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Our First Vanilla Party: November 9, 2013

What does a Lágrima vanilla party look like?

In the leading role we have Jesseca Hallows of One Sweet Appetite supported by Ashlee Prisbrey of Topsy Turvy Cakes. who did everything from selecting the venue to making soup and name tags to getting ingredients, gifts and flowers not to forget sending invitations and personally inviting everyone to attend.

There was a cast and crew of volunteers with photography by Chelsea Peterson Photograhy (all photos are attributed to her).

During the party we made Nonna's biscotti -- and because this wonderful treat bakes for 30 minutes, twice, we had time for a delux grilled cheese bar and a chance to talk all things vanilla. Most importantly, we made meaningful connections with people who share our values and vision.

Thank you everyone for attending -- this was such a special time for us and Orson Gygi in Salt Lake City is such a special space to host the event.

Thank you again Jesseca, Ashlee, Heather at Orson Gygi, Chelsea and everyone for joining us.

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Neil Beam November 11, 2013 2 tags (show) 9 comments

Is there alcohol left after I bake with vanilla extract?

Lágrima recently hosted a vanilla party in Salt Lake City, Utah with a group of wonderful and amazing women and the inevitable question about vanilla and alcohol came up. We never want to shy away from a question but discuss it head on. We even searched a few sites such as the Mormon Dialogue and sites for LDS about the Word of Wisdom.

First, whether you choose to cook with alcohol is a personal choice and here at Lágrima we love everyone and want to support their beliefs. The goal of this post is to help inform the dialogue to support your personal choices and those who you may be cooking for.

Second - Yes, our vanilla extract has alcohol in it. The United States FDA mandates that Pure Vanilla Extract contain a minimum of 35% alcohol content - Lágrima is certainly compliant here.

Now, that said, does the alcohol remain in your baked goods? And the answer here is, most often - No. And any that does is fractional to the original amount.

Here is where our co-founder Neil's engineering and science background might be helpful (remember, he has a degree in bio-medical engineering).

The boiling temperature if ethyl alcohol is 173 degrees F at sea level.

Consider that those cookies or the cake you baked at 325 or 350 F is nearly twice the boiling temperature of alcohol. Now, if you bake gooey brownies and like them super soft in the middle, we can't guarantee that 100% of the alcohol in the vanilla is evaporated out of your goods. And of course if you use vanilla (or any extract) in a cold item, the alcohol will remain.

One last thing: consider that at elevation, liquids boil at a lower temperature (this is due to reduced atmospheric pressure at higher elevations -- people say the 'air is thinner').

  • At sea level, water will boil at 212 degrees F.
  • At 3000 feet above sea level water will boil at 206 degrees F.
  • At 5000 feet above sea level at 203 degrees F.

The same goes for alcohol - higher elevation, lower boiling point. Given that Salt Lake City is around 4000 feet in elevation you can be confident that that the alcohol in vanilla extract is evaporating at lower temperatures.

From a different point of view, consider how the industry looks at Alcohol Units:

A teaspoon is 5 ml in volume. If you bake 2 dozen cookies with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract you have 0.41 ml of vanilla extract per cookie before baking and the alcohol content is 35% so only 0.146 ml of alcohol. If 85% of the alcohol bakes off you have 0.0219 ml of alcohol left in the cookie. A medium-sized glass of wine (175 ml) has around 24 ml of alcohol. So, your cookie (from a batch with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract) will contain 0.00091 the amount of alcohol as a glass of wine. We have found that this is far less than the content of alcohol found in juice due to natural fermentation.

Again, we know this is a subject to be carefully considered and hope this helps inform the conversation. If in doubt use alcohol free vanilla extract which Lágrima does not carry.

We sincerely hope this post is helpful and helps allay any concerns. Please leave a comment or ask a question. We'd love to dig into this topic further.

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Neil Beam November 09, 2013 1 tags (show) 3126 comments

We are in a magazine: Iron and Air

How fun is this: Lágrima has been reviewed in a magazine. Iron and Air is a motorcycle lifestyle magazine that goes back to basics in the 21st century.  We are in their eleventh issue. Again -- super cool.

Check out the magazine. Words here can't do it justice, go see for yourself.


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Neil Beam November 08, 2013 1 tags (show) 18 comments

Dine Northwest Radio Interview

At Foodportunity, a local Seattle networking and foodie event, Rebekah and Neil spoke with David Faro of the Washington Restaurant Association.

David just happens to have a radio show called DineNW and interviewed Neil. Here is the segment - scroll to minute 27 to catch us in action and tell our story.



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Neil Beam November 06, 2013 3 tags (show) 2 comments

International Food Blogger Conference 2013

We are thrilled to sponsor the International Food Blogger Conference being celebrated in Seattle from September 20th to 22nd, 2013

IFBC 2013 Banner


Welcome food bloggers!

Lágrima is a Gift Suite Sponsor of IFBC 2013 - be sure to pick up a sample bottle of vanilla to take home. We want you to both try the vanilla and to share it with others - we are confident that you will find it to be amazing.

Our goal at Lagrima is to grow the company through the word of mouth passion that all of us share for great food and pleasurable experiences. This is why we are offering all IFBC Bloggers a 15% discount on any orders: Use the code TRYIT when visiting our store. Also, please tell others you know about the code: blog about it and tell friends. If you find our vanilla as incredible as we do, please help us spread the word.

Lastly, we are genuinely eager to hear your thoughts, get your feedback and hear about the recipes you cook up with Lágrima. If you'd like to partner on something, be an early tester of our new products (and there will be many) or would like to experiment with our vanilla in your own kitchen, just let us know. We'd love to make something work - simply contact us.

Thank you from all of us here at Lágrima.

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Neil Beam September 20, 2013 3 tags (show) 1 comment

What makes Lágrima vanilla so amazing?

Everyone who has smelled, tasted and cooked with Lágrima vanilla extract comments that it is amazing (we are truly flattered). They always ask "How do you do it? What makes your vanilla so different?" To this our answer is four things:
  1. Amazing Ingredients
  2. Time and Process
  3. Passion
  4. Design.
Let's look at each of these:


Lágrima vanilla extract is made from single-source organic vanilla beans. We decided to launch our flagship vanilla with Uganda vanilla beans. These beans have excellent vanillin content (the main ingredient that gives vanilla extract its flavor). Additionally, our Uganda beans create a sublime flavor profile that possesses both a characteristically deep, earthy vanilla aroma and the sweet, high-notes that we instinctively recognize when they tickle our nose and palate. Just like a rose - you know vanilla when you smell it.

Many people don't know that most extracts require alcohol to draw out the flavor. At Lágrima we have searched both local and international sources. Today, we use a top-shelf Swedish Vodka for our extract. In this area, we are constantly experimenting to find the perfect extraction alcohol for our beans. In 2014 we will introduce Bourbon and Rum-based extracts. Imagine the desserts and cocktails you can whip up with these!

Time and Process

Our process is slow and gentle. It takes four to six months for our slow, cold extraction to be complete. There are certain things we wouldn't dare to imagine doing to our vanilla: heat, water, extractives (chemicals or additives) or mechanical processes to break down the beans. We know the best things in life are those we wait for. As a result, please expect some scarcity in our product as we want to release our small batches only when they are ready for you. 

One more thing here - every bottle includes a handful of fresh beans. This means that as the vanilla ages on your shelf it keeps getting better - just like wine. We pull a small reserve off of each vintage for release five to 10 years from now. The result will be exquisite. Keep your Lágrima cool and out of direct sunlight. Rather than placing it over your stove for display, try a nearby shelf or counter.


This isn't a factory folks! We are hand-crafting small batches of artisan vanilla extract. Every ingredient, process and handling step is considered. The best life has to offer is in these bottles: family and friends, love and happiness. It doesn't get better than this.


For us, there is no higher calling than bringing something beautiful into the world and having others experience it. Lágrima has taken the opportunity to craft every element of the experience. From the packaging to the bottle, the pop of the cork to the first pour. We are bringing something truly unique to the world. No longer is vanilla extract a utility in your pantry - it is a conversation. Something to be loved, shared, talked about and enjoyed thoroughly - in short: A Reason for Emotion.

Please -- tell us what you think makes Lágrima amazing. Would you share your impressions, thoughts, stories and recipes with us?

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Danielle Stroble June 26, 2013 0 tags (show) 62 comments

Not just for desserts anymore!

Did you know that vanilla extract has many uses - and not just for desserts? Let's take a look at a few ways you can use vanilla to enhance your everyday culinary pleasures:

1. Savory dishes

Vanilla is an amazing flavor "enhancer". It brings out the flavors of meats and is an excellent ingredient in marinades. We tasted a Vanilla Pork Empanada at  Little Water Cantina that made our mouth water. We believe there are few other things in this world that make everything taste better - even bacon! Have you ever tried Bacon Wrapped Scallops, braised with vanilla? The perfect example of a sweet and savory combination.

2. Cocktails and Drinks

Imagine a vanilla bourbon manhattan or a vanilla rum piña colada. We are experimenting with rum, bourbon and vodka based vanilla extracts and can't wait for the mixologist in you to go crazy with vanilla drinks. In the mean time, we love a drink called the Vanilla Daisy, made with Lágrima vanilla syrup. Check out the recipe here.

3. Flavor enhancer

From coffees to smoothies, vanilla is a great for enhanced flavors. Just add a teaspoon or so to your favorite drink and experience the bliss. Our café con leche was taken to a whole other dimension with a little splash of Lágrima vanilla extract.

4. Desserts (of course!)

Most desserts include some measure of vanilla extract: cake, cookies, whipped cream and (our favorite) vanilla ice cream. Where do you think those little specks of flavor in vanilla bean ice cream come from? We tried flambéed peaches with butter, brown sugar and our vanilla - the result was both fun and tasty. 
As we compile our favorite recipes together to publish on our website, we would love submissions from our readers, foodies, mixologists and bakers. Send your ideas to recipes@lagrima.com and we'll give them a try. If we love them, (And really, who doesn't love anything made with vanilla?) we will post them on our recipe page for everyone to enjoy!

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Danielle Stroble June 26, 2013 0 tags (show) 1 comment

Designing the Product

We've been very busy these days - dreaming, creating, producing…all while our first batch of vanilla goodness ages as we prepare for our launch later this summer. Here's a look at some "sketches" of our bottles, made to map out the printing of Lágrima labels. The design process is fun, all the while a work in progress. Enjoy the process with us...

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David Gómez-Rosado May 15, 2013 1 tags (show) 60 comments

How Lágrima is Done

At Lágrima, we produce vanilla using premium organic beans from Uganda. These "Gold" beans have an extremely high vanillin content (vanillin is what is extracted from the bean to give that glorious vanilla flavor). The Ugandan beans produce a vanilla extract that is rich, sweet and smoky with a distinctive "creamy, smooth" aroma and flavor. In addition to the vanillin, the beans that continue to "steep" in the bottle after production round out that rich sweet, smoky flavor. It feels like an aromatherapy zen retreat in the kitchen with all of the vanilla aromas. You will have friends popping by the house just to de-stress!

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David Gómez-Rosado April 16, 2013 1 tags (show) 3 comments

Lágrima is Born

A new partnership is born from a sunny California weekend of good food, great wine and and a stroll on the beach. David and Danielle hosted Neil and Rebekah for a weekend at their home in Petaluma. Hoping to find a common vision for the future of Fellowship Vanilla, the weekend "retreat" was spent collaborating and brainstorming, eating and dancing, and finally realizing that their vision for what lies ahead were aligned. From this, came Lágrima!

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David Gómez-Rosado March 01, 2013 1 tags (show) 5 comments
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