Fast Casual Review: Blueberry Bagel Poppers from Einstein Bros.

I typically go to Einstein Bros. Bagels two or three times per week.  With a vast assortment of 99-cent bagels and bottomless refills on five different kinds of coffee brewed daily, you really can’t beat this place in terms of value, selection, or quality.  Yet Einstein’s has ventured out from the world of just bagels and coffee in recent years, and introduced an expanded menu that features all kinds of sandwiches, salads, and non-traditional breakfast treats.  After receiving a free coupon for their new “Bagel Poppers” via their email club I decided to check out the company’s latest innovation, which comes in three flavors; blueberry, cinnamon sugar, and sweet cream cheese.

Blueberry Bagel Poppers from Einstein Bros

These “bite sized bagels” actually come in a pre-packaged cup which will set you back $2.99 without the aforementioned coupon.  I went for the blueberry and there were 15 flavored poppers total in my cup, ranging in various sizes.  The first (and most prominent) thing I noticed about the poppers was the glaze.  They had a thick and shiny glaze that you’d expect to find on a donut, not a bagel. It was so thick that many of the poppers were stuck together when I opened the cup.  They were sticky as well, so much so that I found eating these in my car to be problematic, and actually had to wait until I got home to really dissect them.

Blueberry Bagel Poppers (4)

As for taste these were ok but nothing special.  Yes they were sweet and there was a fair distribution of blueberries amongst the poppers, but the sweetness is really limited to the glaze and comes across as cheap and corn syrupy (although to be fair, that’s not always a bad thing in my mind).  Normally I like my blueberry pieces to compliment the warm and soft interior of the bagel dough, but these just felt like they took a backseat to the sweet exterior. Still, it’s nice to get real blueberry pieces in a product like this, and they had a fair amount of blueberry flavor.  The biggest problem with these is the absence of that signature bready interior I’ve come to expect in Einstein bagels, as the small amount of interior dough takes a definite backseat to the outer glaze.  Also, aside from being too sticky and not very practical as a breakfast item, these “poppers” strike me as being nothing more than a sugar bomb, which is probably the last thing I should be eating in combination with all those bottomless cups of coffee.  A regular bagel may not be a bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit and flaxseed, but it’s ain’t horrible for you either ya know.

Blueberry Bagel Poppers (wide)

Einstein Bros. Bagels are famous for the hard “crusts” on the outside and for their warm, chewy interior.  Unfortunately these “poppers” do the company’s trademark product an injustice by trying to be a mix between a donut hole and slightly stale bagel from just “any” bagel store. Still, as long as the company continues to offer its normally delectable assortment of bagels (my personal favorite is Pumpernickel) and fantastic seasonal coffee flavors they can count me amongst their loyal patrons, despite a disappointing showing with their latest non-bagel innovation.

Blueberry Bagel Poppers (close collage)

Pros: Good alternative for kids or “non-bagel” patrons. Put the cup in your cup holder. Degree of snackability for sweet-tooth minded customers. Free with coupon, so why the heck not? Hey, real blueberries!

Cons: Too sticky. Sweetness is superficial and limited to glaze. Doesn’t have the usual Einstein bagel “crust,” nor the pick-me-apart bread “feel” of a fresh bagel. Would be better if served warm. Glaze is way too heavy. Would have liked to see a “Pumpernickel Popper” if for alliterative effect alone.

Taste: 5.50/10
Value: 4.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 4.75/10
Price: $2.99 (Free with drink purchase coupon from Einstein E-Club

Overall GrubGrade: 5.25/10

More Info:
Nutrition Facts:
No Nutrition Facts Available

15 comments on “Fast Casual Review: Blueberry Bagel Poppers from Einstein Bros.

  1. Adam says:

    Haha ‘fast casual.’ Way to go all official on me Ryan.

  2. Heather says:

    Sounds like they are trying to imitate a “donut hole”. I wouldn’t want glaze on my bagel. They should leave them plain and give you some cream cheese to dip them in. They might have something then…

  3. Wow, another disappointment. This could be such a good concept. I hope they continue to work on it and tweak it until they get it right. Are you going to try other varieties? Maybe their savory options don’t have the same problems…especially with the over-sweet glaze.

  4. Adam says:

    What savory options? I’ve since tried the cream cheese version and it was much more akin to a donut hole than the blueberry was. I mean it ain’t bad snackin’ food, but then again neither is the hostess donut you get out of the vending machine. These guys can do better. Like I said, I’m not going to spend actual money on these until they come up with a potato or pumpernickel version.

    And I hate cream cheese on bagels. Double toasted, plain for me.

  5. Chaz says:

    @ Adam

    You hate cream cheese on bagels?!!? Cream cheese on bagels go together like chips and salsa for me. 🙂

  6. Adam says:

    I’ve always felt that a really well baked bread product – be it a loaf, a bagel, or even something as simple as an english muffin – does not need any kind of condiment.

  7. I agree with you Adam, but I think we have so many subpar baked products you automatically put a condiment on it expecting it to be below average.

    Then again, one could argue that condiments are not used to bring sub par to the level of edible, but instead to make something that is already good, just a little better.

    Sorry to hijack the post. These bagel poppers do not look good. This is coming from someone who had a meal supplement for breakfast this morning…

  8. Adam says:

    I will say that both Ryan and I tried this product (and I think from the same location, although on different days) and the pictures he has of his look less “sugar coated” than the ones I had.

  9. gimmeyummy says:

    I do not want a sticky coating of sugar splooge on my Bagel! That’s what donuts are for. I hate it when people start redefining clearly defined foods. All this mini burger, roastburger, bagel popper bullshit is going to drive me insane.
    Sorry. I’m PMSing.

    Love, Gimmeyummy

  10. brad says:

    Solid review, sir. Those actually sound pretty good to me

  11. Mike says:

    The bagel poppers were a bad idea on Einstein’s part. From the moment I heard we were going to sell poppers (back from popular demand “Popper-fest ’09”) I knew they would be a distasteful problem. When I sell them I expect people to think of a donut hole, but it’s a piece of bagel dough baked and coated with too much icing and sugar. You are actually getting less for your money (you’re getting less than a whole bagel in one cup). And in reply to one comment, you CAN get cream cheese and a drink for an addition price. To prepare these oddly popular poppers is tedious work and a waste of time, and only saving “the man” money by charging you more for one bagel.

  12. Miranda says:

    I hate einsteins

  13. cloe says:

    I think they should fill the bagel poppers with either a confectionary glaze, a pudding style filling or a cream cheese. I mean, that would make it YUMMY.

    I was hoping that they were filled, like jalapeno poppers.

    I’d buy those.

  14. […] stop me from biting each time. We here at GrubGrade have of course met the bagel poppers before. In Blueberry. In Pumpkin. In Double Chocolate. And in Pretzel – although, regrettably, not in combination with […]