Mexican cinnamon found!

I took the time to do a short meandering to a new store in the area called Fresh & Easy.  A rather unique store, no cash registers but those ones you check yourself out and someone at the end bags it for you.  All good like that, though.

Anyway, when I was over there I found an area that had herbs and spices, so I took the time to rummage through to see what was available.  I dug through and found cinnamon sticks, in which I looked at the spin of it to see if it was Cassia or not.  It’s the same as Ceylon, and it’s a brand name of El Guapo, which is known for their mexican cinnamon… which is actually Ceylon cinnamon repackaged and called Mexican cinnamon.  The kicker is the price.  A 1.35 ounce bag of ground cinnamon is $0.79, and a 1 ounce bag of cinnamon sticks is $1.19.  Not bad at all considering Ceylon from Penzey’s is 1.8 ounces for ~$6.98 for ground cinnamon.

Naturally I picked up two packs of the sticks, and a pack of the ground just to test it out and see if it’s exactly like Ceylon or not.  (historically yes)

overhead-allsamples-510x972

EDIT: After doing further research on this, I’ve come to find out that the El Guapo brand ground mexican cinnamon is not pure Ceylon.  I took the liberty of performing an amateur laboratory experiment to determine what’s what.
Test 1 was the creating small samples of 3 different styles of cinnamon: Ceylon, Mexican, and American (the crap we find in the markets basically).  The first I did notice was that Ceylon was far less clumpy than Mexican, or American.  Also, the color differentiation was very noticeable.  Ceylon was much lighter than Mexican, and even American was lighter than Mexican.  It’s a known fact that American is not full cassia but a mix, so this may mean that Mexican has more cassia, perhaps?  The next thing I noticed was the scent was noticeably different between the three, with Mexican and American sharing a likeness.  Ceylon held a spicy undertone that is desirable and noticeable.
Test 2 was a taste test with equal amounts (1/4 of a 1/2 tsp.. 1/8 tsp? :P) of each dumped onto the middle of my tongue.  Mexican was the first, just to catch it without any interference.  I noticed a large likeness with American, with a bitey undertone that is prominent between the two from the Cassia.  Mexican had more bite so that adds more credence to the cassia content vs American.  Of course I Cassia tasted like Cassia, sweet subtle taste with no bite and melting away nicely.
all-overheadTest 3 was a 2 subject (Mexican and Ceylon) dilution test in ~70 degree F. tap water of the same amount, in the exact same cup designs.  Mexican was inserted first, and then Ceylon inserted into the secondary testing media.  Almost immediately, the Ceylon started diluting the bottom portions outwardly in uniform patterns.  The Mexican remained clumpy, and floated on the surface.  Naturally, having two stirring apparatuses (apparati?), I stirred the Mexican smoothly to attempt dispersal.  The clumps remained, with a oily residue forming on the surface very reminiscent of cassia’s lack of water solubility.  A little stirring of the Ceylon was necessary with the secondary stirring apparatus, due to the bottom not dispersing out of the way so the top could drop in.  The Ceylon diluted almost uniformly, leaving a bit of residue on the top that was very thin.  The Mexican diluted, however clumps remained on the surface with the oily residue remaining.

As far as ground cinnamon goes, it is almost entirely a given that El Guapo is definitely not Ceylon as Mexican cinnamon usually is.  The cinnamon sticks sold by El Guapo are the Ceylon sticks, as told by the very thin embodiment and the tight, thin quill that is easily grindable… even breakable by hand very easy.  At least that part is easily detectable…

EDIT (Addition): After grinding the Mexican cinnamon sticks to make cinnamon, the smell was horrendous.  It reminded me of stuff I used to smell on a farm when you were in the area that held the waste plantlife before disposal.  Lots of different smells of plantlife in it, and I just couldn’t keep it around.

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3 thoughts on “Mexican cinnamon found!

  1. Huh? No, seriously, I didn’t quite follow. I just discovered that the Saigon cinnamon I’ve been faithfully putting on my oatmeal & fruit, thinking I was lowering my blood pressure, is not the real deal. I found these El Guapo cin. sticks in the cupboard that I bought from a low-end grocery store for crafting purposes. They look like real cinnamon because of the flaking, etc. So, you’re saying they are Ceylon, but they smell bad? Or that the smell indicates they’re not Ceylon. What are they, really? Pls explain & thank you.

  2. I guess I was a bit winded in my explanation :-). In the end, they aren’t ceylon even though they are marketed as it.

    That being said, you can get a pound of ceylon cinnamon on amazon for around $22 nowadays. My last purchase was from myspicesage.com about a year or so ago also. On there, it’s about $19/pound, but there are many size variants.

    Hope that helps!

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