Not many people realise that there are actually two types of Cinnamon:
True Cinnamon is from a species called Cinnamomum verum that originated from Ceylon and is now cultivated in many tropical regions. It has a sweet, familiar cinnamon taste and can be used for all cinnamon-purposes, including cakes, sweets and mulled wine as well as curries and stir-fries.
Cassia is from a species known as Cinnamomum aromaticum, and is often known as Chinese Cinnamon. It has a deeper, stronger taste than true cinnamon and is more suited to curries and stir-fries than cakes or mulled wine. Nonetheless, many people use cassia instead of cinnamon.
Both types of cinnamon are perfectly good, but as described above, are suitable for different purposes.
These are available Ground and in Sticks.
On all of our products, we will explain which is true cinnamon, and which is cassia.
Savoury sticks of "Cinnamon Bark", actually called Cassia Bark. This is the type of cinnamon that is usually used in curries...
Cassia Bark are the big sticks of bark. Typically, one would either insert a stick whole into the cooking-pot or pan in order to flavour curries, rice or stir-fries. Alternatively, cassia sticks can be ground up. They have a very strong, deep taste and are an essential part of many spice blends, including garam masala.
Sweet, thin True Cinnamon quills. This is a sweeter cinnamon for desserts and mulled wine...
Cinnamon sticks, or quills, are the delicate sticks that one might add (broken in half) into a pot of mulled wine to impart flavour as well as a decoration. The bark is thinner than cassia. This is regarded as "true" cinnamon and has a subtler, sweeter flavour than the cassia variety.
Cassia powder and sticks for curries, stir fries and Middle-Eastern foods.
More interesting facts about Cinnamon
True Cinnamon and Cassia
True cinnamon comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree. Its formal names are Cinnamomum verum ("true cinnamon") and Cinnamomum zeylanicum ("cinnamon from Ceylon"). However, there are different sub-species of this tree, and there are also several different species of "wild cinnamon" which are slightly different, though not as commonly used as true cinnamon.
Cassia is probably more commonly used than true cinnamon in most parts of the world, and has a similar taste. Cassia bark sticks are usually from the species Cinnamomum aromaticum, and are the flat, barky sticks as opposed to the delicate quills of true cinnamon. Both types are available from Healthy Supplies.
Most Indian and Chinese cooking uses cassia, but for European dishes, the subtler flavours of true cinnamon are usually preferred.
The flavours and essential oils of Cinnamon
Cinnamon and Cassia both have the same essential flavour. This flavour is due to the complex mix of essential oils in the plant. These essential oils are often extracted and used as essence of cinnamon, which is taken for its medicinal properties. The chief component of this oil is known as cinnemaldehyde, and has powerful antimicrobial properties.
In fact, as well as being a spice, cinnamon is highly valued for its nutritional qualities. Its regular use is believed to be good for the digestion, circulation and immune system, and the phenols contained within cinnamon have antioxidant properties. Cinnamon and cassia have been the subject of research regarding blood sugar control, and as such have become popular additions to many supplements.
Being related species, both cinnamon and cassia have similar types of essential oils - neither is "better" than the other, but of course they vary in terms of depth and intensity.