Difference Between Cassia and Cinnamon

The main difference between Cassia and cinnamon is that the Cassia is the Chinese cinnamon originated in Southern China whereas cinnamon is a spice created from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree. 

Cassia and cinnamon are two types of spices originated from the inner bark. There are two types of cinnamon in the market as Ceylon and Cassia cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is the less toxic variety for regular use when compared to cassia variety. 

Key Areas Covered 

1. What is Cassia
     – Definition, Properties, Composition
2. What is Cinnamon
     – Definition, Properties, Composition
3. What are the Similarities Between Cassia and Cinnamon
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Cassia and Cinnamon
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms 

Cassia, Ceylon Cinnamon, Cinnamaldehyde, Cinnamon, Coumarin

Difference Between Cassia and Cinnamon - Comparison Summary

What is Cassia 

Cassia is the most abundant type of cinnamon in the market, originating in Southern China. Hence, Cassia is also known as Chinese Cinnamon. Cassia is from Cinnamomum cassia or Cinnamomum aromaticum. Some subspecies of Cassia are grown in Eastern and Southern Asia as well. Cassia cinnamon is rough, dark brown to red color with a thick stick. It is the cheapest form of cinnamon with a lower quality.  

Difference Between Cassia and Cinnamon_Figure 1

Figure 1: Cassia

95% of the oil in the Cassia is cinnamaldehyde, which gives a very strong and spicy flavor to it. Therefore, Cassia is more suitable for braised Chinese meat recipes. Excess amounts of Cassia brings a bitter taste. Moreover, coumarin is a toxic compound significantly found in Cassia, which has a negative impact on the liver and kidney. Approximately1 kg of Cassia consists of 2100-4400 mg of coumarin.  

What is Cinnamon 

Cinnamon is one of the most widely used spices worldwide. It is originated from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree. The two main types of cinnamon are Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is also called the ‘true cinnamon’ and it is from Cinnamomum verum, which is native to Sri Lanka and Southern parts of India. The color of the Ceylon cinnamon is tan-brown and it contains several tight sticks with soft layers. In addition, the inner bark of Ceylon cinnamon is thin. Ceylon cinnamon is less common in the market and quite expensive than the common Cassia cinnamon. It is mainly exported to Europe while the main Cassia market is US and Asia. 

Difference Between Cassia and Cinnamon_Figure 2

Figure 2: Ceylon Cinnamon

Approximately 50-63% of the oil in the Ceylon cinnamon is cinnamaldehyde, giving a mild aroma and flavor. The mildly sweet flavor makes the Ceylon cinnamon suitable for desserts. Also, most importantly, Ceylon cinnamon contains fewer coumarin amounts than Cassia, which makes Ceylon cinnamon more suitable for regular use.  

Similarities Between Cassia and Cinnamon 

  • Cassia and cinnamon are two types of spices originating from the inner bark. 
  • The main component of cinnamon is cinnamaldehyde, which is responsible for its aroma and flavor. 
  • Both reduce blood sugar spikes while increasing insulin sensitivity, which is good for diabetics. 

Difference Between Cassia and Cinnamon 


Cassia refers to an aromatic bark of an East Asian tree that yields a less desirable cinnamon than Ceylon cinnamon,  whereas cinnamon refers to an aromatic spice made from the peeled, dried and rolled bark of a Southeast Asian tree. 


Cassia is the Chinese cinnamon while the two main types of cinnamon are the Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon. 


Considering the country of cultivation, Cassia is from Southern China and Ceylon cinnamon is from Sri Lanka and Southern India. 


Also, Cassia is the most common type of cinnamon while Ceylon cinnamon less abundant. Furthermore, Cassia is exported to the US and Asia while Ceylon cinnamon is exported to Europe. 

Color of the Sticks 

Moreover, Cassia is dark reddish brown in color while the color of the Ceylon cinnamon is tan-brown. 

Structure of Sticks 

Moreover, the sticks of Cassia are a double-sided roll with a hollow structure inside while the sticks of Ceylon cinnamon are a layered structure. 


Also, the thickness of Cassia is high while Ceylon cinnamon is thin. 

Amount of Cinnamaldehyde 

Cassia contains higher amounts of cinnamaldehyde while the amount of cinnamaldehyde in Ceylon cinnamon is comparatively less. 


In addition, Cassia has a strong, hotter flavor while Ceylon cinnamon has a mild flavor. 


Also, Cassia contains a higher amount of coumarin; hence, it can be toxic for regular use while Ceylon cinnamon has fewer coumarin and is better for regular use. 


Considering the price, Cassia is cheap while Ceylon cinnamon is expensive. 


Cassia is the Chinese cinnamon while the other type of cinnamon is the Ceylon cinnamon. Cinnamon is a most commonly used spice created from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree. The main difference between Cassia and cinnamon is their properties. 


1. “Cassia.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 16 Sept. 2016, Available Here
2. “Pure Ceylon Cinnamon.” Sri Lanka Export Development Board, Available Here

Image Courtesy:

1. “Cassia bark” (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia 
2. “Cinnamomum verum spices” By Simon A. Eugster – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia 

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things. She has a keen interest in writing articles regarding science.

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