Knowing Your Virgin Coconut Oil

Here at The Coconut Cooperative we like to bring our readers interesting tidbits in the coconut world. Today, a closer look at the different manufacturing processes within the “same” type of coconut oil.

Everyday consumers are offered a plethora of choice when it comes to coconut oil. We’ve looked at the difference between expeller vs cold press, virgin versus extra virgin, etc. I will admit, a lot of it is just clever marketing. But, as producers compete over cost and market share, there is variation within the same products, namely Virgin Coconut Oil. 

For example, we recently spoke with several VCO producers who sell different grades of Virgin Coconut Oil. The main difference between the grades, is the temperature at which the coconut meat is dried at prior to the expelling process. 

To produce the highest quality coconut oil, low temperature (<50 degree celsius) are preferred because the low temperature ensures that the least amount of nutrient is lost in the final product. However, because it takes more time to dry the same amount of coconut meat, less coconut oil is produced per day than by drying coconut meat at a higher temperature. 

While this may seem like an insignificant point, drying coconut meat at a higher temperature (>60 degrees) allows producers to lower their production costs while still labeling the final product as “virgin coconut oil”. However, as knowledgable consumers, you have the right to understand the differences. Virgin coconut oil dried at lower temperature is more fragrant than coconut oils dried at higher temperatures. 

This is obviously a subtle point going into the details of VCO production, but if the next time you open up a jar of coconut oil and it smells less fragrant than usual, you can identify it as being that the coconut meat was dried at a higher temperature prior to being expelled. 

Frederic Zhang