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I am not sure if this is a chemistry question; however, I was wondering:

In my desk I have two plastic, zip-lock bags. One contains cinnamon tea, the other contains nuts.

After about a week of these bags being next to each other, the flavor of the cinnamon somehow leached through both bags and now the nuts taste like cinnamon!

Is there a chemical explanation for this or isn't this a question of chemistry?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Cinnamon tea is most likely flavoured with cinnamalaldehyde (1) and eugenol (2), the main components in cinnamon oil. The latter compound also gives cloves the characteristic aroma.

cinnamon aroma

To my knowledge, ziplock bags are made from polyethylene. They are not meant to be aroma-tight, like vacuum-sealed coffee packages.

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Thanks for the added detail in your answer. – user1477388 Feb 24 '14 at 21:09
No problem! Nicely flavoured question :) – Klaus Warzecha Feb 24 '14 at 21:14

Cinnamaldehyde dissolves in and diffuses through most polymers within sensory threshold. Use glass containers with lined metal caps. Isn't ground up tree bark amazing?

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Excellent. Thanks for your answer. – user1477388 Feb 24 '14 at 21:07

Try taking the nuts out and putting them in a bowl or cup for a little. See if you just smelling the Cinnamon from the bag is making you "taste" it.

Just an idea.

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I can try that but I am pretty certain it actually tastes like cinnamon because it doesn't taste very good. I like cinnamon but it doesn't go well with these nuts. – user1477388 Feb 24 '14 at 20:52

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