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Exclusive: Taco Bell Beef Quesalupa teardown
The Taco Bell Quesalupa made some serious waves when it was unveiled back in February. Combining the merits of both quesadillas and chalupas, users were divided as to whether the product was an exercise in overdesign or an elegant fusing of two already-successful models. But what exactly makes Taco Bell’s 2016 flagship mobile menu item tick? Today we find out what’s under the hood in this exclusive teardown of the beef variant of the Taco Bell Quesalupa.
As you can see, the item comes housed in a sleek cardboard chassis designed to protect the Quesalupa from accidental damage. We were only able to get our hands on the beef variant, but we assume the Taco Bell Quesalupa Chicken Edition is very similar beneath the surface barring a few key design choices.
After removing the cardboard chassis, we start to get a better understanding of the kind of craftsmanship we’re dealing with when it comes to this mobile menu item. The chalupa-inspired housing encloses the product neatly on all three sides. Although this is technically a unibody design, the opening at the top makes the item fairly modular as well, as you can add and remove components to make your Taco Bell experience truly unique.
Prying back the chalupa casing reveals the inner workings of the Quesalupa. A great deal of care must be taken when separating the core components, as many of them are intimately integrated with each other. If you’re following along at home, do not continue past this point unless you are willing to risk permanently damaging your Quesalupa.
This menu item is powered by a Yum! Brands USDA-inspected beef core. This powerful component is augmented by maltodextrin, modified corn starch, and soy lecithin to provide a consistent experience in regards to flavor and texture. Clocking in at 88 percent real beef, this beast is the ticking heart of the Taco Bell Quesalupa Beef Edition.
Topping the product is an aesthetic layer of semi-melted cheddar cheese. It is here separated from the body and arranged to showcase the varied state of meltedness. While this seeming inconsistency may cause alarm in some, it is a deliberate feature designed for texture-related purposes. The cheese serves not only to augment the appearance of the Quesalupa, but also to provide a nice compliment to the seasoned beef core.
Often an underappreciated component of the Taco Bell line, lettuce is also included in their most recent flagship’s component list. Scattered strategically throughout the product, this crisp green array of iceberg lettuce serves to augment the health benefits of the Quesalupa, if only slightly.
In stark contrast to the lettuce, the Quesalupa also comes packed with a measured degree of Reduced Fat Sour Cream. Sour cream’s addition to the product’s design was a polarizing one, as some saw it as superfluous. Others, however, couldn’t dream of going without this element. Luckily for both parties, the modular nature of the Quesalupa allows the user to add or remove this and other components as they see fit.
Also topping the product is a collection of slightly-cool 5mm premium tomato cubes. Largely an aesthetic element, they do add a modicum of moisture and a pleasant temperature variance to this otherwise warm menu item.
Which brings us back to the chalupa casing, now stripped of its components. Although this looks like the market standard 7-inch circular chalupa housing, it actually contains a hidden layer of liquid-state melted cheese (of the pepper-jack variety) which has become the Quesalupa’s primary selling point. Unfortunately, it is impossible to access this layer without permanently damaging the part, so we are unable to display it here.
The Quesalupa marks a formidable advance on the part of Taco Bell in the faux-Mexican food industry. The taco titan forked over more than $5 million just to showcase their 2016 high-end menu item in a 30 second spot during the Super Bowl. There’s no doubt that it’s a powerful product capable of holding its own in the modern fast food landscape, but how comfortable should you be trusting it to the wear-and-tear of everyday life? In a word, how repairable is it.
Unfortunately, the Quesalupa is not a very easy product to fix once it has been broken. Although it has a modular design, the integrated nature of many of its components makes it exceedingly difficult to take apart without damaging or disconnecting some pieces. You can see that even in our teardown, many elements were severed from their original housing despite of the care we took in disassembling. Furthermore, putting the item back together is very challenging and messy, and you will never get your product back to that out-of-the-box, factory finish that you initially enjoyed. And, as we said before, if you rupture the chalupa, there’s no putting that liquid-state cheese back in. We have to give the Taco Bell Quesalupa Beef Edition a repairability score of 3 out of 10.
Thanks for checking out our teardown of the latest mobile menu item from Taco Bell. Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments, and as always, stay tuned to Android Authority for the latest scoop in all things mobile and beyond.