And like real coffee, it goes great with milk. It stays nice and crunchy. The texture of whole grain oat clusters pairs so beautifully with the flavor of sweet, creamy coffee, it's a wonder this isn't a staple in every household. Like most of their products, I'm sure Trader Joe's didn't invent this stuff—apparently coffee cereal has been a thing for a while, although I can't imagine flakes working quite as well as granola—but TJ's is the first store that's brought this phenomenon to my attention. They get most of the credit in my book, because they're the ones making this mainstream. And after this fun little coffee extravaganza is over, if only one product becomes a mainstay at Trader Joe's, I hope it's this one. Caffeinated cereal is something we need in our lives.
Sonia raved about this caramel coffee granola. She pointed out that the flavors are exceptionally well-balanced: the nuttiness and graininess of the granola, the earthiness of the coffee, and the sweetness of the caramel. She thought it tasted just like actual caramel. While there was definitely a nice sweet element to the cereal, I personally didn't detect anything as specific as caramel per se, but you still won't hear me complaining, because the sweetness level was just about perfect.
As far as weaknesses go, I could complain about the clusters of granola being inconsistent. Some were enormous and inedible in their initial rock-like state, but with a few jabs of a spoon, they typically would crumble into something more manageable. Not a big deal. And not that it's a weakness, but tons of black flecks fall off the granola chunks and float around in the milk. It almost looks like pepper. But it makes the residual milk taste like a diluted frappucino.
This is a must-purchase for fans of coffee and granola. It might even come in handy if you're trying to wean yourself off of eight cups of coffee a day. Having a little caffeine in your snack could help "take the edge off." Or that might just be an excuse to feed your nasty habit even more.
But it's a darn good excuse.
Four stars from me. Perfect five from the coffee-loving Sonia
Bottom line: 9 out of 10.