While high-quality coffee beans don’t really need anything to improve them, it can be fun to jazz up your brew with some extra flavor.
One of the most popular methods for adding an extra kick to your coffee is to add cinnamon. But why is cinnamon so popular in coffee? Umm..because cinnamon is amazing? No, but seriously, we have the details below.
Why Cinnamon In Your Coffee?
Cinnamon in coffee is a very popular option, so much so that almost every coffee shop and cafe make the spice available to its customers to add the potent powder to their own cup and keep some at the coffee brewing stations to add it upon request.
But why? You might have thought cocoa in coffee might be more popular but alas, you’d be wrong.
Cinnamon’s spicy-sweet kick helps to cancel out some of the bitter flavors in coffee without adding calories.
Well, as with anything, you will add some additional cals to your coffee, but it’s much lighter than any syrups you might otherwise use.
It’s natural, it tastes good, and it can even provide some help for those looking to be healthier. Because there is little sugar in cinnamon, it’s perfect for anyone watching their waistline.
Types Of Cinnamon For Your Coffee
Outside of marketing and branding efforts, two major types exist in the world.
Just like all available coffee beans are either arabica or robusta, all commercially available cinnamon is either Ceylon or Cassia. But what are the differences between the two, and which is better for coffee?
- Cassia Cinnamon
- Also known as Chinese cinnamon
- Botanical name: cinnamomum cassia
- Generally the cheaper type of cinnamon
- Usually dark brown-red when ground, and thick, rougher sticks
- The most commonly-consumed cinnamon in the world
- Flavor is sharper, spicier, robust
- Vietnamese cinnamon is another species of cassia cinnamon
- Ceylon Cinnamon
- Also known as “true” cinnamon
- Native to Sri Lanka and southern India
- Made from the inner bark of the cinnamomum verum tree
- Another botanical name is cinnamomum zeylanicum
- Considered premium, more expensive because it isn’t as common
- Tan-brown in color, with tight sticks and soft layers
- Flavor is subtle, warm, and delicate
The question of which kind of cinnamon you should use in your coffee depends on a few different factors: while Ceylon cinnamon is considered premium, the delicate taste can get lost in the stronger aromas and taste of coffee.
If you brew a lighter roast coffee, it may complement the flavor. But if you prefer darker roast coffee, cassia cinnamon may be the better choice.
Spice Things Up With Cinnamon In Coffee
Whichever type of cinnamon you choose for your coffee, it’s definitely a solid option for spicing things up without doubling the calories.
The flavor notes in cinnamon help add depth and sweetness to your brew, and it’s an adaptable spice–there are many different methods you can use to add cinnamon to your coffee no matter what brew process you use.
For those looking to cut sugars out of their diets or even hoping to reduce milk or cream in their coffee, cinnamon is a good option. It helps to soften and sweeten black coffee without adding any sweeteners at all.
If you’re already a fan of flavored coffee, cinnamon is a common ingredient in holiday and winter blends, along with seasonal coffee drinks. It’s a common symbol of the season, but it’s delicious all year long.
Adding Cinnamon To Coffee
Among its other virtues, it’s very easy to add cinnamon to coffee.
Depending on the brew method you prefer to use and how strongly you want your morning cup of coffee–or any coffee drinks through the day–to taste of cinnamon, you have a variety of options, some simpler than others, but none of them complicated.
1. Sprinkle It Into Your Brewed Coffee
The simplest way to make cinnamon coffee is to add a little bit of the potent spice directly to your cup.
You can either sprinkle the powder directly on top of your coffee after pouring it, or you can add up to a teaspoon of cinnamon to your morning cup before you pour the coffee. It dissolves better in hot coffee than in the cold, but it’s possible to mix it into coffee of any temperature.
You can use ground cinnamon or the stick variety for this coffee application, but we’ve found that powdered tends to work best since it takes time for the stick to infuse.
We also don’t recommend more than a teaspoon in your cup of coffee because you want the spice to complement the brew, not overpower it.
2. Use A Cinnamon Stick For Coffee Infusion
Another method of adding cinnamon to coffee is to use the spice in stick form.
Toss a stick of cinnamon into your coffee pot, or if you’re doing cold brew, into the container, you’re brewing in. The longer you keep the stick in your coffee, the more intense and strong the flavor will be in each cup of coffee.
You can also use a single cinnamon stick a few times if you don’t want to feel wasteful.
Scale up the number of cinnamon sticks you use to the volume of coffee you brew, however. If you’re just brewing a regular 12-cup pot of coffee, a single stick is fine, but if you’re making a gallon or more of cold brew, you’ll want at least two or three.
3. Add It To Your Coffee Grounds
Another simple way to get your cinnamon caffeine fix is to add some ground cinnamon to your coffee grounds before you brew.
Whether you use a french press, automatic drip coffee maker, or any other method, it’s easy to add a few spoons of the potent powder to your grounds before the water comes into contact with them.
This method’s upside is that it’s easy and gives you a thorough spicy flavor without having to wait too long or add it to every cup.
Take time to experiment with how much of the spicy seasoning tastes best to your palate, starting with small amounts and working up. Depending on the brewing method you choose, you may need less cinnamon–saving you money.
So…Is Ground Cinnamon Coffee Healthy?
Adding cinnamon to coffee is delicious, but is it healthy?
Yes! In fact, research suggests the spice can provide some potential health benefits.
Of course, you shouldn’t substitute any medications you are on for a dash of cinnamon in your brew, but it’s good to know that it isn’t just tasty to drink: it can bring a variety of potential benefits.
A few recent studies have shown that cinnamon can help to reduce blood sugar levels and blood lipid levels in patients with diabetes. It does require a somewhat heavy dose of the stuff–one to three grams–but depending on your tastes and how much coffee you drink.
Other studies have documented the role that cinnamon in coffee could play in supporting inflammation flare-ups in the body. According to the study, the compound has potential anti-inflammatory properties.
Added to coffee, the compounds in cinnamon work well together, and adding cinnamon to coffee is an easy way to enjoy the benefits.
Of course, it’s important to discuss these issues with a doctor. The above isn’t to be interpreted as medical advice; it only reflects the small number of studies available.
On the flipside, Cassia cinnamon in particular, can be a little problematic if you consume a lot of it. Cassia has significant amounts of a chemical called coumarin, which can cause problems from potential side effects in large doses, which could be liver damage, according to the study linked above.
On the more positive side, Ceylon cinnamon contains much less of this chemical substance, so it’s worth the premium price tag, for sure!
Summary – Spicy Coffee
So why do people like to put cinnamon in coffee?
There are a few different, solid reasons for the practice that make it well worth trying. Cinnamon tastes great and adds a spicy, sweet kick to your energy boost.
It’s an easy way to adjust the flavor of your coffee without cream or sweeteners, and it can help to support good health.
Cinnamon is one of a few spices that has shown consistent benefits for healthy living, from high levels of antioxidants to the ability to help manage blood sugar and cholesterol levels. The coffee and cinnamon pairing isn’t just delicious: it’s healthy.
Whether you use ground cinnamon as an addition to your coffee before you brew, or you toss a stick into your pot, it can be a tasty, enriching flavor boost for your drink. The spice’s warmth and sweetness help mellow your brew with no milk or cream, and therefore no added calories.
Whether you choose Ceylon or cassia, ground or stick, cinnamon coffee is a great choice.