This is entitled ‘Perfect Porridge’ on its packaging, so it had a lot to live up to. Fresh milk is added to the dry oats rather than hot water, so you get the option after purchase of either regular or soya milk.
Toppings are included in the £1.99 price tag, and you have a good choice of toppings, from sugar, sweeteners, vanilla, nutmeg, cocoa powder, cinnamon, honey and dried fruit in sachets. It’s nice to have the option of so many toppings included in the price, although something that isn’t hugely sugary would have been nice, such as peanut butter or fresh fruit.
Although milk is added, the dried oats just don’t seem to blend properly and you get a synthetic tasting bland porridge without much integrity. Not very nice at all, not even with the addition of the toppings.
A small 80g pot of packaged porridge – is it really worth £2.10? It’s difficult to think you’re getting your money’s worth when it looks so measly and when you know full well that the oats themselves probably cost around 2p.
In the pot is 60% whole grain oat flakes (all good so far), dried skimmed milk (not bad at all), and lots and lots of refined sugar (uhoh). Hot water is added to mix it all together. Because of the dried skimmed milk, you don’t get the usual luxurious creaminess of fresh milk, nor do you get the option of choosing a dairy-free milk so vegans and lactose intolerants can say bye-bye to this morning staple.
The texture is okay at best – the flakes are a bit mealy and it is way too sweet, and it didn’t actually fill me up at all. Fine for a sugary snack, but not really a decent breakfast option.
I’m a massive advocate of Caffe Nero so I had all the hope in the world going into this one and trying out their porridge, any disappointment would have felt like a massive blow.
Like with Starbucks, skimmed, semi or soya milk is added hot to this porridge pot, or you can add water if you prefer. The choice of toppings isn’t as extensive as Starbucks but the options of maple syrup, berry compote or sugar and sweeteners is nice, although a less sugary topping would again be preferred.
This one was really nice and tasted more like the stuff I make myself at home. Smooth, full of large oats and really creamy. I had mine with soya milk and it tasted super luxurious yet light. Really nice even without any toppings and amazing with an espresso.
Pret A Manger
Pret generally make outstanding food so it’s no wonder they go the extra mile with their porridge options, with their Proper Porridge (the usual) and Five Grain Porridge (oats, quinoa, amaranth, golden linseed, brown linseed, cooked in coconut water).
As you might expect, the latter is one of the nicest coffee shop porridges – rather than scolding it with hot water or lumping it full of hot milk, they cook it in advance and then keep in warm in serving pots. This gives the oats sufficient time to soak up their surrounding flavours and liquids – anyone who has made overnight oats knows the majesty of this technique.
Toppings include the usual sugar, sweetener, honey and berry compote, plus a mango and seed compote which is actually really good. The seed addition is a nice touch as I was getting a bit fed up of only having sweet toppings.
The texture is lovely and because it’s been warmed through properly, every spoonful tastes great. On top of that, you can also eat it straight away out of the tub!
Overall, Pret wins because it actually tastes like some care has gone into making a perfect porridge. The others seem like they just want to make a pretty penny off of a very cheap breakfast staple.
In general, avoid the instant porridges which only use dried oats and hot water – the flavours won’t combine correctly and will taste bland.
On the flip side, too much milk and not enough stirring makes the liquid and the oats separate from one another – they need properly mixing, over a longer period of time, so they can combine whilst capturing all the flavours. A mixture of hot water and hot milk seems to work best for the Pret porridge.