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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Trader Joe's Country Pumpkin Spice Granola Cereal

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate:
The first one said, "Oh my, it's time we ate!"
The second one said, "There are spices in the air."
The third one said, "And lots of TJ's fare."
The fourth one said, "Let's munch & munch & munch."
The fifth one said, "Let's have something with crunch!"
OOOhh OOOhh went the wind
And out went the lights
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

Then the five little pumpkins came upon a bowl of country granola. The first one said, "Hey, let's eat this stuff." 

And the second one was like, "Yeah, and let's put some pumpkin in it!"

"Pumpkin makes everything better," said the third one.

The fourth pumpkin added, "Especially around fall time!"

But the fifth pumpkin shook his head and said, "Dudes, I'm not into cannibalism. In case you hadn't noticed, we are pumpkins."

"True that, Number Five," replied pumpkin Number One, nodding.

Just then, pumpkin Number Two spied some innocent raisin people nearby. They were a deep purple color, had wrinkly skin, and were very tiny, even compared to little pumpkins. Number Three had a sinister look on his face. He knew what Number Two was thinking. Suddenly, Number Four said it: "Let's throw them in instead."

...And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how this granola came into being.

I recently made the observation that pumpkin-flavored products can taste very similar to cinnamon raisin products. That certainly applies here, where "raisins" are one of the main ingredients, and we see "dried pumpkin" after "vegetable oil" and "coconut" on the ingredients list. There's more coconut in this product than pumpkin, folks. It's not a terrible granola and raisin cereal, but I didn't find that happy homegrown harvest flavor I was looking for. There are hints of allspice, nutmeg, and ginger...and maybe just the subtlest ghost of actual pumpkin, but I personally wouldn't have minded a tad more pumpkin and nutmeg.

Sonia agrees about the pumpkin, though overall, I think she enjoyed the hearty oats and wheat base of the cereal even more than I did. She gives this product another 4. I give it another 3, and the five pumpkins are just happy they didn't have to sacrifice one of their own.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Coffee

Maybe it's because I don't like coffee that much, or maybe it's because my taste buds are overloaded with pumpkin, but I wasn't particularly thrilled with this coffee. Sonia enjoyed it, however, and insists that this product is the first Trader Joe's pumpkin item this season that does have an adequate amount of pumpkindiculous flavor. 

I feel the opposite. I was happy with the pumpkinicity levels of our previous selections, but not with this one. We recently tried a Krispy Kreme pumpkin coffee beverage that was really sweet and really punkinny. It was a hit with the whole family. It tasted like candy. This coffee...well...tastes like coffee.

It reminded me a little of the Gingerbread Coffee we tried one chilly Yuletide long ago. Neither selection tastes bad, but both need a fair amount of sugar and milk to be palatable, in my opinion. There's a hint of pumpkin spice, but other than that, I just taste normal old coffee, complete with bitter earthiness and a bit of acidity.

But I'm no coffee connoisseur. I'm slowly earning my stripes as a pumpkin-flavored-thing expert, but I'm not sure how that will help me in life outside of this blog.

A few weeks into this fall season, and I think Sonia and I have overdone the pumpkin thing a bit. I'm starting to wish there were more fall-themed items that did not involve pumpkin. There are always harvest apple type dealies. And apparently, some sausages are associated with autumn. So maybe on our next Trader Joe's trip, we'll look for more stuff like that. But you folks who are jonesin' for more pumpkin, don't worry, we've still got a couple more pumpkinlicious product reviews coming down the pipeline. Plus, apparently Sonia is not ready to give up this nasty pumpkin habit. Even as I compose this post—I kid you not—she just sent me an email with the subject line: "Made with Real Pumpkins!!" Apparently Yogurtland is jumping on board the pumpkin bandwagon.

Sonia gives this coffee 4.5 out of 5 stars, stating that she likes the way the pumpkin spices and the medium roast flavor blend together. I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10 stars.

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