We’re back to Jelly Belly today, and back to their line of organic jelly beans. Last year, I reviewed their organic “10 Flavors” package, and this year it’s their selection of “smoothie” flavors in organic form.
As a reminder, these beans are marketed as USDA-certified organic, made with non-GMO ingredients, gluten-free, and vegetarian. They also claim to be made with real fruit juices and purees.
I wasn’t blown away by the 10 Flavors bag; let’s see how the Smoothie variety compares.
Size and shape
Looking back on the 10 Flavors review, I think I was a little tough on them in this category. While it’s true that their bean shape is not as precise as non-organic Jelly Belly beans, that’s a very high standard to hold them to. Regular Jelly Belly beans are perhaps the most consistent beans out there. These organic beans don’t rise to that bar, but they are still very good.
While not officially part of the “size and shape” category, I thought I’d also comment here on another visual characteristic: the colors of the beans. Some of these beans are very hard to tell apart unless you’re looking at them in daylight. This is probably another thing that can be chalked up to the organic beans’ inability to use artificial colorings. But since that’s not technically a part of this category, it won’t affect the rating here.
4 out of 5 beans
I think it’s possible that the 10 Flavors bag I reviewed, which I knocked for being a bit too tough to chew, had gone slightly stale, because these are maybe just over the line of too tough, but barely. And they’re definitely easier-chewing than classic Jelly Belly beans.
4 out of 5 beans
I have regularly found that texture is a problem area for organic jelly beans, and these beans also have that issue. Put simply, they just don’t taste as smooth as they should when they start breaking up. The shell doesn’t break in hunks, it just crumbles, and the insides are mealy.
I’ll remind readers who are particularly interested in organic jelly beans that Black Forest Organic Jelly Beans are the leader in this category among the organic beans I’ve reviewed.
1 out of 5 beans
Taste and flavor
- Orange Mango
- Mixed Berry
- Cherry Peach
- Pineapple Coconut
- Strawberry Banana
The flavors in this collection are a pretty mixed bag. On the plus side, there is some element to the flavoring of each bean that evokes the dairy element of a smoothie.
Individually, though, to start at the bottom, experienced readers will know that I hate coconut, so that bean already is at a disadvantage. But, I did eat several (since it’s paired with pineapple, and not just coconut by itself), and maybe it’s the bias talking, but I feel like the coconut definitely overwhelms the pineapple.
I get the orange in the Orange Mango bean clearly, but the mango is hard to detect. Mixed Berry is fine, but I feel like mixed berry is sort of a cop-out flavor. It tastes kinda like several different kinds of berries, but also grape?
Strawberry Banana and Cherry Peach are the highlights. In both cases, I can distinctly taste both of the named fruit flavors.
It’s a solid effort in this category, but it could be a lot better.
6 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
There’s an interesting taste phenomenon I observe when I consume all five of these beans at once: I become very aware of a certain quality of organic jelly beans that I think was always there, it just didn’t stand out until I had five in my mouth. The best word I can come up with for that quality is “waxiness”. It’s like the taste equivalent of a soft glow photo filter. I want jelly beans to have bold, punchy flavors, and these beans, like most organic beans I’ve tried, just don’t achieve that.
The other big problem with the one-of-each test for these beans is that, even outnumbered 4:1 (or 9:1, if you consider the fact that each bean has two or more component flavors), I feel like the coconut is still out there punching me in the face. I recognize my bias here, and folks who like coconut may not have a problem with this, but it’s my site, so that’s gonna affect my rating.
4 out of 10 beans
In the end, I liked these Smoothie beans a little bit less than the 10 Flavors edition of Jelly Belly Organic Jelly Beans. They’re probably a good recommendation if you’re specifically looking for organic jelly beans and you like coconut, but they probably won’t be on my list for repeat purchases.
|Size and shape||4/5 beans|
|Taste and flavor||6/10 beans|
|One-of-each test||4/10 beans|
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. ↩