We’re in the homestretch for this jelly bean season, with two reviews on the docket after this, including another guest review from Ms. Penny Sterling that I’m very excited about!1
Every year has to have a Starburst Jellybeans review, right? This year’s new variety is Very Berry, adding a modest collection of four berry flavors (one of which Starburst has already put out in bean form) to the family.
Not counting the Duos debacle, the only Starburst beans I reviewed last year were their Jumbo offering. That means it’s been two years since I’ve reviewed Starburst jelly beans of ordinary size, and I have a terrible memory, so I will quickly reassess the three technical categories.
Size and shape
Regardless of how terrible my memory is, these definitely remind me of the Starburst beans I’ve previously reviewed. They are longer, proportionally, than most jelly beans, and generally egg shaped with no attempted dimple. An unfortunate amount of them have some subtle lumpiness, though. Average size is good, but consistency is fairly poor, with a few as small as a Jelly Belly and some beans nearly twice that in volume.
Looking at a big pile of them, though, it’s hard to deny their aggregate attractiveness. The colors are vibrant and easy to distinguish, and one has to look pretty carefully to notice the flaws noted earlier.
3 out of 5 beans
I can’t recall exactly what I’ve said in the past, but today I feel that these Very Berry beans are a little too easy to chew. There’s very little resistance, especially once you’re through the shell, the insides falling apart rapidly. On the upside, there’s next to no amount of sticking to the teeth.
4 out of 5 beans
Texture has always been a high point for Starburst. The shell is pleasingly smooth and breaks apart well. The insides are mostly smooth, but they do have a touch of graininess that keeps this score from being perfect.
4 out of 5 beans
Taste and flavor
It’s another four-flavor package, which always feels low to me, but they are four very good flavors. Counting down from least-favorite to most favorite:
- Strawberry is the flavor we’ve seen before, and it is as faithful as ever to the classic fruit chew flavor, which (as I believe I’ve mentioned previously) is not my favorite strawberry flavor in the world.
- Blueberry is a good flavor with a nice hit of acidity, but if I were to taste it with my eyes closed, I’m not sure I’d be able to peg it as blueberry. It’s got a bit of blue raspberry vibe going, too.
- Blackberry is excellent, capturing well the essence and tartness of a good blackberry, when that tartness is there. Unfortunately, a few of them are sadly lacking in the necessary acidity. I’m not sure what accounts for the taste discrepancy from bean to bean.
- Finally, Raspberry is the star of the show. It’s one of the best raspberry flavors I can recall in a jelly bean. Again, incorporating the acidity is imperative for emulating a ripe berry, and this raspberry bean does it perfectly.
7 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.2
Four easy-chewing beans of this size is a little light, but the flavor combination here shines. It results in something akin to a mixed berry smoothie, or a fork loaded with one of each berry from fresh berry salad. Each flavor remains distinguishable.
8 out of 10 beans
|Size and shape||3/5 beans|
|Taste and flavor||7/10 beans|
|One-of-each test||8/10 beans|
Another year, another solid effort for Starburst. I hope they come with something a little more interesting next year, but if you’re a Starburst bean devotee, these are a worthy addition to the rotation.
I would have had three to come after this, but I discovered that Russell Stover currently, actively, sells the exact same beans in two different packages! I bought a package labeled simply “Russell Stover Jelly Beans” only to open it and discover that they are exactly the same as the Russell Stover Pectin Jelly Beans I reviewed in 2016, despite the different name and very different packaging design. ↩
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. ↩