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Cassia vs. Ceylon Cinnamon – What’s the Difference?

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Cassia Cinnamon Stick suppliers in the US

It’s one of our most favorite times of the year – the holiday season! Some will open their kitchen cabinets and grab the baking essentials to welcome the family with warm cinnamon rolls, while others visit their local bakeries for homemade style pies.

Cinnamon is one of the first ever traded spices in the world as a commodity. It received its popularity through colonialism – between Portuguese & the Dutch over Sri Lanka territory. This spice that we all know was once highly priced, equivalent to gold several centuries ago!

In this article, we will go over:

Where Does Cassia and Ceylon Cinnamon Come From? 

cinnamon tree

Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon is cultivated in Indonesia (the world’s leading producer), China, Vietnam, Burma, Sri Lanka, and southern parts of India. Cinnamon is harvested from the inner layer of the bark tree Cinnamomum by peeling off the first layer, known as the tree’s outer bark.

During harvesting time, the farmers practice the coppicing technique or cut the shoots until a few centimeters above the ground, while allowing them to regrow the new shoots after about 7-20 years. Then, these pieces are brought for either indoor air-drying or direct sunlight drying.

Before the cinnamon goes through the drying process, these inner tree’s layers are shaped by hand into a telescopic form which is commonly called ‘quills,’ and that’s how cinnamon gets its shape!

Reaching the last production step, these long quills of bulk cinnamon are ready to cut into smaller pieces before being imported to the US and distributed to the retailer-market; retail stores, bakery shops, and restaurants.

Pro tip: Cinnamon suppliers in the U.S. like Essence Food & Beverage, LLC offer custom-cutting requests for cinnamon. This is a key advantage of purchasing directly from the source, without the use of a “middlemen.”

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What is Ceylon Cinnamon?

Ceylon cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka and South India. It’s known as Cinnamomum verum, where ‘verum’ means ‘true.’ This makes it often misinterpreted as a ‘true cinnamon’ variety.

Consuming Ceylon cinnamon –in the form of sticks, powder, capsules, or as an infusion to beverages– may help in minimizing Alzheimer’s onset by controlling the high blood glucose level in the brain and may avoid certain cancer types due to its anti-inflammatory content.

What Is Cassia Cinnamon?

Cassia cinnamon, or Cinnamomum cassia, is primarily cultivated in Indonesia, followed by China, Vietnam, and Burma. There are 3 types of Cassia cinnamon –Cassia, Saigon, and Korintje– which are categorized as the same type due to their uniformity in their characteristics.

Cassia cinnamon, like Ceylon, offers health benefits when consumed within normal limits consumption. The recommended doses for daily consumption of Cassia cinnamon is approximately 0.05 mg/pound or 0.1 mg/kg of your body weight, for up to 4 months daily consumption with medicinal doses.

Cinnamaldehyde content in Cassia cinnamon may play a role against fungi and bacteria contamination. It’s mostly consumed by mouth (in the same way that Ceylon cinnamon is consumed) to prevent or stop tumor cell growth, menstrual pain, nausea, vomiting, may control blood sugar for diabetes patients, and more.

Cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon convey the difference through the way they taste. In baking goods using cinnamon, it’s wise to well understand the key differences between Cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon to achieve the desirable taste of cinnamon; whether it’s pungent or subtle.

Key Differences Between Cassia Cinnamon & Ceylon Cinnamon

From how it looks, you might instantly spot the slight differences. Let’s break down the visible signs cassia and ceylon show:

  1. Shapes – Cassia cinnamon shows several layers of thick rolled up-shape with a big cavity in the middle. On the other hand, Ceylon cinnamon represents the finer texture; a thin-soft multilayer.
  2. Its color shades – Cassia cinnamon possesses a reddish-brown hue while Ceylon cinnamon has light brown or tan brown shades.
  3. Texture – Cassia cinnamon has a rich brown overlay and is tough to break. Ceylon cinnamon is the opposite; it looks fragile and easy to break.

Not limited to these easy-to-observe signs, Cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon reveal the differences through their invisible signs; composition, taste profile, aroma keynotes, and price.

How to Tell Cassia Cinnamon & Ceylon Cinnamon

In addition to visible signs, Cassia cinnamon & Ceylon cinnamon show differences in their Coumarin composition.

Ceylon cinnamon contains 0.0004% of Coumarin content, different from Cassia cinnamon which contains 5% Coumarin and this caused the distinction of flavor and aroma profile. Ceylon cinnamon has a more delicate and milder taste with a sweet aroma compared to the pungent flavor and aroma from the Cassia family.

Coumarin is a natural sweet-smelling substance of cinnamon. It’s arguably that the higher the concentration of coumarin, the more taste in your cinnamon.

Due to these differences, most people turn to Ceylon cinnamon if the recipe calls for a hint of cinnamon flavor. While Cassia cinnamon (both in the form of Cassia cinnamon sticks or its byproducts; Cassia cinnamon powder) is a potent spice when a recipe calls for a heavy spice sensation like the taste you might find in your cinnamon rolls, Indian cuisines, cinnamon puff pastry, and even cinnamon tea!

Don’t let the hype cost you more! If you are a restaurant owner or chef who uses various kinds of spices, Cassia cinnamon sticks or Cassia cinnamon powder is worth considering for its favorable price and flavor (plus, applicable for more than one usage!). A little goes a long way!

Interesting fact: Cinnamon consumption in North America is most widely supplied by Indonesia.

How to Buy Cinnamon in Bulk, By Pallet or Container? Cinnamon Importer.

Cinnamon Importer

Now that you have a better understanding of the differences between Cassia cinnamon & Ceylon cinnamon, the decision comes down to your needs and applications of this famous spice.

Essence Food & Beverage LLC is a direct-trade cinnamon importer based in Los Angeles. You can expect to get the freshest cinnamon sticks and cinnamon powder directly from the country of origin, Indonesia.

Get our continuing product guarantees today. Speak with a spice specialist, or request a quote for your next bulk order of cinnamon here or contact us at (844) 423-1179.

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