I am really not sold on this recent coconut water craze. I have tried quite a few different coconut water drinks at this point, and all of them have been...well, frankly, they've been bad. However, I have had several recommendations to try Harmless Harvest's coconut byproduct, so I decided to pick up one when I came across some of them this past weekend.
I think that I can finally say without any doubt that coconut water really just isn't for me. I have a really hard time drinking the stuff, and although Harmeless Harvest's coconut water is a little bit different from the others that I have had, it is still coconut water. It does taste very fresh, and I have to say that it is a lot more palatable than other brands. This may be due largely to the fact that Harmless Harvest does not use heat to pasteurize its product. Although pasteurization is often necessary to ensure that the drinks that we buy in the store are sanitary enough for general consumer use, heat does tend to have a bad habit of altering the flavor of things. So instead, Harmless Harvest subjects its coconut water to intense pressure before bottling. This sanitizes the drink without subjecting the coconut water to external heat, thus avoiding any potential change in the liquid's chemical make-up and therefore retaining the original, raw taste of the liquid.
I can definitely taste the difference in Harmless Harvest's coconut water. It has a more natural taste, and the flavor of the actual coconut is more noticeable than in other brands. Most of the coconut waters that I have had in the past just tasted salty, and bore little resemblance to the fruit from which they originated. Although the taste is more natural and a little bit more bearable than other drinks of the type, I still found myself struggling to drink it. Each return to the bottle was an exercise in willpower, and although I did finish the entire serving in one sitting, I found myself more confused than anything else. I found the taste to be pungent and strange for the first second or two, after which the aftertaste quickly becomes sort of light and intriguing. Although I don't really mind the aftertaste (in fact, I kind of liked it this time around), I still did not think that it was worth having to fight through the initial mouthfeel of the drink.
Overall, I don't feel like I can recommend Harmless Harvest's coconut water. I do find their alternative method of sterilization very interesting, and I do recognize that of the coconut waters that I have had, this is the best. But I think that I am now comfortable with accepting the fact that I just don't like coconut water. I have tried and tried and tried to enjoy the stuff, and I really just can't. It is too strange and salty for my tastes. However, if you do enjoy coconut water, or if you are looking for a unique and interesting new beverage experience, then this one is probably worth a shot.
Verdict: Not recommended
Purchased: Whole Foods Market [Greenville, SC]
Size: 8 fl. oz. [235mL]