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Types of Cinnamon that you must know
 / Ceylon Cinnamon  / Types of Cinnamon that you must know
16 Apr

Types of Cinnamon that you must know

From here onwards, your life will divide into two phases: the time before and the time after you read this article. Earlier, in the cinnamon world, you were young and inexperienced. You will be a cinnamon expert after you have read this. You’re going to know that not everything is the same in cinnamon. There are numerous cinnamon varieties, which originate in and grow in various locations. And flavors vary slightly from one to another.

Cinnamon had been one of humankind’s first spices since the beginning of civilization. In ancient times the main export of Sri Lanka has been Ceylon cinnamon. There are various applications of cinnamon. All the parts of the tree are using, specifically the bark, leaves, buds, flowers, fruits, wood, and roots. The spice is taking out from the cinnamon bark. Cinnamon is a beneficial spice in Sri Lanka. Cinnamon is using for food, medicinal, and cosmetic as well as perfuming purposes. Cinnamon was being used for religious reasons in some regions. Cinnamon is no doubt a miracle plant of economic significance for its goods for all these potential uses.

According to the physical location and chemical characteristics, there are two types of cinnamon in the world. They are;

  • Ceylon Cinnamon/ True Cinnamon/ Pure Ceylon Cinnamon
  • Cassia Cinnamon
  • Chinese Cassia
  • Saigon Cinnamon/ Vietnamese Cinnamon
  • Korintje Cinnamon/ Indonesian cinnamon


What is Ceylon Cinnamon?

Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum Zylanicum) is an aromatic evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka. It is very well known for its name; it is derived from the former name of Sri Lanka. Ceylon Cinnamon or Sri Lankan Cinnamon is part of the Lauraceae family with approximately 250 species and subspecies. The organic Ceylon Cinnamon has a high reputation and demand worldwide because of its unique chemical properties over other varieties. It grows well in sandy conditions. The tree grows in natural condition at around 49 feet, but it cuts to business purposes earlier. Ceylon has a tan-brown color and has many tight, soft-layered sticks. Ceylon cinnamon is harvesting at the beginning of the Sri Lankan rainy season. The sap within the tree is at its highest concentration at this time, which makes it easier for the outer bark to fall off. The aromatic compounds which are most abundant are also most present. The quality and texture are hugely valuable. Ceylon is less prevalent and long valued as a seasoning for cooking. Compared to the most popular form of Cassia, it is very costly. Most recipes from Europe and Mexico that need cinnamon call for the Ceylon variety. Pure Ceylon cinnamon—the expensive, rare, healthy, and recommended kind—is considered best over all other types. It is exporting worldwide, but the main markets include the United States and Mexico.

Benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon

There are health benefits of Ceylon cinnamon, but there is insufficient evidence to prove it. Ceylon cinnamon can use as a preservative. Before modern technology to preserve foods, Europeans have used cinnamon with pepper to preserve meat. It uses in baking and as a seasoning in Asian foods and flavored tea. Cinnamon is widely using in perfumes, cosmetics, and aromatic gifts.

What is Cassia Cinnamon?

Cassia cinnamon derives from the cassia cinnamon tree, which is known as Cinnamomum aromaticum. Cassia comes from various countries, including China, Vietnam, Java, Indonesia, and India. Cassia is typically a dark brown-red color with thicker sticks and redness than Ceylon Cinnamon. Cassia Cinnamon is known as lower quality cinnamon. It is inexpensive and most widely consumed around the world. Almost all cinnamon found in shops is Cassia type. Cinnamaldehyde is approximately 95 percent of its oil, which makes Cassia a spicy and robust taste.

Cassia Cinnamon

Cassia Cinnamon Toxic

Chinese Cassia has a higher presence of Coumarin (the Ceylon variety contains about 0.004 percent coumarin, while Cassia includes 5-8 percent). Coumarin is an organic chemical compound that is fragrant and present in many natural foods. Natural coumarin levels in Cassia are 1200 times higher. It can cause severe health issues when ingested frequently in large quantities and cause liver and kidney problems. European medical agencies have alerted to cassia cinnamon being routinely used because of its high coumarin content.

Chinese Cassia

The quality of Chinese cinnamon is not exceptionally high. It is more robust, less sweet, and slightly bitter in the Cassia Cinnamon family. Maybe due to the conditions of the soil. Depending on soil conditions, the quality of cinnamon can change. Most Chinese cinnamon probably remains in China; used in Chinese medicines for cough, phlegm, and other diseases.

Saigon Cinnamon

You might be wondering what is Saigon cinnamon and what is Vietnamese cinnamon. Both names are using to know this specific cinnamon. It is a type of Cassia cinnamon. It originated in Saigon, a southern city in Vietnam, before the Vietnamese War. Now it locates in the area of central Vietnam. Saigon Cinnamon produces more Cinnamaldehyde than the other varieties. This chemical compound is responsible for its intense taste and aroma and is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. There is more Coumarin than different types. It is also using in various foods, including curries, baked goods, and pho, a traditional Vietnamese dish.

Benefits of Saigon cinnamon

Saigon cinnamon benefits in speaking; it is an ideal ingredient for all of the classic cinnamon pastries like cinnamon toast and apple pie. It is also a useful spice for sweets and chewing gum. Saigon Cinnamon and other spices can be mixed with other ingredients to make spices such as pumpkin pie spice and garam masala.

What is Korintje Cinnamon?

Korintje cinnamon is a type of Cassia cinnamon. The scientific name is Cinnamomum burmannii, a similar connection to the other Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon. Indeed, it’s the type most people in the United States know. You will know this nostalgic taste immediately if you’re American and have grown up with French toast. Korintje cinnamon is the most common cinnamon because it is cheap and used in many American bakeries. It is widely recommended to add a whole cinnamon stick or sticks to steamed rice or meat dishes in savory cooking. It often refers to as Java or Indonesian cinnamon. This cinnamon variety is distinct from both Ceylon and Cassia because it’s harvesting from higher altitudes. In most desserts and drinks that need cinnamon in the USA, Korintje cinnamon is using.

Ceylon cinnamon vs. Cassia cinnamon

Cinnamomum Verum and Cinnamomum cassia are entirely different spices. The main difference is how much Coumarin each spice contains. Ceylon variety quite costly and rare from the original country to discover and Cassia variety is a common and inexpensive spice. The color of Ceylon is tan brown, while the color of Cassia is dark reddish-brown. Ceylon cinnamon has relatively thin tree bark, which is rolling up like a coil. Cassia cinnamon has an uneven thickness and only forms a few layers if rolled up (mostly single). Ceylon variety is fragile and can quickly break, but Cassia variety is hard and difficult to grind. Ceylon Contains exceptionally low healthy Coumarin content (~0.004%), but the coumarin levels of Cassia are 1200 times higher, indicating kidney and liver problems (~5 percent). Physicians recommend Ceylon variety for everyday use. Cassia variety isn’t suitable for everyday use as this creates health issues. Ceylon is pleasant and delicate, makes a good fragrance and taste while the taste of Cassia is Sour and powerful; it is recommended for Chinese foods. Ceylon cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka, not available in China. Cassia cinnamon is available in China, Java, Vietnam, not available in Sri Lanka.

Good cinnamon vs. Bad cinnamon

Although this spice is useful in many ways, it has several side effects, including Coumarin. Coumarin is present in cinnamon foods, which can cause harmful damage to the liver in large doses. Some countries in Europe have set a permissible daily Coumarin consumption. One study conducted on Cassia cinnamon has shown coumarin levels in Cassia cinnamon between 2,650 and 7,017 mg/kg. It also discovered that Ceylon cinnamon had a low percentage of Coumarin, which allowed it to be used in place of Cassia varieties.

A regular teaspoon of cinnamon weighs around 2.6 grams. It contains 6.9 to 18 milligrams of Coumarin in Cassia cinnamon. At such high levels, one tablespoon daily could lead to liver damage in many adults. This is important to those who are at risk of developing chronic liver disease. Parents should also be vigilant because a small child may consume a considerable amount of Coumarin if they eat a small amount of cassia cinnamon. While it’s safe to serve your child cinnamon occasionally, regular consumption could be fatal. Research from rodents showed that Coumarin could develop cancerous tumors. Nonetheless, there are no indications that coumarin toxicity in humans is possible, as these two species metabolize Coumarin in very different ways. There is no evidence that Coumarin is carcinogenic to humans.

Based on cinnamon’s coumarin levels, Ceylon cinnamon can describe as good cinnamon, while Cassia cinnamon is bad cinnamon. But it depends on the amount of consuming cassia cinnamon by people.

Ceylon cinnamon

Cinnamon Side Effects

Cinnamon is typically safe to use. However, high use may provoke sores in your mouth and lips. Some people are sensitive to it. If you put it on your skin, it can cause redness and irritation.

Without the evidence demonstrating cinnamon’s safety, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should stay away from it. Coumarin levels may affect them.

Talk to your doctor before you decide to use cinnamon supplements if you take other medicines regularly. This would affect the function of antibiotics, anti-diabetic medications, blood thinners, and heart medicines.

Cinnamon Products

  1. Sticks
  2. Quills

Complete tubes, generally 42 inches in length, made with the plant’s scraped inner bark, joined together with small overlaps. The hollow fills with small pieces of the skin and dries in the air.


Cinnamon quillings can identify as some broken cinnamon quills, small bits, and flakes in different grades.


The inner bark pieces are formed by peeling or scraping the bark with a small twig and planting twigs containing the specified number of chips (non-scrapable bark).


Cinnamon chips are dried bark (which is hard to peel), including the outer bark from beating or scratching the plantation branches after harvest. This is a simple way to include cinnamon in your tea mix, particularly when you want to use less than a cinnamon stick.

Cinnamon Powder

Cinnamon powder is also called ground cinnamon. It is powdered cinnamon sticks. When shopping for ground type, be careful. The manufacturers can use lower quality parts when preparing ground goods. In the case of powdered products, it is difficult to identify the quality. Cinnamon powder can easily use for cooking, baking, and smoothies. Cinnamon powder is highly aromatic with a mildly spicy and sweet taste.

Cinnamon Powder

Cinnamon oil

Cinnamon essential oil distillation began during the Dutch period in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was a typical producer of cinnamon bark oil and leaf oil and exporters of value-added goods, including cinnamon leaf oil and bark oil.

Two essential oils, like leaf oil and bark oil, are produced by Cinnamomum Verum. Cinnamaldehyde contains in liquid cinnamon or bark oil, while Eugenol is the main component in leaf oil.

  • Leaf oil – The cinnamon leaf oil derives through steam distillation after leaf pieces or twigs are removed from the crop. The amount of Eugenol in Cinnamomum verum oil is higher (68–87%), and Cinnamaldehyde is lesser (0.5–1%). The leaves are producing as an industrial by-product. The oil of the leaves is cheaper than bark oil and is not recommending for internal consumption.
  • Bark oil/ Liquid cinnamon – Cinnamon bark oil is the result of steam distillation of cinnamon bark. This mainly contains Cinnamaldehyde (63 to 75%) and Eugenol (2 to 13%). One of the costly essential oils on the market is Cinnamon Bark Oil. The quality of bark oils depends on the material used in the oil distillation process. Quills are always recommending to produce high-quality bark oil, but not for distillation always.

Cassia oil

Compared to the two cinnamon oil types in Sri Lanka, there is only one category of essential oil in Cinnamomum cassia. Cassia oil is distilling from a mixture of multiple parts of the tree. Therefore, only one type of cassia oil is available.

From where to buy real cinnamon?

The best place to reach real cinnamon in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is the only and sole producer of Cinnamomum Verum products. It is also critical that the right products from other inferior products such as Cassia, which is often sold on the market, are recognized when purchasing. In convention stores and other physical locations, Cassia is mostly sold on behalf of cinnamon. Therefore, always make sure you check out the manufacturer if you buy cinnamon from elsewhere.

You can find it at high-end grocery stores in your country. In other countries, Sri Lankan suppliers and manufacturers typically have no retail outlets. However, some retailers sell Cinnamon from Sri Lanka in their shops. You could find true cinnamon in your country if there’s a Sri Lankan spice store. In purchasing real cinnamon, a buyer from another country can buy cinnamon online from a Sri Lankan online seller who would have their plantations in Sri Lanka. They provide consumers with fresh produce from the local area.

Sri Lanka does not produce Cassia or subspecies. A Sri Lankan product contains all the related medicinal benefits, tastes, and aroma of Ceylon cinnamon product.


  • What is the best cinnamon?

Cassia and Ceylon are both excellent and delightful. However, Cassia can be harmful due to the coumarin content if you plan to eat significant quantities of this spice or take a supplement. Ceylon cinnamon is healthier and safer at the end of the day, but the price is higher than Cassia cinnamon.

  • What is the strongest cinnamon?

The most prevalent type is Cassia cinnamon. It has a more pungent taste than Ceylon cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is intense and suitable for Chinese braised meats. The cassia oil has 95% Cinnamaldehyde, giving it a robust flavor.

  • What is Ceylon cinnamon good for?

Cinnamon is using as an alternative treatment for diabetes. Clinical studies have shown that Ceylon cinnamon can bring insulin levels in diabetic animals to near healthy levels. Ceylon Cinnamon activates activity similar to insulin. It decreases the resistance to insulin in the body. According to studies, it helps to metabolize glucose in the liver.

Ceylon cinnamon has an antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant impact. These characteristics help to preserve the immune condition by Ceylon cinnamon.

  • How many types of cinnamon are there?

There are mainly two types of cinnamon in the world;

  • Ceylon Cinnamon
  • Cassia Cinnamon

Cassia cinnamon can divide into three categories;

  • Chinese Cassia
  • Saigon Cassia/ Vietnamese Cassia
  • Korintje Cassia/ Indonesian Cassia

Ceylon cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka. The organic Ceylon Cinnamon has a high reputation and demand worldwide because of its unique chemical properties over other varieties. Compared to the most popular form of Cassia, it is very costly. Pure Ceylon cinnamon—the expensive, rare, healthy, and recommended kind—is considered best over all other varieties.

Chinese cinnamon is more pungent, less sweet, and slightly bitter in the Cassia Cinnamon family. Most Chinese Cinnamon probably remains in China, using Chinese medicines for cough, phlegm, and other diseases.

Saigon cinnamon taste is strong, the oil content is high, and there is more Coumarin than other varieties. It uses various foods, including curries, baked goods, and pho, a traditional Vietnamese dish.

Korintje cinnamon is the type most people in the United States know. It is the most common cinnamon because it is cheap and used in many American bakeries. In most desserts and drinks that need cinnamon in the USA, Korintje cinnamon is used.

  • Is Vietnamese cinnamon is Cassia or Ceylon?

It is considering a type of Cassia cinnamon. Saigon cinnamon or Vietnamese cinnamon has a more pungent taste and smell than other forms of Cassia cinnamon. It is less costly and easily found in groceries, though it is considered low quality than Ceylon cinnamon.

  • What is sweet cinnamon?

Ceylon cinnamon has a lighter, sweeter taste than Cassia cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is mostly using for the cinnamon liquor (whisky), sweet production industry such as; cinnamon rolls, cinnamon candy, cinnamon toast crunch, etc.

  • Which cinnamon is better for you?

Some would say that cassia cinnamon is fake cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon is real cinnamon. It is not valid; they are both right cinnamon kinds. We tend to think that Ceylon is a spice of higher quality all over the world. Cassia cinnamon bark typically contains high coumarin levels, a substance that can cause liver and kidney trouble. Ceylon cinnamon has a strong reputation globally due to its distinctive scent, quality, health benefits, and ultra-low coumarin value. Hence Ceylon variety can consider as the better cinnamon for you.

End of the day, cinnamon is one of the best and most healthy and nutritious of all spices. We hope this article gave you extensive knowledge about cinnamon. Now you are a walking, talking encyclopedia of cinnamon. Just make sure to use Ceylon cinnamon; if not, small amounts of Cassia cinnamon won’t be harmful.


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