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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trader Joe's Caramel Flavored Coffee Granola

I've always preferred the smell of coffee to its taste. The smell is rich and earthy—the taste often is, too, but there's usually a bitterness that accompanies it that I find unpleasant in most cases. With this product, when you open the bag, you might as well be opening a big bag of dark roast coffee beans. The smell alone can wake a drowsy person from their dreamy slumber. It's a deeply pleasant experience, worth the $2.99 for just the first whiff of the bag alone. But not only that, the taste is just like coffee, too—but there's little to no bitterness here. It's sweet, but not overly so, nutty, crunchy, and full of real ground coffee.

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.

7 comments:

  1. I eat very little granola. I've told you about the one cup of coffee a day..... So more than likely this would never make it into our TJ's basket.

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  2. I bought a bag of this last weekend, but I haven't opened it yet. After reading this review, I can't wait to try it!

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    1. I am addicted to these, on my 4th bag as we speak, and it's only been on my local TJ's shelf for a week. I keep a bag in the car and munch on them while I drive, that is also when I consider those abnormally large clusters the more convenient snack size, lol

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  3. So sad that it is a "Seasonal" item. Coffee and Granola are ALWAYS in season! ;) And my Trader Joe's is out of the deliciousness.

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  4. Your review of this was spot on! Maybe all the trader Joe's execs will read this and turn it into a main stay. I am on my last bag (horded a couple bags at the end) and am already missing it. Btw, this plus the Kashi autumn wheat make an excellent mix!

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