Trader Joe's Roasted Cocoa Nibs

There's crunchy. There's make-your-own granola crunchy. And then there's crunchiness of stratospheric levels. Is there an objective standard for that? Depends who you ask. But I do know that we all have varying degrees of tolerance for crunchiness. Truthfully, I enjoy crunchy aka "healthy" foods just about as much as I enjoy unhealthy [salty crunchy] foods. Where do these roasted cocoa or cacao nibs fall along the granola crunchy spectrum? I'd say supremely crunchy approaching stratospherically crunchy. 

I picked these up for $1.99 a while ago after a friend recommended them. The hullaballoo surrounding cacao is that it hasn't been processed with milk/sugar/butter unlike chocolate and therefore retains all the antioxidants that apparently have some cardiovascular health benefits.  So we need to stop reading the fake news articles that say "eat chocolate every day because it's good for your heart."'s more like "eat chocolate everyday because it tastes good and isn't awful if you strip away all the delicious parts that make it taste good." :P

I was thinking this would probably go best atop yogurt or a trendy acai bowl. Not sure I would throw it into coffee, although I'd be curious to hear about it if y'all have done that. Anyhoo, I discovered my limit for unsweetened granola crunchiness. The buck stops here y'all, for me at least. I understand TJ's has a chocolate covered or something-or-other-covered version that is sweeter (probably worth a try if you're into this kind of thing), but these are pure roasted cocoa nibs. With ZERO sugar. None. Not like "healthy desserts" with "no sugar" except with sweetness from something like fruit or a white sugar alternative (stevia, maple syrup, etc). But actually sans sugar. I couldn't handle it, so I didn't bother taking a picture. Does that make this a biased review? You bet. 

They look like little brown rocks, similar to the little rocks you see in home aquariums for your pet fish. I wouldn't call the texture crunchy in the traditional sense, but they are crunchy because they are difficult to crunch. I thought tossing these into yogurt would impart a hint of chocolate flavor, but it really didn't. Maybe if I close my eyes, I can sort of make out the cocoa-ness but the lack of sweetness only left a bitter taste in my mouth. Not much else in the taste department. Or maybe it's that this does have flavor and I don't have the tastebuds to tolerate or detect it. *shrug* 

This is one of those products that I don't think would appeal to everyone, but it would have some appeal to people with a penchant for crazy dark chocolate, like in the 85% and up range. If that's you, I could imagine you enjoying this in yogurt, oatmeal, or whatever concoction you come up with, which is exactly why I passed this along to a family member who not only tolerates but enjoys chocolate so dark the rest of us can't handle it. 

TL;DR: Trader Joe's Roasted Cocoa Nibs. Roasted but otherwise unprocessed, unsweetened cacao. Little rocks for your dear old heart. If you can handle utterly dark chocolate, this is at least a 5.5 out of 10. For me? 3 out of 10. 


  1. I really like the chocolate covered cocoa nibs that TJs has but i seriously was afraid i would chip a tooth trying to eat a few of these!! They are actually the texture of a small pebble!
    And yeah, then there's the lack of any actual noticeable flavor.
    Not for me.
    And i love hippie granola crunchy foods! But not these. They're going to be returned.

    1. I really like these cocoa nibs, I eat them by themselves and with other things. I guess you acquire a taste for them. I love dark chocolate without all that sugar so these are perfect for me.

  2. If you don't like these by itself try it with ice cream or granola. It adds a great texture/flavor, especially when paired with something sweet.


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