Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kahlua is Made With Vanilla Beans

Did you know that the vanilla comes from the orchid plant? I did not know either until a recent trip to Maui, Hawaii last year. Vanilla Planifolia is a tropical orchid that grows as a vine and can reach lengths of 80-100 feet. The plant produces a fragile and fragrant flower that can take up to three years after the orchid vine are planted before the first flower appear. After being hand pollinated, these flowers look like big green beans and need to remain on the vine for 9 months. The beans are treated in hot water after harvesting. Then they are cured in the arm tropical sun and cooled in the evening breeze for 5 to 6 months in order to reach their peak fragrance and flavor.

Even more fascinating is the fact that Kahlua is made with vanilla beans. Did you know that? Here is an easy recipe that the Maui Vanilla Bean Company gave me when I visited Maui a few months ago.


  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup instant coffee
  • 1.75 liters high quality vodka
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 whole vanilla bean

Combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar and water in a small sauce pan. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until sugar is dissolved.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the coffee. Allow to cool completely.

Pour into a large lid glass container along with the vodka, vanilla extract and the vanilla bean seeds that have been scraped out of the whole vanilla bean.

Cover and let stand for 3 weeks until it is fully aged. Then enjoy your homemade Kahlua.

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