The colour of the vanilla pod is ultimately not very important as the origin, species, and curing methods vary this parameter. However, the colour generally varies between light and dark brown (more or less chocolate colour).
Visually, the vanilla should not present any major defects (except tattoos by labourers which are easily identifiable) such as traces of mould, marks covering too much of the pod, and scars. Colour should be uniform.
Optimal pod curing gives supple, full, and oily (not excessive) to the touch vanilla. It should be glossy without being shiny and should not be dull which can be an indication that the pods have been stored in alcohol (as this is a solvent, this would extract the essence and deprive you of some of the aroma).
A pod which is too dry or brittle revealing thin reddish filaments indicates a poorly cured or conditioned vanilla or fruit harvested before maturity or even vanilla close to its expiry date ..... and therefore potentially with lower vanillin content.
FLEXIBILITY AND TEXTURE OF THE VANILLA PODS ARE GOOD QUALITY INDICATORS