Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Trader Joe's Coconut Cashews

I've admitted before that sometimes I don't look too closely at a product or label before deciding to buy it. It usually happens when I get sent all by myself by the spousal powers-that- be to go find a "good, easy dinner" or a "yummy looking snack" with few, if any, other qualifications. With such an open-ended directive that can be easily interpreted a myriad of different ways, you think it'd be hard to mess up. Nuh uh. Not me. That's how we ended up being forced to consume such sorry excuses for food like those nasty vegetable rolls linked to above, or the ginger napalm shards, or other similar disappointments. It's like when given the most freedom to get something right, I am most likely to swing and miss. Fortunately, the only realm of life this is particularly true in is grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, so I'll consider myself one lucky hombre.

This somehow leads to Trader Joe's Coconut Cashews. Now, I understood that these were cashews with a coconut twist, so I'm not quite that dumb to think that maybe I bought some meat macadamias or pizza peanuts or alcoholly almonds or some other alliterative nut product. The name kinda speaks for itself.

But, I didn't really look at the nuts themselves, or the ingredient list, to see how the cashews arrived at their coconutty incarnations. Perhaps it was the spirits of the season, but I was imagining cashews wrapped up mummy-style in shredded coconut, or perhaps put more appetizingly, shredded coconut all piled up pinata-style, with the reward for busting through that layer being crunchy, tasty cashew goodness. Not the case. These guys are just cashews with coconut powder, coconut milk, and sugar kinda spooged on them with some coconut oil to boot. I have nothing particularly against any of those ingredients, but man, given the option, I'd take shredded coconut ten times before I'd settle for one of those. There's a certain crunch to toasted coconut which could've been pretty interesting with roasted cashews, in my opinion, that I was hoping to try out but wasn't able to.

That's my biggest beef, but it's not my only. I'd like them a little more for straight snacking if they had just a hint of salt on them, just to play up the salty/sweet angle a little bit. No dice. And while my better half has suggested they may be good for making some curry or fried rice, I'm not terribly convinced they'd be any better than regular plain ol' cashews and adding your own coconut milk. Maybe I'm just a little grouchy that I paid $6.99 for the not-quite-a-pound sack and I'm not that particularly wowed about them. If I'm paying that much for something, I'd like to be impressed.

All that being said, I'll snack on them a little here and there, but I'm not foreseeing these nuts as a repeat purchase. They're not nasty nuts by any stretch, but they're underwhleming at best, to the point I'd say I'd rather have plain. Sandy's a bit more enthused about them than I am, as she's been adding them to her morning oatmeal and smushed some up for some baked apple/oatmeal dessert she made tonight, so I was a little surprised when she said she'd give them just a three. "They're crunchy and sweet and....well, not much else," she said. Since I'd say she's about twice as happy with them as I am, I shall have my score reflect that. It's probably lower than what they actually deserve, but well, as the saying goes, our scores can range from soup to, well, nuts.   

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Coconut Cashews: 4.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. you're a brave soul.. i would of kept on walking if i saw these...

  2. They sound about as good as the Honey Roasted Macadamia Nuts. I spent $6.99 on those and they are really terrible. Stay away from those, too. When you che them, they become slimy...not a good texture. Regular roasted macadamias or chocolate covered ones are 10 times better.

  3. Agree. I was disappointed and a pricey mistake. Didn't think they were bad enough to return as I've done with the English Muffin Toast before. A rare miss by the TJ buyers.

    1. Woohoo! At least one other person agrees with me! :)

  4. I've got household members who like coconut flavor but not coconut texture. They like these just fine. I like them, too (and I'm okay with both coconut flavor and texture). These nuts are one of the few coconut products that everyone in the house will eat, so they will show up here from time to time. Did you ever try those slightly-soft dried coconut strips? Those were FANTASTIC! Haven't seen them in months, sadly. I like the roasted coconut strips, too (the sweet & salty ones).

  5. I check this blog often for reviews on things I am hesitant to buy, but I am glad I did not see this review. I bought a bag after leaving them on the shelf 3 time prior, I am so glad I finally said "What the hell" and purchased them - THEY ARE AWESOME not too sweet, just a little salt, plenty of coconut flavor and coated just right. Other coconut covered nuts are either toasted and full of garbage and you can't taste the nut, or the coconut shreds end up all in your teeth and gums I really think TJs nailed this one. I love the price, cheaper than most places but still high enough to remind myself not to eat the entire bag in a sitting (ok maybe 3) but I love to just take a small handful here or there filling and flavorful with a nice crunch.

  6. I LOVED these! And I would rather have them soaked in coconut milk rather than coconut flakes all over them.

  7. I'm thinking you should review these products for what they are and not for what you think they should be.