When it comes to cinnamon, there are hundreds of varieties out there but only a few are sold in grocery stores and markets. The most common of these varieties are Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is a variant that comes from Indonesia and it is most commonly found and used in North America. Cassia is relatively inexpensive because it isn’t as difficult to process as Ceylon.
In Mexico, Ceylon cinnamon is known as ‘canela’ and is sometimes referred to as “real cinnamon” -- the flavor profile of this cinnamon is not what a lot of westerners are used to. It has a mellow and subtle flavor compared the Cassia. It is described as bright and contains floral and citrus notes. Cassia provides deeper and spicier flavors that which are usually found in baked goods and cider.
While cinnamon is made from inner barks of trees, Ceylon and Cassia do look a bit different from each other. Ceylon cinnamon sticks have multiple thin layers rolled up akin to tobacco in a cigar. This variant also has a light golden brown tinge to it. They are fragile and flaky, while Cassia sticks are the ones that we are most familiar with which are thicker, harder, and has a reddish tint.