Chai Crash Course #2 - Cinnamon
Spice is what makes Chai sing. If tea is the foundation, spice is the magic that turns an acceptable face into Naomi Campbell. One of the key spices used in The Chai Villain's Sticky Chai Blend is Ceylon Cinnamon.
Ceylon Cinnamon, or Cinnamomum verum is the inner bark of the Ceylon cinnamon tree. This type of cinnamon is sweeter, more complex in flavour and significantly more expensive than its counterparts.
Cassia Cinnamon, or Cinnamomum Cassia, has a hotter, less complex flavour. It's more commonly used and it's cheaper. It has also been reported to contain coumarin, which is toxic to humans if not prepared properly and consumed in large amounts.
Basically, Cassia is the inferior cinnamon. To prove it, let's take a look at the prominent aroma compounds present in both spices. Remember that flavour is part taste, mainly smell. It's the aroma molecules that tell us whether we're eating an apple, pear or radish (try it! Close your eyes, pinch your nose and take a bite. You'll struggle to tell them apart).
Even if you don't know what any of those words mean, you can plainly see how much more complex Ceylon Cinnamon is, compared to Cassia.
If you go to a supermarket and you see a bag of sticks labelled simply as ‘Cinnamon’, chances are, what you’re getting is Cassia and not Ceylon Cinnamon. Take a look at some of the major Chai companies out there (and we're not pointing fingers here). If they don’t specifically list “Ceylon Cinnamon” and simply choose to list “Cinnamon” on their ingredients list, most likely they don’t know the difference and very very likely, they’re using Cassia simply because they don’t have knowledge of spice and flavour and decide to go for the cheapest option.
Ask yourself, as a consumer, do you care if the company selling a product that you’re putting into your body, are knowledgeable about their ingredients? Do you care that they’re using inferior ingredients that may be carcinogenic? And most importantly, will you pay money for something that costs little to make, when you can get something that costs a whole lot more to make, for the exact same price?
The Chai Villain only uses pure Ceylon Cinnamon because it tastes better and we only want the very best going into our Sticky Chai Blend.
TL/DR? Watch the video below for a simplified version, and to see a side-by-side comparison of Cassia and Ceylon Cinnamon. And please share this with your friends so that they know too!