The quickest and most effective tool for grinding cinnamon sticks is an electric coffee grinder. Most coffee grinders have powerful blades that can turn cinnamon sticks into freshly ground powder within seconds. Coffee grinders designed for double duty and with lower-seated, sharp blades are recommended.
For manual grinding, a sturdy mortar and pestle or a handheld microplane also turn cinnamon sticks into powder, albeit at a much slower pace. Manually ground cinnamon powder may have a rougher consistency than machine-ground powder. Two types of cinnamon sticks are available: ceylon (true cinnamon) and cassia. Ceylon cinnamon sticks are softer and thinner than cassia cinnamon sticks, which are the type commonly sold by commercial spice manufacturers.