The cinnamon spice is obtained from a number of different species of tree. However, U10 only supplies what is referred to as ‘true’ cinnamon, which is only obtained from cinnamomum zeylanicum. Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is the only major production origin of true cinnamon. A range of different cinnamomum species are used to imitate the spice in other countries, but the product is very different, and properly termed cassia. Cassia types are produced by Indonesia, China, and Vietnam.

There are significant differences between true cinnamon and cassia. In terms of flavour, analytical profile, physical properties, and visual appearance they are different. Although they are both commonly referred to as ‘cinnamon’ they are really different products. The major differences are summarized below:

 

 
 
     
 
TRUE CINNAMON CASSIA TYPES
     
 
 
     
 
 
     
BOTANICAL ORIGIN
 
  • Cinnamomum zeylanicum
  • Cinnamomum cassia
  • C. burmannii
  • C. loureirii
 
       
MAIN PRODUCING COUNTRIES
 
  • Sri Lanka
  • Madagascar
  • Seychelles
  • Indonesia
  • China
  • Vietnam
 
       
FLAVOURS
 
  • Mild, subtle, delicate, flowery, complex; lively, warm & sweet; citrus overtones.
 
  • Intense, harsh, simple, sweet, slightly bitter, astringent and mucilaginous. Slight bitterness and astringency on the taste (astringency from high tannin content of outer bark). Lacks liveliness and complexity of cinnamon.
 
   
 
PHYSICAL PROPERTIES
 
  • Rich, light golden yellow/brown buff colour; slight mottling
  • Formed into complex ‘quills’ comprising layers of thin bark, like paper, packed inside a single strip of bark and rolled into the form of a tube.
  • Delicate, fragile – easily broken
  • Beautiful, visual appearance is important product attribute
 
  • Uniform dark brown colour
  • Thick bark; coarser, single layer of bark rolled into a simple stick or quill.
  • Very hard. Not easily broken.
 
       
ANALYTICAL PROFILE
 
  • Up to 2% essential oil
  • Bark oil maximum cinnamic aldehyde content 80%; eugenol content 10%
  • Low to zero coumarin (generally less than 15 mg/kg in the bark; up to 0.3%, rarely 0.7% in the essential oil)
 
  • Up to 4% essential oil
  • Bark Oil is up to 90% cinnamic aldehyde; only trace amounts of eugenol
  • High coumarin content – up to 4400 mg/kg in the bark; up to 11% in the essential oil
 
       

 

 

 
       
 
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