Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bean-apalooza - Top 10 Jelly Bean Types

Seriously? Do we NEED this many kinds of jelly beans? Last week I was shopping for Easter candy in my local discount store when I was confronted with a complex and confusing dilemma. I wanted jelly beans for the easter baskets but the barrage of so many different types was overwhelming. I personally do not like jelly beans (it's a combination of the flavor and consistency) but have basket recipients at home that do like them. So what's a mom, er....bunny to do? I decided, like many of my projects, to test it out on my co-workers. So I bought the six different kinds, then went to another store and bought 3 more and wanting to have at least 10 went to yet another store and bought 2 more. OK, so I ended up with 11 not 10 but who's counting?

I put out the little dishes of each flavor and did not tell label the brand and left a paper in which to comment on each type. I sent the email and miraculously the people I work with are so compliant they rushed to my desk in droves.

I left the challenge out for the entire week, some of the dishes needing refilling and some - not so much. The opinions were as varied as could be, what some people thought was wonderful others thought were icky. So, bottom line, which had the most votes? Well first let me list which ones I included and a few random comments from my crack team of testers. The list is by no means conclusive, I have yet another 2 types that were not even included!
1. Starburst Crazy Beans - good amount of sweet and sour, don't like and Yuck.
2. Lifesavers - just ok, a little bland, good, and not my favorite
3. Jolly Rancher Smoothies- Super sour, good, love the sour, yuck, and turns to yogurt.
4. Jolly Rancher Original - good and sour, chewier, more crunchy coating that jelly part, nice burst of flavor
5. Starburst Original- lots of flavor, don't like 'em, yum!,  yum yum, crunchy, and good
6. Sour Patch- reminds me of sweet and sour babies, very sour from the start, pretty good, and intense
7. Sweetarts - sour, makes me wink, just ok, wonderful and sour, just sour- no flavor, tastes soaked in cheap perfume (I don't know either, it's just what was on the paper)
8. Jelly belly Citrus blend- lots of flavor, not too sweet or sour, chewy orange isn't very flavorful, clean finish, tastes like pinesol
9. Brachs Classic - meh, old ones that I never liked, brings back childhood memories, totally gross, like grandma used to have, like the licorice, big chunky memories
10. Starburst Sour - full of flavor, lots of flavor, like the watermelon
And yes, there were actually 11, not 10
11. Hawaiian Punch- excellent, full of flavor and very fruity.

And the winner was Starburst sour but a close second was the Jelly Belly Citrus.

Also with decent showing were the Jolly Rancher Smoothie and Starburst Original.

Now someone in the office (actually 3 different people) said that the best jelly bean ever is the jelly belly buttered popcorn flavor. We did go get a bag of jelly belly's and picked that particular flavor out and tested it in a small group.......(there were only 10 of that flavor in the bag), the flavor was ok but was split on whether it was the "greatest" or not.

So as you stand in the easter candy aisle at the supermarket and marvel at the amount of different types, and find yourself wondering do we really need this many different kinds of jelly beans, I suppose the answer would be, yes we do. The problem may very well be in deciding which ones to spend your money on.

The History of Jelly Beans

Jelly beans are a popular candy; the beans come in a variety of flavors. Jelly beans are sold throughout the year, but two of the most popular times for jelly bean sales include Easter and Halloween. Jelly beans come in traditional flavors such as licorice and cherry, as well as newer flavors such as buttered popcorn and cotton candy.

  1. Manufacturing Process

    • The jelly bean is created using a process called panning. This is the same process that is used to make Jordan Almonds. Panning involves placing a soft sugar based center in a tumbler and giving it several layers of sugar coating using sugar, syrup and food coloring. The sugar coating hardens slowly, giving jelly beans their hard outer shell and soft center.


    • While it is not clear exactly when the jelly bean was first created, it is believed it occurred during the Civil War. A gentleman named William Schraft manufactured them and encouraged the Union soldiers to use them as snacks during the war.


    • The jelly bean's popularity started to increase significantly in the early 1900's. At this time, the jelly bean become known as a bulk candy. This is because, instead of being sold by the number of jelly beans in a container, jelly beans were sold to customers based on the weight of the jelly beans. Jelly beans were one of the first bulk candies.

    Easter and Jelly Beans

    • Jelly beans are commonly associated with the holiday of Easter. This association of the candy and the holiday became popular in the 1930's. This is because of the egg shape of the jelly bean. The shape is believed to represent fertility and birth. The Easter Bunny's delivery of candy is symbolic of both spiritual rebirth based on religious beliefs and the upcoming season of spring.

    Jelly Bean Facts

    • The largest jar ever of jelly beans weighed 6,050 pounds and was created in the fall of 1999. National Jelly Bean Day is held shortly after the Easter holiday season each year on April 22. For Easter alone, in the United States, there are 16 billion jelly beans manufactured. This could fill a nine story office building that was 60 feet wide.


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