Am I right?
As healthy as it’s been touted to be I can barely choke the stuff down at home. When I’m extremely dehydrated it will be tolerable, but otherwise I tend to just put a splash in a smoothie every once in awhile.
Since being in the Philippines though I have been drinking TONS of coconut water, and it is so delicious. It’s flavor is really light, and it isn’t too sweet. It literally tastes nothing like what I’ve had back home.
Which made me curious. Why is it different? So I started to do some reading, as I always do.
Here’s what I discovered for all you suffering through gross packaged coconut water.
Since coconut water has become the ‘in’ thing to drink different brands have popped up everywhere. Go into any grocery store or 7-11 and you will find a line up of different kinds. Huge companies like Coke and Pepsi have started to come out with their own brands and there are an array of different flavors. Mango, pineapple, chocolate, coffee… to name just a few. The flavors make it easier to drink, but it also adds so much sugar it’s almost no better than a tall glass of juice.
So how come the coconut water available to us in the store tastes like poop? Simple answer: manufacturing, production, cost cutting, supply and demand.
Once again big food has seen an opportunity for money making and jumped on it, but at the expense of the quality of the product.
WE’VE BEEN TRICKED!
What am I babbling on about? Well first off, coconut water isn’t very stable. In order to get it to places like Seattle, where I’m from, it has to be shipped quite far. Then it sits on shelves for awhile.
Not only do producers have to deal with how quickly the juice will go bad, but they also have to keep up with the high demand now. So they have some tricky ways of getting around these obstacles.
To keep the water from fermenting and growing bacteria it is often pasteurized. That means it is subjected to high heat, which changes it’s nutritional profile and it’s flavor.
Another trick is to boil the coconut water down into a thick syrup (concentrate) and then reconstite it during packaging.
You can see how this would disrupt the true flavor. Yet again the heat will destroy some nutrients, and the water added is tap which has harmful chemicals in it.
This next little scam is sort of our fault as consumers. In the US we really like everything we eat or drink to be predictable. If you get a Zico you want it to taste like Zico. Which just isn’t nature. The taste of real coconut water is going to be different depending on the region, season, or soil.
Producers are allowed to add sugar to juices in order to reach its delegated brix value of sweetness. This value is established by the federal government, and if sugar is added to reach that brix value limit it doesn’t have to be put on the label.
This means that if a batch of coconut water turns out a little less sweet, the manufacturer will add sugar to reach the brix level artificially creating the same ‘taste’ or level of sweetness.
They also do this because in an effort to keep up with the coconut water craze some have resorted to using mature coconuts instead of young. It’s cheaper. The taste is very different, and the mature water is usually just a waste product to get to the meat of the coconut. To get the mature water (which is less sweet) to taste a bit more like the young sugar can be added. The catch is that apparently if they add sugar to reach the given brix level they don’t have to say that they added any sugar.
You read right. The bottle or can may say “no sugar added” when in fact there has been sugar added.
WHY IT TAKES LIKE SH*T
You can probably begin to see why many of us (like myself) don’t like coconut water when we’ve only had it from the grocery store. The packaged coconut water we are drinking may have:
- Undergone high heat pasteurization
- Been boiled into a concentrate and then reconstituted
- Come from mature coconuts instead of young ones
- Secret added sugar to maintain a consistent flavor
Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful we can get coconut water in places it is not native, but it really does mess with nature and make things a bit complicated.
So now that I’ve just Debbie Downer’ed you I’m sure you are wondering how to choose your next coconut water, or if it’s even worth it!
Don’t worry I’ve got you covered with that as well. The next post will be all sorts of positive. :) We’ll talk about all of coconut waters amazing beneficial qualities, and how to get the best quality possible...outside of flying across the world (my preferred choice).
With [icon icon=icon-heart size=14px color=#000 ]
PS. Do you like coconut water? Or are you like me and think it’s pretty foul usually? Tell me your opinions below in the comments section. I’m not alone am I?!
For more details on how coconut water is produced check out this article written by Dr. Bruce Fife, who also wrote an entire book on the stuff.