REVIEW: Kellogg’s Special K Limited Edition Iced Vanilla Latte Cereal

Special K was one of the first cereals I remember being huge in the diet/resolution sphere in the early 00s. The commercials would start after Christmas and last until the beginning of February, telling us how the “Special K Diet” could help us lose weight. Even though the diet isn’t pushed anymore, Special K introduces a new flavor every January to entice resolutioners. This year, Special K’s Limited Edition Iced Vanilla Latte is on the shelves.

The cereal is “crunchy wheat and rice latte-flavored flakes made with vanilla-flavored clusters.” I’m generally a big fan of coffee/espresso flavors in various forms, but after opening the bag, I was immediately worried by the overwhelming instant coffee aroma that greeted me. I won’t bore you with my journey to being a coffee drinker, but I will say I’m not a coffee snob unless it comes to instant coffee.

To me, there is a bitterness in instant coffee that I just can’t get past. Smelling it after opening the cereal made me worried about how the flavor was going to be. Before adding it to a bowl, I tried a handful. The combination of the dry cereal and pungent flavor (though not as strong as the smell) was truly unpleasant. It was not a great texture or flavor experience.

I went on the hunt for the “vanilla-flavored clusters” to try and see if they would balance things a little better. They had almost all settled towards the bottom of the bag, but I managed to fish one out. The vanilla flavor was almost non-existent with the cluster. It just had that vague, sweet flavor that those familiar with diet-centric cereals would recognize.

After trying it dry, I hoped that milk could somehow improve the experience. It did help to mellow out the harsh coffee flavor some, and when I got a bite with all three components (flakes, clusters, and milk), it offered a more pleasant flavor profile. However, about halfway through my bowl, I had to throw in the towel. While it wasn’t so bad that I had to spit it out, it just wasn’t good enough to keep eating.

This was a rare L for Special K cereals. I have loved the different varieties I have tried over the years and hoped this one would be no different. Kellogg’s Special K Limited Edition Iced Vanilla Latte just didn’t work for me. The overwhelmingly bitter coffee flavor that isn’t balanced with a sweet, vanilla flavor makes it overall unpleasant. Since I have a family-size box amount left, I might try to use it in a recipe or even eat it with chocolate milk to see if it can be redeemed.

Purchased Price: $4.98
Size: 18.2 oz box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 3 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup without milk) 150 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Special K Blueberry Cereal (2021)

Kellogg s Special K Blueberry Cereal  2021 Box

If you’re a Special K cereal historian (there’s has to be one in the world), you’ve probably interjected while reading the title of this review with the declaration that there was a previous Special K Blueberry Cereal.

That was probably followed up with you saying how the older version had blueberry bits in the flakes with oat and blueberry clusters mixed in.

And you probably waved your spoon in the air angrily and uttered something about Special K Blueberry with Lemon Clusters. But we don’t have time for a long history lesson because I have to declare to everyone that THIS new Kellogg’s Special K Blueberry Cereal is my favorite Special K cereal ever, my special Special K cereal, okay.

The concept is simple, and it follows a lot of other current Special K varieties. It combines the brand’s not-so-special-looking crunchy wheat and rice flakes with freeze-dried fruit. I haven’t had EVERY Special K variety with fruit, but I’ve had most, and this one stands out in my mind.

Kellogg s Special K Blueberry Cereal  2021 Closeup

With real blueberries, the cereal has a natural fruity flavor. Although, it appears my box didn’t get a whole lot of them. But here’s a cool blue thing about this cereal — yeah, there could’ve been more freeze-dried berries, but even when there aren’t any on my spoon, what I put into my mouth has a noticeable berry flavor.

I imagine the Japanese train occupancy at rush hour closeness that the cereal experiences before it’s opened for consumption causes a lot of rubbing against each other, which allows a little bit of blueberry flavor to end up on every crispy flake. While Japanese trains at rush hour are unpleasant, this part of a complete breakfast isn’t.

I didn’t try the previous version of Special K Blueberry Cereal, so I can’t compare. But let’s not remember that past. Let’s think about the future, which involves me eating more of this.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from Kellogg’s. Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 11.6 oz box
Purchased at: Received from Kellogg’s
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup w/o milk) 150 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar (11 grams of added sugar), and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Special K Nourish Maple Brown Sugar Crunch Hot Cereal

Kellogg's Special K Maple Brown Sugar Crunch Nourish Hot Cereal

You may be asking: Why in all the magical golden coins of Super Mario would I want to buy two bowls of portable oatmeal with some mix-ins?

Well, that just brings up a slew of other questions: Why fry a Snickers? Why make your own piñata? Why learn to surf in a pool of whale sharks? Why, in fact, should you do anything? I’ll tell you why: because you are a great human. You want to reach higher. To be all you can be. To walk into work not only with your shoes on the right feet, but with a little kick that says “I am a great human and I am here to change the world.” And how, with a 1:30 bedtime and a 4:30 wake-up call, can you have the consciousness to do that?

Kellogg's Special K Maple Brown Sugar Crunch Nourish Hot Cereal Cup


Preparing to fully bank on this need for early morning sustenance, Special K’s kicked out this new line of oatmeal so you can microwave a bowl of whole grains in your office, dorm, or as you brush your hair before dashing out the door, spooning mouthfuls as you swerve through the 7:30 traffic, without even grabbing a bowl. And this spurs the next question: Is it worth it?

That depends.

Kellogg's Special K Maple Brown Sugar Crunch Nourish Hot Cereal Closeup

On first glance, I figured there’s nothing revolutionary going on here. It’s just a mushy, but oddly comforting bowl of cooked oats, right? Oh how wrong I was. Underneath the goopy exterior rests an amalgam of grains that stretches the vocabulary of Kansas agriculture: there’s oats, some wheat, barley, and even quinoa, which I appreciate because it has a “Q” in it. Q words are so hard to come by these days.

While there were four grains in there, the sweet, malty oats still stand at the forefront of flavor. I was quite pleased that Special K opted for whole oats rather than the puny chopped up instant ones, which often make me feel underappreciated and begging for more like a character in a Dickens novel.

The accompanying mix-ins include two packets of toasted almonds, which, while a bit flavorless in their unsalted way, serve as quality crunch nubbins, and the separated dual packets of almonds allowed me to plop one segment in the top half of the oatmeal while saving some for the bottom, thus preventing Boring Bottom Half of Oatmeal Syndrome.

Unfortunately, there’s no actual maple syrup involved here. Instead, the oatmeal is swirled with what I imagine are little dehydrated maple crystals that, when looked at under a microscope, might be mistaken for those frightening rhinestones people put on their cell phones that blind you on a sunny day. While the maple bits add a nice smell of maple to the air, the sugar-y-ness of maple is subdued after preparation, but let’s face it: dehydrated maple bits are no substitute for the Grade-B Vermont liquid gold.

Otherwise, this is pretty successful in that straightforward, no frills way, even if there were only two bowls. The almonds stay fresh in their little compartments and the single serving allows me to stuff the bowl in my bag in the morning while running out the door. It can be prepared in the microwave or, if you wanna get fancy, the bowl provides directions for steeping.

As with all microwave oatmeal, you can whip it up with your liquid of choice, be it water, milk, coffee (and excellent choice), or, depending on the time of day and your mood, maple syrup’s best friend: bourbon. If you’re passing by a McDonald’s or keep a slab of pork belly in your employer’s mini fridge (not that I do…), a side of crispy bacon would make an excellent pairing.

As fall whisks its merciless wind through the tethers of my flimsy cardigan, this oatmeal seems perfectly timed. It’s warm, hearty brain food that I can grab on the way out the door. I don’t see myself buying this all the time, but it makes me feel cozy enough to wear footie pajamas to work. In fact, perhaps I will! Tomorrow! If you see me in my footie pajamas on the subway, know that I am not committing an act of defiance. It is merely a symptom of being filled with hot cereal.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 container– 190 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 170 milligrams of potassium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 5 gram of dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugars, and 8 grams of protein.)

Item: Special K Nourish Maple Brown Sugar Crunch Hot Cereal
Purchased Price: $2.78
Size: 2 pack
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: No frills. Easy to prepare. Big whole oats. Crunchy almonds. Magically dissolving maple-y bits. Slabs of pork belly. The option of preparing with bourbon. Making a piñata. Wearing footie pajamas to work.
Cons: Only 2 bowls. No actual maple syrup. 4:30 wake-up calls. Feeling like a character in a Dickens novel. Endangered “Q” words. Being blinded by cell phone bling.

QUICK REVIEW: Special K Cookies & Creme Pastry Crisps

Special K Cookies & Creme Pastry Crisps

Purchased Price: $3.29 (on sale)
Size: 5 pouches
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Tastes similar to Cookies & Creme Pop-Tarts. Light and crispy exterior. 100 calories per pouch. A nice little snack. No need to toast in order for it to be crispy, unlike Pop-Tarts. Nutritionally, two Cookies & Creme Pastry Crisps equal one Oreo cookie. If you eat a lot of Cookies & Creme Pop-Tarts and think to yourself, “Hey, I should cut back on the Cookies & Creme Pop-Tarts” these are the Nicorette Gum that’ll satisfy your Pop-Tart cravings.
Cons: Insides were a bit hollow so maybe they could use a little more cream…I mean, creme. Chocolatey drizzle melts in your mouth and in your hands. They’re pretty much portion control Pop-Tarts. Being addicted to Cookies & Creme Pop-Tarts.

Special K Cookies & Creme Pastry Crisps Closeup

Nutrition Facts: 2 crisps – 100 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Special K Chocolatey Strawberry Cereal

Kellogg's Limited Edition Special K Chocolatey Strawberry

Do you know what’s romantic?

Chocolate-covered strawberries.

Awww yeah! You can take one and lightly stroke it on various parts of your lover’s body, letting body heat melt the chocolate, which leaves behind a gooey mess your tongue will have to clean up while your lover eats the juicy strawberry and whatever chocolate didn’t end up on his or her body.

Do you know what also has chocolate and strawberries but is significantly less romantic than chocolate-covered strawberries?

Kellogg’s Limited Edition Special K Chocolatey Strawberry cereal.

Awww yeah! Nothing says the opposite of sensual than scratchy rice and wheat flakes on your lover’s skin. Sure, some of the freeze-dried strawberries look like areolae, but the brittle, dried fruit and firm chocolatey hyphens will have her or him begging for less.

Kellogg’s Limited Edition Special K Chocolatey Strawberry cereal looks special because it’s labeled “limited edition,” but it’s not so remarkable because it’s basically two other Special K cereals mixed together — Special K Red Berries and Special K Chocolatey Delight.

It’s that kind of innovation that makes me look forward to other possible Special K limited edition cereal varieties, like Chocolatey Blueberry Special K or Granola, Fruit, Yogurt, Oats & Honey Special K.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog who has been following it since it began in 2004, you might remember me saying some harsh things about Special K Red Berries cereal in another review. I probably used profanity and the adjective “junky” when sharing my thoughts about the cereal with freeze-dried strawberries. My issue with the cereal was its fruit, which got horribly soggy within moments of sitting in milk. As for Special K Chocolatey Delight, I gave it a positive review in 2007.

Limited Edition Special K Chocolatey Strawberry cereal had a noticeable chocolatey aroma, but my nose didn’t really detect the strawberries. However, while I was shoveling the cereal into my mouth, my taste buds could mostly taste the strawberries, while the chocolatey pieces were muted.

Freaky Friday!

Kellogg's Limited Edition Special K Chocolatey Strawberry Closeup

I last tried Special K Red Berries cereal in 2005 and it seems freeze-dried strawberry technology has improved because the ones in this limited edition cereal didn’t absorb milk as quickly as a National Spelling Bee favorite absorbs a dictionary. As for the chocolatey pieces, they’re solid so there’s no need to worry about them getting milk logged.

In the box I purchased, there were significantly more chocolatey bits than freeze-dried strawberries, but you’re almost guaranteed to get one or the other in each spoonful.

I keep saying “chocolatey” because the chocolatey bits in the cereal aren’t made with real chocolate, like the stuff Hershey bars are made of. They lack what makes real chocolate awesome, like cocoa butter. Instead they’re waxy, less sweet, and they taste Tootsie Roll-ish.

Of course, if Kellogg’s used real chocolate, this cereal wouldn’t have Special K-like nutrition facts. But for what they are, they’re not bad. However, I wish they had a stronger flavor. Heck, the crispy flakes overpower the chocolatey flavor. As for the strawberries they’re more tart than sweet and I enjoyed their flavor, but my box needed a lot more of them.

Special K’s Limited Edition Chocolatey Strawberry Cereal was a bit disappointing and strange. I liked it for what I thought I wouldn’t enjoy and disliked it for what I thought I would love. It’s also not an inventive limited edition cereal variety. So if you’re one of those people who regularly eats all the Special K cereals, this one will probably not seem special to you.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup – 110 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of 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, 180 milligrams of sodium, 80 milligrams of potassium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, and fortified with vitamins and minerals to make us awesome.)

Item: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Special K Chocolatey Strawberry Cereal
Purchased Price: $3.99 (on sale)
Size: 11 ounce box
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Freeze-dried strawberries don’t absorb milk as quickly as a college kid absorbs alcohol at a frat party. Pleasant strawberry flavor. Feeding the one you love chocolate-covered strawberries.
Cons: It’s basically Special K Chocolatey Delight and Red Berries combined. Weak chocolatey flavor. Needs more strawberry. Cereal ruins romance.