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Chipotle’s new queso falls short of the hype

Chipotle recently launched their new queso dip nationwide on Sep. 12. Over the past few years, Chipotle has been rapidly growing and has over 384 restaurants in California alone. The new queso stirred up a lot of talk on social media, so we decided that the best way to understand all the buzz was to go and sample the food for ourselves.

As a successful business, you would think their queso would be phenomenal. However, we found some issues with the new item on the menu.

Chipotle didn’t carry queso for eight years, and many demanded it to become part of the menu.

“Although queso was the number one requested menu item, we never added it to our menu before now,” said Steve Ells, Chipotle CEO. “It’s because we wouldn’t use the industrial additives used in most quesos.”

Chipotle is known for their fresh ingredients and has even taken the initiative to go GMO free, claiming to make high-quality whole ingredients. Fortunately, the new queso doesn’t contain any preservatives, and Chipotle claims that it is made from fresh ingredients. Despite these factors, the product has been receiving many negative reviews by food critics and Chipotle fans.

“I give this queso two and a half E. coli”, said GQ’s Drew Magary, a winner on the Food Network program, “Chopped.”

Magary was referencing the 2015 Chipotle-related E. coli outbreak. The restaurant has been trying to rebuild its reputation since then.

Many consumers have complained about the consistency, claiming it to be gritty and watery. Some Yelp reviewers described it as a “pungent, veggie-speckled cheese soup.” Del Taco has also released their new queso, free of artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. However, Del Taco’s queso blanco is smooth and creamy, like traditional queso, and has been getting raving reviews on Twitter.

Overall, Chipotle’s queso hasn’t been taken positively on the internet.

Because there were so many negative reviews, we went to Chipotle ourselves and tried the so called “veggie-speckled cheese soup.”

We initially thought it was overpriced at $5.25 for a large size of queso and chips. It seemed immensely different compared to regular fast-food queso as we would later learn, originated from the type of ingredients used in the food. As expected, the queso was disappointing, tasting somewhat bitter and unpleasant. The “veggie-speckled cheese soup” had a gritty and spicy taste, clashing with the zesty lime chips. It left our tastes buds quite confused.

Although the flavor profile for this product was disheartening, we later found out that the queso had no preservatives and was made from real cheese. The positives of this production method countered some of the downsides discovered in the taste, as using fresher ingredients clearly had a trade-off with the flavor quality of the product.

The queso dish has great potential that has to be cultivated through more testing and consideration of public reviews. With time, we hope that the Chipotle franchise can develop and improve their original product while continuing with their organic ingredients initiative.

For some customers though, opinions of the new product are set in stone.

“If you haven’t tried Chipotle’s queso yet, here’s my two cents,” says Twitter user, @ShayeBreaz. “It’s pretty bland and not worth it.”

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