Monin Tonka Bean Syrup
Monin Tonka Bean Syrup is just one of a delicious range of flavours, used by coffee shops such as Costa Coffee and enjoyed across the country and further afield.
The bottles come in a 70cl Glass Bottle, and a 1l Plastic bottle variation which is ideal for bars, cafes and coffee shops, but can also be used at home.
The tonka bean is so good its illegal. Yet despite being banned in the United States, Monin Tonka Bean Syrup provides the chance to experience its unique, delectable flavour. The syrup is evocative of vanilla with a hint of roasted caramel, which makes it a fantastic ingredient to add to coffees, cocktails, desserts and more.
It might only have a brief backstory when compared to other food products, but tonka beans pack in plenty of intrigue and drama over a relatively short time period. Its a tale which goes down a dark path, where deaths, being outlawed and an underground black market all play their part and that is just the tonka beans history in the United States.
The tonka bean is a product of cumaru, a tree that is grown in South America. The bean itself contains the natural chemical coumarin. Although this chemical is found in hundreds of other plants, there is an unusually high amount of coumarin in tonka beans. This provides the bean with its tasty and distinctive flavour, but it also comes at a cost more on that later.
In 1820, coumarin was first separated completely from tonka beans. Not long after, British Chemist Sir William Henry Perkin who is perhaps best known for devising the first synthetic dye figured out how to produce an artificial coumarin in the lab. This synthetic additive, one of the first of its kind, was a hit. Its popularity reached its peak during the 1940s. Instead of vanilla, coumarin would be added to the likes of sweets, chocolate and soft drinks. Aside from its taste, the reason behind the switch was due to coumarin being dirt cheap.
Sadly its newfound status was short-lived. In the United States, tonka beans were classed as an illegal product in 1954. And they have been outlawed ever since. The reason behind this decision was due to the discovery that coumarin is toxic. Dogs, rats and sheep were used to test coumarin, and the research revealed it caused considerable liver damage even with low levels of consumption. For sheep, only a 5g portion is enough to be fatal. While humans are much more resilient to the toxicity it takes about 30 whole tonka beans to suffer any ill effects the Food and Drug Administration was taking no chances.
Due to their delicious nature, however, an underground market of sorts has seen tonka beans appear in restaurants all across the States despite being illegal. Laughably, the US is listed as the worlds largest importer of tonka. In the mid-2000s, the FDA raided several gourmet restaurants who were suspected of utilising the product. Yet even this hasnt helped in discouraging the tonka bean trade in the country.
Europe has a more lenient stance on the tonka bean. This is evident due to the product being a feature of various meals on restaurant menus and done so without any fear of being caught up in any legal ramifications. Other than as an ingredient in food and drink, the tonka bean has also been used in other ways. It became a primary addition to tobacco, while the perfume industry has also made use of the beans multifaceted, appealing aroma.