Slideshow: The Serious Eats Field Guide To Jelly Belly Identification

Basic Anatomy of a Jelly Belly
Basic Anatomy of a Jelly Belly
Black and Brown
Black and Brown
Unless you're in very bright light, the Wild Blackberry Jelly Belly looks black—maybe with a purplish hue. It's quite strongly flavored, like blackberry syrup.

The only truly black Jelly Belly is the licorice one—if you're not a fan of licorice, look out!

On to the brown options: Cappuccino is dark brown with white spots, and tastes a little like coffee grounds and very sweet iced coffee drinks. Fudgy Chocolate Pudding is dark reddish brown, but not as red as the Dr. Pepper bean. If you love Dr. Pepper, you might get addicted to the Jelly Belly version, as it's quite accurate. Jelly Belly really nailed A&W Root Beer, too—the flavor could not be missed. Look for the translucent brown bean.

Blue and Purple = Blurple
Blue and Purple = Blurple
The neon light blue bean is Berry Blue—think blue-raspberry Slurpees and you've got the flavor. The Plum bean is hard to miss: it's purplish with gray speckles, and it tastes uncannily like a ripe plum, alternately tart and sweet. The Smoothie (light purple speckled with dark purple) isn't as successful. The straight purple bean is Island Punch (tastes generically of 'fruit' with a tinge of coconut), and the vivid royal blue bean is Blueberry.
Pretty in Pink
Pretty in Pink
How do you tell Cotton Candy from Bubblegum? The gum one is whitish-pink—taste it, and you might feel guilty for swallowing gum. Cotton Candy is just slightly darker in color, though something is lost when translating its flavor to a jelly bean (a lot of the joy of cotton candy is in the texture.) Strawberry Cheesecake is a milky light pink with dark red speckles, while Tutti Fruitti adds other colored speckles (sometimes yellow, sometimes turquoise.) We like the cheesecake version—it almost transports you to the Cheesecake Factory at the mall. Strawberry Daiquiri is a darker pink with red dots, and it's a sweet as any frozen cocktail you've ever tried.
Seeing Red
Seeing Red
Oh, dear, 8 red Jelly Belly beans—how to tell them apart? Pomegranate is deep red with light pink speckles. if you see yellow speckles, then it's Sizzling Cinnamon instead. Regular Cinnamon is a uniform even red color, a half-shade lighter than Sour Cherry. (And yes, Sizzling Cinnamon is a little spicier than Cinnamon, but only the slightest bit.)

The Strawberry Jam Jelly Belly has super-concentrated strawberry flavor, and it has dark purple speckles to identify it.

Sour cherry is opaque red; Very Cherry is a bit bluer than its sour cousin. The Very Cherry is the more recognizably cherry-flavored bean.

If you're looking for raspberry, think red + magenta, and if you see a red bean with a bit of a white sheen to it, you've hit Red Apple.

White and Off-White
White and Off-White
The A&W Cream Soda Jelly Belly is translucent and very vanilla-flavored. Toasted Marshmallow is off-white with darker brown spots, while Caramel Corn veers toward tan with orange spots. Buttered Popcorn is white with yellow spots, and we're not sure there's any other candy with its distinct faux-butter-and-corn flavor. Coconut is pure white in color and actually tastes like a coconut, not like sunscreen. We like it! If you see a white bean that's a bit translucent and has black specks, that's French Vanilla, which tastes like the Cream Soda bean but not quite as sweet.
Orange Beans
Orange Beans
It's easy to confuse the Cantaloupe bean for the Sunkist Tangerine. The trick? Look for a slightly pinker shade on the melon version. (This is important, since the Tangerine is pretty tasty, and the Cantaloupe is super-sweet.) The vivid orange Orange Sherbet is more "Creamsicle" than sherbet, but does get have a nice sort of creaminess to it. Similarly colored is the Sunkist Orange, which is certainly orange-soda like, if not identifiably Sunkist.

Peach Jelly Bellies have an acidity that most fake peach flavors don't; Pink Grapefruit is just a little bit pithy-bitter, like a sweetened grapefruit juice that still tastes like the fruit. But the real surprise is the Chili Mango—the chili takes a second to kick in, but wow, it's there! Spicier than the Cinnamon beans, for sure.

Snapple
Snapple
Fruit Punch is only one of the five flavors featured in this pack, but really any of the other four could kind of be summed up as fruit-punchy, too. The actual “Fruit Punch” bean tastes especially like the red dye-laden Hawaiian Punch served at all eight-year-old birthday parties. While Kiwi Strawberry (pink with darker pink speckles) has no discernible kiwi flavor (big surprise), it does tout some of that tastes-like-pink artificial flavor. Mango Madness gets points for actually sorta tasting like the Snapple version! Same with Pink Lemonade, which reminds us of the from-powder stir-ready stuff. Cranberry Raspberry is sweeter than real cranberry juice, but the longer you chew, the more berry you can imagine.
Sours
Sours
Jelly Belly Sours include 5 flavors: Sour Cherry, Sour Apple, Sour Grape, Sour Lemon, and Sour Orange. Color-wise, they're more opaque-colored than some of the other beans. Orange, which was our favorite, tastes a bit like orange Tic Tacs; just sour enough to get your mouth watering. Lemon is quite artificial tasting, like lemon Kool-aid or Emergen-C, with more than a hint of lime. Sour Grape is blue colored and definitely unrelated to any fruit you've had, but good for fans of grape candy. Sour Apple is probably the most sour—if you like sour apple Jolly Ranchers, you'll like this. Sour Cherry will remind you of fluoride treatment from the dentist.
Dips
Dips
In the Jelly Belly chocolate-dipped varieties, you've got coconut, mint, raspberry, orange, very cherry, and strawberry. The coconut flavor hides a bit behind the chocolate, but they bear resemblance to chewy, gummy Mounds candies. Texturally, they're a bit bizarre, like chewing gum you're supposed to swallow. This is especially accentuated in the mint version—why would anyone dip their bright, fresh mint gum in chocolate? The orange version fares better, but we'd take a non-chocolate covered bean any day. If you like the idea of gummy fruit dipped in chocolate, you might like the strawberry, but either way, do yourself a favor and skip the cherry.
Cocktail Classics
Cocktail Classics
We kind of wish these were classic cocktail flavors, not just cocktail flavors that have been in the Jelly Belly lineup for a while. (How about an Old Fashioned jelly bean or a Negroni?) As far as we can tell, the Peach Bellini tastes no different from the regular Peach flavor; Strawberry Daiquiri tastes less like a daiquiri and more like a piña colada, with coconut rather than lime. The Margarita bean has some way of getting a bit of tequila’s bite in there, without it actually tasting at all like tequila—lime with teeth. The Mojito bean tastes just like Orbitz mojito mint gum, which again is nothing but a twist on lime, though in a way we’re fond of. As for the sunscreen-flavored faux coconut Piña Colada—well, if you like it in the standard Jelly Belly packs, you’ll like it here.
Superfruit Mix
Superfruit Mix
You know acai has become mainstream when it has its own Jelly Belly flavor. It's actually tangy-bitter like the fruit (or at least like the juice flavored by the fruit.) Pomegranate’s very lively and a little bit tart. Though it's not particularly pomegranate-like, it's good in a way that a good berry flavor is. The Cranberry bean is also somewhat tart— though in an Ocean Spray way, not bitter like the real fruit. Blueberry is reasonably true to flavor. What Barbados Cherry is, and how it differs from other cherry flavors—we're stumped.
Candy Cane
Candy Cane
Tasting like chewy candy canes, we really don’t mind these beans at all. They're like a little bean-sized mint with an actually minty, if sugary, aftertaste. And there’s only ONE candy cane flavor in the bag! Done!
Easter Pectin Jelly Beans
Easter Pectin Jelly Beans
Available only at Easter time, these are not traditional Jelly Belly Beans. Rather than being thickened with food starch and tapioca, they’re made with fruit pectin, giving them the softer Jujyfruit-ish texture of regular Easter jelly beans. The flavors—lemon, lime, grape, orange, strawberry, and pineapple—taste like the LifeSaver’s version of those flavors. In other words, they taste like yellow, green, purple, orange, pink, and pineapple. These are definitely Jelly Belly Beans in name only.
BeanBoozled
BeanBoozled
A terrifying box of trickery. Jellybeans for masochists. In each box are a number of colored beans, and each bean could be one of two different flavors. So, for instance, the juicy pear you think you’re about to bite into might actually turn out to be booger-flavored, or that coconut could surprise you with the sweet scent of baby wipes. You don’t know which it’ll be until you actually taste it. These are perhaps fun for little kids to play with, but not something you’d want to grab as a snack.