A little carbonation never hurt nobody.
Except the Fizzy Lifting Drinks. Avoid that stuff like the plague.
Earlier this month, Post cereals released their new Burstin’ Berry Poppin’ Pebbles cereal, a carbonated variant of Fruity Pebbles. In addition to berry-flavored crisped rice, Poppin’ Pebbles contains green cereal puffs mixed with carbon dioxide gas, which react upon contact with saliva to create a popping sensation reminiscent of Pop Rocks.
Let’s be perfectly clear — this isn’t the first time a popping concept has been applied to cereal. Back in 2000, Quaker released Mystery Volcano Crunch, a Cap’n Crunch cereal featuring “Lava Rocks” that popped when combined with milk. (Taking other people’s ideas, Post? I never expected you to stoop to Carlos Mencia’s level.)
The Burstin’ Berry Poppin’ Pebbles cereal box fails to mention any specific berry flavor. So which berry is it? The ingredients list provides no clues. It could be any of them: blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, cranberry, Halle Berry, etc. It seems Post opted simply for “generic berry”.
Opening the box releases a pungent aroma similar to a berry-flavored yogurt with an added candy-like sweetness. The scent is rather off-putting; the berry flavoring smells unappealingly artificial.
The Poppin’ Pebbles cereal base is different in both appearance and taste when compared to normal Fruity Pebbles.
Following the berry theme, Poppin’ Pebbles features a mix of red, pink, and indigo crisped rice grains, whereas the normal Fruity Pebbles cereal contains a more standard distribution of the colors of the rainbow.
As far as I can tell, each Poppin’ Pebbles grain possesses the same berry flavor. The cereal’s overall flavor matches its scent, but is not as overpowering as the aroma would suggest. The candy-esque berry flavor does indeed seem unnatural, almost like a powdered berry flavor à la Fun Dip and Pixy Stix. Nevertheless, it’s bearable. The actual grainy flavor of the crisped rice is masked almost entirely, showing up only slightly at the end of a mouthful. All things considered, I much prefer the fruity flavor of normal Fruity Pebbles.
It was time to experience the carbonated cereal puffs. As I lifted my spoon and slowly proceeded to chew, my tongue began to experience the popping sensation mentioned on the box. Oh my god, can this kill me? My life’s flashing before my eyes. First Little Mikey, and now me! I see the light! No, I’m too young to die! I haven’t even tried McSpaghetti yet!
Well, my panic was unjustified — the Poppin’ Pebbles didn’t actually kill me. In fact, the popping was less intense than I had expected. Though the fizzing is audible and can be felt very slightly on the tongue, the sensation is nowhere near as extreme as a handful of Pop Rocks. Adrenaline junkies will surely be disappointed.
Unfortunately, the carbonated cereal puffs have a strange sort of flavor and texture. They possess a more candy-like stiffness than a standard cereal puff, and feature the aforementioned powdery berry flavor, albeit at a much stronger intensity and sweetness. I suppose it’s difficult to carbonate a cereal puff and have its flavor and texture profiles remain unchanged, but these Poppin’ Pebbles cereal puffs really disappoint.
Next, I tried Poppin’ Pebbles with milk. To my surprise, I didn’t notice any more popping than I would expect from a standard crisped rice cereal such as Rice Krispies. The carbonated cereal puffs maintain their ability to pop and fizz when chewed even after being soaked with milk, which leads me to believe some sort of candy coating protects their carbonated interiors.
Even so, Burstin’ Berry Poppin’ Pebbles are worsened by the addition of milk for one reason alone: the milk absorbs the artificial berry flavor of the cereal and helps amplify its unnatural qualities. For this reason, I can only recommend eating Poppin’ Pebbles dry.
Post’s new Burstin Berry Poppin’ Pebbles cereal is little more than a gimmick. The carbonated cereal puffs add an interesting, uncommon textural element to each spoonful, but the cereal’s artificial berry flavor really detracts from the experience. It feels more like I’m eating a bowl of candy than a breakfast cereal. Perhaps a more intense popping and fizzing could have compensated for the cereal’s flaws. Next time, I’ll stick with the berries I know and love: Franken, Chuck, and Manilow.
(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup (cereal only) – 120 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 20 milligrams of potassium, 26 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugars, 16 grams of other carbohydrate, and 1 gram of protein.)
Item: Post Burstin’ Berry Poppin’ Pebbles Cereal
Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: 12 oz. box
Purchased at: ShopRite
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Cereal puffs pop and fizz. Maintains pop even in milk. Halle Berry.
Cons: Candy-like berry flavor is off-putting. Gross in milk. Carlos Mencia.