We Tried 7 Coconut Waters And Named This One The Best
Whether you're looking for a thirst-quencher after a hard workout, a refreshing sip on a warm day, or a hydrating beverage to nurse a hangover, you can reach for a carton of coconut water. Rich in electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, and natural sugars, coconut water is nature's perfect hydration drink.
While coconut water fans tout its unprocessed, pure taste, others can't stand it. In fact, when we were in the process of gathering taste testers for this article, a significant portion of our editorial staff declined to participate, citing their fervent distaste of the tropical drink.
After tasting seven of the top-selling coconut water brands on the market, I could see why some people may be turned off by the hydrating beverage. It's likely that their first experience tasing the slightly nutty drink was from the wrong brand. While some coconut waters offer a crisp, clean taste, other brands can skew closer to watery milk.
To ensure your first coconut water experience is the best it could possibly be, we decided to taste the best-selling coconut waters and rank them from best to worst.
The best-tasting coconut waters, ranked from good to great.
To determine the best coconut water, we conducted a taste test. If you've never tasted coconut water before, then it's worth mentioning that it can be quite difficult to describe exactly what you're tasting. We were able to distinguish different flavors between brands through a lot (a LOT) of back and forth sampling. We had testers rank their favorites and we averaged the scores to determine the final ranking.
FOCO Organic Coconut Water
Although one tester described this drink as smelling like a nail salon, when it came down to taste, there was nothing really offputting about FOCO. In fact, there was nothing really great about it either. Comments included "flat, no depth of flavor" and "sweet, but also not too sweet." Basically, if this is the only coconut water available at the corner store down the street, you won't regret buying it, but you might also be better just as pleased with a bottle of water.
Goya Pure Coconut Water
We all really enjoyed Goya's Pure Coconut Water. Why didn't it win? It was up against some harsh competition. You may notice that Goya adds a touch of sugar "to balance flavor," but the resulting product is actually lower in sugar than most of its competitors. Testers described this carton as being "very clean tasting" and "just the right amount of sweetness." Plus, with a Chef's Best Award for excellent taste, you know it's good.
Vita Coco Original Coconut Water
Vita Coco is the only brand that adds vitamin C to their drink, which gives it a decidedly acidic taste that's perfectly balanced by a touch of added sugar. Our tasters described it as tasting "nutritious" and like "something you'd drink after a yoga class." While this wasn't the purest tasting coconut water, we ranked it close to the top because we liked that Vita Coco managed to make their coconut water into a drink that would appeal to the masses.
C2O Pure Coconut Water
C2O tastes like what you'd expect drinking out of a freshly-cracked new coconut would taste like. It's mild and not too sweet—perfectly balanced. In fact, our testers agreed it was the least sweet out of the bunch. Overall, sipping on this drink was an extremely pleasant experience. (And the fact that it smelled like vanilla frosting was a bonus.)
Harmless Harvest Coconut Water
Harmless Harvest has perfected bottled coconut water. Other brands are good, but Harmless Coconut Water is just heads and tails above the competition when it comes to a drinkable, hydrating, delicious drink. If you're looking to pick up a Harmless Harvest coconut water, you're going to have to beeline to the refrigerated section. Harmless Harvest is perishable because they don't heat pasteurize their product like other brands do. Instead, they use a proprietary microfiltration system to remove all potentially harmful bacteria. The result is a low-acid coconut water that's rich in micronutrients, including those free-radical-fighting antioxidants that lend this coconut water a pink hue as they're exposed to light.
The worst coconut waters.
We felt the need to distinguish these last two coconut waters as the absolute worst you can buy. Their offputting and manipulated flavors were not only unpleasant but also undrinkable.
Worst: Taste Nirvana Premium Coconut Water
"If you want something to drink between water and milk with hints of coconut, this drink is for you," said one of our testers. The first flavor you taste when you sip on Thailand-harvested Taste Nirvana coconut water is milk, which is extremely off-putting when compared to its coconut water peers. This drink might be for some—it was named one of Better Homes & Gardens Best New Product in 2013—but it was not our cup of milk water.
Worst: Naked Pure Coconut Water
See that? Right there. At the bottom of the carton: "WITH OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS." That is why we named Naked's Pure Coconut Water the worst of the bunch. Rather than packaging pure coconut water like their label reads, they manipulate the flavor of these beverages with natural flavors. So you're not really tasting coconut water, but what people probably think coconut water tastes like. Because we didn't like getting smacked in the face with coconut flavor in drinkable form, we're passing on Naked's package.