Opopop Reinvents the At-Home Popcorn Experience With Flavors That Are Anything But Boring
When I think back on the best popcorn I've ever had in my life, the microwave is generally not part of that equation.
I think of fresh popcorn in cartons from little stands in theme parks and movie theaters, and from bags, drizzled with chocolate and caramel. Sure, the popcorn out of a greasy microwaved bag will do when you're eager for popcorn at home, but it's never the best popcorn experience out there.
Opopop is a brand setting out to change all of that. They're reinventing the at-home popcorn experience with innovative flavors, specially coated kernels and a whole new way to pop, and when I stumbled upon them on Instagram, they immediately caught my eye. I reached out, and they were kind enough to supply me with their Opopop Discovery Kit for review. Keep reading for my honest thoughts.
Opopop is dedicated to reinventing the gourmet popcorn experience, getting us all past boring and conventional flavors and crafting something that's new, but that can still be enjoyed fresh out of the microwave. Their proprietary "flavor wrapped" kernels mean that each and every single piece of popcorn is packed with flavor, so you never have to worry about the common bagged popcorn experience of having half of the bag under-seasoned while the rest is too salty and coated in greasy "butter." You also don't pop it within a bag, instead using their unique Opopop Popcorn Popper. Their popcorn is also entirely gluten-free and non-GMO.
For my review, the brand sent me their Discover Kit ($45) which includes their reusable Popcorn Popper ($25 on its own), as well as a mini test bag of popcorn for getting to know your microwave settings, plus six 3.2 oz. pouches of popcorn, introducing me to all six of their famous flavors. Once it arrived, it was time to start popping.
Before I get into the popcorn flavors themselves, I think I should go into detail on Opopop's Popcorn Popper. It's essentially a collapsible and microwave-safe silicone bowl with a lid (with vents to allow steam to escape), and it's the perfect vessel for popping all of your Opopop popcorn.
After washing it, it was time to do my Opopop test run with the bag of kernels marked "Launch," included specifically for the purpose of testing your microwave heat and settings with Opopop popcorn. All I had to do was rip open the bag and throw the kernels into the bowl, then put the lid on and put it in the microwave.
Now, the instructions recommend I microwave for two to four minutes and wait until there was a two-second gap between pops. Did I listen? No—I took the easy way out and pushed the Popcorn button on my microwave. In a couple of minutes, the microwave beeped and I took my popcorn out (with mitts, because the bowl gets hot in the microwave) gave it a good shake, and enjoyed. The popcorn was so fresh, with a perfectly salted taste, and I was easily able to eat the whole thing on my own in a sitting. The only downside was that a good number of kernels remained in the bottom of the bowl unpopped—but that was my fault for not following instructions.
And at the end of the test, since the popper is both BPA-free and dishwasher-safe, I was able to just just throw it in the dishwasher between uses, making cleaning a breeze.
Vanilla Cake Pop
Next, it was time to get into Opopop's signature flavors. After loving the plain popcorn, I found myself gravitating toward a flavor I wasn't so sure about—Vanilla Cake Pop. I'm not usually much of a fan of cake-flavored things, or cake pops in general, so I had my doubts about this flavor. When it was popping in the microwave, it also had an intense vanilla scent that made me think I would dislike it. However, when the time came to taste, I was very pleasantly surprised (and this time, I actually put in the work to time it out, and was rewarded with a full family-sized batch of popcorn!).
The flavor was so much more delicate than the scent had let on, with just the right kettle corn sweetness accented by a hint of vanilla. I was so glad the flavor wasn't overpowering, and my family liked it just as much as I did and quickly ate up the whole bowl. It was a delight, and I'd much sooner eat this popcorn than a real vanilla cake pop.
Next, I tried Maui Heat, one of Opopop's most intriguing-sounding flavors. The second this one came out of the microwave, I tasted it and decided that it would be my favorite flavor in the entire box (and trying the rest of them proved that to be true). Think sweet kettle corn, but with a healthy dose of cayenne and paprika spice on top to add some delicious heat, and you've got this flavor. I think it lasted all of five minutes before it was all gobbled up.
After trying the first two flavors, I wondered what was in store for me from Opopop's Fancy Butter flavor. Surely, it would be just like any other buttered popcorn I'd tried? Wrong, because the brand gets it exactly right, from the amount of salt to the rich butter flavor, without each piece feeling like it's dripping with oil. It's tasty, light and everything you could ever want from a fresh bowl of traditional popcorn.
Cheddar popcorn is a tried and true classic, but Opopop makes it even better with the addition of spicy jalapeño. What more could you want? If you're not a fan of cheese, I'd steer well clear, but if you love all things sharply cheesy, you'll love this popcorn with the addition of a well-rounded and flavor-packed jalapeño heat.
Cinnamon and sugar are a match made in heaven, and that remains true when they're sprinkled all over Opopop popcorn. This popcorn doesn't taste quite like a churro, because it's got a tasty hint of salt in it as well, but it's just as delicious in its every bite. The company even recommends eating this popcorn for breakfast, likening its flavor to a cinnamon roll, and while I had my bowl of it squarely in the afternoon, I think the comparison is apt—and that it would have been perfectly appropriate as a morning treat.
For my final taste test, I tried the Salted Umami flavor. It was the flavor I was most curious about, because I wasn't quite sure what to expect with it, and once it was popped, I found myself hooked. It's hard to place the flavor precisely besides that it's got a satisfying and savory taste, paired with just the right amount of salt, which complements the natural crunch of the popcorn so well.
If you're looking for high-quality popcorn in truly unique flavors that you can conveniently make in your own microwave, Opopop is head and shoulders above the competition. Each and every flavor tastes fantastic, and you can expect consistency from every piece of popcorn you pop in your mouth.
However, as it is with most premium foods, it's also pricier than your average microwave popcorn. The cost of entry for the brand is a bit high, starting at $25 for the popper itself, and effectively making each bag of popcorn (making one family-sized bowl) cost about $3.33. In my head, that's worth it, because it's less than you'll spend at a movie theater or county fair on popcorn of lower quality, but you'll have to make that call for yourself.
And while I love the idea of a reusable popcorn-popping bowl, it would be really nice if the bowl didn't stay so hot for so long out of the microwave. I don't think it's a big deal to have to use potholders to take it out of the microwave, but the fact that you need to keep using them pretty much the whole time you snack on the popcorn inside can be a bit much, and might not be great for snacking with smaller (and slightly overeager) kids. Regardless, I'm a big fan, and I do think another couple of bags of the Maui Heat are calling my name.
Curious about these flavors? You may want to click HERE for more tasty ways to spice up your regular, boring popcorn.