Monday, July 21, 2014

All about: Coaqua's damn fine coconut water



I first discovered the wonders of coconut water when I travelled to LA on a regular basis several years ago – it cured even the most punishing of jet lags, the odd hangover and kept me going on super sweltering Californian days.
I really fell in love with it however when I travelled to Vanuatu two years’ ago. The village I stayed in was abundant in baby coconuts, which were sold with the tops almost lopped off, ready for you to grab a knife and a straw and dive in. It set me off on the road of serious addiction, but with all of the wonders that the rather delicious beverage brings I was all for it. With an electrolyte content completely compatible with the human body, coconut water is nature’s sports drink. It is low in calories and provides five of the essential aforementioned electrolytes – calcium, magnesium, chloride, sodium and potassium – in their natural form, making it the perfect choice for short-term rehydration during summer workouts or even when you’re ill. It’s also beneficial if you suffer from high blood pressure or heart disease, with just one serve (or around 330ml) providing almost twice the potassium of an average banana.
Until about a year ago, coconut water has always been difficult – and expensive – to source in New Zealand, so I was rather excited when the market opened up and some damn good varieties arrived in store. Not all were created equal however - and the goodies soon rose to the top.
A newbie that I have been reaching for on a more than regular basis is Coaqua, a company founded by Kiwis Grier and Steve - the former a production designer, the latter a hospitality star, both of whom found major success offshore. Grier had spent a lot of time in Thailand and fell in love with coconut water, as fresh and tasty as he could get it.
He began to wonder why more people weren’t drinking it, so talked to food and beverage specialist Steve, and the pair started taste-testing the products on the market. “We realized the reason was that most consumer coconut water products were just not all that great,” he said, and they set off on an “almost obsessive, months-long journey around Southeast Asia on a quest for the perfect coconut water. It was a journey that ended in Vietnam, where they found the “finest green coconuts, the best coconut water”, and - perhaps most importantly - a bottling plant for the water. Why glass bottles? Well, because they never considered anything else. “We don’t like plastic, we’re not sold on tetrapak, and we felt from the beginning that Coaqua is a drink that should look just as good as it tastes,” says Grier and damn, she does look good.
And yep, she tastes great too - and very different from many of the coconut water options I have supped out there. Keep her chilled and chug whenever you can I reckon - this stuff is an absolute winner that will most definitely be a fridge essential in my house from here on in!

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