Tonka Beans (Dipteryx odorata)
The main application of Cumaru seeds is in the fragrance industry. The extraction of its aromatic substances is quite simple process: The seeds are harvested, dried, reduced to powder and soaked in alcohol for twelve to twenty-four hours and are finally dried once again. They develop crystals of coumarin on the surface. We can sell the crystals or the seeds (raw material), as the client prefers: As Cumaru's essence lends a sweet and natural nuance to fern, amber and oriental combinations, it has been used as the raw material for perfume preparations. The final products that use its fragrance are thousand of high quality perfumes manufactured all over the world, such as kenzo, Kate moss, Givenchy, Dior, and many others Cumaru has also many pharmaceutical applications: It is a rich source of natural coumarin, may be as high as 10% in the dried seeds. Coumarin crystals are visible below the epidermis of the seed. Coumarin contributes to the pleasant smell of fresh dried hay. Plants with high coumarin content are sometimes used to flavour alcoholic drinks in Western Europe and the US. In spite of its hypnotic fragrance, the spice does not get mentioned often in cookbooks. Some books suggest adding minute amounts of it to the dough of cakes or cookies; sweets based on coconut, walnuts or poppy are another possible field of application. Lastly, tonka beans are sometimes suggested as a substitute for bitter almonds, especially in countries where usage of bitter almonds is restricted or prohibited by national food laws. Tonka makes an even better substitute for the Middle Eastern mahaleb cherry kernels. Tonka beans makes for a surprising, unusual alternative to vanilla in home-made ice cream, custard and soufflé. Typically, a few beans suffice to flavour one kg of these desserts. There are only few spicy recipes that make use of tonka beans, but Italian-style tomato sauce with tonka beans is truly great. It is to be expected that tonkas sweet, heavy aroma fits best to other sweet spices, like vanilla (see also there for the use of tonka extract as adulteration in vanilla products), cinnamon or saffron. At last, there is a non-culinary usage of Tonka beans to mention: In the past, Tonka beans were often used to flavour tobacco for smoking pipes. In our days, pipes have largely fallen into disfavor and become substituted by cigarettes (which are also on decline in many Western countries); Tonka-flavored tobaccos have, thus, become a rarity. Spices can also be used to flavour cigarettes, as substitute of vanilla and peppermint, with modest popularity in Europe, whereas clove-flavored cigarettes (kretek) are enthusiastically smoked in Indonesia. We can supply Cumaru seeds from July to September, when the seeds fall from trees and they are collected by the Indians from Amazon area. After receiving the seeds, our company cleans select and keeps the product under GMP conditions so that we can supply the finest coumarin crystal or seeds.