It being Valentine's Day, we've got candy on the brain (and in the Serious Eats office). And we're both Jelly Belly fans, but had never tried their "Soda Pop Shoppe" flavors. The little beans sport flavors of Orange Crush, Grape Crush, Dr Pepper, A&W Root Beer, A&W Cream Soda, and 7UP. Here's the thing about soda-flavored candy; sodas have very distinct and often very familiar flavors. A 7UP tastes different from a Sprite, especially when you drink a lot of them. Would these jelly beans taste like the soda flavors they advertise?
Depends on the bean. Orange Crush tastes exactly like that soda—well, it helps that orange soda, in general, tends to taste like a jelly bean. Ditto the Grape Crush. 7UP, on the other hand, is more of a straightforward lemon-lime, without anything characteristically 7UP. (You know how there are certain flavors you just know, like Oreos or Coke or Heinz ketchup? These didn't say 7UP to us.)
A&W Root Beer is right on, the root beer flavors not at all masked by sweetness; A&W Cream Soda, unfortunately, tastes more like Jelly Belly's cotton candy. But the real standout is the dead-on Dr Pepper. Right up front, it's that totally distinctive spicy-fruity taste, so vivid you can imagine the bubbles. As you keep chewing it fades to just a simple jelly bean sweetness, but on first bite, it's really a Dr Pepper in candy form.
We'll have more on many (many!) Jelly Belly flavors in the future, for all you candy-lovers. But for soda fans, we have to say, these are a lot closer to the character of each soda than other soda-flavored candies we've had. Score one for Jelly Belly.