As y’all know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I am a HUGE fan of all things cinnamon. Coffee cake, candy, gum, toothpaste… if it’s cinnamon, chances are I am going to love it. But did you know there are multiple varieties of cinnamon, and that each one is different?
While I knew there are many different varieties of cinnamon, I’d never tried any different kinds before; I’d just grab the standard McCormick/5th Season/store brand stuff from the shelf, since that’s all you ever see anyway; unless you live in a big city like New York and have shops that carry a wider variety and special items, perhaps. But if you’re like me and live in a typical small town instead, chances are you’ve never been given any options with cinnamon besides the price tags that come with the couple of different brands, none of which actually offer any insight on the label as to exactly what type of cinnamon they are. From what I have read, the typical commercially sold cinnamon is cassia cinnamon which some have deemed “fake” and they feel ceylon is the only “true” cinnamon, however both are in fact in the same family of plants, genus cinnamomum, and thus are both technically indeed varieties of cinnamon if you ask me. But I’m not here to argue about “fake” or “real” cinnamon. I just want to share my experience with the couple different varieties I’ve had the chance to try, besides the commonly found grocery store variety.
I had been browsing sites looking for a decent price on a smaller (aka not bulk) amount of pretzel salt to make some homemade pretzels. (They just need the pretzel salt, other salts are NOT the same.) I happened across the site My Spice Sage and they had exactly what I was after. I could not help but browse their selection, and ultimately decided I wanted to try the three varieties of cinnamon I’ve never had before that they carry. Well, I have had ceylon in the form of tea before but had never had the ground product on my shelf so it counts, right? I was so excited when I got my order, and couldn’t wait to give each one a try to compare it to the usual stuff I buy.
Let me preface this next bit by saying I am by no means a professional taste tester; even if I were everyone’s tastebuds are different so we may not necessarily pick up on the same notes and flavors of things the same way. This is just what I personally think of these kinds of cinnamon which I tasted between drinks of water, straight up. (The best way to know what something tastes like is tasting it, afterall; putting the cinnamon in something would not be a fair comparison of them vs a straight test.)
The 5th Season is standard grocery store cinnamon, what most of us are very familiar with. Spicy, ever so slightly sweet, sometimes a tad bitter. It is of course an everyday cinnamon that can be used for many things; maybe not great but the only thing many of us have ever even used and it is certainly not awful.
The Ceylon has a more subtle, earthy note to it. It’s a far more mild flavor profile, and lacks the sharpness of the common grocery store cinnamons most of us are familiar with. To me it quite honestly is not really like what I think of when I hear “cinnamon”. The nuance of it’s notes would lend this cinnamon well to black tea (which again I have had before and it is indeed tasty even if not what one might expect from something labeled as cinnamon) or for other things in which you want to add a subtle note of spice without the sharpness often associated with cinnamon. Overall, this is my least favorite. Not saying it’s bad or that I will not be able to use it up – not at all. Just if I had to pick one to live without, this would be it.
The Korintje is without a doubt my new favorite cinnamon, and I sincerely doubt I’ll go back to the standard store-bought stuff! It’s similar to the 5th Season however it is not at all bitter and has a sweeter flavor while still having that nice warm spiciness to it. It is in every way exactly what I imagine when I think of cinnamon, and is a perfect “all-purpose” cinnamon!
And lastly, the Saigon Vietnamese cinnamon. Oh, how this one took me by surprise, in a good way! This smells and tastes just like those Red Hots cinnamon candies! Cinnamon fan that I am and have always been, those things were one of my very favorite candies as a kid, I’d pop handfuls of them at a time lol. I never knew there was a ground cinnamon that had that same wonderful hot, only slightly sweet flavor. This would be an awesome cinnamon for homemade candies and beverages, or anything you want to impart some of that “red hot” cinnamon flavor to!
Have you tried any of these varieties of cinnamon? Which is your favorite?
Until next time. xoxo