Borman’s, Florence, Tita Ely, and More: Our Nata de Coco Taste TestDecember 20, 2019
After our cocktail mix taste test came up short on nata de coco, we decided to pick up a few packs to complete the fruit salad set. And of course, we had to test the different supermarket variants while we were at it. Nata de coco, or coconut jelly, is a sweet, translucent gelatin made by fermenting coconut water. It was invented in the Philippines by Teodula K. Kalaw in 1949 as an alternative to nata de piña, a similar product made with pineapples. Which brand should you use for this season’s wave of desserts?
Borman’s nata de coco doesn’t taste too coconut-y, nor does it have an overwhelming sweetness. The syrup is average, and doesn’t leave any weird aftertaste. But we did detect a few odd flavors in the jellies. It’s a mix of meaty, salty, and chemical-ly; although none of them overpower the taste you’d expect from nata de coco. We did like the texture though. It was chewy, and had a bounce. That said, it “tasted nothing like everything else.”
Buenas’ nata de coco is “no bueno.” The syrup tasted radioactive (a member of the team had a harsher comparison, but we’ll spare you from it), and reminded some of us of an old lady’s expired lipstick. The jellies, which “look[ed] glow-in-the-dark,” had a sour clay-like flavor. Although, we have to commend the brand for being generous in terms of jelly size.
CDO is probably the nata de coco everyone—our own households—gets. That’s why it tasted familiar, like the nata de coco you had in every fruit salad ever. It was sweet, and had an okay bite. All-in-all it was pretty normal; forgettable, but it doesn’t really warrant not getting from the shelves.
If you remember Sprout, the gum that burst liquid once you chew it, that’s what Filtaste’s nata de coco felt like. It had a very good bite, each of which guaranteed a taste of syrup. A member of the team, however, commented that “it’s not really nata de coco,” in the sense that it doesn’t give off a particularly nata de coco-y flavor. Don’t get us wrong; it’s doesn’t at all taste bad. (That aforementioned team member—and a few others—actually liked it.) The syrup just tastes like basic simple syrup, and we would’ve rather had a little more coconut-y oomph.
Florence is in the same league as Buenas in the old lipstick flavor sphere; just not so in-your-face, and a hint sweeter. That said, some members of the tea felt it tasted manufacture-like (i.e. like “rubber” or “industrial cleaners). For some strange reason, it has artificial banana flavoring in its ingredients—and, unfortunately, you can tell. That’s not the fruit we’re looking for here. (Sorry banana lovers.)
A member of our team describes Mega Prime’s nata de coco as “nata de Coco Martin—almost perfect.” Its syrup has a decent sweetness. Plus, the jellies have a good bite; though, we wish it had just a little bit more. Its cubes are in different sizes, which we quite like. That gives it a nice, rugged (almost homemade-like) feel.
Tita Ely’s nata de coco is in the middle spectrum as far as nata de coco’s go. The syrup isn’t so bad, although it tastes more artificial than the others. The jellies taste a bit rubbery/plastic-y, and has a weird texture. “When you chew on it, it just… squishes.”
The Verdict: Mega Prime
Mega Prime’s syrup-y liquid and bouncy jellies make it our pick for this holiday’s feast of nata de coco desserts. Filtaste comes at a close second, though.