Umpqua — Oatmeal with a Funny Name and a Great Taste

Umpqua oatmeal contains a generous amount of custom-milled oats.

Umpqua oatmeal contains a generous amount of custom-milled oats.

 

Umpqua. Say it with me now, “ump-kwah.”

Not that you need to be able to pronounce it to enjoy this premium single-serve oatmeal product.

Named for the valley of the same moniker in Southern Oregon, it’s where this oatmeal product was developed by a couple of moms who were tired of feeding their kids mass-produced oatmeal packets that contained a whole lot more than good-for-you oats.

What makes their oatmeal different is that it’s made with custom-milled oats. So much so, that they’re actually groats — the whole hulled grain — that cook up more chewy rather than mushy and include more fiber.

Because the oatmeal is made in a manufacturing plant that also produces wheat products, it is not certified gluten-free. However, the makers say that the oats consistently test within the acceptable tolerance level for gluten-free certification.

I had a chance to try some samples recently of the oatmeal that is packaged in individual cups. They sell for $2.99 each at Raley’s, Albertsons and Kroger.

These are a breeze to prepare. All you have to do is remove the lid, add water and microwave for a minute. It makes them ideal for packing when you travel or anytime you need an on-the-go breakfast or snack.

They come in single-serve cups.

They come in single-serve cups.

Pop open the lid and just add water, before microwaving.

Pop open the lid and just add water, before microwaving.

The “Not Guilty” contains blueberries, apple, flax, and chia. It has no added salt or sugar. It’s 245 calories. I can’t say that I necessarily tasted the blueberries and apples very much. But I appreciated that this oatmeal has a wonderful hearty grain flavor without being drenched in sugar. If you prefer your oatmeal sweetened, this version allows you to add your own honey, maple syrup, brown sugar or agave to your liking.

The “Salted Caramel,” flavored with pecans and sea salt, weighs in at 314 calories. You definitely taste a little sweetness, but not nearly as much as most commercially made oatmeal on grocery shelves, which is a welcome change. The flavor does harken to your favorite salted caramel, but not in that cloying way. This is a way to con yourself into thinking you’re getting a little bit of dessert in your breakfast.

The “Vanilla Almond Crunch,” with vanilla, honey, almonds and bits of vanilla almond granola, has 309 calories. This one was my favorite because I like a little crunch in my morning oatmeal. There’s a nice nutty flavor with a whisper of sweetness. Like the other two flavors, this one also cooked up with a very thick, dense, creamy texture.

The cups may look moderate in size, but they will definitely fill you up well into lunch-time.

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