Friday, October 12, 2018

Trader Joe's Crispy Quinoa Stars Cereal

"Now THIS is my kinda cereal!"


Now, if this would have been uttered about, say, some pretty decent hot cocoa-inspired cereal, or some special edition Lucky Charms, or heck, even a fresh box of Honey Nut Cheerios, I'd understand. Those are all great cereals with a lot less ho-hum than an average bowful of corn flakes.

But...something like Trader Joe's Crispy Quinoa Stars Cereal? Really? People can get hyped about, of all things, quinoa for breakfast? Wow.

Apparently the answer is yes. And apparently one of those people is my lovely bride, as she happened to exclaim that exact phrase with spot-on inflection that implied complete excitement as she snagged the box and happily tossed into our cart.

Well, okay. Alright. Guess I can give it a try, too.

After some debate, it seems to come down to a simple fact. There's certain grains that are much more prevalent for breakfast cereals. Corn. Rice. Wheat. Oats. As a result, there's a certain level of acclimation and acceptance that can be a little hard to wander outside of, especially when grabbing a handful for a comfort snack, as is my most usual matter of cereal consumption these days.

I think that's what my perceived issue is. These quinoa stars taste exactly what I'd expect a quinoa-based cereal to taste like. They're super earthy, a little nutty. There's a small touch of honey to try and sweeten the whole deal, which kinda works, but can't fully cover up the whole quinoa-ity of the cereal. As a result, there's also this lingering aftertaste that seems to intensify. I ate a small handful as I sat down to write this, and I can still taste it all in my gums and it seems to be spreading to the back of my throat. It's not exactly awful, but not entirely pleasant either.

There's plenty of crispy crunch, though. My wife states it holds up well in milk. There is a slight stale vibe to them - not that ours are actually stale, at least I don't think so. But after occasionally consuming verified stale cereal, there is a small similarity, and I actually don't mean it as a knock. It's just a base for comparison.

And this is perhaps a small thing...but the packaging here is a little wacky. Of course, it's just a bag inside the box...but our inner bag was a full two inches shorter than the actual box. I've never seen a cereal box with that much headspace. It's odd.

Overall, I'm not gonna hate here, as I'm not the target audience. As someone with no gluten restrictions but knowing enough people who do, anytime a half decent gluten free product at a good price ($2.99) comes to market is a event worthy of at least a little celebration. But I can barely eat more than a small handful or two, and I'd probably not enjoy a full bowl. Sandy's kinda the same way, although she enjoy it more than I do and claims she'll buy it again. We'll see, as her initial enthusiasm has certainly dulled in the past few days. "I don't hate it" is about all she'll say. That's a far cry from the parade I thought she was gonna throw for well. Two spoons from me, three from the wifey.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Crispy Quinoa Stars Cereal: 5 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. Thanks again for taking the hit so we don't have to!

  2. I wasn’t a fan, it was ok as a crunchy thing ontop of my yogurt but definitely not snackable as is like my most favorite gf cereal ever original Puffins (available at TJs too)
    There’s better options out there, and considering the ingredients it’s not especially high in fiber and is a bit higher calories. Just kinda blah.

  3. I really love the texture and find the taste fine (not amazing but it's okay), adding some fruit to my cereal in the morning made this really pleasant. I'll buy it again. Texture is kind of a big deal for me so I can see why I would weigh that more heavily than someone else who would just find this cereal so-so if they didn't factor it in as much as I do.

  4. Sounds boring to me. I'll take a hard pass. Although those could be converted to crispy treats. Maybe a ratio of 50/50 of lucky charms to tie in the space theme. Or cocoa puffs to represent the asteroids.

  5. Actually, this has been my favorite cereal discovery of the year! Love it. But now I can't find it on the shelves at Trader Joe's or Sprouts. Did all you nay-sayers secretly conspire to ban this box of cereal? Pls. say no.

  6. as you mentioned . "earthy" . i like to call it DIRT flavored

  7. I bought these in the vain hope they might be like one of my favorite childhood cereals: Kellogg's Stars. Nope.