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The Lifecycle of Cinnamon

Quality Leadership

The Lifecycle of Cinnamon


Despite its long reign as one of the world’s most popular spices, the average consumer knows little about cinnamon. Everyone knows that grapes grow on vines and carrots are pulled from the Earth—but many enthusiastic cinnamon consumers have no idea that their favorite spice comes from a tree.


Cinnamon’s journey from seed to spice rack is a long one. Most of McCormick's pure cinnamon is sourced from the central Sumatra region of Indonesia, where cinnamon trees grow for up to 20 years to develop the high volatile oils that give our ground cinnamon its warm, sweet and slightly spicy flavor. 


When the cinnamon tree is ready, farmers strip bark from the base, where the flavor is most intense. Once stripped, the tree is cut, allowing new shoots to grow in about a year's time, and those shoots develop into new cinnamon trees.


McCormick is the only flavor company in the world with on-the-ground operations in Indonesia—the stripped bark is transported to McCormick's Padang facility, where it is thoroughly dried. The dried cinnamon is then aged, cut, and tested for quality. ​McCormick transfers the cut cinnamon into cleaned and lined shipping containers to prevent the risk of contamination, then seals the full bags, which won’t be opened again until they reach our processing facilities in the United States.


At our global facilities, the cut cinnamon is cleaned with a proprietary steam technology—a natural and chemical-free process—then blended to meet the desired volatile oil level. The cinnamon is finely ground to maximize its flavor. 


Finally, the ground cinnamon is funneled into sanitized bottles and topped with airtight seals, then capped, labeled and shipped to stores or to our food processing partners, ready to add 100% pure flavor to best-loved dishes around the world.