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Trader Joe's Caramel Flavored Coffee Granola

There was once a time where I was astonished at coffee drinkers - how can you consume something so dark? So bitter? With nothing??? Needless to say I converted eventually (because coffee can make your day go like THIS), and I guess someone up in the TJ's invisible hierarchy decided more people should too. They've spiked sausages, almonds, pecans, chocolates, ice cream bars, etc. with ground coffee and other coffee-esque-flavored delights. Considering that the next International Coffee Day doesn't happen again until September 29, it looks like TJ's created their own coffee mania in a scheme to take my money. And your money. All the monies. 

This here is some smart packaging. Last time we were down in Florida, A and I walked around Publix (chain grocery store that I remember from my childhood days in Georgia). Lemme tell you, I was pretty impressed by the generic store packaging. Y'know how generic packaging can look cheap or like they're trying too hard to not look generic? Publix, however, decks out a ton of their products in sleek black and white packaging that makes the product look more chic and high end. The packaging here has basically the same effect. I'm not just paying for some crunchy granola. I'm paying for a sleek, sophisticated, designer granola. OOOO. Take that Charbucks.

Not the healthiest thing ever but not terrible. Natural caramel flavor falls low on the ingredient list, so I picked it up trusting that this wouldn't be too much of a caramel macchiato. I'm not a huge fan of the caramel macchiato - in its pure form it is far too sweet for me. Some people like that full blast of caramel macchiato. I don't. 

Fortunately for me, it only SMELLS like a caramel macchiato. It's actually a lot more balanced in taste. The bitterness of the ground coffee serves as the focal point, but the granola has just enough sweetness and a hint of caramel to offset that. I LOVE IT.  Of course, you get a nice hearty crunch from the clusters, which makes it snackable right from the bag. A kind of expected it to have a hint of chocolate for some reason (perhaps the packaging gives off that vibe), but there's none of that here. TJ's should squeeze out a mocha flavored coffee granola from this supplier while they're at it (already wrote to corporate about that :P). I'm sure it would be just as good. 

TJ's does have a caramel macchiato greek yogurt that I'm probably not going to try, because I probably won't like it. But if that's your thing, this would be the perfect granola to pair with that yogurt. Or plain yogurt as I did above. And if you have kids, they will probably not like this, unless they're that Italian kid drinking espressos like no big deal. Even A, who isn't much of an avid coffee drinker, admits that this granola is pretty darn good. It's definitely on par with those Just Clusters that I love. At $2.99 for a 12 oz. bag, it does cost more but I imagine that the price is worth the higher quality and different taste. But I'd say if you really don't like bitter stuff, skip this and go for either the vanilla or chocolate Just Clusters granola. 

TL;DR: Trader Joe's Caramel Flavored Coffee Granola. Just enough bittersweetness topped off a hint of some caramel somethin' somethin' in crunchy granola form. Yaaaaaas. 9 out of 10. 


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