Real Cinnamon or Cassia? The 4 key Differences and Why Genuine Cinnamon is Superior
Cinnamon is a widely used spice that is known for its warm, sweet flavor and pleasant aroma. But did you know that there are two main types of cinnamon, each with its unique characteristics? In this blog, we will explore the differences between real cinnamon and cassia, and why real cinnamon, also known as Ceylon cinnamon, is a better choice for your everyday use.
1. Origin and Cultivation
Real cinnamon comes from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree, which is native to Sri Lanka. Cassia, on the other hand, comes from the Cinnamomum cassia tree, which is native to China and other parts of East Asia. Real cinnamon is grown mainly in Sri Lanka and southern India but is widely grown in Zanzibar as well. Cassia on the other hand is grown in China, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
2. Flavour and Aroma
Real cinnamon has a sweeter and more delicate flavour than cassia. It has a subtle citrusy note and is less pungent than cassia. It has a more complex aroma that is described as warm, floral, and slightly woody. Cassia, on the other hand, has a stronger and more assertive flavour, with a spicy and bitter note. Cassia has a pungent aroma that is often described as bold and intense.
Our Kidichi cinnamon powder is made from the bark of slightly older ceylon trees, giving it a bit more intensity while for our Chai we tend to use our Mitakawani Ceylon Cinnamon produced from younger trees to give it a lighter, more delicate fragrance.
3. Appearance and Texture
Many people have asked us why our Kidichi Cinnamon is so much lighter in colour then what they normally find in the supermarkets. This is because real cinnamon has a lighter colour than cassia, with a tan to light brown hue. We remove all the darker outer bark of our cinnamon by hand, including the cinnamon used for our powder, to ensure the highest quality possible. However, cheaper products, such as Cassia, often include the bark in their production process as it is both less expensive and less labour intensive.
The texture of real cinnamon is thin and delicate, and it can be easily rolled into quills if young trees are used. Cassia, on the other hand, has a darker reddish-brown colour and a thicker texture. Cassia sticks are often much thicker and harder to break apart with the rough bark still attached.
4. Nutritional Value and Health Benefits
Real cinnamon is a better choice than cassia when it comes to nutritional value and health benefits. It contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anti-microbial & fungal properties. Most importantly, it also contains lower levels of coumarin, a compound that can cause liver damage when consumed in high doses. Cassia, on the other hand, contains high levels of coumarin, which can be harmful to the liver when consumed in large amounts.
In conclusion, real or Ceylon cinnamon, is a better choice than cassia due to its sweeter and more delicate flavour, complex aroma, lighter colour, and thinner texture. It also has lower levels of coumarin, making it a safer choice for regular consumption. When purchasing cinnamon, look for labels that indicate “Ceylon cinnamon” or “real cinnamon” to ensure that you are getting the best quality. This is why it is important to buy your spices from trusted sources and that can guarantee single origin.
All of our products are 100% ceylon cinnamon without any fillers or mixed with cassia. We love looking at the bewildered faces of people when they try proper real cinnamon for the first time, as it is so different to what they are used to. We particularly love using it in anything sweet, so keep an eye on this blog as we might share some recipe ideas soon!