Coconut water hit the scene with full force a few years ago and has remained a popular drink ever since. Beyond being insanely trendy, coconut water is high in potassium, packed with electrolytes and antioxidants, and is super hydrating.

There are dozens of coconut water brands out there, and despite having a rep for being healthy, some could work on how close they are to Mother Nature.

To help you navigate the grocery aisle next time you’re looking for a healthy drink, I’ve ranked these popular coconut water brands based on flavor, how sustainably their coconuts are harvested, and how their coconut water is pasteurized. Let’s get crackin’.

5. Vita Coco

coconut waters

Photo by Ashton Caudle

Even though Vita Coco’s water is not made from concentrate, this company uses ultra high temperature pasteurization and also adds sugar to their drinks. Ultra high temperature pasteurization denatures the enzymes in the drink, and also kills most nutrients.

This brand tastes super sweet and somewhat artificial, which sounds about right given its production process. Definitely not ideal.

Rating: D

4. Naked Juice Coconut Water

coconut waters

Photo by Ashton Caudle

Naked uses mature coconuts (instead of the more nutritious water from a young coconut) while also heat-pasteurizing their product, a big no-no if you’re trying to maintain the nutrients in the water. This coconut water had very sour notes and left a bad aftertaste. Next.

Rating: C-

3. Zico

coconut waters

Photo by Ashton Caudle

With Zico you have to pay close attention because they sell two different coconut waters depending on which packaging you buy. The water in the plastic bottles are made from concentrate, but the boxed cartons contain only water from Thai coconuts. This boxed variety is not made from concentrate, and contain no additives.

However, both versions of this company’s water underwent ultra high temperature pasteurization, killing anything nutritious and basically leaving this product as healthy as sugar water. Additionally, Zico tastes a little bit metallic and sour. Yum…

Rating: C

2. Taste Nirvana

coconut waters

Photo by Ashton Caudle

Taste Nirvana uses a “steam sterilization” process which is a combination of heat and pressurized pasteurization. There are no concentrates or additives in this brand, and their coconuts are sustainably grown and organic, even though this is not labeled on the bottle. Props for modesty.

This coconut water is great and for some reason tastes a little reminiscent of chocolate milk, but I’m definitely not complaining. This coconut water comes in two varieties, with and without fresh coconut pulp.

Rating: B+

1. Harmless Harvest

coconut waters

Photo by Ashton Caudle

Harmless Harvest’s organic raw coconut water is the clear winner. In my opinion, the taste is unrivaled —it’s not overly sweet, it’s refreshing, and not chalky at all.

The flavor and nutritious value of this coconut water is maintained by Harmless Harvest’s commitment to using high pressure pasteurization (HPP) instead of heat. This company employs individuals from surrounding villages, providing fair wage to their workers.

Harmless Harvest is an honest company with a desire for harvesting coconuts in the most sustainable way possible. What could be better? But don’t be shocked if your Harmless Harvest coconut water turns pink—this is due to varying amounts of antioxidants and phenols interacting with light. Only good things goin’ on.

Rating: A

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