You may be aware, dear readers, that the Brach’s brand has a storied history here on A Boy and His Beans. Their various “Jelly Bird Egg” offerings have been routinely savaged, from the Classic to the Speckled to the Spiced. There was also the regrettable, unusual, and title holder for longest-named package I’ve reviewed, bag of Giant Egg’Ruptions: Sour Juicy Filled Jumbo Jelly Beans. And yet, they have proven themselves capable of producing a high-quality product in both the Island Fruit and Orchard Fruit Jelly Beans. (Note that those were not labeled “Jelly Bird Eggs”.)
Today, we dip our toes back in the troubled waters of Jelly Bird Eggs with this set of “Purple Rain” themed beans. Have Jelly Bird Eggs improved at all in the last few years? Does them being “tiny” improve things at all? Let’s find out.
Size and shape
Consistency doesn’t seem to be a quality that Brach’s concerns themselves with. Both size and shape vary pretty significantly from bean to bean. (Color, too.)
The smallest beans are a little under ideal size; the biggest are significantly too large. But the average is not too far over the ideal.
Shape is very poor. The surface of most beans is not very smooth. There are lots of dings, dents, and pockmarks to be found. They do have, broadly speaking, a mostly egg-shaped appearance, which I suppose is what they’re going for, but again, it’s not very consistent. Many are flattened; a good number have ends that are too pointy or odd bulges.
They’ll rate one bean better than the Classic Jelly Bird Eggs for being an appropriate size, but still a poor category.
2 out of 5 beans
Chewability has never been a huge issue for Brach’s, even the Jelly Bird Eggs. These chew quite easily, perhaps just a bit too easily. I’d like the shell to take a bit more effort to crack than it does. Pretty good category for these beans, though.
4 out of 5 beans
I would say again that the size of these beans contributes to them faring a little bit better in this category than their larger Jelly Bird Egg siblings. The shell is thinner and not as noticeably gritty. It does break up into fine particles, rather than my preferred chunks, though. The insides don’t seem particularly smooth, but they’re not overly mealy, either.
It’s still not as good as the Brach’s jelly bean texture, but I can definitely rate them higher than full-size Jelly Bird Eggs.
3 out of 5 beans
Taste and flavor
- Blue Raspberry
Sadly, the taste of these beans is in line with the previous Jelly Bird Egg sets I’ve had: the overwhelming taste when you put any of these four flavors in your mouth is white sugar. The actual fruit flavors are so subtle they’re barely there. You really have to search for them with your taste buds.
Even when I can find the flavors, the beans that I think are blueberry and blue raspberry – the bag doesn’t correlate the colors with the flavors – don’t really match up with what I’d expect. And both are somewhat medicinal. Berry and grape fare a little better.
Speaking again of color, there are hardly any shades of purple in these beans. They are all much more blueish (or white with blue speckles), except for a weird subset of the blue raspberry beans, which inexplicably have some purple tinges to their shells. Not something to affect the rating here, just an observation.
2 out of 10 beans
The one-of-each test
Perhaps the ultimate test of a bag of jelly beans is how enjoyable it is to take one of each flavor and eat them all at the same time.1
Ordinarily, I would say that four average-sized beans is too few for a satisfying one-of-each experience, but in this case, less is more. The flavors are already so sugary and artificial, having more would probably only make it worse.
That said, there is an interesting the-whole-is-more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts thing happening here. Something about the flavor interactions actually brings out something new and almost pleasant, compared to just having a couple beans of the same flavor (which is a common way for me to work through a bag of beans). More fruit comes to the forefront, and the white sugar doesn’t dominate.
3 out of 10 beans
|Size and shape||2/5 beans|
|Taste and flavor||2/10 beans|
|One-of-each test||3/10 beans|
So, the Tiny Jelly Bird Eggs end up scoring significantly higher than regular-sized Jelly Bird Eggs. I suppose that’s not all that surprising, given my general size preferences, but the notable difference in texture certainly helped, too. I’ll still never buy these again, though.
This test is specific to fruit flavors only. While non-fruit flavors like licorice or buttered popcorn may be welcome, they are exempt from this test. Because that’s just nasty. ↩