Saturday, October 16, 2010

Grape Crush Jelly Bellys: Pop Shoppe Without The Fizz!

Grape Crush Jelly Belly Jelly Beans - 10 lbs bulk
Click to buy directly from Jelly Belly!

The Good: Tastes good, Environmentally responsible bulk
The Bad: Lacks the fizz of other Pop Shoppe Jelly Belly jelly beans
The Basics: A good, but not great, flavor of Jelly Belly, Grape Crush does not quite embody the flavor of the delicious soda it is supposed to.

On our way home from Las Vegas, Nevada the first summer of our marriage, my wife and I stopped at a Russell Stover Outlet and there we found an unlikely cache of candy that I have since been enjoying. I write “unlikely” because amid all of the boxes of chocolates and obviously Russell Stover candies were boxes and boxes of my favorite candies, Jelly Belly Jelly Beans. It was, oddly enough, at a Russell Stover Outlet that I managed to get the last few jelly beans I needed in order have tried them all, including the Grape Crush Jelly Belly jelly beans.

For those who might never have had Jelly Belly jelly beans, these are easily the best jelly beans on the planet, packing a lot of flavor into a very small size. Unlike most jelly beans which are only vaguely flavored and are more based on colors, Jelly Belly jelly beans have a wide variety of actual flavors, like cappuccino, lemon drop (click here for my review!), the superfruit assortment (click here for my review!), or their signature flavor Buttered Popcorn.

Who needs ten pounds of Grape Crush flavored Jelly Bellys? Anyone who would raid the Crush factory and drain it of Grape Crush on some Crush-induced sugar high would want ten pounds of these Jelly Belly jelly beans. Anyone who might like Grape Crush Jelly Belly jelly beans will likely find that this is the best way to get them in bulk in an environmentally responsible way for the least amount of money.


Grape Crush is a flavor of Jelly Belly jelly beans from the Pop Shoppe Assortment of Jelly Bellys. Jelly Belly jelly beans are approximately one half inch long by one quarter inch wide and they are roughly bean-shaped. These little candies are marketed to taste precisely like Grape Crush and they hit the mark about halfway. While these Jelly Belly jelly beans clearly taste like grape, they are a bit lacking on the fizz that would make them shine as “Grape Crush.” And no, before it gets asked, I did not get my box mixed up with the Grape Jelly flavor (I actually did have some of those around and I did a taste test between the two flavors).

Grape Crush flavored Jelly Bellys are available in a wide array of quantities, but the largest quantity available is the ten pound bulk case. This is a decent-sized box with a plastic lining and while some might wonder why anyone would need a ten pound box, I say, “Pass me the floor plans to the Crush factory, man.” I suspect that for most people, a ten pound case is a year's supply of these jelly beans.

Grape Crush flavored Jelly Bellys are easy to recognize in the Pop Shoppe Assortment, but much harder to tell apart from some of the ones in the regular assortment. After all, both Wild Blackberry and Grape Jelly are opaque purple Jelly Bellys. The Wild Blackberry is a more blue Jelly Belly, but Grape Jelly is virtually identical in color. That said, the Grape Crush is an appropriate dark purple color for the flavor.

Ease of Preparation

These are jelly beans, not sneaking into the Crush factory to get the secret recipe to Grape Crush, so it’s not like there is a challenge to eating or understanding them. In the case of the ten pound box, one might want to put them in a candy dish of some form as opposed to always going into the box. Then again, going into the box constantly might make you feel like you're being especially stealthy with your candy, so knock yourself out! Eat out of the box if you so please.


Grape Crush Jelly Bellys have a faint, grape scent which is actually pretty astonishing. When one opens the box, they get a decent wash of grape that almost smells like a red wine in their nostrils. As a result, the consumer is ready for something fruity and they are adequately prepared for the taste they have. Given how strong the aroma these have, it is unsurprising that each bean is packed with flavor.

But, unfortunately, the smell does not make the taste of these Jelly Belly jelly beans any more authentic. These taste beautifully and fully of grape, but very few of them have any sort of fizzy aftertaste – or primary taste that makes them embody the soda more than, say, grape juice. The grape is clear, but that flavor is undiluted and undistracted from, making it a tough sell on the idea that it is truly Grape Crush. Even so, shell and center do taste like grape and that is a definite plus.

Unfortunately, the more Grape Crush Jelly Belly jelly beans I ate, the more I found the lack of taste variation to be true. These were homogeneously unfizzy in their taste and aftertaste, making them a much tougher flavor to enjoy for what they claim to be. Had Jelly Belly only claimed them to be Grape, this might have been a perfect flavor. These are, however, noticeably less sweet overall than the Grape Jelly Jelly Bellys.


Again, these are jelly beans, so anyone looking to them for nutrition needs to understand they are based upon something whose ingredients are a trade secret and will (according to grandmothers everywhere) “rot your teeth out” if it is all one drinks. Jelly beans, even Jelly Belly jelly beans, are not a legitimate source of nutrition. These are a snack food, a dessert, and are in no way an adequate substitute for a real meal. A serving is listed at thirty-five beans, with each Jelly Belly jelly bean having approximately four calories. This means that in a single serving, there are 140 calories, which is 12% of your daily recommended intake.

The thing is, Jelly Belly jelly beans are not as bad as they could be in the nutrition area. They have no fat and no protein, but for those who have ever dated a Vegan, these are Vegan compliant because they contain no gelatin (the most extreme Vegans might have issue with the bee's wax in the shell, so know your Vegan!)! They have only one percent of the daily sodium with 15 mg and they are gluten free! The main ingredients are sugar, corn syrup and modified food starch, so it's not like this is an all-natural food, but they could be far, far worse.


Jelly Belly jelly beans have a shelf life of approximately one year and I have yet to run across a stale Jelly Belly (though that could have something to do with a package never surviving a year around me). They remain freshest when they are kept in an airtight container (the bag in the bulk box is sufficient if it is kept closed) and they ought to be kept in a lukewarm environment. Storing them in hot places is likely to make the beans stick together and be gross. Kept in a cool, dry place, the beans retain their flavor perfectly.

As for cleanup, unless one allows the Jelly Belly to get hot to the point that the waxy coating on the bean melts, the dyes on these do not bleed or denature, so there is usually no cleanup necessary, but you should wash your hands before eating them anyway (have you any idea what kind of stuff is on old blueprints, like those to the Crush factory?!). I've never had Grape Crush Jelly Bellys stain anything.


Grape Crush Jelly Belly jelly beans are a fine flavor . . . until one considers what the flavor is supposed to be. Because they are so far off – every other Pop Shoppe Assortment Jelly Belly has a fizzy taste from something in the candy shell of the jelly bean – it is a tough sell to bulk up on. Tasting so good despite not tasting quite like the soda it claims to brought this down to an “average” product, but a cointoss gave it the “not recommend,” which is exactly as weak as a “recommend” would have been if the cointoss had gone the other way.

For other Jelly Belly flavors reviewed by me, please check out:
Toasted Marshmallow
Wild Blackberry


For other candy reviews, please visit my index page for an organized listing!

© 2010, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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