Published on March 31, 2018

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Photography by Aaron Bengochea

Coconut water—ahh, the sweet nectar of those cute little, tasty coconuts. But not all coconut water is created equal, and we found that out the hard way. Some can be “metallic-tasting” or “gross” or, on the bright side, can “taste like it’s made from sweet baby angels”—just gotta pick the right one. Which is exactly why we blind taste tested—literally, we put a blindfold on each of our taste testers, so colors wouldn’t inhibit their choices—some of the most popular brands for you. Below, the sweet victors, and losers, of our great experiment—things got cocoNUTS (sorry, we had to…).  

THE CONTENDERS 

Alright, I know we maybe, just maybe, didn’t pick your very favorite, but, damnnn, there are a lot of coconut waters on the market. We’d still be taste testing today if we tried each one. So we picked each one based on a general category and in hopes that you could these, or a similar one, near you no matter where you are.

The Bodega Option

Blue Monkey Coconut Water

$3.21

100 percent coconut water (other brands can sometimes add some fillers) from the Philippines. The only can version we tested, this one though is BPA-free.

The Thai Coconuts One

Taste Nirvana

12 pack for $27.25

Thailand’s Nam Hom coconuts (super tasty local ones) are bottled fresh, hours after harvesting them.

The Whole Foods Version

365 Everyday Value Coconut Water

$3.29

Thai coconuts at a pretty accessible price, via the Whole Foods produced brand.

The Prevalent One

Vita Coco

12 pack for $15

Available in nearly every single grocery and convenience store now, this brand is bottled from Brazilian coconuts, and has six varieties of coconut flavors now.

The Actual One

Fresh Coconut

Fresh from a local juice shop. They cut the top off, and we walked it back to the tasting center. As fresh as they come (outside of a tropical locale…).

The Artisanal One

CoAqua

12 pack for $48

Available only through their site, CoAqua is made from fresh young coconuts harvested at around seven months of age in southeast Asia. Even the smaller glass bottle is purposeful: The design is meant to ensure you drink it in one sitting, so it remains fresh. It’s glass because they’d like to reduce single-use plastics in the world. It’s even delivered with paper straws so you won’t be tempted to use a plastic one.

The Pink One

Harmless Harvest Coconut Water

12 pack for $59

The iconically pink (and sole reason for the blindfold in this test, as to avoid spotting the color!) shade of coconut water has pretty much raised the standards of coconut water since its launch in 2009. It’s sourced from organic agroforestry farms in Thailand.

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

Each Domino employee taste tester individually tried all seven options on their own, so as not to be influenced by friends (peer pressure is real, guys). We took the dramatics as far as blindfolding each test in a separate room (so they didn’t peep any glances), and then walking them to the testing table and handing them each cup.

Here, without further ado, is the ranking and tasting notes from our expert coconut testers:

7. Vita Coco

“Tastes like it has added flavoring, like it’s trying to be refreshing, but it’s not.”

“Freaking gross.”

“Tastes like it has some type of flavoring that shouldn’t be there.”

“Is this that Vita Coco shit?” (It was.)

6. 365 Everyday Value

“Very dull, very bad.”

“Kind of tastes like there is pineapple in there, but not in a good way.”

“Not a strong taste to it.”

“Tastes almost like there are preservatives in it.”

5. Blue Monkey

“Not refreshing or a lot of flavor.”

“Sour aftertaste.”

“Artificial tasting.”

“Pretty good, but sweeter aftertaste.”

4. Taste Nirvana

“Really thick texture.”

“What fake coconut is modeled after.”

“Taste like coconut that’s in pina colada, with an aftertaste.”

“So yummy, like dessert in a bottle.”

3. Real Coconut

“Yummy, taste more like a really coconut.” (It was.)

“Really light, with a more complex flavor.”

“Subtle sweetness, which seems natural.”

“Gross, metallic tasting.”

2. Harmless Harvest

“Delicious, really strong coconut flavor.”

“Sweet, but in a sugary way.”

“Flavor is smoother.”

“Yummy, has a coconut taste that doesn’t seem fake.”

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Photography by Aaron Bengochea

WINNER: CoAqua

“Wow, taste like I’m drinking straight from a coconut.”

“Very sweet, but in a bad way; more of a treat.”

“Smells so tropical, and taste caramelized and toasted.”

“Fantastic, A+.”

THE TAKEAWAYS

When it came to ranking the coconut waters (still blindfolded!), the clear winner overall for tasters was CoAqua. It has a super unique, bold coconut flavor that’s also incredibly unusual, almost like caramelized or toasted coconut, and it’s incredibly refreshing. Testers also really loved Harmless Harvest, for a more subtle, but still delicious coconut flavor. And, of course, an actual, real fresh coconut is always a great choice.

When it came to least favorites, testers were unanimous with the more mass produced options, saying the flavor was more metallic, bland, or artificial tasting.

Oh, we should mention, all opinions and choices are our own, no brands we’re part of this ranking.

Did we miss one of your favorite brands? Let us know in the comments!

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Illustration by Domino

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