Why Coconut Water From Thailand is the Best in the World
More coconuts (hundreds of millions!) are exported from Thailand than from any other country in the world, and for good reason. Young Thai coconuts are well known for being the best in the world, even compared to other countries in Southeast Asia. The variety most commonly grown in Thailand is called “nam hom”, which translates to “fragrant water”. Indeed, these coconuts are unique for a variety of reasons.
It’s All About the Soil...
It’s the same reason that organically grown produce is more nutritious than hydroponic or conventionally grown produce. Actually, the more direct analogy is to wine -- just as people prefer malbec grapes from Argentina, pinot noir from Oregon or sauvignon blanc from the Marlborough area of New Zealand, the quality of coconuts is specific to their environment and growing conditions. Though we all think of coconuts on the beach, coconuts from these environments tend to have a distinct salty flavor, as Caribbean or Brazilian coconuts often are. Ratchaburi Province (pictured below), home to Copra’s factory and source of all its coconuts, is an agricultural powerhouse in Thailand because of its soil and weather. Its dark, mineral-rich soil, abundant water and year-round sun ensure that the fruit - and specifically coconuts, its highest volume product - is extremely sweet. The coconut water should be extracted within 24 hours of harvesting for optimal flavor and nutrition, as Copra does. These coconuts are also known for their snow white, tender, nutty flesh, also known as coconut meat.
And Minimal Processing...
In comparison, other coconut-producing countries in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia and the Philippines are known for producing mature coconuts which have thicker coconut meat with higher fat content ideal for making coconut milk, cream and desiccated coconut. If they produce young coconut products such as coconut water, they often cut corners in manufacturing processes to reduce costs and mask the lower quality of the raw material. One of these involves reducing the fresh coconut water to a syrup or concentrate, which is cheaper to import and can be later added to filtered water. Pasteurization at high temperatures for long periods of time is also common. This heating process meant to prolong the water’s shelf life by killing bacteria also strips the raw juice of its nutrients and flavors. Copra keeps it clean with extremely minimal processing and then keeping the coconut water frozen until it reaches the customer.
...Which Results In the Best Taste & Nutrition
As indicated by their name, “nam hom” coconuts have a delicate aroma and are most renowned for their sweet, refreshing coconut water. Young Thai coconuts are picked between 28-32 days, when brix (sweetness) and nutrient density are at their peak. The smallholder farmers that Copra works with have been growing coconuts for generations and can tell the brix of a coconut just by looking at it!
Don’t fear the sugar though - it is mostly in the form of glucose, which is most easily absorbed by the body (unless processed sugars which take the form of sucrose or fructose). In fact, the sugar is necessary for hydration. Coconut water has the exact proportions of sugars, salts and (95%) water needed to replenish your body. It was used instead of IV fluid in the Pacific theatre of WWII! In addition, Copra’s coconut water is as minimally processed as it comes, which means that you can still reap the benefits from minerals, vitamins and natural enzymes good for digestion (which cause it to have such a short shelf life). This means your body is granted more antioxidants and cytokinins (a little-known compound which can slow the aging process). One serving can cover 14% of your daily magnesium needs and 13% of your daily potassium needs.