iTi News from: 10-2014  

Young Coconuts Versus Mature Coconuts, the Facts

A coconut takes a full year to develop from a flower into a ripe nut. During this time the fruit of the typical coconut passes through 3 phases:

  • Phase 1: Even before the nut is ripe, when it is bright green, one may drink the water but to harvest pre-maturely is not a sustainable model.
  • Phase 2: After the green stage the nut begins to ripen. On the outside, it slowly turns yellow , and on the inside a thin white layer of pulp begins to develop.
  • Phase 3: The nut continues to ripen, the outside becomes harder and the white meat thickens and hardens.

This is the sustainable model for the coconut business. A full ripened coconut!

Virtually every part of the coconut palm can be used and has significant economic value.  An exception is the Thai Fragrant variety which is mainly grown for the water. But this variety is only available in a very small quantity and triple the cost

There are a few other varieties that are grown solely for water in places such as Sri Lanka and the Dominican Republic.  The water available from these varieties is a tiny fraction of what would be needed to sustain a market for coconut water.

 Today we estimate that 95% of all coconut water sold comes from the fully ripened coconut.  The water from the fully ripened coconut is loaded with electrolytes.  We see no relevant difference between coconuts that are harvested fully ripened and pre-maturely harvested coconuts.

Harvesting coconuts pre-maturely is not the sustainable model.  Why put all this effort in growing coconuts for only water. That's a waste.

There is a good reason why they call a coconut tree the "tree of life" or the "tree of giving".


  1. First we have coir which is the natural fiber extracted from the husk and used in products such as floor mats, doormats, brushes, mattresses, etc.
  2. Next there is the brown shell which is used for fuel or activated carbon
  3. Then there is the white meat which is either processed into desiccated coconut, coconut cream coconut oil or virgin coconut oil
  4. Finally the coconut water which is either packed in Tetra for the retail market or processed into coconut water concentrate to be shipped to export markets. The disadvantage packing in origin is the challenge dealing with low brix raw materials. This is why so many brands are adding sugars, either declared or undeclared. For more information please request the White Paper on sugar added coconut water by clicking here.