Ceylon Cinnamon is very different to ordinary Cassia type Cinnamon you get in the store. Although mild and a bit under whelming at first brush, Ceylon Ceylon Cinnamon is impressive the more you get to know it. Some people just do not like Cinnamon, but this is because they are using Cassia Cinnamon which is harsh and overpowering. When you try True Cinnamon or Ceylon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Zeylanicum) you will find it subtle, sophisticated with a heady aroma like no other. It is then you realize what a wonderful spice it is.
Made up of multiple thin slivers of Cinnamon Bark rolled into a cigar shaped Cinnamon stick. Cassia Cinnamon Cinnamon by contrast is a single thick bark that naturally curls into a cigar like stick when cut and processed.
Ceylon Cinnamon has ultra low Coumarin levels, a substance known to cause liver damage. All Cassia type Cinnamon has high levels of Coumarin, especially Saigon Cinnamon which has the highest levels of Coumarin.
At first blush Ceylon Cinnamon tastes mild. Some would say it has subtle sophistication. This property makes it perfectly suited for using in cooking. It never takes center stage like Cassia Cinnamon. Instead it blends like salt and pepper to create complex multi layered flavors.
SOFT AND FRAGILE
Very soft and brittle and can be broken into small pieces for use in curries and other recipes. Can also b ground easily at home for recipes like Mole. Cassia Cinnamon sticks are hard and difficult to break into small pieces for cooking.
Ceylon Cinnamon is a light reddish color while Cassia Cinnamon tends be a dark reddish color. Ceylon Cinnamon is often bleached with Sulphur dioxide to get rid of contaminants but this also results in an even lighter color. But high quality Ceylon Cinnamon is not bleached.
Here again the aroma of Ceylon Cinnamon is very subtle. But this aroma is very refined and some would say " heady ". Boil it into a Cinnamon stick tea and smell it. You will see what we mean. Fragrant, exotic and soothing is the best way to describe it.
Unlike ordinary Cassia Cinnamon Ceylon Cinnamon is used like you would salt and pepper. A piece of Ceylon Cinnamon is often used in Sri Lankan curries. You can also add it to soups, stews or marinating steaks, pork chops and even chicken fillets. In Sri Lanka a little piece of the cinnamon sticks is broken and added to curries. This is possible because Ceylon Cinnamon is soft and fragile.
Cassia Cinnamon in comparison is a hard bark which is not easy to break into small little pieces. And because Cassia Cinnamon has a strong taste and aroma it often over powers a recipe. Ceylon Cinnamon by comparison works behind the the scenes to create many complex flavors. In adds warmth and depth of flavor to virtually anything.
In the USA and Canada people are used to using Cinnamon powder while Mexico and many parts of Asia prefer to use whole sticks. Generally speaking Cinnamon sticks tend to be more potent. Grinding into powder loses some of the essential oils inherent in the cinnamon sticks. Still powder if produced right with cool grinding and packed in a well protected package without exposure to sunlight is a good alternative for our busy lives. The powder works better for certain recipes like a marinating steaks or pork chops, smoothies or even stew where you want some texture. For light soups a Cinnamon stick maybe better. Ultimately it is your choice.
Without a doubt Ceylon Cinnamon essential oils are considered far superior to those essentials oils derived from Cassia Cinnamon. The chemical signature and the compounds are superior. There are also less impurities possibly because the Ceylon Cinnamon is made from the soft inner bark, while Cassia Cinnamon uses the thick outer bark.
Ceylon Cinnamon leaf oil is derived from distilling the leaves of the Cinnamon tree. The quality of Ceylon Cinnamon is based on the level of Eugenol content. The higher the better. Any thing over 75% Eugenol content is considered very good quality.
Ceylon Cinnamon Bark which is derived from steam distilling the Cinnamon Bark which is also used to make make the Ceylon cinnamon Bark Oil is one of the most exotic fragrance known to man. The quality of Ceylon Cinnamon Bark Oil is denoted by the the level of Cinnamaldehyde. Anything over 60% is considered very good quality. Those approaching 75% is considered extreme high quality, but expensive.