I tested 11 coconut waters – this brand was the clear winner

It’s the middle of summer, and unfortunately, an end to the swelling temps is not on the horizon. We all (desperately) need one thirst-quenching bevvyand while cocktails, mocktailsand electrolyte fuel liquids may be on your list, I’m looking far and wide for the best coconut water my stay-cool-this-summer budget can buy.

Have you ever wondered what the best coconut water to drink was? I haven’t either – that is, until a few weeks ago, when I was standing in front of the drinks fridge. A thought struck me: Was there any tangible difference between the bottles I was staring at? Feeling inspired, I took it upon myself to collect each and every bottle coconut milk from the shops around me. It was time to decide the best coconut water once and for all.

If you are familiar with our Taste-Off series (join the debate on best grocery store pasta sauce and share your two cents the best jarred salsa), then you know things are heating up. When I assemble my taste test panel, I’m always amazed at how brand loyal people can really be. This tasting is a little different, but our team agreed on the best coconut water for staying cool during the dog days of summer. You get a refreshing treat.

The ranking of the best coconut water

Unlike other taste-offs and bake-offs, we approached this one in a slightly different way. Between organic options, sweetened spins and canned coconut water, we tried every contender with an open mind and a lot of thought.

Taste

Of course, we wanted our coconut water to taste a little coconutty. We also didn’t want the taste to be messy, instead clean enough to drink on its own while also working as a drink mixer. And no funky aftertaste here – we were after unadulterated, drinkable coconut water.

Sweetness

We have created a sweetness scale to suit every taste. Some taste testers wanted sweetened coconut water, while others wanted no added sugar. Use our scale below to help determine your preference.

Like comparing apples and oranges, rather than ranking them all against each other, our taste test team picked their winners in each of the following categories:

  • Best coconut water for juices and cocktails
  • Best neutral coconut water for smoothies
  • Best drink coconut water

Keep scrolling for the coconut water taste test winners!

Coconut Waters Ranked by Sweetness

From least sweet to sweetest, see below for our tasting notes across the board.

11. Taste nirvana. According to our rankings, Taste Nirvana was the least sweet (but still fresh and delicious!). Many tasters said this one had a slightly spicy undertone that would work well in mixed drinks.

10. C20. This coconut water had a very neutral, almost subtle taste. Noter mentioned that this one felt the most like drinking plain water.

9. Vita Coco Pressed. Tasters were surprised that this one was almost silky smooth and coconut milky. Compared to the other choices, Vita Coco Pressed had a thicker mouthfeel than the others, probably due to the fact that it contains actual coconut. While some people thought this one was sweeter than the other Vita Coco options, the overall ranking still kept this one on the lower end of the sweetness scale. Tasters also thought this was the most coconut-y of the bunch. Many of us agreed that this would be great in a smoothie.

8. Whole Foods Organic. While the difference between WF 365 Organic and Regular coconut water was nominal at best, taste testers felt that the organic version was slightly fruitier than the regular version.

7. Whole Foods regular. See above.

6. O Organics. Taste testers said this coconut water was fairly neutral with an aftertaste that leaned a little on the sweeter side.

5. Vita Coco Organic. Similar to Whole Foods coconut water, taste testers noticed very little difference in taste between Vita Coco Organic and regular beverages. Overall, both options are right in the middle – just sweet enough.

4. Vita Coco Regular. See above.

3. Harmless harvest. Tasters noted that this one had the most natural sweetness of the group. The taste is slightly fruity and sweet, which the tasters enjoyed.

2. Iberia. This pick is among the few that contain added sugar, and tasters noted a light vanilla flavor in this one that most of the group liked. It’s definitely on the sweeter side and would go well in a cocktail.

1. Goya. The sweetest of the bunch, this coconut water tasted fruity and very tropical. More of a sweet drink than coconut water, but still enjoyable.

The best coconut water for fun summer drinks and cocktails

For the ultimate summer party drink, our team decided between Iberia and Goya. In the end, Iberia ended up as the winner for blending needs. While the added sugar makes it on the sweeter side, this one had a pure coconut flavor that testers preferred over Goya. We make cocktails and summer slushies with this coconut water when we want a sweeter treat.

The best neutral flavor of coconut water for mixing

Our crew named C2O the winner for the most neutral-tasting coconut water. Tasters said they would use this for healthier juices or smoothies because they could trust that the coconut water wouldn’t overpower the other ingredients. C2O would also be the flavor tasters would rely on for hydration on these hot summer days.

The best drinking coconut water

As for the best coconut water that testers would drink alone? Harmless harvest! The taste was a good balance between fruity and coconut, and the tasters named this the winner for its independent taste. We are definitely filling up this summer.

Of course, there are so many more coconut waters to try, so we have to know: Do you agree with our taste testers? What is your favorite coconut water? Let’s hear it in the comments below!

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