Best Coconut Waters
1.10 – new update soon with new coconut waters.
Updated 9.22 – added Coco Goods to the top 10. Demoted Harmless Harvest and reordered our recommended list.
What are the best coconut waters?
Judging by the amount of shelf space devoted to them in grocery stores, coconut water is a popular item. Not being a huge fan of the fruit, I had never tried it until it was recommended to me by several doctors. They extolled the virtues: low in calories (the average is 55 per serving), lots of electrolytes, more potassium than a banana, no fat, no cholesterol, and an easy way to hydrate. I decided to give it a try and picked up a carton at Trader Joe’s. It was terrible; I nearly spit it out. It was weeks until I gave another brand a try. The second, Amy & Brian’s was much more pleasant and easy to drink, which led me to investigate the wide variety of brands available.
Some of their websites promise all kinds of miracles. For example, CocoFresh claims to “help with rashes, kill intestinal worms, check urinary infections, is a tonic for senior citizens & sick people, cure malnourishment, treat kidney & urethral stones and eliminate poisons”. Another “increases semen, promotes digestion, and is a “proven pitta-pacifier” with a pranaropana-life-restoring-capacity”. Huh?
Many commonly available coconut waters are no longer made; clearly, the boom is over and I remove a few every time I update this list.
Over the last four years, we have tried many brands and found a huge variation in taste. Some were too sweet, some bitingly acidic, others tasted like a chemical brew, and a few had little flavor at all. Some tasted good one purchase, and lousy the next. It occurred to me that it would be worth the time to do a taste test: What are the best coconut waters?
I held tastings over four nights with 17 intrepid friends, rating 18 brands in a blind tasting (additional brands were added in later tastings).
Note: because of supply chain issues, some waters have skyrocketed in price. Case in point, Taste Nirvana- now $4.80 a can! I expect this to be a temporary issue, so have not adjusted prices here.
One issue that gave us fits was inconsistency. At first, I thought I was losing my mind when I did tastings with the second and third groups – ratings were very different than the first group. After buying samples of the same water over three months, it became clear that aside from the big-name brands such as O.N.E or Naked, the overall taste varied considerably from batch to batch. The smallest, least processed waters such as Harmless Harvest had a wide variation in taste, with two groups calling it the best, and two groups the worst. This is the reason you’ll see divergent comments in the ratings, but in the end, enough people participated in the tasting with samples from different sources so that the averages worked out. I discussed the issue with a couple of juice company representatives, and was told that “much like wine, the flavor of each coconut varies, especially from season to season and the age of the coconut”. Apparently, young coconuts are best for water whereas older ones are best for industrial uses. In addition, some brands add “natural flavors” or sugar to ensure consistency between batches. Therefore, these ratings are subjective, based on the taster’s preferences, and the particular batch of water. I did go out of my way to buy one of each brand from three different stores.
In the listings, the “Not recommended and “Fair” are no longer ranked by order of preference; there are so many similarly bad waters it is tedious to rank them.
7-11 Select – A reader recommended an upscale version of 7-11 store water, but the only one near me was their standard brand. Let’s examine the ingredients: coconut water, sugar, coconut pulp, coconut flavorings, sulfites.
- Comments: “This is in the worst top 5.” “So sweet,” “undrinkable,” “just awful.”
Need I say more?
Blue Monkey: Metal can, non-organic, no additives, flash pasteurized., $0.12/Fl Oz. The Philippines. BPA free.
On a June 2019 trip to the bay area, I picked up a new version in a fancy blue bottle. It had a good toasted coconut flavor but was overly sweet. Between the bottle and the French writing on it, It feels like a gimmick. The rating remains the same.
- Comments: “Lingering chemical aftertaste”. “Overpowering chemical aroma”, “Heavy”, “Dull”, “Way too sweet!”, “Metallic”.
CocoCoast: Metal can, organic, 100% “green coconuts”. We found this at Providore Fine Foods, a local, upscale grocery store. They usually carry top-notch products, and even though it was $3.39 a can, we bought two based on Providore’s reputation.
- Comments: “Sugar, sugar, sugar!”, “OMG, this is one of the worst ones you’ve made us taste”, “has a metallic finish”, “I grew up in the Philipines and this is nothing like I grew up with”, “Too sweet!”.
Coco Joy: Metal can. From Vietnam. $0.20/Fl Oz. They claim no added sugar/preservatives and not from concentrate. I find that hard to believe. Another terrible coconut water, it tastes like sugar with a hint of coconut. For the limited Covid panel, we couldn’t get it down. This stuff is just wrong.
- Comments: “This is awful!”, “Why do you keep doing this to us?”, “Undrinkable”. “Throw the rest away”, “It’s like drinking glucose”.
Coco Libre: Paper container, water, organic coconut concentrate, and “natural flavors,” flash pasteurized. $0.22/Fl Oz.
- Comments: “Salty”, “Awful x 3”, “Heavy”, “tastes like something dairy”, “You need a spit cup”.
Coco Roots: Paper container. Non-organic. 100% coconut water. Vietnam. Initial impressions? Do not buy. It’s awful. A few of us spit it out. We’ll have more notes soon if I can convince myself to buy more.
Festival Coconut Water: this brand recently appeared in most major stores as well as online. The price is right – $0.15/Fl Oz. 100% organic. Metal can. Thailand. We just retested this with the full panel. The cost per can has jumped 49 cents since 2019. (Retested 8.27 with the same results – we both spit it out.)
- Comments: “Cardboard taste”, “Nasty!”, “Terrible aftertaste”, “Nutty, but a bit too sweet”, slight chemical aftertaste”, “if you’ve got any more of this, throw it away!”. This is truly one of the worst we’ve tasted.
Nature Factor: Metal can, organic, no additives, high-temp pasteurized. $0.20/Fl Oz.
- Comments: “If this was representative of the others, coconut water would have no future”. “Smells like a pond”. “Woody”, “Too sweet”
O.N.E.: Paper container, non-organic, contains water, sugar, coconut concentrate, “natural flavors”, flash pasteurized, $0.13/Fl Oz. Owned by Pepsi
- Comments: “Oddly salty”, “Bland x 5”, “Simple”, “Not too sweet”, “Off taste”, “Foul”, “Oh hell no!”, “Chemical taste”.
Refreshe: Paper container, non-organic, vitamin C added, flash pasteurized., $0.13/Fl Oz.
- Comments: “Could hardly get down”, “Caramel”, “Too sweet – x 12”, “Tastes like cherry Koolaid”, “Awful”, “Unpleasant smell” – Safeway brand.
Tasco Young Coconut Juice – Metal can, includes sugar, preservatives. Flash Pasteurized.
- Comments: “Ugh – tastes like chemicals” “Too damn sweet”. This water cost us only $1.19 at an Asian market, making it one of the lowest-priced, but I would never buy it again.
Taste Nirvana Young Coconut Juice: Glass container, non-organic. Cane sugar, sodium metabisulfite added. Don’t confuse this with our top-10 listing which leaves out the word “young.”
- Comments: I didn’t even bother to put this before the group. I’m sure I speak for all of them when I say this was the worst we’ve ever tasted. To be fair, they call this “juice”, not water, but it looks and is labeled much like their regular coconut water. The clear glass bottle is rather pretty with long strips of coconut floating in it, but that is where the good ends. It’s like drinking a mouthful of brown sugar – almost to the point of being syrupy. It also contains 5 grams of saturated fat and 10 grams of sugar in 9.5oz. Most coconut waters have 0 fat and 100 calories in a 16.2oz container. I’m not a fan of sweet drinks to start with, but I couldn’t finish the bottle. Don’t confuse this with Taste Nirvana Real Coconut Water which is currently at #2 on this list.
C20 : Metal can, non-organic, no additives, high-temp pasteurized, $0.18/Fl Oz.
- Comments: “Bland x 3”, “Smooth”, “Average”. “Awful!”, “Sugary”. Retasted 4.19 – “Nasty!”, “Even worse than before”, “Plastic taste”, “Foul”.
C20 “Farmers Reserve”: 16.9 oz. Plastic bottle. Organic. No additives. Must refrigerate. Milky white in color. $0.18/Fl Oz.
We thought this might be better than the generic C20. It wasn’t. The only ingredient is “pure young coconut water”. I’d like to put it higher on this list – “it tastes great and does good in the world around us! We are 1% for the Planet members and proceeds from this bottle support our communities and the environment. This bottle is made with recycled plastic materials and 100% recyclable to minimize our footprint on the world.” I thought maybe something was off with the bottle I’d purchased and went to another store hoping it would be better but it wasn’t. When the taster’s notes came in, I knew it wasn’t just me. All of us poured it down the drain. I expected better from something at this price.
- Comments: “What is that off taste?” “There is something odd here… it tastes like it has preservatives.” “It’s unforgettable because it’s so bad!” “How can unadulterated coconut taste like this?” “I think this may be worse than the regular version of C20.”
Cadia All Natural: Metal can, no added ingredients. Flash Pasteurized. Thailand. Updated 2.19
- Comments: “Ugh… nasty”, “Astringent”, “No body”, “Lousy aftertaste”, “Off taste”. “Not refreshing”. “Way down my list”, “Throw the rest out”.
CoCo Fresh: Metal container, non-organic, no additives, $0.22/Fl Oz.
- Comments: “not a hint of taste”, “Not much fragrance”, “Icky”, “Unremarkable”, “Smooth, but so is water”, “Bland”.
Foco: Cardboard container. From Thailand. Not listed as organic. No added sugar/preservatives. Various sizes. $0.07/Fl Oz.
- Comments: “Bland”, ” Watery”, “Not offensive but not particularly good”, It lacking something to make it stand out from the pack”, “Ok for the price, but not particularly enjoyable”.
Full Circle Market: Cardboard container. Contains ascorbic acid. Not organic. Origin not clear. $0.10/Fl Oz.
- Comments: The vitamin C which is added as a preservative is not nearly as overwhelming as other brands that use it. “Light, easy-drinking”, “fairly refreshing beverage”, “Innocuous”, “Middle of the road”, “nothing to write home about, but okay”.
Harvest Bay: an 8.45 oz. cardboard container with a “sippy straw”. Thailand. $0.21/Fl Oz.
- Comments: “Tastes off.”, “Chemical tones”, “Flat”, “No, I wouldn’t buy this”, “Near the bottom of my list”, “Doesn’t taste much like anything”.
Kirkland (Costco): cardboard container. Sold in packs of 12. This is the non-refrigerated version. Product of the Philippines. Cardboard container. 11.1 oz. Organic coconut water, organic sugar, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C). Advertised as “99% juice”. The tasting panel argued over this one and ended up being split 50/50. Vitamin C usually gives a nasty aftertaste and this followed that trend. The biggest critics are from those on the panel who grew up in Thailand and the Philippines”.
- Comments: “It smells like piss”, “Slightly soapy”, “Tastes like old coconuts”, “Smooth”.
Kroger brand – Simple Truth: cardboard container, organic, no additives. Philipines. This was so similar to Thirsty Buddha (below) that we think it may be the same company. In our 2019 tasting, it was $.89. In 2020, $1.50, and the taste has gone downhill. $0.24/Fl Oz.
- Comments: “Tastes watered down”, “Not much flavor”, Easy drinking”, “Another bland one”, “Slightly astringent”, “Smooth”, “Not too sweet”, “Oily aftertaste”.
Naked: Paper container, non-organic, added fruit sugar, flash pasteurized, $0.13/Fl Oz. Flash Pasteurized. Added sugar. Owned by Pepsi. USDA Certified Organic. According to news reports, they have had a class action lawsuit for using GMOs and deceptive labeling.
- Comments: “Bland”. “Tastes like plastic”, “Nothing special”, “Tastes off”.
Thrive Market: Paper container stating “organic, premium, ethically sourced.” From the Philippines from mature coconuts. No added preservatives, 100% coconut water. $0.12/Fl Oz.
Middle-of-the-pack coconut water. It has a slightly dusty finish, no natural sweet notes. It’s pretty innocuous, i.e. boring.
- Comments: “Bland”, “Flavors are slightly off”, “Not much sweetness at all”, “This is boring – it does the job, but is not particularly enjoyable.”
Vita Coco: Paper container, non-organic, <1% fruit sugar, ultra-high temp pasteurized, vitamin C added. $0.14/Fl Oz. Some versions use carrageenan
- Comments: “Not bad”, “Just ok”, “Bland”, “Better on 2nd pass”, “Better warm”, “Fruity”, Citric acid taste”, “Average”, “Boring”, “Smooth”.
Vita Coco Pressed: Plastic container, non-organic, added <1% sugar, ascorbic acid, gellan gum. From Thailand. Milky color.
Slightly odd texture from the gellan gum. You can taste the ascorbic acid (Vitamin C.)
- Comments: “The milk color is odd”, “Water from real/green coconuts don’t look milky like this”, “I can taste the preservative”, “Boring”, “Nothing to make it memorable”, “Slight coconut oil taste on the finish.”
Wild Harvest: 100% coconut water, no artificial colors/flavors, no preservatives. “Micro filtered”. 8oz can. $0.10/Fl Oz. This is a recent entry that is showing up everywhere. Don’t confuse this with Harmless Harvest which is in our top-10.
- Comments: “Innocuous”, “Bland”, “Not unpleasant”, “Would do in a pinch”, “Price is right”, “Slight off taste”.
365 Whole Foods: Metal can, non-organic, no additives, flash pasteurized. Product of Thailand. $0.13/Fl Oz. This is the 2021 version with the new label. It seems the same as the old version.
- Comments: “Not great”, “Artificial taste”, “Easy drinking”, “Drinkable”, “Pleasant”, “This tastes slightly metallic on the back of the tongue.”
Zico: Plastic container, non-organic, not from concentrate. Non-GMO. 100% coconut water, ultra-high temp pasteurized. $0.14/Fl Oz. Owned by Coca-Cola (this review updated for new formula 7/17 ). Ultra-high temperature pasteurization.
- Comments: “Ok”, “Unremarkable”, “Bland”, “Middle of the pack”, “Grassy”, “Simple”, “Tastes like plastic”. [The comments above have been updated since they reformulated the product and it moved up the listings.]
15. Amy & Brian’s: Metal container, organic, no additives, flash pasteurized. $0.18/Fl Oz. No GMO’s, no preservatives. When Re-tasted 2.19 the tasters weren’t as impressed because of high sweetness – interesting as there are no added ingredients.
- Comments: “Watery”, “Bland”, “Too sweet”, “Wow – too sweet!”, “Mellow”, “Brown sugar”, “Better than most”, “Could do in a pinch”.
14. H2C: Cardboard container, not organic, Vietnam. 100% coconut. No preservatives. Found this in an Asian market.
- Our first impressions – best very cold. Unremarkable, but nothing to set it further back in the pack. It’s “just fine.” My impression – at $2.39 per 16.9/Fl Oz box, I’d expect better.
13. Thirsty Buddha: Cardboard container, organic, no GMO’s, Philippines. See note on Kroger above. We picked this up at T.J. Max for $.89.
- Comments: “A bit watery”, “Bland but refreshing”, “light”, “Smooth”, “Not much body”, “Not much character”, “Slightly astringent”.
12. 365 Whole Foods Organic: Paper carton. Organic. Thailand. No added ingredients.
- Comments: “A bit Flat”, “Not much flavor”, “This does the job, but nothing special”, Slightly acrid (possibly an off batch, so we’ll recheck soon), “Rounded flavor”, “Slight dirt taste.”
11. Obrigado: cardboard container. No additives/sugar. Water is processed without exposure to light or air, which is supposed to make it better.
- Comments: We were surprised it didn’t place higher on this list, but the two samples we bought had a slightly off taste, with hard edges. Comments were all over the place: “Tastes more like home than most”, “a bit one dimensional but still good”, “doesn’t taste very coconutty”.
10. Maui & Sons: Cardboard container. Product of Vietnam (seems a bit deceptive to have Maui prominently in the name). 100% coconut water – not organic, but no preservatives. $0.08/Fl Oz. I’m getting some surprising waters as friends have started sending them to me. This, from Home Goods, was a surprise for all of us.
- Comments: “Very easy drinking”, “Not a lot of character and no toasty notes, but refreshing nonetheless”. “Not too sweet”, “I could drink this on a regular basis – especially as coconut water cost keeps rising”, “I’m surprised how easy this goes down”.
9. Vita Coco Pressed: 16.9/FL Oz. plastic container. Non-GMO, BPA free, but not organic. $0.31/Fl Oz. Ingredients: Coconut water from concentrate, coconut puree, less than 1% sugar, vitamin C, gellan gum. Thailand. We were surprised when we tasted this coconut water. Usually, these ingredients result in water that is less than stellar. However, despite the addition of Vitamin C, in this case, used as a preservative, it was pretty good, with just a slight chemical taste. The body was smooth, with almost a creamy feel, like a bit of coconut milk had been added. Unlike many of the coconut waters in this list, we finished our bottles.
- Comments: “Smooth; tastes oddly creamy. is that the gellan gum?” “Easily drinkable, but you can tell it’s not pure.” “I could drink this without complaints in a pinch.” “Not sure it’s worth the $3.00 a bottle price, but it’s a big bottle.”
8. Zola: Metal container, non-organic, <1% sugar, $0.24/Fl Oz.
- Comments: “Too sweet”, “Very toasty”, “Good coconut flavor”, “I actually could drink this daily”, “Complex”, “Layered”, “Like toasted almonds”, “Refreshing”, “Best of the bunch”
7. Real Coco Organic: Cardboard container. Organic. From the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. 100% coconut water, no additives. $0.15/Fl Oz. I’ve seen this frequently at Costco in the California Bay area.
- Comments: The jury is still out on this one; only two of the tasting panel have tried it because of Covid-19. When cold, it’s quite refreshing with a light rounded flavor, and good body. It easily belongs in the top 10, however, when it warmed up a bit as it might if you were drinking it through a meal, it takes on the slight aroma of a damp rag. The other taster said I was crazy, but, after I pointed it out, he said it was all he could think about. Unfortunately, I’ve got a crazy good nose for picking up subtle odors. We’ll get back to this when we can get 10 people in a room again, but for now, I’m putting it at #7.
- Comments to come.
6. Taste Nirvana – We used to list this as a best buy, but no more! It is nowhere near worth what many retailers are charging – $4.72 a can! I’m looking at you, New Seasons Markets! This has varied in the ratings from #1 to #6 over the years.
Available in metal or glass containers, non-organic. When we first tasted this it was pressed and had no added ingredients. As of 2020 the ingredients list has changed and now contains “coconut essence” and less than 1% added fruit sugar. It’s still good coconut water, and I didn’t even notice the change until it was pointed out by a reader, so we retested it. No GMO’s. $0.16/Fl Oz.
This coconut water uses Thai coconuts. Prices are steadily climbing on this brand (lately up to almost $5 a can from as low as $1 a can in 2021 – it’s not worth that price.) Re-tasted 2.22.
- Comments: “Would be great over ice”, “Toasty coconut”, “Nutty”, “Pleasant, smooth and balanced”, “Smooth”, “Nice mouthfeel and body”, “Smooth coconut without the oily aftertaste”, “younger coconuts for a change.”
5: Coco Goods: Carboard container, from Vietnam, 100% coconut water, no additives, no GMO’s.16.9oz. $.0.15 Fl/Oz. Sold cold.
Coco Goods is one of the more interesting waters we have tried in some time. It’s a bit expensive – $4.00 where we picked them up, but the surprise is in the taste. I took a sip and felt very confused, then everyone else tried their samples and our opinion was unanimous – it has distinct roasted marshmallow notes. We’ve never tasted anything like it since we started this project. I’m not saying it isn’t good; the taste is pleasant and quenching and not particularly sweet. Note: this test was based on a single batch of cans from the same store. We will wait a while and pick up more to make sure this is not an aberration.
- Comments are short and sweet: “Wow, this is really different!”, “Is it just me or does this have an odd flavor?” “It tastes like marshmallows.” “It’s nice to taste something truly different for a change.”
4. Harmless Harvest Coconut Water: sold in the cold case. Plastic container, organic, no additives, cold high-pressure processed. $0.31/Fl Oz., the most expensive on our list. From Thailand. This water varies from an almost clear color to very pink, which they claim is from the antioxidants interacting with light. Over many tastings, we realized it varies widely from batch to batch.
Though the company used to call their product “raw”, they have discontinued the phrase due to issues with the FDA. In 2016 the company was sued by a group claiming they were not really using organic coconuts, which they settled but denied any wrongdoing, however, the ingredients no longer claim to be organic.
- Comments: This coconut water has been on our list since 2015, but has been all over the place since with comments across the range from: “Excellent”, “bright”, “toasty flavor” – to “Unpleasant aftertaste”, “No! No!”, “Horrible.” “Too sweet!” “Toasty coconut, but a bit much.” Our comments from 2021 are: “This is much more similar from bottle to bottle than it used to be”. “Somewhat heavy/filling, which gets old”, “Still somewhat sweet”, Fresh and refreshing.” For late 2022, we’ve retested and dropped it 3 places as it tastes like it’s been sitting somewhere for a long time, and the prices have skyrocketed to as much as $5.00 a can! It’s still better than most, but it’s not going in a good direction.
Because of these differences from year to year, we feel this brand varies greatly between batches and is difficult to rate, so we re-taste every year. Your experience may vary. Tip: you can get this at Costco in boxes of six (larger size) for <$13. It hides in the refrigerated foods area.
3. Kirkland (Costco) (cold case): clear plastic container, from Thailand, pink color, USDA organic, no additives. Sold in a pack of six 14oz containers for $.143 per ounce.
The Kirkland is so similar to Harmless Harvest and Trader Joe’s (next,) it’s hard to differentiate them. The color, mouthfeel, taste, etc. all are about the same. I suspect they are from the same wholesaler. For the price, it’s a bargain. Read the comments under Harmless Harvest below.
2. Trader Joe’s 100% Pure (cold case): Plastic container, organic, no additives, pasteurized, sold cold. $0.25/Fl Oz. Re-tasted 1/22 and moved up 4 places. Who knew? This is so close to the Harmless Harvest below, we aren’t sure it isn’t a product of the same company. Refreshing, quenching, clean – It’s a bargain. You’ll find it for about $2.39 in TJ’s cold case.
1. Water from a real coconut.
A few markets in our area recently started carrying several brands of whole refrigerated coconuts. Both have the husk removed and one has been stripped back enough that you can puncture it with a little straw that is attached. It’s like a natural juice box. The other one was like a bank vault and I pulled out the power drill to get into it. They both tasted the same. Keep in mind they don’t hold very much water.
- Comments: “This reminds me of home, but not quite as good”, “Much better than all of the others”, Expensive for what you get, I’m not sure it’s worth it”, “Tastes like real coconut”, “Oily, but in a good way”, “Wow, I could drink a ton of this”.
7.13 – Updating Obrigado shortly. Coming soon, “Pure Squeeze” coconut water. I’ll tell you right now, you don’t want the latter. I could barely get it past my nose.
Updated 2.22 – added Walmart. Retested – Vita Coco Pressed, Whole Foods Organic, Whole Foods canned, Costco store brand. Removed 2 Trader Joe’s versions and Columbia Gorge which are no longer available.
1.26 – retested Vita Coco Pressed, Whole Foods Organic, retested Whole Foods canned. Removed: Original Villager Natural Coconut Water (discontinued.) CocoCommunity – bought by Vita Coco which is lousy.
Updates 1/22 – Updated Taste Nirvana… WTH? 10/21 – add Trader Joe’s fresh.
Updated 6/21 – H2C, and Thrive Market Coconut water.
Updated 3/21 – added H2C preliminary results. Added Whole Foods Organic full results.
Updated 2/21 – Added Coco Roots. Whole Foods is back with two new versions an organic version in cardboard and another non-organic in a can. Added Vita Coco Pressed – it did pretty well. Re-tasted Harmless Harvest.
Updated 1/21 – 2 new coconut waters: 7-11 store and C20 Farmers Reserve. Updated prices with a few new impressions.
Updated 1.2021 – many prices, a few new comments.
Updated 8/27/2020 – First impressions: CoCo Joy coconut water – only two tasters due to issues getting the full panel together during Covid-19. Updated Festival. Updated Taste Nirvana.
Updated 8/2020 – First impressions: CoCo Joy.
Updated 7/2020 – added first impressions of Real Coco Organic
Updated 5/2020 – re-tasted Festival, Taste Nirvana (canned), Simple Truth. Added Kirkland, added water from real coconuts. Coco Community discontinued in the USA.
Updated 5/2020- added Kirkland, added “real coconut water”, re-tasted Simple Truth, Taste Nirvana, Festival. Full change list at the bottom.
Updated 9/19 – added Full Circle Market, Foco, Blue Monkey bottled, CocoCoast, Maui & Sons. Revamped listings format.
Updated 5/19 – Added Festival Coconut Water
Updated 4/19 – added Wild Harvest, Thirsty Buddha, Kroger Simple Truth. Re-tasted Amy & Brian’s, Taste Nirvana, C20 and Cadia waters.
Updated 12/18 – prices and a few comments
Updated 2/18 – added Original Villager, Trader Joe’s King Coconut Water, update prices.
Updated 11/17 – added Columbia Gorge, Harvest Bay, restest Harmless Harvest, Coco Community, Obrigado]
Updated 7/17 – Zico has a new formula. Updated 4/17 – Taste Nirvana changed the label, so we retested and found it the same. Also retested Harmless Harvest and found it better – it moved from #16 to #2, but it proves our point that it tends to vary widely from bottle to bottle. We moved it up with a comment.
Updated 9/16 – added Tasco. Updated 2/16 – added Cadia. Updated 10/15 – downgraded Zola due to a noticeable slip in quality]
Thanks for the review on coconut water. I have been drinking it lately because it is helping me stay very hydrated. I hated the taste of Zola. It was like drinking “the liquid in a can of corn”. Horrible taste. So far my favorite one and it is very satisfying is “Vita Coco”.
Terence Carr says
Sorry Michelene, but Vita Coco is not the real deal as far as Coconut Water.
Christina Gudaitis says
What do you mean Terrence?
John Marris says
Coconut water has grown in popularity over the past couple of years, boasting health benefits and becoming the new “healthy” replacement for sports drinks. Everyone’s drinking it.It has VAST uses.
I like to drink Naked
Naked brand or just “naked”?
Daniel William Giles says
Thanks for the post. I’m from Barbados and grew up drinking coconut water fresh from the coconuts off of our trees every morning. Whenever we would travel to other tropical locals, we would drink coconut water there out of habit. In my experience, coconut water straight from the fruit varies greatly depending on several factors.
There are several different varieties of coconut. Just as you would expect a Granny Smith apple to taste different from a Honey Crisp apple, each variety of coconut has its own unique flavor. Within the same variety, coconuts tasted differently depending on where they where grown. I’m guessing the soil they grow in, the amount of sun and water they get even air temperature and humidity can affect taste. Lastly, the maturity of the coconut when harvested affects the taste. I’ve had water from coconuts from the same tree that was pink one week then opaque white the next or sweet then nutty.
The store bottled brand that most closely replicates cutting the top off of a coconut and enjoying whatever variation you end up with is Harmless Harvest hands down. None of other I’ve tasted are even close.
EDITH Morales says
Totally agree. A little expensive but worth it.
Irma Stone says
I agree 100%
That One Guy says
I just tried the Refreshe brand and it’s completely garbage. It almost has a sour sort of taste to it and at the beginning I thought it was spoiled but realized after reading various reviews it’s just plain horrible, overly processed and manipulated. It tastes almost nothing like real coconut water. Avoid this stuff like the plague.
susie penque says
for me their are none that can compare to the taste nirvana with pulp..absolute fav!
PDX Food Dude says
My favorite too.
You should try out Obrigado Coconut Water. It is a Brazilian brand that is definitely superior to all brands I have tried, if not better than every brand currently available
PDX Food Dude says
Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll see if I can track it down.
Tammy Minchew says
You noted that Zico is from concentrate. The past few days I have bought one a day of that brand due to convenience. It is at every gas station which is no surprise since it is a Coca-Cola product now. Anyways the label shows no ingredients other than Coconut water. Label reads no sugar added, natural 100% coconut water, not from concentrate. Now they do have a line of flavored Zico but of course it has added sugars. I do not know if this is new labeling since your findings when doing the tasting show added sugar and from concentrate. The taste to me honestly isn’t bad. With that being said I am still on the hunt for Harmless Harvest and Taste Nirvana. I wish I could also find a good coconut water in bigger sizes like quart or half gallon. So far the only way I have found is to order online. Exotic Superfoods does sell a pure coconut water and it states that it may be pink. And it also explains why just as Daniel Giles states about him having drank fresh pink coconut water straight from the coconut. It comes frozen due to shipping. So for those that can afford that brand it does seem to be the most real deal coconut water available in larger sizes. I will be checking out our local health store for better brands.
PDX Food Dude says
Thanks for the note. You are right, Zico has tweaked the formula, and I will update our review. It is no longer from concentrate and is GMO-free. I bought a new bottle today and gave it a quick try. While I found the flavors improved, it still wasn’t as good as some of the others in the tasting, especially the finish. I’ll get all the tasters together early this Fall and we will do a new comparison.
Marlucia Carvalho says
Hi, being a Brazilian myself, once you drink coconut water from the source, everything else will fall short. I just tried the Obrigado brand and it is simple the best! You taste just coconut water, no can or metal taste and nothing else….
PDX Food Dude says
Thanks Marlucia. I’ve been keeping an eye of four it and will give it a test if I find some.
The best for me is the Vita Coconut water, The worst ever is the organic coconut water from member’s Mark, from concentrate…really!!!
Exotic Superfoods is actually shipped frozen from overseas and has no additives or preservatives. This is as pure as you can get. This also explains the variations in taste and color. They don’t add anything in order to make the taste consistent like the other brands that can chemically alter it or add sweetener or preservatives. Ever wonder why some can stay on the shelf for months without refrigeration. Why does Zico need a new formula if it’s supposed to be coconut water. Go taste some real coconut water from a fresh young coconut and compare the brands.
po bao says
Can you add FOCO 100% pure coconut water to your reviews. I’m curious to see what you think about it considering that it’s in most asian supermarkets.
PDX Food Dude says
I will see if I can find it in our local Asian markets. Thanks for the suggestion.
Stephen Prybolsky says
I second this – I see it in shoprite all the time! Thanks!
PDX Food Dude says
Thanks for the reminder. If anyone in the Portland Oregon area knows where to get it, please let me know. In the meantime, I’ll keep looking.
Robert Geoghan says
My favorite and in my opinion the best available coconut water on the market is Cabana Coconut Water by The Pulse Beverage Corporation of Denver, Colorado. It’s not from concentrate, has no added sugar and is packaged at the source in Vietnam before shipping. It’s natural coconut water direct from young green prime coconuts.Why wasn’t it tested. Please include it!
PDX Food Dude says
There are hundreds of coconut waters available. We add more as we come across them. I’ll keep my eye open for Cabana
Elizabeth Russo says
I drink Coconut for health reasons, and I have tried most of them. It’s not mango juice, but the best of the bunch has been Obrigado. No metallic tast and it grows on you. I really like it but sometimes it’s tough to find.
Can you add Simply Organic (Kroger Market house brand) coconut water and Kirkland Organic Coconut Water to your list? Not sure how they are processed though.
PDX Food Dude says
I will be happy to add Kroger but will have to wait for a friend with a costco card for the other. I’m also adding Thirsty Buddha Organic later this week. Thanks for the suggestion.
PDX Food Dude says
Added to the listing. It did quite well.
Tina C says
Found Villager Natural Coconut Water at Bilo in Greenville SC.
I’m curious why you decided not to include Mojo pure coconut water (not their flavored varieties) in your testing.
PDX Food Dude says
Whenever I travel I try to pick up coconut waters to add to the listing. I haven’t come across Mojo yet so didn’t know about it, but I see it is available online so I’ll order some and check it out. Thanks for the suggestion!
Great, thanks so much for the response! Availability via Amazon can be spotty, but it was definitely available as of earlier today – and if I may, I’m most curious how you’d rate the regular, plain coconut water – not their flavored (e.g., pineapple, I think is one of them) varieties. I’m at least glad to know you just didn’t include them because they failed some threshold qualification! In case you can’t tell, I’m a big fan, based on the taste and the cost. It’s not my favorite which is Harmless, but that one is so expensive! Thanks again for the quick reply!
PDX Food Dude says
I’ve seen the flavored versions, but not the plain. For Harmless, if you have access to a Costco, the ones in the Pacific Northwest have a great price for them. As I recall it was around $2 a bottle for a six-pack. A medium-large bottle which I haven’t seen elsewhere.
OK. Just don’t let the flavored version prejudice a test of the plain/original version, if/when you’re ever able to get it! :)
Carol Schneider says
Hi…I am using Coco Libre not from concentrate no added sugar in a heavy white bottle made of #5 plastic. I put it into my smoothie so I actually don’t know how the various coconut waters taste. I do notice it is yellowish in color…but it smells delicious like fresh coconut. I rely on how foods smell so I feel I can trust it, however just wonder about the color. Thank you.
PDX Food Dude says
The color varies from brand to brand. Many are cloudy and some, like Harmless Harvest, are even pink.
I was spoiled and had fresh smoked coconuts in Asia when they were on sale and they were always fantastic with delicious soft, smooth sweet nutty pulp to scrape when you’re done drinking. Frankly none of the ones here can ever compare to that but the one that did poorly on your test, c2o actually tasted very close in it’s tetra packaging.
It’s not to say i don’t like the top ones, but taste nirvana is too expensive, and harmless I drink only as an occasional treat. Maybe one of these days I’ll do a side by side comparison but I think the testers should try a real coconuts not anything pre-packaged and compare to that rather than saying one is better than the other.
Frankly if someone doesn’t even like coconut water you can’t make a fair comparison. at that point it’s like “choose your favorite softdrink”.
PDX Food Dude says
A couple of comments for you. 1. We compare coconut waters side-by-side. 2. One of our panel members is Filippino, another is Thai; both grew up in their respective countries and their coconut water. 3. We respectfully disagree about C20 and stick by our ratings. 4. We all like and drink coconut water regularly. Finally, we’ve all had real coconut water – I did so within the last month. It’s our calibration method. However, it should be noted that every coconut is different in taste depending on where it is from, the terroir, its age, temperature, etc.
Like everything, the only thing that is important is what you like. We offer guidelines base on our group’s preferences. It’s up to you to decide your favorites!
VITA COCO all day ! I dont the ” Organic approval “. taste Just right, boring, Smooth, Refreshing. You know you’re drinking a real coconut coz that’s how it should be :)
Taste Nirvana has slightly changed their ingredients. All of their coconut water, regardless of container, now contain “< 1% fruit sugar". Adds only about 2g of sugar to their tall can (but thanks to rounding, per serving is still shown as 0g).
Also, on their website, only one of their packages (Tetrapak) mention their pasteurization method — it's flash pasteurized for the Tetrapak, at least.
PDX Food Dude says
Thanks for the comment, Ken. As this is my regular go-to, I’ve noticed a slight change in taste over the past few months but chalked it up to natural variation which occurs in all coconut waters. I’ll make sure to have the group taste it again next time we get together.
I look forward to any and all updates; this is a great resource. I still love the taste, just wish they hadn’t felt the need to add that small bit of fructose.
You should also Google Taste Nirvana Germany lawsuit. Germany lab tested Taste Nirvana and found sugar and water added into their products. Taste Nirvana lost and was forced to do a recall. I would not trust this company.
PDX Food Dude says
Thanks for your comment. I saw one article quite a while ago that mentioned a lawsuit, but never found anything about it being settled. Either way, I’m concerned about the taste, as that is what we are judging. If I find anything else, I’ll add a note in the next update.
Jay Leon says
Believe it or not… Wal-Mart’s Great Value Organic Coconut Water is deliciously close to drinking out of a freshly harvested semi- mature coconut.
PDX Food Dude says
Thanks Jay. People have recommended it before, but I haven’t been able to find it here in Oregon. I looked again tonight and it is now available, so I’ll pick some up and we’ll get the testers together.
Al Robinson says
Wild Harvest is the best coconut water out there that’s why it’s discontinued because y’all don’t want us to have the real deal!!! This world is just sad.
I have been trying different coconut juice. For me the best is Zico.
I Agee zico is good …it’s pricey , but smooth and has the best taste to me
Am drinking Aldi’s “Natures Nectar”
coconut water product of Brazil. Focus on flavor & potassium content. 🥥⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
PDX Food Dude says
Thanks, I’ll look into it.
Nature’s Necter is the best coconut water I’ve tasted by far and I’vetried many. Has a slight vanilla flavor even though it’s pure coconut water. Highly recommend it!!
PDX Food Dude says
Thanks, I haven’t heard of that but will see if I can find it.
I’m surprised you didn’t add “Harmless Harvest ” organic coconut water in the list. It’s somehow pink coconut water, but it tastes great! I love it! Kinda expensive as it’s almost $5 per 16 oz bottle, but still worth it
PDX Food Dude says
We love it too! Check again, it’s number one on the list.
Goya canned coconut water is good too! Y’all should review it :)
Judy Weintraub says
Sigh. I’ve been drinking coconut water for a long time, 20 years? More than that, no idea but exactly but long enough that from reading everyone on here, it seems that it must have been a lot longer than everyone else has been drinking its since no one shows any sign of sharing the problem i have.
For the last several years i’ve only been drinking Trader Joe’s. that is because Trader Joes is the only one that still has everything i’ve loved about coconut water. No other brand has it.
Since 2020 it’s been really hard to get even Trader Joes.
What Trader Joe’s has that i love and all the brands used to have it, in addition to organic, and containing only coconut, nothing else, it comes in 11oz servings in a cardboard/paper container WITH ATTACHED PEEL OFF STRAW TO DRINK IT WITH. I put that in upper case because no one seems to have heard of it before. All the brands had straws it for years, from the beginning,
i shopped at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s mostly and they all had attached straws. Zico, Naked Juice, ONE, Vita Coco, all of them. Perfect, i mean, it actually feels good to suck it through a little straw. Airtight seal. Gradually the various brands stopped having the straws. For a while i could get some from Amazon, but it’s been long ago now that i can only find it at Trader Joes, their own brand, but sometimes it will be out of stock for long periods. Like now.
i will always buy one or two cases when i can. I have never had a problem with the taste of pure coconut water, i know it varies but not in ways that bother me. It’s never tasted “bad” to me. Only if sugar is added, or “natural flavors.” So i’m easy to please. As was said, flavor is subjective. i’ve never found any coconut water bad tasting, i don’t really notice if the taste changes from batch to batch. i used to be perfectly happy with all coconut water until all the brands stopped availability of 11oz paper container with attached straw. I’ve tried other packaging versions when no other choice has been available, i don’t like it in cans, aluminum isn’t healthy, especially if you buy a big stash and it sits for a long time, absorbing what the container is made of. Recently i got a new different Trader Joe’s coconut water which came in glass bottles, but it had to be kept refrigerated even before being opened. i don’t have room in my fridge to hold a decent supply of them. i also got some from Amazon or Whole Foods like that which had to be refrigerated even unopened,. They were good, tasty, but don’t meet my needs.
I’m just wondering if anyone else remembers when they always came in paper containers with straws. In the above informtion, it said that there was a brand, Harvest Bay, which i remember from the old days.. It’s described as including a “sippy straw” , so that sounds like what used to be the way they all were packaged, but it sounded like this was unique, in the course of the study. I immediately googled Harvest Bay but there were no examples of any at all that included a “sippy straw,” or any other kind of straw. I found examples of Harvest Bay, but they were made to drink,straight out of the box putting your mouth over the opening. You can buy your own straws and use them with that, i’ve done it before. But these Harvest Bay coconut waters aren’t showing up as available (even without the straw), they seem to have been gone for a long time, although stores, including Amazon, will have google links appearing as if they carry this product but they don’t. .
I really appreciate that coconut water is so important to a lot of people, that there would be an ongoing study of individual types. If anyone has any information about what happened to the once common packaging with small straw, and whether there is a way to find any that still may exist somewhere, i will be happy to learn the information. Of course i’m utterly pessimistic and at the same , grateful that Trader Joe’s uniquely still has this option, it’s the only kind they have, when they have them. thanks for all the information.
I drink LaCroix Coconut water Walmart sells $3.45 a 12 cans taste great
Hey what about 100 coconuts? By far the best tasting coconut water currently on the market
PDX Food Dude says
Hi Wanda, I’ve never heard of it, but just ordered a case. We have lots of new waters coming up! Thanks for the suggeston
Staci Doss says
Where do you buy it? Is it available at any store?
Joe M says
Says the internet ;-). I don’t see pins for anywhere near PDX.
PDX Food Dude says
I purchased it online with no issues.
Joe M says
Wish you listed more details and included images for all products. Especially when product links in the title go to a company not a particular product. Maybe with a “collapsed by default” hiding mechanism on the web page.
Like you mentioned a particular Trader Joe’s entry near the bottom (good stuff), but they carry a good 4-5 kinds. Some TJ branded, others not. Mentioning specific sizes and offering an image would help limit confusion, or people buying something different than you recommended.
But thanks for sharing your thoughts on this high potassium nature based drink. I wouldn’t be so interested if it was easier to find a supplement there (and most veggies tasting so bad, and being so expensive).
PDX Food Dude says
Thanks for the input. I’m working on an update and will try to make it more clear.
Edie Brokaw says
Thx for all the work you are doing to help us find and consume the best coconut water we can. Well-done!