Ceylon cinnamon, also known as “true cinnamon,” is less spicy than the variety of cinnamon grown primarily in Saigon, Vietnam. The spice is commonly called cassia, but Ceylon cinnamon is considered by some to be the better variety.
Ceylon cinnamon has a lighter taste with milder flavor notes and it is not as spicy as its counterpart. Clove and ginger dominate Cassia’s taste profile while Ceylon cinnamon shines more with notes of citrus and floral.
The plant that produces cassia cinnamon can grow up to 25 feet tall, while Ceylon averages 7 feet tall. Cassia grows best in warmer climates, thriving in tropical areas such as Vietnam, India and Indonesia. Ceylon does well in subtropical regions such as Sri Lanka, where it was once a dominant crop.
Ceylon may be referred to as true cinnamon or sometimes called “cassia-grade” cinnamon. If a product contains no type of cinnamon whatsoever, it will be marked “cassia,” rather than listing specific types of spices used in production. Some specialty products contain both types of spices blended together in order to achieve a different taste profile.
Ceylon (Sri Lanka) cinnamon is the variety of cinnamon that is considered by many to be the highest grade of all. Ceylon has a milder, sweeter taste than the variety grown primarily in Saigon, Vietnam which is called Cassia. Ceylon cinnamon sticks are also much lighter in color than Cassia cinnamon sticks and give off a more aromatic scent.
Cinnamon trees can be found growing wild in the forests of Ceylon. Cinnamon is harvested when the bark is still green and then dried in the sun or through the use of machines. Freshly harvested cinnamon bark can be easily pounded into a powder form but loses its flavor quickly if not preserved properly.
Ceylon cinnamon is preferred for use in baking and cooking because it does not have as strong an aroma or flavor as cassia cinnamon, making it ideal for adding to sweeten baked goods such as cookies, cakes, and pies. It also pairs well with fruits like apples, pears, and bananas as well as chocolate and nuts like almonds and hazelnuts.*
Ceylon cinnamon is lighter in color, smoother and less spicy than the more common Cassia cinnamon found in grocery stores. It is also less expensive.
Ceylon cinnamon is the variety of cinnamon used in Sri Lanka. It is light brown to dark red in color with a milder, sweeter taste. Ceylon cinnamon is softer and more brittle, with a higher oil content than cassia. Its flavor is delicate and milder with hints of citrus and flowers. The bark is thin and wider, with fewer layers of bark than cassia.
Ceylon cinnamon has a higher quality rating because it has a lighter color, fresher aroma, softer texture and superior flavor when compared to cassia (Vietnamese) cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon also contains lesser amounts of coumarin than cassia, a liver toxic compound which may be carcinogenic. Coumarin was originally found in both types of cinnamon but was largely eliminated from Cassia by the 1930s due to its toxicity.
Ceylon cinnamon is produced mainly on the island of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon; however, some may still be produced on other nearby islands such as Reunion Island and Madagascar or East Africa (see below). Cassia is grown primarily in Vietnam but
Ceylon Cinnamon is the “true cinnamon” and requires a bit more work to obtain. Ceylon cinnamon, which is native to Sri Lanka and was also previously known as “Ceylon cinnamon,” is lighter in color with a milder and less spicy aroma than Cassia. Ceylon cinnamon has a delicate flavor and is less spicy than the common variety of Cassia. It is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as well as Middle Eastern cuisine.
To achieve the full flavor potential of Ceylon cinnamon, it must be ground before use. Whole sticks may be ground in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. The resultant powder should be stored in an airtight container for up to six months for maximum freshness.
Cassia (also known as Saigon) cinnamon, the most popular variety of cinnamon, comes from Vietnam and is darker in color with stronger flavor notes – including some aromatic qualities that are reminiscent of cloves. Cassia has become the dominant variety on the market largely because it’s easier to produce at larger scales. Cassia can be stored whole and ground when needed; however, it only lasts one to two years when stored whole.
Both varieties may be used interchangeably in recipes; however
Ceylon cinnamon has a lighter color and milder taste than the more popular cassia cinnamon. It is less spicy and has a unique flavor that is more delicate and sweet with undertones of floral and citrus. Ceylon cinnamon is also known as cinnamon verum or true cinnamon, in contrast to the other type of cinnamon commonly available called cassia. Cassia has a darker, almost reddish-brown color and is much more pungent than Ceylon cinnamon.
Ceylon comes from a tree in the same family (Lauraceae) as bay laurel, lemon verbena and tamarind. Cassia originates from a tree in the same family as Brazilian pepper, camphor, sassafras and turmeric. While both varieties are called “cinnamon”, they are not interchangeable. Since cassia is stronger and spicier than Ceylon, it is often used where its strong flavor is desired such as in pastry, flavoring for sweets or curries. In other dishes where a subtler flavor is required such as pastas, oatmeal or rice pudding, Ceylon may be preferred.
Classical Indian cuisine uses cassia while Middle Eastern cuisine favors true cinnamon (Ceylon). While both varieties can be
Ceylon is lighter in color and milder in flavor than the more common variety of cinnamon known as cassia. Ceylon is believed to be a superior grade of cinnamon, and it is certainly more expensive. Cassia is generally the one most often found available in the United States because it’s less expensive and has a more pungent flavor.
Cinnamon can be purchased either whole or ground. Both forms have their uses, though ground cinnamon works best when you need to add it to dry ingredients using a recipe. If you’re using cinnamon for baking, consider purchasing whole sticks of Ceylon cinnamon and grinding them yourself just before use. You’ll notice a richer, smoother flavor if you do.
Whole cinnamon sticks can be used for both cooking and baking. For everyday cooking, crush a few sticks of Ceylon cinnamon together with your other spices and store them in a small jar for future use. Or, place a whole stick in an airtight container with some honey or brown sugar to give your baked goods extra flavor.
Cinnamon is a sweet and aromatic spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum. Cinnamon is used in both sweet and savory foods and drinks. The term “cinnamon” also refers to its mid-brown color.
In Sri Lanka, cinnamon is known as “True Cinnamon” or “Ceylon Cinnamon” to distinguish it from other varieties of cinnamon that are darker in color and spicier in taste such as Cassia or Chinese cinnamon (Chinese: 三乳椒; pinyin: sān rǔ jiāo).