Pure Vanilla Extract: Always the Best Choice Is there a difference between natural and artificial vanilla extracts? Definitely! Natural vanilla extract is by far the best choice. Hard to believe but pure vanilla has around 250 aroma and flavor compounds. While artificial vanilla extract usually has a host of chemicals, sweetners and only one compound-vanillin. We don't even want to tell you about the manufacturing process which is a by-product of paper production or coal tar. So what is it that is so special about pure vanilla? Simply put, pure vanilla enhances our ability to taste other foods such as chocolate, coffee and a host of other foods. So don't skimp, buy the real deal. After all most recipes only call for a teaspoon or two in a recipe so a little goes a long way.