzymes made from fresh tea leaves. The vanilla beans, after proper size reduction, are mixed in a suitable proportion with the tea enzyme preparation and incubated to facilitate action of natural enzymes on vanilla flavour precursors present in the beans. The fermented vanilla and tea enzyme mix is treated with ethanol to inactivate enzymes and to extract the vanilla flavour constituents into the ethanol. This is followed by separation of solid phase from liquid phase and clarification, to obtain vanilla extract with a characteristic flavour, appearance and acceptable vanillin content.

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