How one company cracked the secret of coconut so that we can drink the purest elixir of life
Coconut, aptly dubbed the people’s tree of life is a fountain of fibre, healthy fats and protein, essential vitamins and minerals with antioxidant properties. Young coconut water is especially energising and health enhancing as it is full of nutrients and one of the highest sources of electrolytes. Electrolytes’ function is to keep us hydrated hence we need them during detox and after a physical exertion. In fact, drinking raw coconut water and eating meat of young coconuts can help us detoxify and balance our digestive tract.
What’s so special about coconut water and why should we drink it?
Coconut water provides valuable and often essential nutrition for vegans and vegetarians, and also those of us who regularly detoxify their bodies and want to maintain good weight as it is completely fat-free. This is all thanks to coconut water that is rich in a natural form of Vitamin C – ascorbic acid, B vitamins and proteins that vegan diets can be short of. Besides coconut water is absolutely delicious and its neutral taste can be accepted by virtually everyone. Its low calories, carbohydrate and sugar content only add to its magical, medicinal and restorative powers. Coconut water is a number one healthy alternative to artificial energy and sports drinks on the market.
Despite of coconut being rich in caprylic acid used to fight fungal problems such as an intestinal yeast infection caused by the overgrowth of Candida albicans, coconut water itself is highly susceptible to contamination by bacteria. Paradoxically, caprylic acid – a natural antifungal can help us treat bladder infections but it cannot kill bacteria that enter the nut. Various air borne bacteria can be introduced during extraction, filtration and bottling that can spoil the water therefore, it is really crucial to buy the certified organic and truly raw coconut water so that we drink the highest quality water, as if straight from the tree. This is also true of other foods made from coconut fleshy meat including milk, cream and oil.
Pure and raw coconut water is rich in vitamins and antioxidants and free from additives and bacteria that can be found in many coconut water brands out there. But how do we source and access fresh, cleanest and purest, unadulterated coconut water?
This is a key question for anyone who is interested in boosting their health with this amazing plant-based nutrition provided to us by nature itself.
One company has revolutionised the process of extraction that allows us to enjoy super fresh, cleanest and purest coconut water that also doesn’t contribute to creating mountains of plastic in Thailand where it originates. And, we, consumers of such high-quality product can rest assured this coconut water is free of formaldehyde and other toxins that diminish the product quality and are harmful to us.
A Grassroot business at the forefront of innovation
Coco Symbiosis, an innovative start-up based in Thailand, which started its life as the only manufacturer and seller of the cleanest coconut water in 2003 following 5 years of research and development. The company launched its products in 2021 in the USA and the beginning of 2022 marks its first launch in France, where the product can be officially purchased.
The company first began the processing of coconut water for its final use by freezing it. This was dictated by the way coconut products are shipped from Asia to reach European shores. However, chemistry of coconut water is specific; it isn’t cellular and its mineral and sugar content means the coconut water can be frozen without any effect on its quality. During tests the team found the bacterial count in the water remained an issue that needed to be addressed and focussed on resolving it. They turned to nature for answers: the coconut palm tree itself. What is it in the tree that keeps the water fresh and prevents from spoiling despite of tropical temperatures in which any natural organic substance ferments within hours?
The leading up to three major breakthroughs
Reason why the coconut water remains fresh and doesn’t spoil whilst on tree is because of its hermetic casing i.e. the coconut shell that renders the environment sterile and acts like a mini fridge with perfectly set thermostat. Once the coconut is cut from the mother tree and the shell pierced to extract the water, all natural bacterial processes of fermentation kick in setting off the spoilage. Thanks to advances in technology, it is possible to remove the water from coconuts under near-sterile conditions in labs. However, in an industrial process of extraction, whereby up to 100,000 of coconuts are used, it is impossible to ensure the cleanest, unadulterated product as there will inevitably be incidents of bacterial contamination. So the company’s CEO, Roman Devivo and his team turned their attention to filtration as they knew this was the only viable solution to remove bacteria post extraction. When they embarked on their missions there was one big problem; at the time there was no industrial filtration process available that would allow achieving such high sterility and preserving the entire nutritional value in the coconut water simultaneously. So they decided to invent one. They created a filtration process that is proprietary to Coco Symbiosis and specifically tailored to coconut water filtration.
Mimicking nature and translating this into a technological process that enables us to enjoy something as natural as it is.
Coco Symbiosis 1st major breakthrough. Coconut water should only contain harmless to humans bacteria such as lactobacillus, a common active culture found in many lightly fermented non-dairy and dairy products such as fruit kefirs, yoghurt or buttermilk. The company comes up with its own aseptic process which allows them to keep coconut water the same as in coconut shell with zero bacteria count by simply switching container. The process which is their own trademark eliminates two processes of contamination: one being shell piercing whereby bacteria are simply introduced through tools used and second being contact with air.
Coco Symbiosis 2nd major breakthrough was innovating a process whereby safely extracted and filtered raw coconut water can be maintained stable without applying heat to get the product ready for storage with a good shelf-life. It needs to be considered that heat used in industrial processing destroys the nutritional content and results in a final product that is less than desirable from a health point of view. The company was already able to achieve this process in early stages of development through a pilot project they innovated. If no heat is used, it is truly raw coconut water. Hence it is advisable to check if claims made by companies offering raw product can be verified by them by explaining what processes they use in their manufacture. Coco symbiosis uses a machine that extracts coconut water at low temperatures so no goodness is lost during the process and flavour stays the same.
This innovation has enabled them to keep the coconut water stable at ambient temperatures for four years. After such epic-long storage, the water tasted exactly the same as in the coconut. They can keep all goodness in and take bacteria out according to Roman Devivo.
Until now coconut water bottlers used High Pressure Processing (HPP) to preserve the nutrients. This breakthrough has now superceded the old process.
Coco Symbiosis 3rd breakthrough is an anti-clogging natural filter, an in-house innovation.
The start-up has a capacity to filter thousands of tonnes of coconut water per day without clogging filters, a process that can only be currently achieved by pharmaceutical industries but on a much lower scale due to costs of fine filters being used. Coco Symbiosis filters employ a mechanism with optimal pore sizes, enabling to filter large quantities at a level of sterility without imparting any impurities such as parabens from plastics that are components of filters used in industrial coconut water processing. Filtration process has been approved by Food and Drug Administration, the US FDA and the filter used by the company is the only such filtration solution on the market today.
It can be said, the symbiosis that defines this forward-looking company is a perfect symbiotic relationship and catalyst that has brought aseptic process and smart technology into a tight unison. This gave a value-added coconut water product that not only tastes great but it is also nutritionally superior to other coconut waters on the market. Roman developed an aseptic process and anti-clogging mechanism is the brainchild of a Swiss engineer who is Roman’s technological partner.
Coco Symbiosis fits the category of a socially and environmentally responsible business whose intention is to deliver a high quality product without compromising the health of our planet by having to ferry thousands of plastic bottles across the oceans. How?
Coconut water is delivered to you frozen in a much more environmentally-friendlier packaging as the company had reduced the amount of plastics in the packaging they use.
Secondly, as the water is packaged in bulk in Thailand and arrives to you in a slick 10-litre bag this makes it also a more ecological product saving on volume of packaging used. On a practical level, it also makes drinking coconut water easier as it does away with tough business of cracking coconuts open with kitchen cleavers each time we want to enjoy a small glass of healthy beverage that disappears in seconds. This is of great appeal to those who want to drink copious amounts of coconut water regularly as part of their lifestyle. Minimum life-shelf when refrigerated is 30 days although it can easily surpass that, extending up to even 90 days. The other plus is a bag itself is sterile – as no bacteria can travel back with the air inside the bag thanks to its design. The liquid can be easily decanted through a nozzle as with classic bulk wine boxes available in cooperatives or other shops.
3 PPPs – People – Planet —Prosperity
Offering high-end product factory-direct means we can enjoy nature’s best offerings and those who grow the coconut trees and manufacture the final product receive fair wages for their labour. This also drives sustainability of the entire coconut industry as more and more farmers who grow coconuts for socially-responsible businesses such as Coco Symbiosis have an option of choosing organic permaculture-style cultivation over intensive, chemically driven farming as it is profitable for them. This is a good for planet and people business model that works for small planet-conscious entrepreneurs and catalyst companies, as I call them that are making the difference in the world of commerce by aligning the needs of people with nature through their unrelenting adherence to ethics.
If you are based in France or the UK you can pre-order Coco Symbiosis coconut water here now and get 10% discount. By doing so you are also helping me out.