Cinnamon is truly an amazing spice as its both healthy and great tasting. Its’s one of the few recommendations I tell people to add to their coffee when I am asked about what sweetner to add, other then sugar, to their coffees. The reason I suggest cinnamon is because I think it can complement some of the notes in coffee and is better then adding sugar to any americano, drip brew or espresso.
Although to some, it may seem unusual to add something like cinnamon to coffee, it is traditional in eastern cultures to add spices such as cinnamon as well as cardamom, nutmeg and black pepper due to not only the taste but also because of the many health benefits that these spices offer.
In this article I am going to concentrate just on cinnamon so you have a more complete understanding its properties, why adding it makes the coffee good for you and why you should at least consider adding it to your daily coffee routine.
Where Does Cinnamon Come From?
It first appeared on the scene some say as far back as 2,000 BC and it was used for cooking and medicinal properties. Its also one of the first products traded by the Arabs along the spice trade route, so whatever way you put it, its been around for a long time.
Most of the so-called “true” cinnamon or otherwise known as Ceylon Cinnamon, comes from the Cinnamomum Verum trees grown in Sri Lanka.
The rest comes from China, Vietnam and Burma, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Types of Cinnamon
There are two types of cinnamon grown and harvested today: One is the Ceylon cinnamon, that I mentioned in the previous paragraph and the other is Cassia, which is commonly sold and marketed as cinnamon in the United States.
The two spices taste and smell very similar to one another, but they are grown and harvested in two very different places. Also, Cinnamon and cassia are often used reciprocally, so the “true” label is a bit misleading.
This variety has a milder, bright, citrusy, sweeter flavor than the cinnamon you are likely used to. While this type of cinnamon is preferred in England and Mexico, up until recently it has been less popular in the United States.
This variety has a stronger, spicier flavor than Ceylon. Its the classic cinnamon flavor that is commonly sold in the U.S. and this variety actually comes from the bark of a related species, the cassia tree.
How Cinnamon is Harvested
Today, just as was done for thousands of years, farmers first remove the outer bark off the trees, then shave off the delicious inner bark. This is the first step in Cinnamon’s trip to our shelves and your kitchen. The bark is dried over the course of about a week, during which time it curls into the familiar shape of cinnamon sticks. Take a look at this video if you want a better idea of the harvest process.
Whole or Ground Cinnamon?
Both ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks can last for a long time when you store them correctly; however, like storing whole bean vs ground coffee, cinnamon sticks will last longer. Also and again like coffee, pre-ground spices lose their flavor quite quickly and at least for taste, defeats the purpose of adding cinnamon.
If you have blade grinder, this is the perfect time too break it out and grind the cinnamon only as need it.
Benefits of Putting Cinnamon in your Coffee
There are a lot of reasons to add a spice like cinnamon to your coffee, just look at all the ways it helps you:
- Enhances the taste of coffee – Ok this obvious
- Increase in Antioxidants – Ounce for Ounce, Cinnamon has more antioxidants than most other well known antioxidant foods
- Diabetics – Helps to regulate blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides
- Good For Your Teeth – Did you ever notice that a lot o f toothpastes have a cinnamon taste? The reason for that is because it removes harmful bacteria and stops tooth decay
- Keeps You From Being Hungry – It does this by targeting a brain chemical involved with glucose and cholesterol.
- Boosts Your Immune System – It can calm your stomach and boost your immunity.
- Its Full of Vitamins & Nutrients – A great source of fiber, calcium, manganese, iron and Vitamin K
- Helps You Focus – The scent of Cinnamon oil gives a strong jolt to brain power and therefore increases focus.
- Its Anti Microbial – A recent study indicated that cinnamon oil got rid of a number of common infections
- Helps Relieves Congestion – The scent can soothe the membranes lining your sinuses and also can remove mucus.
- Helps with Weight loss – It has been shown to lessen a few of the harmful effects of eating high-fat foods as it helps to prevent fat storage
- Helpful with Inflammatory Conditions – Early studies have shown that it could reduce inflammation and the conditions associated with it.
- Promotes Blood Circulation – Since it is known as a “warming spice” it can increase ones blood flow.
- Helps Prevent/Treat Yeast Infections – A regular dose of cinnamon with your morning coffee may help keep these infections at bay.
A Few Ways to Add Cinnamon to Coffee:
If you replace the cream and /or sugar with a teaspoon of cinnamon in coffee to save 70+ calories per cup and add a potential metabolism boost. So here a just few ideas:
- Before you brew your coffee, fill your filter or portafilter about 1/2 way, add cinnamon to taste, then add the rest of the coffee and brew away. For example, I’ve done this with a French press by throwing in half a stick of ground cinnamon in with the coffee and its comes out great!
- I am sure you have seen this many times, but with your next Latte, Cappuccino or even a Macchiato sprinkle some cinnamon on top of the milk (or milk substitute)
- You can put several cinnamon sticks in with your whole bean coffee container or bag to give your future cups of coffee the faintest hint of cinnamon flavor.
- When you make your Americano or Long Black you can just add the cinnamon before or after pouring in the coffee.
As I hope you can see by now, Cinnamon has a wide variety of uses and benefits. When shopping for cinnamon, whether online like Amazon or your local supermarket or specialty store, try to buy it in stick form since both cinnamon and cassia come like this and ground cinnamon lasts for only about six months under ideal conditions, while whole cinnamon sticks can last for up to two years
Keep in mind, the true cinnamon sticks are thinner and rolled into tight coils while Cassia bark is thicker and has more open coils or none at all.