Why would anyone want to sort jelly beans? The obvious answers are: To be able to taste all the different flavors. To be able to use them for a game. Or to make a mosaic. While all these are valid reasons, there's one more I'd like to suggest: It's a very relaxing activity. Like putting a puzzle together, sorting Jelly Belly jelly beans requires just enough attention to hold your interest yet isn't so demanding that it gets tedious. It has an almost mesmerizing effect. Besides, anything that creates order out of chaos has to be attractive. Here's how to do it:


How To Sort Jelly Belly Jelly Beans:

The first thing to do is buy some Jelly Belly jelly beans. Most stores carry the 40-flavor packs but I recommend looking for the 49-flavor 2-pound pack. Not only will it provide nine more flavors, it gives you that chance of scoring the rarest Jelly Belly of all: the elusive and delicious pink grapefruit. The only store I've found the 49-flavor packs in is Target.


Next you need the proper tools: a white paper plate, large tweezers with small pieces of rubber band super glued to the inside faces to better hold the jelly beans, a spoon to help dig them out of the organizer when you need to shift them from one cell to another, a pair of close-up glasses and sheets of brown and blue construction paper.


Lastly you'll need organizers with at least 50 cells. I found 17-cell plastic organizers at Michael's Craft Stores for only $3.00. You'll need three of these. To make them more uniform, I used pieces of plastic hot glued into the larger cell in the upper left to give each container 18 cells.

That's all.

Time to get sorting!


Start by pouring a single layer of jelly beans onto the paper plate. (Paper is used because it's rougher than ceramic plates so the beans don't slide around so much.) Begin by picking out all of the obvious colors, one at a time. These will be the solid colors that stand out. Drop them into separate cells in the organizers. I find it helps to arrange them in color sequence, from white to black and within each group from the lightest to the darkest. This makes comparisons easy and allows many close colors to be differentiated. Leave one cell out of ever five empty so if you need to add a color you don't have to move all the jelly beans to make room for it.

Once the obvious colors have been picked out, it's time to start working on the ones that look so close they're hard to tell apart. This is where the construction paper is useful. It heightens the contrast between similar colors, making them easier to separate than if they were on a white surface. Brown works good for yellow, oranges and reds. The following image shows that the slightly lighter tangerine Jelly Bellies in the top row aren't as dark as the orange Jelly Bellies in the bottom row.

The difference is small, but much greater on brown paper than on white.

For the very difficult red Very Cherry, Cinnamon and Sour Cherry Jelly Belly jelly beans, a sheet of yellow paper sometimes works better than brown. For those, the Cinnamon is the lightest, Very Cherry in the middle and Sour Cherry the darkest.


Blue helps with brown Jelly Belly jelly beans. Counter clockwise from the upper right we have: A&W Root Beer, Chocolate Pudding, Dr. Pepper (which has a maroon cast) and Cappuccino, which usually has white splashes on it. The biggest problem with the browns is that root beer and unsplashed cappuccinos are identical in color. If I ever discover a way of differentiating them I'll post an update to this page.


The following very short video shows an easy trick for separating them:



And speaking of Jelly belly jelly beans that are supposed to be splashed with one color or another, variations in production runs invariably produces a range of splotchiness from heavy to none. In those cases where there are no splotches, the most effective separating technique is to go by the color of the underlying bean. The following image shows the range you may face:

From top to bottom:
Tutti Fruitti
Strawberry Cheesecake
Peach (The best tasting Jelly Belly)
Top Banana
Plum (Second best flavor)
Mixed Berry Smoothie


Following the suggestions on this page, you should be able to produce an assortment of pure Jelly Belly jelly beans like the following:



All that's left to do is get some friends together and have a tasting party!


The following page will help you identify your beans after they've been sorted: JELLY BELLY COLOR IDENTIFICATION AND FLAVOR GUIDE

While this one will provides gaming ideas for them: JELLY BELLY GAMES


The following video presents the current page in a live action format that some may prefer:

This one has some suggested Jelly Belly activities and games:

While the following provides an excellent Jelly Belly identification and flavor guide:


Thanks for visiting!


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