Review (x3): New Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Potato Chips – Cappuccino, Mango Salsa, Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese
Junk Food Nation, if you’re anything like me, you’re sitting in a hotel room in Baltimore after you dropped the Junk Food Gal off to take the Maryland Bar. Let me paint this picture again for you: your better half is taking the Bar Exam. You’re in a hotel room writing a blog about Cappuccino potato chips. Yes, this is real life.
Anyways, let’s get right to reviewing these chips. Unless you’re living under a rock, you’re aware that Lay’s is back with their Year 2 of their “Do Us a Flavor” contest. In this contest, consumers submitted flavor suggestions and Lay’s made them, letting the public vote on which flavor to keep. Last year, Cheesy Garlic Bread won out over Chicken and Waffles and Sriracha. (I voted for Sriracha. WAY TO BE BOLD WITH THE CHEESE GARLIC FLAVOR, AMERICA).
This year, Lay’s chose FOUR consumer-submitted flavors and also let the submitter choose the type of chip to put the flavor on. The resulting flavors: Cappuccino regular potato chips, Mango Salsa Wavy Lays, Wasabi Ginger Kettle Cooked potato chips, and Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese regular potato chips. We discussed these on the Nosh Show recently – it seems obvious America will choose the Cheddar Bacon to win if the last contest was any indicator, doesn’t it?
The damn Super Walmart near me didn’t have the only flavor I thought I’d really like – the Wasabi Ginger – so I was stuck with only three of the four flavors. NOT SO SUPER, ARE WE, WALMART? *Grumble*
Anyways, to save time, let me just give you my QUICK REVIEW (my immediate reactions): Cappuccino – WHOA nteresting, but “more interesting than tasty.” Mango Salsa – “oh dear god WHY??” No no no. Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese – predictable and boring; “I mean…I guess.” Yeah…safe to say I wasn’t super thrilled with any of these.
Ok, let’s get into the one everyone is talking about: Cappuccino Lay’s potato chips!
When I first opened up this bag of Cappuccino Lay’s potato chips, I pressed my nose to the opening and took a big whiff. WHOA was my instant reaction, because I was amazed at how much coffee smell these really had! I’ll give Lay’s credit – there is no mistaking these smell like coffee. Sweet smelling for sure, almost like smelling a coffee ice cream. Definitely some cinnamon-y notes.
Licking the chip, I got a coffee flavor, a little salt, some cinnamon, some sugary moments (brown sugar) and…oddly…some coconut flavor? Maybe that’s the butter. I dunno. When I stuffed four chips into my mouth (to get the full flavor), the first note I got was actually BUTTER – These chips had a nice round buttery creamy taste to them. Then the coffee notes came out – oddly, the flavor was sort of nutty on top of the potato chip flavor. There was some sweet and savory.
My honest take is that these have hints of coffee, but mostly it’s a buttery salty and sweet potato chip. Besides the initial bit of coffee/cinnamon/sugar taste, these mostly taste like a nutty potato chip. Hazelnut? I’m not going to go that far.
Were these tasty? I mean, my mouth didn’t water for them, but they weren’t HORRIBLE. Definitely interesting…but more interesting than tasty. I think anyone who tries these won’t spit them out…but I’m not sure you’ll be reaching for another one. When you try these, however, do yourself a flavor – eat 4-5 chips at once to get the full effect…don’t shortchange yourself.
Next up: Mango Salsa Wavy Lays!
Ok, I’m going to admit something – I haven’t eaten a ton of Mango Salsa in my lifetime. I mean, I’ve HAD it before,and I liked it…but I didn’t love it enough that I eat it every day like this flavor submitter apparently does. Don’t get it twisted – I LOVE MANGO. But Mango salsa is NOT my go-to.
When I opened the bag of Mango Salsa Wavy Lays and smelled, I thought it smelled like rotten fruit. I’M SORRY. I DID. I took a lot of whiffs and grimaced each time. Mango? I guess…definite fruit smell with a back after-odor. Like a foot.
I licked a Wavy Lay and my face twisted up. Immediate flavors were more of a pineapple, citrus-y flavor…that had gone bad. Following that taste was an immediate rush of salt, garlic, pepper, and maybe a little cilantro? Hm. What the hell did I just taste? I racked my brain…is THIS what mango salsa tastes like? …I think it does. Maybe I DON’T like mango salsa.
Like the Cappuccino chips, I wanted to give these my full attention, so I stuffed three-four chips in my mouth at once, and chewed. OH DEAR GOD. I wanted to spit these out, but I persevered. The first flavor was a distinct citrus fruit flavor, sort of a combo of mango and pineapple flavors. As someone who hates artificial lime flavor, this had all my bells going off. As I chewed more, the initial citrus wore off, and a weaker tangy savory flavor took over. The tang was probably due to the vinegar. The more I chewed, the more the mush in my mouth became palatable…like a salsa with a hint of citrus.
I DID NOT LIKE THESE. Some key problems – the Wavy Lay was weird with this flavor, and oddly greasy. The pairing made no sense. And even if you LIKE mango salsa, I think this flavor makes more sense on a corn chip. WHO THE HECK DIPS POTATO CHIPS IN SALSA??? Weirdos, that’s who.
No, Frito-Lay. This is the weakest link. Damn you for this one.
And finally: Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Lays potato chips!
The most “boring” of the new flavors might be the most tasty. At least, I hope. It’s not hard to predict what these will taste like, though, don’t you agree? I mean, cheesy, smokey, bacon…I’m gonna guess that’s what these Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Lays potato chips taste like. With so much bacon in everything lately, I’m not sure this is groundbreaking. PS: I’M A SNOB.
Smelling the open bag, I definitely smelled cheddar cheese and smoky meatiness. The smell was unmistakable – it reminded me a lot of how Bacos smell, with an added element of cheese. It also reminded me a lot of how Cheddar and Bacon Tato Skins smell.
Licking the chips, these were plenty salty, and full of cheese and smoke flavor. I definitely got a lot of smoke from the powder – if someone told me this was just a smoked cheddar flavor, I’d believe it.
Popping five chips in my mouth at once, I chewed and my mouth filled with cheese and bacon flavor. It tasted exactly how I thought it would taste – not a bad thing. There was strong cheese flavor (mild, not sharp, cheddar) and lots of bacon taste. I got the bacon taste more when chewing – the oil from the chip accentuated the bacon fat flavor, so the meatiness came through more. Did I get a mac and cheese flavor? I mean, sort of – the potato chips chewed into a starchy mixture, like the macaroni noodles would be, so when swallowing this mixture I got the same sort of starchy/cheesy feeling in the back of my throat.
I will say these chips tasted good, but the whole thing was pretty one-note. The reason I love Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream chips so much is because the onion plays off the cheese SO WELL. Here, the bacon and cheddar blend easily…but that’s it. There’s a little bit of savoriness, but otherwise everything is in the salty cheesy smoky direction. These will probably win the contest. I would’ve loved to see this flavor on a kettle chip – the extra crunchy chip mimicking the crunch of bacon? Sigh, opportunity lost.
So there you have it! My review of three of the four flavors! Have you had these yet? And what do you think whether you’ve had them or not? Let me know in the comments below.
Soon, Wasabi Ginger…Soon. You will be mine.
PURCHASED AT: Walmart
COST: $2.50 each
Junk Food Guy