Thanks to Kim for reaching out to me on Twitter and prodding me to locate one of her favorites, Teenee Beanee jelly beans. I had thought that Wegmans wasn’t stocking them anymore at the stores I visit, but it’s possible I was overlooking them, because I looked again about a week ago and was able to find all three of their varieties (that aren’t the all-licorice variety). Here’s the first review of those, the Americana Medley.
Teenee Beanee has an interesting marketing conceit. The Just Born company (makers of previously-reviewed Just Born Jelly Beans and Mike and Ike Jelly Beans) wants to take you on a journey to “Delicious Destinations™” with their jelly beans, which they liken to “tiny passports”. This may strike some as a bit over the top for a bag of jelly beans, but I’m actually kinda impressed. No other jelly bean maker puts in that kind of marketing effort.
Can they live up to their own hype? Come on this “cross-country tour” of flavors with me and see!
Size and shape
Pretty good showing here, Teenee Beanee. The beans are close to a true bean shape, being mostly rounded with a fairly consistent dimple. Occasionally one of the long ends of a bean will get too pointy, and occasionally the sides get too flat.
The size is consistent, but just a hair on the small side, on average. There’s also more double beans than I would like to see in one bag. A good category overall, though.
3 out of 5 beans
Teenee Beanee jelly beans are great to chew. They are a model of consistency, and they do not require too much effort. If anything, they require too little effort. The shell is very soft. (You know I like my jelly beans to bite back, to a degree.)
But this is a minor point, and it’s better to err on the side of too easy than too hard to chew.
4 out of 5 beans
At this point, I should probably acknowledge that immediately upon biting into a Teenee Beanee, it was clear to me that they were descended from the same lineage as Just Born Jelly Beans and Mike and Ike Jelly Beans. That is largely to do with their textures being near identical. Therefore, if you remember those two previous reviews, you know the score I’ll be giving to the texture here:
5 out of 5 beans
Taste and flavor
- Savannah Strawberry
- Laredo Lime
- Chesapeake Cherry
- Napa Grape
- Indian River Orange
- La Jolla Lemon
In keeping with the travel-related lore on the back of the package, the flavors are all given names that relate to U.S. locales.
Having identified these as part of the Just Born family of confections, and noting that the texture is basically the same as Just Born Jelly Beans and Mike and Ike Jelly Beans, I was (pleasantly) surprised to discover that the flavors of the beans are subtly different from the identical flavors of the Just Borns and Mike and Ikes. In fact, the flavors are simply more subtle, in general.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. The flavors are still very high quality, and the flavors seem less sugary, which may be appealing to some palates.
Where it does unfortunately harm the beans’ performance on this reviewer’s palate is in the citrus department. Laredo Lime and La Jolla Lemon lose most of their tartness, and the orange-ness of Indian River Orange disappears almost entirely.
Cherry is still the signature flavor of the Just Born family, to me, and it’s still pretty strong and sour in the Teenee Beanee version.
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.1
Teenee Beanee is set up for success in this department, with six beans on the small side that are extremely easy to chew. On the taste side, the flavors remain pretty distinct, and because the mouthful is chewed and swallowed more quickly than with the larger Just Born and Mike and Ike beans, the flavors don’t take on the “monoflavor” that I mentioned in those reviews.
The subtleness of the individual flavors does hold down the one-of-each score, though.
7 out of 10 beans
Teenee Beanee takes the Just Born family crown! I’m definitely looking forward to tasting the other Teenee Beanee varieties, which promise to have more interesting flavors than the Americana Medley.
|Size and shape
|Taste and flavor
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. ↩