Most helpful critical review
589 of 683 people found the following review helpful
not bad stuff, but I have serious questions
on June 1, 2008
Coconut water is the liquid inside an unopened coconut. It is not "coconut milk," although there is often confusion about that. Coconut milk is made from the meat of the coconut after it is opened and the water poured out. Inside the coconut, the water is sterile and very benign to the human body - it has been safely used in emergencies as IV fluid! (Straight out of the coconut, that is, NOT from a Tetrapak.)
Coconuts in general are very healthy items. In the South Pacific the coconut palm is called "the tree of Life," because it provides so many things for a healthy life: food, water, shelter, medicine, etc. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils on the planet, but has been the victim of intense propaganda campaigns by corporate vegetable oil cartels and other evil critters.
Coconut water tastes (to me) a bit like very watery, unsweetened tapioca, with just a hint of sourness. It is quite bland by itself, but mixes easily with fruit juices, etc. It has great health properties and is rapidly becoming popular with athletes as a superb isotonic drink, because it has great electrolyte and mineral properties, and is a natural food with no harmful side effects or hideous chemical garbage masquerading as food.
Good organic coconut water is very hard to find, but there are many brands of non-organic like this one on the market. I checked out the package info and vendor's web site, but could find only general information on coconut water and its benefits, nothing specific about this exact product - where and how it is grown and harvested, the quality of the land and processing, etc. That is not a good sign.
For an item that is very health oriented, the only reasons I can see for hiding that information are pure marketing ignorance, or knowing that the truth would not paint a good picture. Rain forests are reportedly being cut down for coconut palm plantations, especially those dedicated to unhealthy corporate factory farming practices. It would be vital for a company to distance themselves from that kind of activity by using only properly grown plants on healthy, environmentally sound plantations, and making that a very prominent part of their marketing.
It would also be vital to play up everything possible that points to a healthy product by specifically mentioning those things about this specific product, not just general properties. This company doesn't do any of that, so I can only assume that this product is not produced in a way they want me to know about. That is the kiss of death for a product in my eyes. Granted, I am fussier than most in this regard.
Don't be misled by the "100% Natural" marketing hype. That means virtually nothing. It is not a strict, legally defined standard, as is "USDA Organic," for example. Virtually anything found in "nature," i.e. toxic heavy metals, MSG (yes, it occurs in nature), animal manure, etc., can be considered "natural" and can legally be included in a product labeled "100% Natural." Granted, USDA organic standards are very weak as organic standards go (compared to say, Oregon Tilth), but they are still better than nothing.
While I love coconut and want to give this product 4 or 5 stars, the complete lack of honest information about its origins and processing make me VERY, VERY suspicious. Without more information about how safe/healthy the product actually is, I can only give it 3 stars and a serious "caveat emptor." It is probably much better than any ordinary "sports drinks," but there are too many unanswered questions to be sure. One's health is not something to be treated lightly.
UPDATE July 2009:
After continued searching, I still have not been able to locate a consistent source of organic or Fair Trade coconut water. While the manufacturer of this coconut water still does not give out any real information about the growing, harvesting, or other relevant details of production, neither do any of their competitors.
So far, this is still the best coconut water I have been able to find, and I continue to drink it, even with the questions I have.