About this project
Thank you so much for your interest and support!
If you'd like to see what we've been up to since our Kickstarter campaign has ended, please keep an eye on http://notjustplain.com/ where you will be able to check up on news, get exciting and delicious recipes, submit your own recipes, and of course, buy our vanilla extracts and other products!! Remember to subscribe to our mailing list as well!
What's the point of small-batch vanilla extract?
I'll tell you what the point is!!! Most of the vanilla extract you buy in stores is low-quality, low-flavor, and high in additives. And even worse, if you live near certain areas where vanilla is sold to tourists, it's possible that what you're buying isn't even really vanilla and is potentially hazardous to your health [snopes link]. The rest of the "artisan vanilla extracts" you find in stores and on the web aren't much better. Sure, some are USDA-Certified Organic, some are sugar-and-additive-free, some are even really delicious... but they're also REALLY expensive, and you get no bulk discounts! At present, our vanilla will cost, on average, $2.50/oz if you buy small amounts... and it can go down to $2.15 or lower for bulk buyers! Two ounces of our vanilla extract is still cheaper than a shot of top-shelf liquor at your local pub, and it'll go a LOT farther. (;
What's wrong with imitation vanilla?
Imitation vanilla is fine... if you don't like good, strong vanilla flavor. Yes, it's cheap, but it lacks heart. It's also usually laced with sugar or (blech) high fructose corn syrup. Steer clear of that stuff. But, as stated above, you REALLY need to steer clear of the imitation vanilla (made with tonka bean extract) that is marketed as REAL vanilla extract. Vanilla is not cheap, and it has nearly doubled in price in the last several years. Trust me, I make a small batch *every year*, if you see really cheap vanilla, do not buy it!
Okay, fine, but what's so special about your vanilla?
We're so glad you asked!
Our vanilla extracts are all hand-made, BY US, and made to our tried-and-true recipes that we've honed over the years. They're also aged at least six months; some of the flavored blends are aged longer than that! If you're buying vanilla that's only aged two months or so, you're not getting the full, robust flavor profile, and it's probably because low-quality beans were used for that extract.
Vanilla has always been my (Vincent's) favorite flavor, and I noticed things getting less and less "vanilla-y" over the years; I decided to fix that, myself. I've concocted a few different vanilla extract "brews" that work well in just about any kind of cooking. Here are some examples to help you get the idea:
- I use my Ceylon-Saigon Cinnamon blend in pancakes and French toast.
- I use my chipotle blend in rice and beans. (Also nice when you add a tiny splash to a beer batter!)
- I use my special blend in cookies and cakes.
- I use my standard extra-strength Madagascan extract in my Coconoatmeal Cookies. (Recipe will be included with every pledge!)
- I use my extra-strength Tahitian extract in cupcakes and frostings. (It's SUPER aromatic and warms the nose!)
As you can see, there are all sorts of different ways to use vanilla. It's not just for cookies and cake, you really can work vanilla into any type of cuisine.
Okay! Vanilla is more versatile than I thought!
You're darn right it is! We encourage you to try it in many of your favorite dishes. While you're cooking, take a big whiff of what's in your pot or pan, then waft some vanilla fumes in with it and breathe deep. If you like what you smell, add a splash!
Not so adventurous with food? Add a tiny bit of our vanilla to your favorite drink!
So, you're obviously starting a business, here... Where will the money that is not for supplies go?
We're looking to make this not just our business, but our way of life. Food quality has been important to us since before we can remember (literally), and while many people will just call us picky, We like to call it... err... being really picky!
We jest (sort of), but seriously, we are looking to make this a real business. The money we raise here on Kickstarter will not only buy the materials we need to provide you with the highest quality vanilla extract (and vanilla sugar, powder, etc...) you've ever smelled/tasted, but also to start building a business so we can do it all year round and start putting out more products. We have a lot lined up!
We aim to provide home cooks, foodies, and those who just love out-of-the-box flavors (like chipotle vanilla and rice wine-garlic pickled eggs!) with the best we can give them.
Have you been around Kickstarter for a while?
Indeed! If you check out my profile, you'll see that I am a very avid Kickstarter backer. I do, of course, plan to keep that up. I love the community here, and I'm so excited to finally launch my first project!
So, you will accept Dogecoin when you launch your business...
Why don't you check out the official website for some information, then check out the awesome /r/Dogecoin community on Reddit? They will be able to help you understand and probably even give you some Dogecoins with which to get started!
"But waimt... does that means?"
Absolutely! We are Shibes and once our website launches at the end of this Kickstarter campaign, we will be accepting Dogecoin from *day one*... We'd accept it right now, but Kickstarter, unfortunately, does not accept Dogecoin.
We make vanilla extract, among other things. We're shibes. We're trying to start our own business. Please help out by supporting our dream, and we will send you some delicious, unique vanilla extracts.
So... thanks for taking a look, and please consider throwing money (or full wine bottles) at your computer screens. Cheers!
Risks and challenges
There's always the possibility that, if the vanilla is not prepared properly, something could go wrong with the aging. I vow to follow my tried-and-true process that has gotten me delicious, long-lasting, and powerful vanilla extracts, year after year.
The vanilla market is actually more volatile than you'd expect, and the cost of my most important ingredient—the ethically sourced vanilla beans—can fluctuate a lot. I'm in the process of working out bulk (or even very-bulk) deals with my supplier so I can keep my costs down enough to not go in the red if something crazy happens to the price of vanilla.
My current source of vanilla beans has never failed me in quality and I do not intend to choose a cheaper source just to make more money. This is about giving you all the best I can provide so that you can use it with confidence in your home baking, your culinary experimentation, and even your businesses.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Absolutely no sugars are added to my vanilla, nor are any artificial flavors. What IS added to some of my extract blends are other NATURAL ingredients, such as Ceylon cinnamon, Saigon cinnamon, peppermint leaves, cacao beans, or chipotle pepper flakes, to name a few. Everything is 100% natural, we make only pure extracts.
NO WAY! Coumarin, the chemical found in tonka beans, which is used in some falsely-advertised "vanilla" extracts is linked to kidney disease and even cancer. It's not vanilla, and it's not a healthy substance, it has no place in our extracts!
Vanilla extract dosn't really have a "shelf life" to be stated... Does a bottle of vodka ever go bad? Not really. And thus, our vanilla extracts (or any extracts that are made properly), will never really go bad. If they're exposed to sunlight or extreme temperatures, however, they can lose their potency.
Our source for vanilla beans is organic, but not USDA-Certified. They also follow fair-trade procedures to ensure that the growers and curers (the same people, actually!) get their fair share for their work, and there is no forced child-labor. Plantations are family owned, though, and it is not uncommon for the children to help out.
As stated above, we do not add ANY substances to our vanilla that is not a natural, flavor-enhancing herb or spice. Our extracts are so dark because they are actually well over twice the concentration that the FDA requires them to be... You'll find yourself using only 1/2 teaspoon where 1 teaspoon is called for in your recipes... unless you REALLY want the vanilla to shine (;
You have so many different vanilla extracts, I didn't know vanilla could be so complex... Which do you suggest I try?
Honestly, everyone and their mother has had Madagascan vanilla extract. We're not knocking it, but it's the most common vanilla around... We suggest you try our "Special" reserve blend, that's been the most popular with the bakers who usually get extract from us. It's a powerful, flavorful, aroma-rich vanilla that will warm your nose as well as your tongue.
I have a dietary restriction: I cannot consume alcohol! Is it true that all extracts are made with ethyl alcohol?
That's a shame, you're really missing out on some GREAT flavors... But, do you HAVE to? The answer is NO! We offer an ethanol-free vanilla extract that has a rich vanilla aroma with a sweet, fruity vanilla taste. Please see the "Teetotaler" pledge level if you adhere to a psychological, religious, health, medical, familial, philosophical, or social abstinence from ethanol consumption!
Mexico happens to be the native land for vanilla, and while vanilla has spent its entire existence in that region, it also happens to be the most expensive region from which to source vanilla beans. We may have pure Mexican vanilla extract available for those who want that distinct Mexican vanilla taste if we surpass our goal and can find a supplier that meets our strict criteria. And we do, of course, mean WITHOUT tonka bean/coumarin additives. That being said, while Mexican vanilla does have a distinct, unique, incredible flavor and aroma, it can still benefit from being blended with vanilla sourced from other areas. Pure Mexican vanilla is great in ice cream and frostings, as it is incredibly flavorful and aromatic. If you're unsure of the extra expense, We'd stick with our "Special" reserve blend. It's more well-rounded and better suited to multi-purposing.
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