- Nov 28, 2020
- by Neil Chotai
It is not a new thing to hear that cinnamon is available in two forms in the market: Cassia and Ceylon. The Cassia cinnamon is red-brown in colour, rougher in texture and rolled in thick sheets. Cassia cinnamon has an intense flavour and used basically for commercial purposes. On the other hand, Ceylon cinnamon is known as “true cinnamon”. It is native to Sri Lanka and has a finer texture and rolled into flat and thin sheets. It is more expensive than cassia version and more beneficial also. If you like drinking cinnamon tea, it is advisable to add Ceylon cinnamon powder for getting the required flavour.
It is a known fact that the true cinnamon is a native to Sri Lanka. There were evidences supporting the fact that it dates back to 2800 B.C., but the precious spice has gained popularity during the 14th and the 15th century in the West. At that time, people used the spice for preserving meat and inhibiting the bacterial growth. Many studies say that the Sri Lanka produces eight varieties of Ceylon Cinnamon with distinct flavour and aroma. Amongst them, not all varieties are ideal to use like the Ceylon cinnamon powder added in tea for getting strong flavour.
Harvesting of Cinnamon
Harvesting plays a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of the spice. When harvesting time comes, the branches of the perennial tree (Cennamomum Zeylanicum) chopped off and the entire tree cuts down. The perfect indicator to determine the harvesting time is when the tree’s stem turns down to brown colour and stick diameter becomes approx 3-5 cm. The inner bark is obtained after peeling off the outer bark to get the stick. The inner bark curls into quills on drying, and is graded based on blemishes, density, colour, essential oil content and many other factors. It is reported that true Ceylon Cinnamon sticks have golden colour and contain scores of thin silver barks rolled into a cigar shaped sticks. These sticks are handcrafted with perfection. Those unaware, these Ceylon cinnamon sticks are also known as Quills.
As per Spice Council of Sri Lanka and SLS-81 standard, Cinnamon should contain maximum content up to 15%. The ideal percentage should be lesser than this. The Ceylon Cinnamon is further categorized into four different grades based on the diameter of the quills. These four categories are: Continental, Alba, Mexican and Hamburg. Amongst them, Alba grade Ceylon cinnamon is the most expensive having 6 mm quill in diameter.
Important Information about Ceylon Cinnamon Grades are as follows:
- Alba: It has a sweet taste with a slender appearance. The Alba grade has a powerful flavour and a pleasant aroma. As mentioned earlier, the nominal diameter of quills is 6-8mm and there are 45-50 quills per kg.
- SPL: After Alba, it is the second best quality. It even tastes better.
- C5: It is a sought-after grade owing to its unique taste, character and excellent flavour. Even the diameter of quills belonging to C 5 category is 6-8mm and one can find 35-40 quills per kg.
- C4: This grade Cinnamon is commonly in demand due to its exquisite fragrance, smoothness and sweet taste. It has tan yellow colour with nominal diameter of quills varying from 13-15 mm. One kg bundle contains 22 to 26 quills.
- M5: It has thinner appearance and relatively rougher in texture. The nominal diameter of quills is 16-18 mm and the number of whole quills per kg stands in between 22-24.
- M4: It is extracted from the selected parts of the high-quality cinnamon.
- H1: This grade of Cinnamon is popular in South American market. It comprises the most expensive as well as the finest parts of the rough cinnamon bark. The normal diameter of the quill is 23-25 mm and comes with 10-12 sticks per kg.
- H2: The colour of this grade of quill is golden yellow and falls under premium quality category. It is thicker than H1 grade and comprises of the sorted portions of the rough cinnamon bark. The normal diameter of the quill is 38040 mm with 6-8 numbers of sticks contained in a kg.
Just like quills, even Ceylon Cinnamon powder is available in two varieties- superfine and medium quality. Whether you use quills or powder, you are rest assured to get milder, sweeter flavour than other cinnamon. So, shop Ceylon Cinnamon from an online grocery store and get this world's finest spice at your doorstep.