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13 Popular Coconut Water Brands, Ranked Worst To Best

Variety of coconut water
Variety of coconut water - Jennifer Richmond/Tasting Table

For decades we've been told we should be drinking about three liters of water each day. And why not? It's been the easy go-to for hydration since the beginning of time. But believe it or not, there's another water out there that's even better for you: coconut water. Becoming quite the trendy drink recently thanks to its numerous health benefits, coconut water can replenish electrolytes after a serious workout and has even been known to decrease kidney stones and help with heart disease. With a pedigree like that, why wouldn't you start drinking it by the case-full? But be careful; too much coconut water isn't good for you, either.

Fans of the beverage for a long time, we've been lucky enough to drink it straight from the young coconuts that produce it. But since very few people have coconut trees growing in their backyards, several brands have started bottling the liquid to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Sadly, as is true with so many things, sometimes mass production isn't the best answer.

So, we collected different coconut waters and sipped every single one. A few brands only produce plain coconut water, but there are several that sell a variety including some with fruit flavoring. While there were a few misses, there were definitely some hits and even a couple that turned us into true believers. Read on to see which brand was our favorite and which ones to skip altogether.

Read more: 7 Best Store-Bought Lemonade Brands, Ranked

Simple Truth Organic

Two Simple Truth Coconut Waters
Two Simple Truth Coconut Waters - Jennifer Richmond/Tasting Table

Kroger's organic brand, Simple Truth, prides itself on being "simple foods that can be enjoyed the way nature intended." Well, if nature intended coconut water to be enjoyed like this, it's a wonder anyone drinks it at all.  After tasting these waters, the first word that comes to mind is "stale." We'd say it's flavorless, except for the fact that, while we didn't taste any coconut, we did get a distinct cardboard taste which we can only assume comes from the cardboard container in which it's packaged. It makes us wonder how soon after it's packaged these waters are placed on store shelves because even if it's only been a few days, this water really tastes like it's been sitting in that box for years.

We thought that maybe the flavored waters, of which there are three, would taste better, but we were wrong. There isn't an inkling of fruit anywhere. The chocolate, mango, and pineapple flavors all have that same stale, cardboard taste. It's just so unappetizing, that it was practically impossible to get past the first sip. We made it about halfway through each box just to be sure and unfortunately, it never improved.

O Organics

Carton of O Organics coconut water
Carton of O Organics coconut water - Jennifer Richmond/Tasting Table

Another of the store brands, O Organics comes from Vons and Albertson's and only produces organic products. Well, after tasting this coconut water, we can tell you we had more than enough after just one sip. This coconut water is both sweet and sour at the same time which makes for an odd combination. It reminded us more of rice vinegar than coconut water. So, while it might make a great ingredient to cook with, it's definitely not a good choice for a refreshing drink on its own.

After scanning the ingredients on the 11-ounce carton, we discovered the source of the tart flavor. Evidently, coconut water isn't the only thing inside this little box. There's also ascorbic acid. Why you'd need to add any acid to this water is beyond us. Maybe O Organics doesn't believe coconut water on its own is enough of a sell. Maybe the company wants to make sure its patrons are getting their necessary daily dose of vitamin C. Whatever the reason, we're here to tell you it doesn't work.

CoAqua

Can of CoAqua
Can of CoAqua - Jennifer Richmond/Tasting Table

The blue silhouetted woman lounging in a hammock on CoAqua's label is so simple and inviting, we couldn't help but grab a can. We were positive it would be one of our favorites. Then we opened it, proving you really can't judge a can by its label. CoAqua tells us to "reach for the world's best-tasting coconut water" and trust us, we will. It just won't be this one. We can tell you unequivocally this is absolutely not the world's best-tasting coconut water. It's not even okay tasting. It's just plain awful.

Lacking any sort of coconut flavor, this water tastes like some strange, cloyingly sweet fruit punch reminiscent of those bright red elixirs we drank when we were kids. But this coconut water isn't just overly sweet, it also has a strange tartness that just doesn't fit when we think of coconuts. While there is a slight hint of coconut on the finish, it's simply not enough for us to drain this 17-ounce can.

Amy & Brian

Can of Amy & Brian coconut water
Can of Amy & Brian coconut water - Jennifer Richmond/Tasting Table

Amy & Brian coconut water strives to "be better." Well, after tasting its various options, we can attest it's not better. It's not even good, which is pretty sad considering the words "great taste" are emblazoned on the side of every can. The problem here is that these coconut waters taste absolutely nothing like coconut. Instead, we felt like we were drinking plain, old water with imitation coconut flavoring added. The original coconut tastes like sugar water while the grape and lime taste more like those artificial fruit punches that come in powder packets.

Unlike some of the other waters we tried, Amy & Brian is light and flows easily over the tongue. So, we suppose, in a pinch, these waters will satisfy those looking to replenish their missing electrolytes, especially since these waters come in bigger cans. But if the only issue with another better-tasting brand is that its containers are too small to satisfy, we'll happily sip two or three over this giant one.

C2O

Cans of C2O coconut water
Cans of C2O coconut water - Jennifer Richmond/Tasting Table

C2O is another brand with several different options to choose from. Want it plain? There's a can. Like your coconut water with a little pulp? It's available. There are even a few fruit flavors and an espresso version if you're looking for a little pick-me-up late in the afternoon. But the one thing all of these cans are missing is flavor. While we don't want to be bowled over by the coconut, we do want to believe that actual coconuts were used to create the water we're sipping and unfortunately, we can't say that with C2O.

We appreciate the wink to the periodic table with the brand C2O -- as in there's nothing but 2 parts coconut to 1 part oxygen making up this water. But after tasting it, we wonder if there is even one part coconut, let alone two. The flavor is so subtle in fact, we weren't really sure if we were drinking coconut water or plain water. The can with pulp was the only time we got even a hint of coconut, but the floating pieces of flesh were quite jarring. The worst thing about these cans, though, was the weird, slightly bitter aftertaste. We think it might be from the aluminum but aren't totally sure because we really couldn't put our finger on what we were tasting, only that we really didn't like it.

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's coconut water
Trader Joe's coconut water - Jennifer Richmond/Tasting Table

Trader Joe's has a few different options when it comes to coconut water. There's a refrigerated version, as well as two shelf-stable options. After tasting all of them, it's safe to say that the pink refrigerated version is the best one -- which is why this one falls squarely in the middle of our list. If Trader Joe's only had refrigerated water, it would be much higher on the list, since that water is a delightful treat full of sweet coconut flavor.

Unfortunately, the brand's other versions fall a little flat. While both have subtle hints of coconut, there's nothing special that sets them apart from the other waters we tasted. They're fine. Both will quench your thirst while giving your body the nutrients it needs. But if that's all you want from your coconut water, there are much better choices. So, even though all three will satisfy, if you're in the mood for something cool and refreshing, go with the refrigerated organic coconut water as it's definitely the best of the bunch.

Once Upon A Coconut

Cans of Once Upon a Coconut
Cans of Once Upon a Coconut - Jennifer Richmond/Tasting Table

We really wanted to like these adorable cans. From their tall, thin shape to their brightly colored labels and cute names, we couldn't wait to try them. And if they only had pure coconut water, pineapple, and chocolate, Once Upon a Coconut would be higher on our list. Unfortunately, there's a fourth can under this label that was anything but pleasurable: the sparkling coconut and energy.

While the first three options are easy sippers that we wouldn't mind drinking morning, noon, or night, the sparkling coconut water was really disappointing. From the very first sip, this can was too darned sweet to be even close to enjoyable. It reminded us of a soda that had so much sugar you get cavities just thinking about it. So, if we want energy, we're definitely going elsewhere. But for regular coconut water, we'll happily sip on Once Upon a Coconut.

But cuteness and mild flavor aren't the only reasons to pick up a case. We especially appreciate that 10% of the profits of every case sold goes back to a charity. So, by drinking this coconut water, you're not only helping yourself, you're helping others as well. That's a win-win in our books.

Vita Coco

Carton of Vita Coco
Carton of Vita Coco - Jennifer Richmond/Tasting Table

This may be the most well-known brand on the list. But just because something is easily accessible, doesn't mean it's the best. While Vita Coco can be found on store shelves across America, there are better coconut waters out there. Don't misunderstand -- we enjoy Vita, but after sampling several different brands, we were surprised by how sweet this one is. Although we do prefer sweeter coconut water to those that lack any flavor at all, Vita tastes like the company added a spoonful of sugar to each carton. And while a spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down, it definitely doesn't help here. We prefer subtlety to overpowering and unfortunately, Vita is the latter.

But what Vita lacks in flavor it makes up for in variety. Vita has not one but five different coconut waters from which to choose including several fruit-flavored versions as well as a pressed option which has some coconut puree mixed in for when you're dying for that extra bit of coconut. It's even come out with a sparkling option if you're looking for something with a little extra pizzazz. So, if this is the only coconut water available at your local store, go ahead and grab a carton or two. But if there's a choice, pick another brand.

Zico

Bottle of Zico coconut water
Bottle of Zico coconut water - Jennifer Richmond/Tasting Table

We really enjoyed Zico. Unlike some of the others on this list, Zico stands out because of its subtlety in flavor. Now, that doesn't mean this water lacks flavor, in fact, it's the exact opposite. This coconut doesn't bowl us over with its coco-nuttiness. Instead, it has a delicate sweetness that we really enjoy. We think it has to do with how the water is made. While they use the same sweet Nam Hom coconuts as a base, the creators behind Zico then take that water and blend it with other coconut waters from several different Asian coconuts. The result is a drink that's full of that pleasant coconut flavor we're looking for without tasting artificial.

Available in a larger 17-ounce bottle, this water is a great choice after a workout or to help get over that late-night hangover. You'll be thrilled to have this to quench your thirst on a hot day -- we know we were.

365 Whole Foods Market

Can of 365 Coconut Water
Can of 365 Coconut Water - Jennifer Richmond/Tasting Table

The brand from Whole Foods Market is 365, which means that's the only place you'll find this coconut water. If you do pick up a can, give yourself a pat on the back because the brand pays close attention to each ingredient that goes into every one of its products, and has an ever-growing list of standards it sticks to. Whole Foods did a great job with this can because the only ingredient listed is coconut water. Unlike some of the others listed here, there is absolutely nothing else inside, and you can tell from the very first sip.

Full of strong, sweet coconut flavor, we couldn't put it down. We were actually surprised by how good it was because when we've tasted other items from the 365 brand, we've been disappointed, as they've either been way too sweet or totally flavorless. They were never just right. Well, call Goldilocks, because if she drinks coconut water, this is absolutely the can for her.

Not only was the coconut flavor pure delight, but the liquid itself had a wonderful mouthfeel that made us think we were drinking straight from an actual coconut. Even though this 17-ounce can says it contains two servings, we didn't want to share. As a matter of fact, if we had anything bad to say about it, it's that there wasn't an even bigger can.

Real Coco

Cartons of Real Coco
Cartons of Real Coco - Jennifer Richmond/Tasting Table

We couldn't get enough of Real Coco. This water was pure delight as it was sweet but nowhere near the saccharine of a couple of the others. Better yet, it really made us believe we were drinking water straight from the nut we'd just plucked off a tree on a tropical beach. This water didn't have that syrupy viscosity like some. Instead, it was a light liquid that flowed easily over the tongue and down our throats making the whole experience enjoyable from the very first sip. We think one reason these waters are so good is that the company only allows the rain to irrigate its coconut trees and not one pesticide or fertilizer is used. No outside help means no extra or unwanted flavors, and that's something we can totally get behind.

Available in two varieties: pink or pure, we really couldn't tell the difference when it came to taste as both were totally satisfying. The only thing we did discover was that the two different versions come in different sizes. If you want a lot to enjoy over a few days, grab the Pure as it's available in a 500-milliliter or 1-liter recyclable carton whereas the Pink is perfect for lunches or travel thanks to its petite 330-milliliter size.

Harmless Harvest

Botles of Harmless Harvest
Botles of Harmless Harvest - Jennifer Richmond/Tasting Table

Harmless Harvest stands out on this list not just because of its strong coconut flavor, but because it has something none of the other coconut waters have: color. Unlike the other waters, which are clear or have a slight milkiness to them, Harmless Harvest is bright pink. No, there's no added coloring inside. That color comes from the antioxidants in the coconuts the company uses: Nam Hom coconuts are considered to be some of the sweetest coconuts on earth.

But since water is meant to be sipped rather than stared at, this bottle's flavor is what made it one of our top picks. We didn't just get that luscious coconut, there's also a mild floral quality that tickles us.  But Harmless Harvest doesn't just produce amazing coconut water. Its flavored waters are spectacular as well. Where other brands use a heavy hand when adding fruit, Harvest adds just a splash. That splash is enough to let you know you're enjoying mango or apple coconut water without hitting you over the head and we so appreciate it. Add to these the fact that Harvest has to be refrigerated, and you have coconut water we'll grab any time we see it on the shelf.

Taste Nirvana

A bottle of Taste Nirvana
A bottle of Taste Nirvana - Jennifer Richmond/Tasting Table

As soon as we cracked the seal on this bottle, we knew we were in for a treat. The strong, nutty scent is so inviting, that we couldn't wait to put it to our lips. Even though smells sometimes don't match the flavors they promise, that is not the case with Taste Nirvana. We are happy to report that the flavor of this water is just as amazing as its scent making it our favorite bottle. The elixir has just the right amount of sweetness and a wonderful viscosity that coats the tongue and throat like a light blanket from the tropics.

Created by a father and son team from Thailand, they also use Nam Hom Coconuts. But in this case, the team waits until the meat and water of each coconut are in perfect harmony before harvesting. Then they bottle the water within a few hours of harvesting to ensure every bottle contains all the nutrients that come from each coconut without losing any of that rich, nutty flavor.

While this bottle isn't as easy to find as some of the others on this list, if you do find it, grab it. Available in several sizes, we promise you won't be disappointed.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.