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Spice of chili powders, peppercorns and coriander in silver spoons on a dark counter top
Warming Spices and high quality teas

Common Questions About Warming Spices and Teas

Ceylon cinnamon is known as true cinnamon for a number of reasons.

From a medicinal standpoint, it is highly-prized for controlling blood sugar levels. Compared to Cassia, Ceylon cinnamon is more delicate and sweet with subtle notes of clove. It can also be easily broken.

Cassia, or Saigon cinnamon is harsher, thick-barked, and not easily broken. It is also known to carry high levels of Coumarin.

The German FDA has recommended not consuming large quantities of Saigon or Cassia cinnamon.

Warming spices are spices that are known for adding "warmth"(in terms of spiciness) to dishes. This spices, like chiles, have the ability to warm the body from the inside out.

Some of the most common warming spices include cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cardamon, and coriander. They are often used in baked goods, stews, and braises.

Ceylon cinnamon is often referred to as true cinnamon because it is the only cinnamon variety that comes from the Cinnamomum Verum tree, a small, bushy evergreen that is native to Sri Lanka. True cinnamon has only minuscule amounts of coumarin in it in comparison to Cassia cinnamon.

Cassia is also sourced from an evergreen, Cinnamomum Cassia, which is native to China.

Ceylon cinnamon has an incredibly delicate flavor that is floral, earthy, and sweet. It gently caresses the taste buds whereas cassia cinnamon gives them a strong smack of heat.

Learn more about why Sri Lankan Cinnamon is considered to be " the world's best" here.

The two main types of cinnamon are Ceylon and Cassia. Ceylon is what is considered to be "true" cinnamon but it is Cassia that is more prevalent in grocery stores and spice cabinets. Though Cassia is often referred to as Chinese cinnamon, it is very closely related to two other cinnamons of different regions, Cinnamomum burmannii, or Indonesian Cinnamon, and Cinnamomum Loureiroi, or Saigon Cinnamon.

Saigon and Ceylon cinnamon are completely different. cinnamaldehyde is the resinous compound that is responsible for that recognizable, spicy cinnamon flavor and it might surprise you that the cinnamon variety considered as true cinnamon (Ceylon) actually contains smaller amounts of it than other cinnamon varieties. As such, it does contain lower heat levels.

What Ceylon lacks in spicy kick, it makes up for in a delicate sweetness and floral notes, though. It's these desirable attributes that make it the most expensive and sought-after cinnamon variety.

Saigon cinnamon actually contains the highest levels of cinnamaldehyde, and thus contributes loads of spicy flavor and that recognizable cinnamon aroma to any dish it is applied to. However, it also has far higher levels of coumarin, which is thought to have serious negative health effects when consumed in large quantities.

As is the case with wine, chocolate, cheese, and any other ingredient that fall on an extended flavor spectrum, there is no absolute "better", it simply comes down to preference.

There are a lot of health claims around cinnamon—some positive and some negative. A hot topic, when it comes to cinnamon is the presence of coumarin. Coumarin is a compound that has been found to have some level of toxicity when consumed in excessive quantities. Ceylon cinnamon is often said to be the healthiest type of cinnamon because it has far lower levels of coumarin than other varieties of cinnamon. It also has lower levels of cinnameldehyde, though, which is a compound suggested to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Ground cinnamon is definitely more convenient. However, we always recommend whole spice over ground because they will stay fresher longer and contribute a more potent flavor to any dish, beverage, or aromatic product when fresh-ground.

Ceylon cinnamon has a light brown, fawn color. Cassia cinnamon will be a deeper brown to to reddish brown color. Ceylon cinnamon tastes and smells delicate, floral, and sweet. Cassia cinnamon is bolder in flavor and aroma and is more spicy than sweet. Ceylon cinnamon is the more coveted of the too and comes at a higher price.

Yes. All cinnamon comes from a genus of evergreen tree called Cinnamomum, though the species (and thus flavor and aroma attributes) differ. Cinnamon quills, or sticks, are the dried inner bark of the different species of the Cinnamomum trees, which curls into the "sticks" as it dries.

Cloves are a wonderful ingredient for incorporating an intense, spicy flavor with subtle sweetness and a bit of a tongue-numbing effect. It is frequently used in warm beverages, baked sweet goods, and braises.

It is especially known for its use in eggnog, mulled wine, pickling, spiced desserts, hot toddies, stews and tagines, braises, classic Indian dishes, Caribbean cuisine, and Asian spice blends, and so much more.

Nothing. Ceylon cinnamon is another name for cinnamon that comes from the Cinnamomum Verum tree. It is also know as true cinnamon.

Learn more about Ceylon Cinnamon (Verum) here.

Cloves contribute intense heat and a slight sweetness. They are often described as being spicy, floral, woody, and pungent a bitter and astringent undertones.

Cloves are generally not eaten raw due to their intensity in flavor which may be unpleasant in large quantities. That doesn't mean they can't be used raw. Fresh-ground cloves can be sprinkled on top of beverage and dishes, even mixed into salad dressings or blended into smoothies.

Whole cloves are typically used in cooking to infuse their flavor into the dish but removed before serving.

Some people will chew cloves after meals to freshen breath and aid digestion.

Mace and nutmeg are both parts of the Myristica Fragrans tree (AKA: nutmeg tree). Mace is the aril or outer coating that protects the nutmeg seed. They have very similar flavor profiles but mace is more subtle and warm than nutmeg, which is stronger with sweetness and depth.

Mace has a similar flavor to nutmeg but is more delicate and subtle. It is used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes, including baked goods, sauces, soups, and meat dishes.

For savory purposes, mace is often used in brines, braises, stews, curries, and rice dishes. It is also frequently used to flavor sausage and other cured meats.

Mace is probably best known for its use in sweet recipes, spice mace is used to add flavor to baked goods like cakes, cookies, bread, and fruit desserts.

Let's not forget about those beloved winter beverages! Mulled wine and ciders would taste empty without the addition of mace.

Learn more about mace blade and find recipes here.

Mace and nutmeg come from the same tree and even the same part of the plant, with nutmeg being the seed and mace being the protective outer covering of that seed. As you can imagine with plant parts in the same proximity of a plant, they do have similar flavor profiles, with mace being slightly spicier and even possessing peppery notes.

That said, they are different spices and typically have different uses. So, if you can—when a recipe that calls for mace, use mace and when you see a recipe for nutmeg, use nutmeg.

However, in a pinch, you can substitute one for the other at a 1:1 ratio and it will likely be fine; just don't expect the exact same flavor in the end product.

Heat level, in terms of spice, affects different people in different ways. What might seem incredibly spicy to one person could be mild to another.

That aside, mace is not typically considered to have a high heat level. Think of it as being on the same level as Cassia cinnamon or black pepper.

Mace is typically considered to be more subtle than nutmeg. However, it has a deeper, somewhat peppery flavor and some people find it more impactful than nutmeg.

It might seem like mace and nutmeg should be similar in price since one is the seed and the other is the aril that encapsulates that seed. However, mace is typically more expensive than nutmeg. This is mainly do to supply. Yes, every nutmeg seed has mace blade surrounding it, but the separate volumes of the two parts will be different, with the nutmeg weighing much more than mace blade. This means, mace blade is rarer and thus, more expensive.

No. Mace blade (also called spice mace and, simply, mace) is different from the pepper spray that is commonly referred to as mace. Mace is a particular brand of pepper spray. Neither Mace-brand pepper spray or other pepper sprays contain mace blade. They are aptly named pepper spray because the active ingredient is capsaicin, the compound that gives peppers their "heat".

Allspice used in various culinary applications, including a wide variety of sweet and savory applications.

It derives its name from its flavor profile, which resembles a combination of several spices, including cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

It is commonly employed in baked goods, marinades, stews, and pickling spice blends.

It is also known for its aromatic qualities and is sometimes used in potpourri, herbal teas, and homemade beauty products.

Allspice has an incredibly powerful and complex flavor profile. It contains flavor properties reminiscent of several other spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and peppercorns. Because of this, it was named, allspice (all the spices). It is NOT the same as Chinese 5-spice, which actually is a blend of spices rather than a single ingredient.

Allspice has its own unique flavor profile but in a pinch, you can substitute it at a 1:1 ratio with a blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.

Allspice is a single ingredient, whereas mixed spice is a blend of various ingredients. Allspice is similar to peppercorns in that it is a dried berry of a plant. In allspice's case, a plant that belongs in the Myrtle family—the Pimenta dioica. Mixed spice, on the other hand, is similar to pumpkin pie spice, a mixture of many ingredients containing cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and more.

Yes, allspice is derived of the dried, unripened berries of an evergreen myrtle called Pimenta dioica.

Cardamom's taste profile is multi-dimensional, It comes across as warming with a cooling finish. It combines notes of citrus and flowers with an earthy sweetness.

Cardamom is known for its ability to enhance both sweet and savory dishes. It pairs well with various ingredients such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. In sweet dishes. It is commonly found in baked goods, desserts, and beverages like chai tea. In savory dishes, it is often featured in curries, rice, and seafood dishes.

For more ideas of foods that cardamom compliments, check out this article.

Cardamom can be added directly to braises, soups, and stews in its whole form. We prefer to put it in a spice sachet, to ensure the woody pod isn't chomped on. Cardamom can also be ground. It is best when fresh-ground immediately before use. Simply use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. The woody pods can be difficult to grind using the latter method, so we prefer to crack the pods and release the seeds into the mortar for an easier grinding experience.

In some Middle Eastern and North African countries, cardamom is added directly to coffee grounds before brewing. The flavor upgrade is catching on around the rest of the world too, with cardamom found in many coffee blends globally. In coffee shops, it isn't rare to see cardamom-flavored syrups to incorporate into an endless assortment of frothy caffeinated beverages.

No. Cardamom is naturally caffeine-free.

In many countries, coriander is considered a single plant that puts off various ingredients (coriander leaves and coriander seeds). This is accurate but in other places (like the US), coriander is used to refer to the seeds and cilantro is what the leaves are called.

The flavor difference of the two, despite the fact that they are born of the same plant, are very difference. They do both contain somewhat citrusy notes but that's about where it ends.

Coriander (seeds) come across as warm, earthy, sweet, citrusy, floral, and somewhat peppery. Cilantro (leaves) are refreshing, citrusy (brighter than the seeds), and somewhat astringent.

Take a deeper dive into the flavor of coriander here.

Yes. Coriander seeds and cilantro come from the same plant—Coriandrum Sativum. The leaves and stems of the plant are often considered to be cilantro and the seeds that develop on that plant are considered coriander sees.

No. Coriander seeds are the seeds of the plant that also produces cilantro. Cumin are the seeds of a separate plant.

Star anise has a taste that is reminiscent of licorice with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg and bittersweet, clove-like astringency that lingers on the tongue.

India is a large country with many spoken languages. As such, star anise is called by many different languages, including chakra phool, badiyan, star Variyadi, badian khatai, and more.

Like many spices that are considered to be high-end or "pricy", the price tag on star anise is owed to the production and harvesting processes. Star anise is hand-harvested and is limited as to where it can be grown. It is also a beloved spice around the globe and is in demand. The price of star anise is determinant of the geographical limitations and harvesting requirements paired with high demand.

Ginger is believed to have a wide variety of health benefits and is especially touted for its ability to ameliorate gastrointestinal upset and other issues. It is also believed to support overall immunity and even regulate blood pressure.

Want to incorporate more ginger into your routine? Try this incredible hot ginger beverage.

Yes, ginger is generally considered good for you and offers several potential health benefits. Among the believed benefits are alleviating stomach upset and nausea, ant-inflammation, immune support, weight management, blood sugar regulation, blood pressure regulation, and more.

Absolutely! Adding powdered ginger into drinks is a great way for incorporate ginger flavor quickly. It may settle, however, so just make sure you give the beverage a stir or shake every once in awhile.

Here's a great beverage recipe using powdered ginger.

Many of the boxes marketed as "tea" in the tea aisle are not tea at all. To be a true tea, the leaves need to be sourced from the Camellia sinesis plant. Black tea, green tea, and white teas are all derived of this plant using different harvesting and processing methods to achieve different flavor properties.

Tisanes, on the other hand, are made from ingredients other than true tea leaves. Herbal teas, for instance, are not true teas but instead, tisanes, made from an endless list of flowers, herbs, fruits, and other non-tea botanical ingredients. They are typically without caffeine but are brewed just as tea leaves are.

Yes, white tea does have caffeine. However, the caffeine levels in white tea are lower than that of green or black teas.

All silver tipped tea is white tea but not all white tea is silver tipped tea. In fact, there are many white tea varieties that are not considered silver tipped. The difference comes in when and how they are harvested and processed. Silver tipped tea is only sourced from the youngest tea buds at the top of the plant. These buds are fuzzy to touch and appear to be silver or a light greenish grey. They are picked in the early hours of the morning before the sun touches them and are gently placed into silk pouches to keep them from coming in contact with sunlight and oxidizing prior to the drying process.

There are a few reasons why white tea is rare, but it primarily comes down to when and how it is harvested and processed. White tea is only sourced from the top leaves of the tea plant when they are young and delicate. Because of this, it is only harvested seasonally and this limited seasonal availability contributes to its rarity. Furthermore, the leaves are minimally processed and special care needs to be taken to ensure they do not oxidize before drying. The specific timing and handling required for white tea production make it a labor-intensive process, which adds to the expense and availability of the product.

We are not in a position to give dietary or other medical advice. It is always best to speak with your care provider if you have concerns about ingesting certain ingredients. That said, several studies have delivered results that suggest drinking green tea every day may be beneficial to one's health. You may also be interested to know that green tea typically contains lower levels of caffeine than coffee.

Yes. Earl grey tea is made from black tea and bergamot oil (typically infused into the tea).

When most people think of tea, whether iced or hot, black tea is likely what comes to mind as "regular" but there is no regular tea—just different types of teas, including green, black, and white. If you order an iced tea from a restaurant, you will likely get an iced black tea unless otherwise specified.