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Monday, April 20, 2020

Trader Joe's Just the Clusters Chocolate Almond Granola Cereal

I used to get on really big cereal kicks where I'd eat the stuff every morning for breakfast. I mean, sometimes for years on end, I was just into cereal. Then for a while I'd move on to something else like donuts, or oatmeal, or yogurt. I've even been that guy that would eat Doritos and Mountain Dew at seven o'clock in the morning on occasion. And yes, if it was the weekend, or if I called in sick to work, I'd spend the morning playing video games. There's not much else you can legitimately do if you choose Mountain Dew and Doritos for breakfast. 

I can't handle the HFCS anymore, so I haven't done that in a while. But also, oddly, I haven't been on any major cereal kicks lately. I feel like ever since I've been married to Sonia, for some reason, every time I've felt like cereal, we either have none on hand, or we don't have any milk in the fridge. Once a month or so, all the stars will align and I'll actually feel like eating cereal and we'll have all the necessary elements to prepare a bowl. Such an alignment occurred just yesterday.

Opening the bag of Trader Joe's Chocolate Almond Granola Cereal, there's a pleasant whiff of chocolatey goodness. It's reminiscent of Cocoa Pebbles, but not quite as ricey or sweet, and perhaps a tad richer. 

The granola chunks are the perfect size for a cereal—not too big, not too small. There's a fair amount of almond slivers, too, although I don't think a significant boost in that department would have been outrageous. Even doubling the presence of the almonds couldn't have hurt in my humble opinion. Fortunately, the granola is pretty decent on its own.

Like the smell, the flavor is chocolatey and sweet. It's not over the top sugary, though. The chocolate is satisfying and errs on the side of rich cocoa rather than chocolate candy. It's just strong enough to taste like a flavorful treat without completely overshadowing the nuttiness of the almonds. The granola and nuts are both crunchy, even after a prolonged period of submersion. 

The granola dyes the milk nice and brown by the end of the bowl and yields wonderfully chuggable chocolate milk. In a way, I think I enjoy the residual liquid in the bowl more than the cereal itself, although I'm thinking I'll reach for this box again tomorrow. If by some chance we wind up having this stuff on hand regularly, as well as some cold milk, I just might wind back up on a lengthy cereal kick.

$3.49 for the box. Four stars from Sonia. Three and a half from me.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.


  1. You could do a cereal milk using this cereal and soak in milk over night. Then next day blend with strawberries & cream.

  2. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view lol) this cereal has enough sugar to qualify for dessert.

  3. The sugar content is below 25% of total weight, which is less than most breakfast cereals.

    TJ's has offered this item for years and years, which attests to its enduring popularity. It's too bad they jacked the price from $2.99 to $3.49.

    There's enough cocoa in the granola to produce a fairly rich chocolate milk in the bowl, and to some extent you can also regulate the regular/chocolate milk mixture depending on how much, and where, you agitate the cereal.


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