Monday, December 21, 2009
O.N.E. Coconut Water: with a splash of Pink Guava
Yes folks, I am well aware that on many an occasion I have repeatedly stated my hatred of coconut. And I really don't like the stuff. But I do sometimes like coconut flavored drinks. (Yeah, it's girly, but I admit to liking Malibu Rum on occasion.)
I also have a best friend who is from the Caribbean islands (St. Croix) and he has been known to wax poetic about how great coconut water is. However, when he had it, it was directly from a coconut that had just been plucked off the tree. And he may or may not have drunk it body shot style off a hot island girl. How could that not be good, even if you don't like coconut?
Now, in case you are wondering, there is a difference between coconut water and coconut milk. Coconut water is sort of like coconut primordial ooze. It's collected from inside the shell of the coconut before the fruit matures, and before the "meat" of the fruit has even had a chance to form. If you have ever shaken a coconut at the grocery store and heard water swishing around, that is coconut water -- kind of the senior citizen version -- because by that point, the fruit has ripened and the meat is formed...but you get the point. Coconut milk, on the other hand, is actually made from the meat of the coconut being grated, soaked in warm water, and then squeezed through cheesecloth.
Coconut water is one of the most popular drinks in South America (and the Caribbean). My friend has tried several types commercially available here in the States, but none of them have passed his tests. He says they all taste like chemicals.
According to O.N.E., their coconut water is not artificially sweetened, only flavored with real fruit juice, and contains 15 times more potassium than sports drinks (possibly from Kazakhstan, maybe mined by members of the Sagdiyev family?) . It's also full of antioxidants, and might be able to make you fly. OK, I made that last part up. All of that is great, but what I really care about is...what does it tastes like? And will it pass the BFF test?
The water is packaged in Tetra Paks (which have all sorts of spiffy qualities -- it helps preserve the product without added chemicals). I just liked it because it was like drinking a from a giant grown up juice box.
So, for the tasting: I made said best friend from St. Croix try it first. And I have to say he was pretty damn impressed! He said that while it doesn't taste exactly right off the tree, it is pretty darn close. He was happy to see that they even left the little bits of coconut pulp that normally get strained out in other bottled versions.
Did I like it?
I did. It tastes like coconut -- only not. I know that sounds weird, but it's hard to describe. It's sweet, and a little salty. The flavor that we think of as being quintessentially coconut is there, but it's really subtle. The guava adds sort of a fruit punch note to the mix. It was super refreshing. I was afraid I'd have to slog through, it but I gulped my share down. Basically, think of the most refreshing Hawaiian Punch ever, and you pretty much have it.
I'll be buying this one again.