Cinnamon – small stick, big flavour

cinnamon is also called real cinnamon and is made from the bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree. To make the cinnamon sticks, the thin inner barks of the cinnamon tree are inserted into each other. The real cinnamon is slightly lighter in colour than cassia cinnamon, and the cinnamon sticks are much smaller and more finely rolled. In addition, this cinnamon contains much less cinnamaladehyde and coumarin, at only 50 to 60 percent.

Which cinnamon is better Cassia or Ceylon?

When comparing these two types of cinnamon, the question arises in the consumer’s mind: Which cinnamon is better Cassia or Ceylon? When asking which cinnamon is the best, a look at the ingredients helps. Although the aroma-giving substances cinnamaldehyde and coumarin are incomparably higher in cassia cinnamon than in real cinnamon, this does not mean that cassia cinnamon is of higher quality compared to both types of cinnamon. On the contrary, the significantly lower proportion of coumarin contained in real cinnamon makes this cinnamon the higher-quality variety.

It is considered the finest and most aromatic cinnamon variety in the world and is therefore rightly called real cinnamon. Genuine cinnamon is therefore also many times more expensive than the inferior cassia cinnamon. In the industry, for example in the production of conventional cinnamon powder available in supermarkets, a high proportion of cassia cinnamon and only a small proportion of the real cinnamon is therefore often processed.

Cinnamon taste, smell & aroma

What does cinnamon smell like? And what does cinnamon taste like? Cinnamon is known and appreciated for its unmistakable cinnamon smell and taste. While cassia cinnamon has a spicy-hot cinnamon smell and taste due to its high cinnamaldehyde and coumarin content, real cinnamon has a mild, balanced and pleasant cinnamon smell and taste. With regard to the much more concentrated amount of coumarin in cassia cinnamon, it can be said that a lot does not always help a lot.

Cinnamon origin – Where does cinnamon come from?

In addition to the taste, smell and aroma of cinnamon, customers often ask about the origin of cinnamon. Several countries are responsible for cinnamon cultivation and thus cinnamon origin: Besides Indonesia and China, there are also cinnamon farms in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, the Seychelles and Madagascar. The cinnamon origin for the high-quality Ceylon cinnamon is mainly the island of Sri Lanka.

Cinnamon production – What is cinnamon made of?

Cinnamon, no matter what kind of cinnamon it is, consists of the bark of the evergreen cinnamon tree from the genus Cinnamomum. To make cinnamon, the outer layers of the bark are peeled off and laid out to dry. During the drying process, the cinnamon bark rolls up into the typical shape of the cinnamon stick.

So when we ask ourselves what cinnamon is made from, the answer is: from the bark of the cinnamon tree. But how do the big differences in quality between cassia cinnamon and real cinnamon come about? On the one hand, it is due to the type of cinnamon and the coumarin it contains. But the method of cinnamon production is also decisive for the quality. Cassia cinnamon sticks consist of a relatively thick layer of bark; the yield here is much higher than with Ceylon cinnamon stick, which consists of up to 10 thin layers of dried bark pushed into each other. The cross-section of the cinnamon sticks of the real cinnamon therefore often reminds a little of a cigar.

Cinnamon use – What is cinnamon used for?

The question of what cinnamon is used for hardly arises in this country. For us, cinnamon is one of the classic Christmas spices, along with vanilla and star anise. And cinnamon is also used in desserts, tea and mulled wine. In Indian cuisine and in North African regions, on the other hand, many hearty dishes are refined with the aromatic cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon is often used in combination with cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, cardamom, ginger and coriander. Not surprisingly, cinnamon is also used in some spice blends. The African spice mixture Ras el Hanout is the best-known spice mixture in which cinnamon is used.

Using cinnamon sticks: This is how it tastes best

But how do you use the cinnamon sticks so that the flavour can develop in the best possible way? There are two possibilities: Firstly, the whole cinnamon sticks can simply be added to tea or punch, but also to compote, jam or red cabbage, and then removed before serving. The more common method of using cinnamon, however, is to grind the aromatic cinnamon sticks into powder in a mortar shortly before using them. Freshly ground, the cinnamon spice can develop its aroma best.