Cinnamon quality standards: How can you tell cinnamon quality?

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Currently, cinnamon is one of the most commonly-used spices in the world. Activities of trading and exchanging cinnamon between countries are becoming more and more exciting than ever. However, not all types of cinnamon can be traded on the market but must comply with some cinnamon quality standards. Whether you are an exporter or importer of cinnamon or not, our cinnamon quality standards shared in the article below will help you get more information about this wonderful spice!

Why do we have to care about cinnamon quality standards?

For the purpose of trading cinnamon in the international market, we need to pay attention to the cinnamon quality standards to offer an appropriate price. Moreover, in everyday life, getting the cinnamon quality standards can also help us make more rational purchasing decisions.


Cinnamon sticks from K-Agriculture Factory

On the market today, there are many types of cinnamon with different characteristics, and each type of cinnamon must comply with certain quality standards. The differences in the unique characteristics of cinnamon lead to them having different prices (from cheap to expensive) and different qualities (from poor to premium). So, if you are not clear about the cinnamon quality standards, you will most likely be tricked by the seller into buying poor-quality cinnamon at a high price.
In addition, understanding the cinnamon quality standards also helps you save money when choosing the right type of cinnamon for each use. If you only cook at home, using broken cinnamon is a good choice, or using cinnamon powder for convenient storage and use. Broken cinnamon in international trade is the lowest quality and cheapest cinnamon. However, for families who do not like the strong cinnamon flavor and rarely use cinnamon, broken cinnamon will help them save money compared to stick cinnamon or tube cinnamon.


Broken cinnamon

Moreover, all types of cinnamon contain a certain amount of coumarin, a natural transpiration material found in many plants. It may negatively affect human health by causing liver damage or complete liver failure when consumed in excess. In fact, there is a large amount of coumarin in cassia cinnamon. As for Ceylon cinnamon, the coumarin content found is less. Therefore, it’s necessary to distinguish between the two major varieties to avoid food contamination. It is recommended to rely on certain cinnamon quality standards to avoid using too many cinnamon bars that contain a lot of coumarins in daily use.

Cinnamon characteristics: Basic cinnamon quality standards

Currently, there are many cinnamon quality standards on the market, each supplier classifies cinnamon according to different characteristics. Below, we give some factors that are the basic quality standards for each type of cinnamon.

General cinnamon quality standards

All the cinnamon shall be free from coloring matter, foreign vegetable matter, and other harmful substances. Products also have to be free from living insects, molds, mites, insect fragments, and rodent contamination visible to the naked eye. The products must also have characteristic odor and flavor and shall be free from mustiness.

The thicker the cinnamon bark, the older the cinnamon tree is. It’s the fact that the essential oil content in thick cinnamon bark will be higher than in thin cinnamon bark. High-quality cinnamon must have a very strong aroma along with a sweet and pungent taste.

Quality standards of different cinnamon types

What are the differences between Cassia cinnamon quality standards and Ceylon cinnamon quality standards?

Cassia cinnamon quality standards

Cassia cinnamon, also known as single cinnamon, is derived from the Cinnamomum cassia tree in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam. Cassia cinnamon tree up to 10 – 15m tall. When young, the leaves are hard, rather long, and reddish in color.


Cassia cinnamon trees

As it ages, the bark of Cassia cinnamon will turn from gray to deep red-brown, used mainly to make essential oils or spices. Cassia cinnamon is said to be of low quality. It is very cheap and is widely consumed worldwide. Most of the cinnamon you see in the supermarket is Cassia cinnamon. The young shoots are also used as a spice, especially in India, and were once used by the ancient Romans.
Normally, Cassia cinnamon has to follow the following cinnamon quality standard specifications:

Cassia cinnamon Stick cinnamon Split cinnamon Broken cinnamon Tube cinnamon Cigarette cinnamon
Moisture 12 – 14% max 12 – 14% max 13.5% max 12 – 14% max 12 – 14% max
Oil content 2 – 4% 1.5 – 4% 1 – 3.5% 2 – 5% 2 – 4%
Coumarin content 0.31 – 6.97g/kg
Impurities 0.5% max 0.5 – 1% max 1 – 2% max 0.5% max 0.5% max
Thickness 2 – 3.5mm 1 – 3.5mm 1 – 3.5mm 2.2mm min 1 – 1.5mm
Size 8 – 15cm 30 – 40cm 5 – 8cm 30 – 45cm 5 – 12cm

Based on the Cassia cinnamon quality standards table, we can easily classify them into groups. On the market today, Cassia stick and tube cinnamon are the most commonly-asked and costly types because of their superior specifications.


Cinnamon quality standards: Standard stick Cassia

Besides the quality standard according to classification, what should the standard Cassia cinnamon taste like?
About 95% of its essential oil contains cinnamaldehyde, which gives it a characteristic intense spicy taste. Qualified Cassia cinnamon will have a strong aroma and characteristic spicy flavor, so it is often used in baking and seasoning savory dishes. So, if you don’t smell the strong aroma of Cassia cinnamon, you are most likely buying the wrong type of cinnamon. That’s why understanding cinnamon quality standards will help you a lot.

Ceylon cinnamon quality standards

Ceylon cinnamon, known as “true cinnamon”, is native to Sri Lanka and southern regions of India. It is made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree. As it is expensive, Ceylon cinnamon is not common in the market. An important characteristic of Ceylon cinnamon is that it contains lower levels of coumarin and essential oil than other types of cinnamon.


Ceylon cinnamon quality standards

In general, the essential oil, coumarin, and moisture content of Ceylon cinnamon on the market do not have much difference. Here are some basic Ceylon cinnamon quality standards:

  • Coumarin content: Ceylon Cinnamon has low coumarin levels of 0.02% compared to 0.4 – 0.8% of Cassia Cinnamon.
  • Standard Ceylon cinnamon has a moisture content of 10 – 12%.
  • There is only about 1% oil in a thin sliver of Ceylon cinnamon bark.

Ceylon cinnamon bark is usually quite soft, has a slightly dark brown color and a light sweet taste, less bitter because it only contains about 50 – 63% of Cinnamaldehyde compounds. Standard Ceylon cinnamon also has an amazing aroma. The whole house will waft in a truly intoxicating scent if you try making a Ceylon cinnamon recipe. In India, Ceylon cinnamon is commonly used in making cinnamon tea, a healthy drink.


Ceylon cinnamon tea

In addition to the general characteristics of Ceylon cinnamon quality standards, Ceylon cinnamon is also divided by suppliers in Sri Lanka into 4 grades with different quality levels, based on diameter:

Ceylon cinnamon Alba Continental Mexican Hamburg
Diameter 6mm max 16mm max 19mm max 38mm max

Among them, Alba cinnamon has the highest price in the market, followed by Continental, Mexican, and Hamburg cinnamon. It is produced using the finest and thinnest inner bark of the Ceylon cinnamon tree. Alba provides the top quality taste of Ceylon cinnamon.

Factors to evaluate cinnamon quality standards

Besides evaluating cinnamon quality standards based on its specifications, we also have some other objective factors to assess cinnamon quality standards.

Evaluate cinnamon quality standards in crops, cultivation, and harvesting activities

To evaluate the cinnamon quality standards, we need to pay attention to the quality of the cinnamon tree as well as the standard cultivation and harvesting activities. Accordingly, in order to get high-quality cinnamon, the seeds, soil, light, and water conditions for the plant must be favorable. Cinnamon trees need to be cultivated carefully such as providing nutrients regularly, killing insects, and clearing weeds around the trees.


Evaluate cinnamon quality standards in crops

Specifically, a cinnamon tree that produces good quality cinnamon needs to be at least more than 10 years old and healthy. In fact, 2 pieces of cinnamon of the same variety but closer to the root, the higher the quality. If we develop cinnamon widely, the plant variety is not certified, leading to very poor cinnamon quality standards with low prices: thin bark, low essential oil content, and not meeting high-quality standards. If we research and put high-yielding and high-quality cinnamon varieties into planting, the seedlings are strictly certified, and they will produce cinnamon with high-quality standards.

Cinnamon processing methods and manufacturing facilities

In order to obtain standard cinnamon, we also need to pay attention to post-harvest processing. Accordingly, cinnamon production facilities need to preliminarily process cinnamon so that the product meets the criteria of moisture, impurities, color, essential oil content, etc. In addition, cinnamon also needs to be preserved well to produce high-quality products. If possible, you should go directly to the cinnamon production factories to assess the cinnamon quality standards in the preliminary processing stage.


K-Agriculture Factory

Normally, after being peeled, cinnamon must be soaked in moistened water, scraped (if required), sun-dried, and reached enough moisture to produce a high-quality product. When holding a piece of dried cinnamon, you should pay attention to the color of the inside, good cinnamon will have a slightly dark red color without mold. After drying, store cinnamon bark neatly in boxes or bundles in plastic bags. Do not let the cinnamon bark break as it will reduce the quality of cinnamon. Both dried cinnamon bark and cinnamon essential oil should be stored in a cool, dry place and out of direct sunlight.

Our 6 tips to identify high-quality cinnamon shared in this video will be helpful for you!

In fact, cinnamon produced in professional, perennial factories, and processed by skilled workers usually produces better quality. The factory should be equipped with a processing line with modern technology. This is also a way to assess the cinnamon quality standards.

Cinnamon’s quality and hygiene standards certificates

One of the objective factors to help evaluate the best cinnamon quality standards is the certificates of quality and hygiene from reputable organizations in the industry. Some of the most famous cinnamon quality certificates are FDA, GMP, FSCC, GAP, HACCP, PCA, UEBT, HC, IS0 22000, SLS 81, etc. Below is information on some common types of quality certification.

Assess cinnamon quality standards by FDA certificate

FDA stands for Food and Drug Administration – US Food and Drug Administration. FDA standards are strict regulations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States of America (FDA) to monitor the safety of products under its management list in the US market. And any exporter who wants to bring their products into the US must comply with the regulations of the FDA and obtain an FDA certificate. The FDA regulates all foods and food ingredients brought into the US as safe, hygienic, healthy, and labeled honest in English.
It is very difficult to get US FDA certification. Manufacturers must comply with strict regulations as follows:


Assess cinnamon quality standards by FDA certificate

Thus, US FDA is considered the most accurate measure of product safety for consumers’ health. It’s best to evaluate cinnamon quality standards by FDA certificate.

Sri Lanka standards specification for Ceylon cinnamon: SLS 81

SLS 81 certifies that the Sri Lanka supplier meets the mandatory specification for Ceylon cinnamon quality standards.


Sri Lanka standards specification for Ceylon cinnamon: SLS 81

Accordingly, Ceylon cinnamon from Sri Lanka needs to comply with very strict standards to be considered a standard product and be allowed to be exported. SLS 81 requirements include:

  • Standard preparation
  • Product certification
  • System certification
  • Training
  • Import quality certification
  • Export quality certification
  • Laboratory services – Spice lab
  • National quality award

For more information on SLS 81 cinnamon quality standard requirements:

Evaluate cinnamon quality standards by ISO 22000 certificate

ISO 22000 is an internationally recognized standard that combines the ISO9001 approach with food safety management and HACCP to ensure food safety at all levels. This standard shows how an organization can demonstrate its ability to control safety hazards to ensure that food is safe. Therefore, ISO 22000 is a good certificate to evaluate cinnamon quality standards in terms of hygiene.


Evaluate cinnamon quality standards by ISO 22000 certificate

Some of the ISO 22000 requirements are:

  • Having an overall Food Safety Policy for your organization, developed by top management.
  • Setting objectives that will drive your company’s efforts to comply with this policy.
  • Planning and designing a management system and documenting the system.
  • Maintaining records of the performance of the system.
  • Establishing a group of qualified individuals to make up a Food Safety Team.

For more information on ISO 22000 quality standard requirements:

Evaluate cinnamon quality standards: HACCP certificate

HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System. HACCP is required by many countries around the world to apply in the food production and processing process. The International Committee on Food Standards (CODEX) also recommends the application of HACCP. So, HACCP can assess cinnamon quality standards in terms of food safety.


Evaluate cinnamon quality standards: HACCP certificate

For more information on HACCP quality standard requirements:,and%20record%2Dkeeping%20and%20documentation.

Cinnamon quality standards: Where to buy the best cinnamon in bulk?

When looking to buy cinnamon sticks in bulk and products made from cinnamon, you must have knowledge and understanding to choose a reputable supplier with clear origin and verified cinnamon quality standards.
Currently, in the world, there are 4 largest cinnamon exporting countries: Vietnam, China, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. Thus, to find the best cinnamon supplier, let’s refer to the most prestigious cinnamon suppliers in these countries.

About K-Agriculture Factory:
K-Agriculture Factory is one of the best suppliers of Vietnam cinnamon. The company was established in 1996 with more than 25 years of development and has exported agricultural products to over 80 countries up to the present. K-Agriculture has modern facilities and a cinnamon factory in Quang Ninh, Vietnam. Therefore, it can supply many different types of cinnamon according to customer needs at factory prices.


K-Agriculture office

Please rest assured because we have a full range of cinnamon quality standards certificates as well as food safety and hygiene certificates such as FDA, HACCP, ISO, VSATPP, etc. In addition, to other agricultural products, K-Agriculture also meets international product requirements such as VN-STAMEQ, USDA Organic, FDA, FFL, Organic, Global Gap, TCVN, Viet Gap, etc. All certificates are renewed every term.
Visit here for our latest update on Vietnam cinnamon price in August 2022.
Contact information:
Phone: +84855 555 837 (Available on Whatsapp)

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