The Highly Unscientific Report on Finding the Best Coconut Water

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Background

After trucking through Monday morning with copious amounts of caffine, I start to feel dehydrated by the afternoon. I hate the taste of water (I know – I’m weird), so instead, I usually reach for coconut water to get my much-needed hydration. When my father isn’t chopping coconuts, I have to get my fix by consuming something that is store-bought. However I find that I am often stuck playing Russian roulette with a plethora of brands – some too sweet, too fake, or some that carry a lingering, unholy aftertaste. For some West Indian folks, finding that perfect brand is essential to mix with their best rum. Thus, I decided to go on a mission to find the best brand of coconut water.

Methods

I decided to recruit my parents, and their years of coconut chopping/drinking experience, to help me pick a brand of commercial coconut water that comes close to having the same taste as a freshly chopped coconut (a young green coconut). Using highly scientific methods and tools (a few Dixie cups and a permanent marker) I conducted a blind taste test (Shopping Bags throwback anyone?). Some brands I found in an organic grocery store, and others I found at my local No-Frills. I got my parents to rate their sample on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the closest they feel to actual coconut water. I also got them to comment on the flavours, including sweetness and perfume (i.e.: if there was a prominent coconut aftertaste – like coconut flavouring). I then asked my parents to pick their favourite out of the two highest scoring brands. I also decided to play along, as an excuse to find my own personal preference.

Observations and Results

Jax Coco – 100% pure coconut water

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Origin of Coco: Philippines
Price and Size: $1.99 for 330mL
Calories: 20 per 100mL
Score: 9/10
Comments: “Clean taste” “Subtly sweet like a real young coconut”  “No perfume-y aftertaste”

*perfume-y is not an actual word (verbatim from my West Indian mother)

ONE coconut water – 100% pure coconut water

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Origin of Coco: Unknown
Price and Size: $2.99 for 500mL
Calories: 100 per 500mL
Notes: Famously sold in Starbucks
Score: 6.5/10
Comments: “Although subtly sweet, there is definitely a perfume-y aftertaste (almost like coconut flavouring)”

Brand: UFC Refresh – 100% natural coconut water

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Origin of Coco: Thailand
Price and Size: $3.29 per 1L
Calories: 60 per 250mL
Notes: Superior taste award from the International Taste and Quality Institute in Belgium
Score: 8/10
Comments: “Refreshing taste” “Not as ‘heavy’ as the others” (i.e.: more on the water side than emphasizing a heavy coconut flavour)

Brand: Thirsty Buddha – all natural coconut water

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Origin of Coco: Thailand
Price and Size: $2.99 for 520mL
Calories: 100 per 520mL
Score: 7.5
Comments: “Nicely balanced without being sweet” “They must’ve used really young coconuts”

Brand: Vita Coco

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Origin of Coco: Brazil
Price and Size: $2.99 for 500mL
Calories: 45 per 250mL
Score: 7
Comments: “Clean taste” “Overall good”

Brand: Real Coconut Water – All Natural

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Origin of Coco: Thailand
Price and Size: $2.99 for 280mL
Calories: 60 per 280mL
Notes: Better Homes Best New Product 2013
Score: 3
Comments: “Is this spoiled?” “Not good at all – almost as if they used very old coconuts”

Brand: Grace Coconut Water – Coconut Drink* (not all natural)

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Origin of Coco: Thailand
Price and Size: $1.17 for 500mL
Calories: 170 per 500mL
Notes: This is a coconut drink, mixed with coconut water and sugar
Score: 2
Comments: “This taste like sugar water and coconut flavouring”

Sudden Death – Between Jax Coco and UFC Refresh

Mom’s Vote: Jax Coco
Dad’s Vote: UFC Refresh

Conclusion

Top Three Choices for Coconut Water:

  1. UFC Refresh AND Jax Coco (tied)
  2. Thirsty Buddha

The results definitely were eye-opening for my parents – and it’s always fun to prove them wrong. My mother is a die-hard organic fan, so she was definitely surprised to see that the No-Frills bought UFC Refresh coconut water made it to their top choice. Jax Coco also had an amazing taste (probably my new favourite) but comes up to be slightly pricier. For either of the three brands, my father gave his stamp of approval to mix with his expensive rum.

It really comes down to how you like your coconut water – although my family and I do not like the “perfume-y” aftertaste (i.e.: a defined coconut taste), it is definitely a selling point for some folks.

However, in a sea of coconut water brands and health mantras, my parents seem to agree that nothing beats the water straight from a freshly chopped coconut.

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