Friday, October 9, 2015

Gourmet Jelly Beans (18 flavors) - Trader Joe's

Gourmet Jelly Beans (18 flavors) - Trader Joe's
Here's another treat I picked up in preparation of our most recent Candyology 101 podcast. (Which was Trader Joe's themed.) For my podcast "homework" I walked up and down the aisles of Trader Joe's and tossed every candy that caught my eye into my cart. (Best homework EVER!) I picked a few that I thought I might dislike, just to have something to talk about, but for the most part I didn't have a strong opinion one way or another. I saw these jelly beans and figured, "why not?" So into the cart they went and now I'm here reviewing it! (Such an exciting backstory, right?)

The box is colorful, bright and playful. At first it seems like it'll be pretty handy too, since it has the color-coded flavor guide right there on the front, but I quickly learned that it's useless. Inside this box there are more than a handful of flavors that are nearly identical. Once I realized that the flavor listings on the front of the box did not match the flavors inside I got pretty annoyed. How am I supposed to find and try all these flavors when they all look alike? So the box is pretty, but it doesn't do it's job. Come on Trader Joe's! Either make the flavors match the guide, or update your guide to match the flavors. 

So yeah, this box holds the jellybeans and tells you nutritional information like it's supposed to, but the flavor guide itself is a big waste of time. So that was annoying. This isn't off to a very good start.

There are a lot of flavors in this box, so be prepared for a long list-style post.

Sweet and deep, it seems they were going for a concord-style flavoring and it was really enjoyable.

Coconut: Clear, creamy, and authentic. This one tasted like those cans of coconut crema you can buy in the Goya aisle. I liked this one a lo, but I didn't get very many in my mix. I found that this one leaves a coconut-oil like coating on my tongue afterwards, which is a good thing if you like coconut.

Lemon: More sweet than it is zesty or tangy, I liked this one a lot, but I was hoping it'd be more intensely flavored. This is like a diluted lemonade concentrate, but it ended up being one of my favorites.

Raspberry: I tried my hardest to find it, but it was lost in a sea of identically colored red berry flavors. I'm not sure if this was in my mix or not, if it was, it was no where near raspberry enough to differentiate itself from cherry, black berry, strawberry, and cherry.

Strawberry Smoothie: Sweet and creamy, but I did not care for this one at all. It had that weird strawberry milk flavoring that a lot of Asian sweets have and I found it really off putting, especially in this mix.

Strawberry: I have no clue if I found the right one or not because all these red berry flavors look a like. I think I found it, and it's sweet, but more like red licorice strawberry flavoring than actual strawberries, but all of the red berry flavored were very similar, so I could be mistaken.

Tangerine: Very easily mistaken for the pink grape fruit, but when you do find one it's bright, flavorful, and authentic. I really liked this one, but I had a hard time finding it, and the flavor doesn't last long at all.

Blackberry: Nearly identical to the grape, is berry-like and sweet, but weakly flavored and not distinctly blackberry at all.

Mango: I think I found it? It doesn't look as orange as it's photo, but it tastes weird and slightly off, like a candle or lotion. Not at all like my beloved Mango-Mango Trader Joe's Gummies. SUPER DISAPPOINTED!

Pomegranate: Tart, a tiny bit bitter, and then nothing but bland sugary sweetness. I was really disappointed in this one because it barely tasted like anything at all. Where's all the flavor?

Lemon & Lime: Another tangy citrus flavor that was really enjoyable. It was less tangy than the lemon, but a bit zestier from the lime additives. This one was like a really good lemon lime soda, but the flavor doesn't last very long.

If green apple Jolly Ranchers were more authentic, they'd taste like this jelly bean. It was crisp, sweet, and very obviously going for a Granny Smith style-apple. Even though I normally hate green apple candies, I found this one pretty refreshing and I felt like it was a good choice for this mix. 

Liquorice: I was really confused by this one, because they were a really dark purple-y-red color and not black, but the flavoring is definitely that of a classic black licorice. I am usually not a fan of this flavor, but it's slowly growing on me. I kind of felt like it was really out of place in this mix, and it was also very intensely flavored. My parents enjoy them, but I did not.

Banana Split: Impossible to find because it looks nothing like it's photo, but when you do find it there is their bizarre fruity banana flavoring and it's okay, but not great. I've had better.

Pink Grape Fruit:  Very pale in color and easily mistaken for tangerine, but it's tangy, bright, a bit dry and perfect. I think this was my favorite of the bunch, but they were so hard to find that it was annoying.

Cherry: Same as the strawberry, sweet, super hard to find, and the same as all the other barely flavored red berry beans.

Passion Fruit: Another super hard to identify one, I have no idea if I had this or not. I thought I found it, but it could have also been mango, and then it faded into this weird pink bubble gum flavoring. Was not a fan, but it was so hard to tell if this was really meant to be Passion Fruit or not.

I had higher hopes for this one, but when I saw it was a light blue color, I knew something was wrong. It starts out slightly authentic with a sweet but deep berry note, but as you chew the flavoring turns into this weird, artificial honey-like taste. No honey is listed in the ingredients, but that's the only thing I can really compare this to. It's okay, and better than all the artificial blueberry beans I've had, but it's not great.

After trying all of the flavors, at least the ones I could find, I ended up being pretty underwhelmed. Some flavors were better than others, which is true for most jelly beans, but overall these were just "okay." Not great, not terrible, just "okay." I could take them or leave them, and since they were nothing truly spectacular, I don't think I'll be buying them again. If the lack of artificial colors is something that helps out with your dietary needs, these will be great for you, but for me? I rather have something more flavorful and less frustrating.

I don't regret buying these, but I will not be buying them again.
© Maria Smith
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