Cinnamon Vogue


There are hundreds of types of Cinnamon. But only 4 types or varieties of Cinnamon are used for commercial purposes. These are Ceylon Cinnamon, Cassia Cinnamon, Saigon Cinnamon and Korintje Cinnamon.

With the exception of Ceylon Cinnamon, Cassia, Saigon and Korintje Cinnamon are also classified under the Cassia Cinnamon category because they are very similar to each other with only slight variations in color, taste, shape and Coumarin content. All Cassia type Cinnamon are hard and have high levels of Coumarin a substance known to cause liver damage, while Ceylon Cinnamon is the only soft and brittle Cinnamon with ultra low Coumarin levels.

Name Scientific Name
Ceylon Cinnamon
True Cinnamon
Mexican Cinnamon
Cinnamomum Zeylanicum, Cinnamomum Verum
Indonesian Cinnamon
Korintje Cinnamon, Padang Cassia
Cinnamomum Burmanni
Saigon cinnamon, Vietnamese Cassia. Vietnamese Cinnamon Cinnamomum Loureiroi
Cassia Cinnamon or Chinese Cinnamon Cinnamomum

Most of Europe uses Ceylon Cinnamon primarily because this was the first spice European explores brought back from their conquests of the orient nearly 400 years ago.

Around 70% of North America uses Cassia Cinnamon. Indonesia is the chief supplier of Cassia Cinnamon. This is because it is much cheaper than Ceylon Cinnamon which tends to be expensive because of the hand crafted process needed to harvest it and roll it in multiple thin layers. Cassia Cinnamon is a hard bark that is spicy, smells pretty strong and sometimes bitter.

Saigon Cinnamon is another Cinnamon which has gained in popularity recently. It tends to be even more spicy and strong and sweet at the same time. It's a little more expensive than Cassia Cinnamon but has the highest levels of Coumarin (see chart below).

Ceylon Cinnamon has one advantage over all other types of Cinnamon. It has ultra low coumarin levels. Coumarin in high doses causes liver failure, so for people who take Cinnamon on a daily basis,Ceylon Cinnamon is the preferred choice. Click here to read the research on Cassia Cinnamon and Coumarin.

For fine desserts Ceylon Cinnamon is an absolute must because it is subtle, smells very mild and is slightly sweeter in taste. It never takes center stage in the recipe but adds a very complex flavor. Although Ceylon Cinnamon smells mild, if you grind and add it to baked goods or Cinnamon french toast for example, the aroma it gives off is a very sophisticated and fragrant smell.

Most well established recipes that call for Cinnamon came from Europe or the middle east and should use Ceylon Cinnamon. The same applies to any Mexican recipes that calls for Cinnamon. This is because the taste profile of these desserts were designed with Ceylon Cinnamon.

However because the supply in the US is overwhelmingly Cassia Cinnamon, most people have been using Cassia Cinnamon. That makes the desserts taste very different. Even many Mexican desserts made in the US erroneously substitute Cassia Cinnamon, which ruins the original taste profile of the dessert. Because Ceylon Cinnamon tends to be mild and sweet, it lends itself to creating sophisticated layers of flavors that is not possible with harsher Cassia Cinnamon.

Which Cinnamon Has the Lowest Levels of Coumarin?

Coumarin is a substance that can cause liver damage or complete failure. Only Ceylon Cinnamon has low levels of Coumarin, while all other varieties of Cinnamon have high levels of Coumarin. At one stage the German government banned Cassia type Cinnamon. But take a closer look at this university of Mississippi study which shows the high levels of Coumarin in all other types of Cinnamon, except Ceylon Cinnamon. So if you are taking Cinnamon for health reasons, then you must and should switch to Ceylon Cinnamon. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) established a tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 0.1 mg/kg body weight for Cinnamon.

Coumarin Content by Types of Cinnamon

Type of Cinnamon Coumarin Content
Ceylon Cinnamon, True Cinnamon, Mexican Cinnamon
0.017 g/kg
Indonesian Cinnamon, Korintje Cinnamon, Padang Cassia
2.15 g/kg
Saigon cinnamon, Vietnamese Cassia, Vietnamese Cinnamon
6.97 g/kg
Cassia Cinnamon or Chinese Cinnamon
0.31 g/kg


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Ceylon Cinnamon (above right) sticks are soft, crumbly and rolled like cigar with layers of soft brittle Cinnamon bark. All other Cinnamon looks like the Cassia Cinnamon sticks (above left) and tends to be hard, hollow and have only one rolled layer. Notice the color difference. Ceylon Cinnamon is lighter in color while other Cinnamon tends to be darker in color.


  Cinnamomum Zeylanicum,
Cinnamomum Verum

Cinnamomum Burmanni Cinnamomum Loureiroi Cinnamomum
Other names Ceylon Cinnamon, True Cinnamon,
Mexican Cinnamon
Korintje Cinnamon, Padang Cassia, Indonesian cinnamon Saigon cinnamon, Vietnamese cassia. or Vietnamese cinnamon Cassia Cinnamon or Chinese Cinnamon
Primary Country of Origin Sri Lanka (90%), India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean
Indonesia Vietnam China
Tree Height 32 - 49 ft. 22 ft.   32 - 49 ft.

Mild Sweet


Spicy Sweet

Spicy Bitter

Color Light to medium reddish brown Dark reddish brown Dark reddish brown Dark reddish brown
The Good

Ultra Low Coumarin, delicate taste, softer crumbly, blends well to create complex flavors, fragrant smell

Spicy Cinnamon flavor
Smells strong
Strong smell Spicy taste, high levels of oil content Cheap
Strong smell

The Bad Expensive.
Too fragile to be for Christmas decorations.
Maybe too mild tasting for some
High Coumarin Levels Very high Coumarin Levels High Coumarin Levels.
Slightly bitter. Strong taste maybe too powerful a taste for some