* Prices may differ from that shown
It's that time of year again, all the christmas presents have been ripped opened unboxed and used time and time again during the first week of their lifespan. As part of my christmas gifts I received a delightful little Jelly belly branded Jelly bean dispensing machine which as a lover of the jelly belly range of jelly beans seemed like the perfect novelty gift for my partner to get me.
**Who are Jelly Belly**
It was in 1960 that the jelly bean revolution began but in the 1960's it was still very much an experimental product and the candy company wasn't called Jelly Belly but instead was called Herman Goelitz candy co. It wasn't until 1976 that the jelly bean got true recognition by the governer of California at the time Ronald Reagan who claimed that the jelly bean was an integral part of each meeting stating "we can hardly start a meeting or make a decision without passing round a jar of Jelly beans". It was in this same year that another candy distributer based in Los Angeles had a unique idea for manufacturing jelly beans made with all natural flavours and submitted his proposal to herm of Herman Goelitz candy co for making these true to life flavours and so a new gourmet jelly bean was born in Los Angeles....the true home of the gourmet Jelly bean.
The first of these gourmet jelly bean flavours to be distributed to the public were; Very Cherry, Lemon, Cream Soda, Tangerine, Green Apple, Root Beer, Grape and Liquorice which got the public excited....and these new jelly beans caused even more of a stir when further flavours such as chocolate pudding and buttered popcorn made an appearance...these days there are more than 50 Jelly bean flavours with a worldwide following but only 50 official flavours to choose from at any one time and what better way to sample those flavours than a random selection from a jelly belly jelly bean dispensing machine.
**About the Jelly Belly Jelly Bean dispensing machine**
Standing at around 9" tall the jelly bean dispenser is a lovely red and antique silver colour with a tranditional glass globe branded with the Jelly belly brand name in the well known red and yellow jelly bean design. The jelly bean dispenser itself holds approximately 650 grams of Jelly beans which is quite a lot, but you have to make sure you are all stocked up with your jelly beans to be able to use it. What's great about this dispenser is that it doubles up as a piggy bank so you can add to your savings whilst sampling some of the delicious flavours jelly belly has to offer, however if you don't fancy paying for your jelly beans each and every time you can set the machine to be used with or without coins. It's just a neat little novelty dispenser that could sit on your desk at work, or in a nook or cranny at home. The machine itself will dispense beans with 1p, 5p, 10p and 20p coins allowing you to save most of your loose change and earn a tasty little treat at the same time
When you take your Jelly bean dispenser out of it's packaging you will find it already assembled. My jelly bean machine came with 100g of jelly beans ready to start off the selection which barely even covers the bottom of the glass dome. To add the beans simply unscrew the red cap on top of the glass dome and it will pop off and simply pour in the jelly beans. Now I was quite lucky for christmas and also got a 50 flavour 600g box of jelly beans to add to my dispenser so it filled up quite quickly with only a small amount of jelly beans left over which were promptly consumed by myself and my partner. The jelly beans that fill up the glass dome look great and when it's full you can see the large selection of jelly beans available with all the different vibrant colours it's a fun thing to look at and what makes it more exciting is that with each turn of the dispenser handle you don't know what flavour you're going to get. Fun for you and all the family...you can even trick your guests into adding to your savings by offering them samples for some loose change.
Once you've filled up your dispenser with all of the yummy jelly bean flavours simply screw the lid back on but be careful not to tighten it too much as you risk breaking the glass globe. There is a sticker on the globe that warns you not to do this. At the foot of the dispenser is the dispensing tray and in the centre underneath the glass globe is the coin slot and the turn handle or crank. Once you're ready simply slot a coin into the coin slot out of your loose change and turn the crank and you will be presented with approximately 4 jelly beans for your change, which I think is just enough to wet the appetite but careful...if you want more you'll have to pay for them so maybe a good incentive to only eat a small handful at a time.
You can make the dispenser work without coins but it is a bit of a hassle to be honest and not something I plan on doing. To set the machine to be used without coins you have to remove the bottom and remove the small gear and washer that controls the crank....once you've removed these pieces simply pop the bottom back on and you're good to go....free jelly beans. Personally I like it that you can save money at the same time and when it comes time to refill the dispenser perhaps you'll have enough coins in it to refill it so it's technically paying for itself after the intitial outlay.
**My personal thoughts and opinion**
This is a great little quirky gadget which I am absolutely delighted with. The product is very well made and a great gift for Jelly Bean lovers. Although you can buy cheaper variations of the unofficial product I like the official jelly bean machine that I got for my christmas. I've barely made a dent in the 650g that it was filled with initially and seem to be endlessly filling it up with small change, sneaking a couple of tasty treats each day and it sits neatly on the computer desk just next to the computer screen so is taunting me as I write this review....begging for coins.
**Where to buy and the cost**
You can buy unofficial versions of this dispenser from certain retailers online. The best place to get it is the Jelly Belly UK online shop but it is quite expensive at £43.88 but you do get a 1kg bag of Jelly Beans with the machine if you buy it from here. You can however buy the machine with a much less generous 100g bag of jelly beans for about £24.00 from a company called heals and you John Lewis stock and unbranded version of the dispenser for around £23.00 so you can find it from a variety of different online and high street stores but it's probably a good idea to shop around for a bargain.****