Now this is a fun one, cereal fans. I’ve been meaning to try Coffee Cereal for a long time: long before I even knew it actually existed.
See, back in high school, I was given one of those clichéd school projects, the kind you see Urkel and the Olsen twins struggle with on ’90s sitcoms. My challenge was to think of and prototype an invention, an invention no one had thought of before.
Since I ate cereal and drank coffee every morning (and ate lunch alone, probably because of the whole coffee snobbery), I had the genius idea of inventing a coffee cereal. I was all prepared to start designing “Cappuccin-O’s” boxes and rolling Cheerios in espresso powder, but then I found out that Coffee Cereal already exists, made by a small company in Missouri.
Into the metaphorical and literal trash my idea went.
Years later, I’ve finally gotten over my bitterness (though I still drink bitter coffee), and now I’m ready to review the real thing.
I ordered one bag of Coffee Cereal, but to my surprise, I was sent a complimentary bag of Café Mocha cereal, too!
First up is the original stuff. These moody mahogany flakes have a super sticky and syrupy coating. I still found this kind of charming, because compared to Cocoa Puffs or Froot Loops, this is pretty much a homemade cereal. According to the Coffee Cereal site, each batch is coated in “The Bowlonator 9,001,” which I can only assume is a wisecracking cereal robot I’d like to start a crimefighting duo with.
These things are made with real coffee, and they definitely taste like it, through and through. And I don’t mean your valley girl second cousin’s Frosted Vanilla Cream Puff Birthday Cake Frappuccinno, either. It’s closer to the Starbucks Coffee + Milk bottles you can buy.
There’s a definite bitterness and earthy smokiness baked into the corn and barley base of each flake, and it blends interestingly with the taste notes in the syrup coating. The syrup glaze is lightly sweet and malted, with fainter notes of vanilla extract and cinnamon.
As a black coffee purist, I quite enjoyed the bittersweet balance. It tasted like those Cappuccino Lay’s from a couple years back…just with a bit of bitter, harbored resentment against everyone who hated them. If you’re the “room for cream” type of coffee person, though, these flakes might leave you grimacing harder than a certain purple McDonald’s mascot.
Café Mocha Coffee Cereal, on the other hand, has a much more universal appeal. The smoky coffee taste in the flakes is still there, but now it’s overshadowed by a much stronger coating. Even though there’s no chocolatiness to be found, this neat glaze is equal parts whipped vanilla cream, caramel, cinnamon sugar, and dulce de leche.
They end up tasting like the most sophisticated Frosted Flakes imaginable, so classy that Kellogg’s would never release them because they wouldn’t dare asking Tony the Tiger to wear a tuxedo. That beast of the wild was born to roam naked and free.
Despite their complex taste, which will likely appeal to all manner of coffee shop dwellers and short story typewriters, I still found it to be a little too sweet, especially coupled with the sticky texture.
I can’t really recommend eating either variety with milk, either. The waves of dairy quickly wash away the sticky and delectable coating. The flatly flavored corn and coffee ground flakes that remain foolishly beat on, boats against the milky current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
Whoops, sorry for the Gatsby quote. I’m just feeling pretentious because now I’m eating Coffee Cereal in the tastiest way possible: munching dry handfuls while sipping a mug of freshly ground and French pressed Sumatran Mandheling.
Hey, stop laughing at me! This is the one time in my life when I get to feel somewhat cool and hip!
To sum everything up in a quick shot of espresso: if you’re a coffee fan of any kind, whether you like it black as midnight or sweet as Grandma’s hugs, order a bag of Coffee Cereal for the novelty of it and the extra jolt of caffeine alongside your morning joe.
Just don’t blame me when your fingers are syrupy enough to give those 25¢ vending machine sticky hands a run for their money.
The Bowl: Coffee Cereal — Original and Café Latte
The Breakdown: Despite an occasionally unpleasant stickiness and weak milk integrity, Coffee Cereal is uniquely flavored and perfect for coffee and breakfast lovers who want two caffeinated two birds with one stone. Just don’t try and pour coffee over them instead of milk. Don’t ask how I know.
The Bottom Line (Original): 8.5 episodes of “Dan & The Bowlonator” out of 10
The Bottom Line (Café Mocha): 7.5 failed attempts to pronounce “Mandheling” out of 10
(Quick Nutrition Facts – Original – 110 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein per 1 cup serving. No nutrition facts available for Café Mocha.)