Product: Tonquin Beans
Latin Name: Dipteryx odorata syn. Coumarouna odorata, Coumarouna tetraphylla, Dipteryx tetraphylla.
Plant Family: Fabaceae
Other Names: Tonka Beans, Tonqua, Tonga Bean, Cumaru, Kumaru, Coumaria Nut, Fèves de Tonka, Tonkabohne, Fava Tonka, Charapilla del Murcielago & Ling Ling Xiãng Dòu.
Description: Tonka beans are the seeds from the fruit of the cumaru, an evergreen canopy tree native to Central and northern South America that grows to a height of 25-40 metres. The leaves are approximately 20cm in length, glossy dark green in colour on the upper surface, paler green on the underside, alternately compound, pinnate, comprised of 3-5 elliptical-oblong leaflets. The hermaphrodite, aromatic flowers are produced in terminal panicles of rusty-red coloured inflorescences. The fruits are oblong-oval drupes; 5-7cm in length, 3cm in diameter and yellowy-green when mature, and each fruit produces 1 single seed approximately 2-5cm in length.
The dried beans can be used in sachets and potpourris, given off a ‘new mown hay’ vanilla like aroma tinged with cinnamon, almond and cloves, the beans can also be used as a fixative in pot pourri. In French cuisine the beans are added to recipes in the same way that vanilla beans are used and some tobacco companies use tonka extracts to flavour pipe tobacco. Extracts from the seeds are used in the cosmetic industry to scent soap, shampoo and perfumes.
Shelf life of two years provided that goods are stored in an airtight container in ambient conditions.