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Spice Journey: Cinnamon

Cinnamon has woven itself through the fabric of history and into our hearts. Maybe it’s memories of mom’s “special breakfast” of baked apple with cinnamon and sugar, the first time you made French Toast, and of course all things Christmas - from ornaments to cider. But have you ever wondered where the cinnamon on your table comes from and how it gets there?

What is Cinnamon?

Let's start with a key piece of information: the two types of cinnamon you might know are from two different plants. 


The first might appropriately be called true cinnamon and is the inner layer of bark from evergreen trees of the genus Cinnamomum, native to Sri Lanka.

Also known as “true” cinnamon, this variety has a milder, sweeter flavor than the cinnamon you are likely used to. While this type of cinnamon is preferred in England and Mexico, until recently it has been less popular in the United States.

Ceylon Flavor: Bright, Citrusy, Sweet

The second spice we think of as cinnamon actually comes from a different species Cinnamomum cassia is native to China. Related species are grown throughout Asia and are all sold as just "cinnamon" today. The classic cinnamon that is commonly sold in the U.S., this variety has a stronger, spicier flavor than Ceylon.

Saigon Cassia Flavor: Bold, Spicy, Lingering

Indonesian (Korintje) Cinnamon Flavor: Mellow, Familiar, Sweet

You can read more about the types of cinnamon we carry here.

The Journey

Regardless of the type of cinnamon, the harvesting process is the same. Just as it has been done for thousands of years, farmers remove the outer bark off the trees, then shave off the delicious inner bark. This is the first step in Cinnamon’s journey to our shelves and your kitchen. The bark is dried over the course of about a week, during which time it curls into the familiar shape of cinnamon sticks.From The Field

To Your Pantry

Though a lot has changed in the world since the days of the ancient Spice Trade, some things have not. Cinnamon is still shipped by boat, making the long journey from local producers and distributers in Sri Lanka, China, and Indonesia to New York.

From there, the cinnamon is shipped directly to our warehouse in Denver, Colorado by plane.

The cinnamon is then shipped in small batches to our stores nationwide.

As with all our products, we pack and label each jar of cinnamon by hand in each store. Cinnamon is our most popular spice and it doesn’t stay on the shelves long. 

Best Ways To Use Cinnamon

While you might think of cinnamon as being a "sweet" flavor that is best suited for baking, adding small amounts to savory dishes can build depth of flavor. There's no right or wrong cinnamon to use - think of them as interchangeable. If you love the taste of cinnamon, go ahead and use the stronger Cassia. If you find too much cinnamon a little off-putting, consider starting with the milder, citrusy flavor of Ceylon.

Ceylon Cinnamon
The mild, citrusy flavor of Ceylon cinnamon is commonly used in Mexico, so consider pairing it with traditional recipes like Horchata or with recipes that have chiles or citrus, we suggest Chipotle Pumpkin Soup.

Indonesian (Cassia) Cinnamon

The familiar, mellow flavor of Indonesian (Korintje) Cassia Cinnamon makes it very versatile so it's the perfect cinnamon to try in both sweet and savory recipes. Don't forget that whole cinnamon sticks are ideal for infusing flavor into drinks like this Vanilla Bean Hot Toddy.

Saigon (Cassia) Cinnamon
The bold, lingering flavor of Saigon Cassia makes it a good match for other strong flavors, so add a pinch to your favorite red chili recipe or try it in Big Red Bison Chili. It's perfect for baked goods and will make dreamy cinnamon rolls or snickerdoodles.

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