Ceylon Cinnamon
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Cinnamon and Sri Lanka's affinity is so strong that the very botanical name of the spice - Cinnamomum zeylanicum is derived from the island's former name, Ceylon.

Cinnamon groves in Sri Lanka lie exclusively in its western and southwestern regions, north and south of the country's commercial capital, Colombo. The tropical sunshine and abundant rain in these areas provide an ideal habitat, but even here the quality of the spice varies with soil conditions. The sweetest, most prized variety grows in the "silver sand" coastal belt of the Negombo district, just north of Colombo.

A laurel which in its wild state grows up to 20 meters high, the cinnamon tree is pruned down hard two years after a seedling is planted out. This produces "tillering" - a profuse, bushy growth of bark-yielding twigs whose five-nerved, shiny, fragrant leaves (like all laurels) sing melodiously in the wind. At blossom time the small, creamy-white flowers attract swarms of birds and bees, which find their spicy fragrance irresistible.


Did you know that 90% of global real Cinnamon is produced in Ceylon

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The bark is harvested twice a year, starting when the trees are about three years old, one year after pruning. Cinnamon is always harvested immediately after each of the two rainy seasons, when the rain-soaked bark can be more easily stripped from the trees.

Cinnamon peeling is a highly skilled technique, handed down almost unchanged from ancient times. In Sri Lanka it is still the exclusive occupation of the Salagama caste - a socio-occupational group which follows a trade prescribed by tradition, and quite separate from the growers.

In the first stage of the harvest, the "flush" of tender shoots is cut down and, covered in sacking in the peeling shed, left to ferment lightly. the peelers snip off the leaves and twigs, and scrape off the rough outer bark from the twigs. The inner bark is then rubbed and beaten down thoroughly with a smooth brass block to break up and homogenize the tissues and free the bark from the twigs. Then the peeler, using the distinctive tool of his trade, a small curved knife called a kokaththa, deftly marks two parallel slits on the stick and eases the bark free in one piece. Experienced peelers do this swiftly and with the precision of a surgeon, making clean and true cuts - all without fragmenting the bark.

Next, the barks are carefully packed in layers, one inside the other, in several ply's, telescoped and overlapped end to end to produce long, rolled and layered "quills." The bark rolls are covered in jute sacking again and left to cure lightly for a day, after which they are air-dried indoors on hammocks for two days. When dried, the bark is curled round into golden-brown quills, which are again dried outdoors in filtered sunlight for one or two days. By this time the cinnamon is dried to a crackling, papery texture and possesses the true cinnamon colour. The bark is then trimmed precisely to the 106.7cm (42-inch) quills specified by the world cinnamon market.


Quills are packed in 45 Kg bales and classified in to ten grades according to diameter and the number of quills to a pound. The chips are used to distil Cinnamon oil

Cinnamon Oil owes its distinctive, spicy fragrance to a volatile oil that it contains. Cinnamon oil is distilled in copper stills from off-grade bark, leaves and roots. The distilleries are always located close to Farms, have a very pleasant effect on the surroundings and scenting the air with a sweet and spicy perfume.

1 lb Cinnamon Sticks US$

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