Or, at the very least, taste buds that have become acquired to real food flavors and disdain artificial ingredients.
I often get asked about the best coconut water and milk. The best way to drink coconut milk is to just make your own. It's quick, easy, and takes two ingredients.
Coconut water can get a little more tricky. With clever marketing and USDA loop-holes, just about anything can be labeled as "natural" which can be scary for the consumer in search of truly healthful foods. Take a look at this article, and others like it, and you'll never want to eat anything with natural flavorings again.
A second trick coconut water companies also use is to add sugar. Coconut water is by definition the water of green coconuts found inside once the fruit is cut open. It's only is slightly sweet, but because we crave sugar, companies often add this component just to entice our taste buds.
Here are my favorite coconut waters, thusfar, as well as the ones I would recommend not wasting your money on:
1. C2O Pure Coconut Water
$27.48 for 12 (17.5oz) cans
This is my favorite, hands down. The can is BPA-free, the coconut water is unsweetened, and the product is organic. The only ingredient is Coconut Water. I prefer the one with pulp (green can) but the one without pulp (blue can) is wonderful as well.
2. Harvest Bay Coconut Water
$13.24 for 12 (8.45oz) containers
I have found this brand in World Market and online only so far. It's organic, and made in sustainable packaging. No added sweeteners or flavorings.
3. Vita Coco
$23.63 for 12 (16.9oz) containers
A little easier to find than the C2O, Vita Coco is available in gas stations and super-marts across the country. Only buy the original plain flavor, it has natural fruit sugar and vitamin C added, which is less crap than the flavored ones.
4. O.N.E. Coconut Water
$27.37 for 12 (16.9oz) containers
It's 100% coconut water with no additives. Vita Coco has a better taste, in my opinion (because of the sugar added), but O.N.E. is not bad.
5. Zico Pure Coconut Water
$32.00 for 12 (11.2oz) containers
The label says 100% pure coconut water but when I drink Zico, I taste something strange. Like some kind of flavorings added, I am turned off from this product. I don't buy it.
I'll continue to add to this list as I try new brands. Leave a comment if you know of one that I forgot to mention!