the best packaged coconut water?
- kosherfoodies Jul 28, 2010 09:54 AM
we can probably all agree that the juice straight from the coconut tastes the best, but with the bottled coconut water fad, i would like to know what you think is the best packaged brand of coconut water.
most claim to be 100 percent pure coconut water, but from my experience they don't compare to the real thing. i have tried vita coco, harney & sons and naked brands. not one tasted as good as the water from the coconut i cracked open and drank, or even came close!
so chowhounders, what is your favorite brand of packaged coconut water?
I think Harvest Bay has the best flavor, closest to the real thing imo. I am not a fan of Zico - it just has a funky sweet after taste.
The best I have found in the US for boxed coconut water is DuCoco which is sold in Brazilian markets and probably imported through NJ, but I haven't tried all the brands you mentioned some may very well be private label products. Incidentally I live about 30 minutes from one of their plants and there are several nearby coconut exporting plantations that I believe supply them (the city recently held a symposium on increasing plantation of green coconuts with the participation of several exporting companies and multinationals -- I suspect you will see more options and private labels in the future). Another Brazilian exporter which I believe has USDA approval is Sococo but I have only seen their coconut milk, not water, distributed in the Boston area. And KeroCoco/Trop Coco is made by a Pepsi subsidiary which also has a nearby plant, was being exported to the US, and I think they do private labels. I will have to try it directly against DuCoco sometime but either of these are preferable to the Asian imports and Brazilian USDA approval is a fairly new thing. That said I still seek out green coconuts even in the US as there isn't any comparison although you do pay a premium (around $3/coconut). (I could provide better pointers in Boston than NYC, but if Boston has them they will be available in NYC.)
Without a doubt, Real Coconut Water by Taste Nirvana is the best-tasting bottled coconut water. First, I like that they use glass bottles. And second, the water tastes sweeter than most other packaged brands, because the coconuts they use are from a particular region in Thailand where the coconuts grow larger and sweeter than most. Their bottle caps proclaim, "Happiness in a bottle" and for me at least, it's true!
Here are some coconut plantation photos from a coconut water producing region -- these plantations harvest only green coconuts and most have contracts with a large companies (the largest plantation does their own processing). There is one picture of a "coco/coqueiro anão" or dwarf coconut tree which is being planted more and more (you can drive by on the back of a small tractor and harvest them manually) and specifically for coconut water harvesting. Some plantations alternate high and dwarf coconuts and harvest them at different times. I wanted to take some photos of a more modern plantation but didn't get around to it (also on a busy highway). I think this plantation supplies WoW juices which does mostly mixes of juice and coconut water, but I believe they are still awaiting FDA approval. The last photo is of mature coconuts before they are husked or peeled to give the brown shell/nut we are used to seeing in the supermarket.