Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans

Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans packaging
Image credit: Walmart.com

Back to another of my annual favorites: Nerds! Possibly the oddest jelly beans I will ever review, Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans have a unique gimmick: they’re coated in a crunchy, textured shell.

Let’s find out how they rate.

Size and shape

Nerds beans are pretty wildly inconsistent in their sizing, unfortunately. The average size is on the money, but there’s too much variance from bean to bean. And in this package, at least, there are a fair number of beans that are so small you feel like you’re only getting shell, no insides.

Speaking of the shells, they definitely have interesting implications on the shape of the beans. Presumably by necessity, the beans have no dimple to them, giving them a fully-rounded overall shape. I knocked the Jolly Rancher Jelly Beans for this, but in this case, I think it’s worth the compromise.

The bumpy texture of the shell itself is a little more inconsistent than ideal, with some beans having very pronounced bumps, and others being much smoother.

3 out of 5 beans

Chewability

This might be a little counterintuitive, but I’m actually going to deduct a bean in this category for the beans not being hard enough to chew. As someone familiar with the original Nerds candy and the amount of force required to chew them, I expected the shell of these beans to have a little more resistance – not too much more, but enough that I am more reminded of classic Nerds.

Additionally, if the guts of the beans had a bit more body to them, I think it would create a nice contrast with the shell as it cracks.

4 out of 5 beans

Texture

Obviously, the shell has a major impact on the texture and mouthfeel of Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans. It’s probably going to be a love-it-or-hate-it thing for each individual; I, personally, love it. It’s very welcome change of pace from the texture of nearly every other bean out there.

The insides aren’t quite as smooth as I’d like, especially when you already have the shell breaking up all around, but it’s not a serious issue.

4 out of 5 beans

Taste and flavor

Flavors

  • :grapes: Grape
  • :tangerine: Orange
  • :strawberry: Strawberry
  • :lemon: Lemon
  • :green_heart: Green

Interestingly, Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans make no claims on their packaging about what the included flavors are. Four of them were fairly easily identifiable by taste, but I must confess that I could not pinpoint the fruit that the green-colored beans were meant to represent. That’s definitely grounds for a major deduction.

Like every other facet of the review, the shell has a notable effect on taste, as well. Most jelly beans don’t taste like much on the tongue, only releasing most of their flavor upon biting into them. The shell of Nerds beans, on the other hand, leaves an immediate impression of sweetness on your tongue. Biting into the beans then releases a more tart flavor.

This two-stage taste experience is very much like the experience of eating traditional Nerds candy, which makes these beans a success. If you’re going to create a line of jelly beans derived from an existing, well-known candy brand, you’d best ensure that the flavors remind you of that brand. This is going to be a recurring theme throughout this series of reviews; this review makes two out of three that were based on an existing property, and there are quite a few more coming down the pike.

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

As with the Welch’s Jelly Beans, a five-bean mouthful is easy to handle, in terms of volume, but the shell does somewhat increase the amount of chewing effort required. Weirdly, I find myself in the contradictory position of wanting the individual beans to be chewier, while also wanting to enjoy the one-of-each test.

I’m beginning to wonder if I weighted this category too high. One-of-each will just not be suited to some brands, and that’s probably okay. Well, let’s continue on for a little longer before making any revisions to the rating system.

8 out of 10 beans

Conclusion

The bumpy shell may seem like a gimmick to some, but I enjoy it, and Nerds Bumpy Jelly Beans definitely deliver classic Nerds flavor. I’ll definitely continue to purchase bag of them on an annual basis.

Category Score
Size and shape 3/5 beans
Chewability 4/5 beans
Texture 4/5 beans
Taste and flavor 6/10 beans
One-of-each test 8/10 beans
Total 25/35 beans

  1. 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.