The Incredible Story of Coconut Sap

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We know our readers love to know about the provenance of their food. Often behind products from do-good shops are fascinating stories, but you rarely get to hear them. However, the story of coconut sap (which is used in our delicious vinegars, coconut aminos and coconut nectar) is one you should know as it will leave you with a sense of wonder which only elevates the taste and feel-good factor of our products.

It’s all about the tree

Coconut sap actually comes from the tree itself. We’re not talking about the hairy coconut! Underneath the inflorescence of the coconut tree (that’s under where the flowers grow) it’s possible to encourage the tree to share its incredible sap.

It’s quite a simple concept. A coconut tree is usually in a perpetual cycle of blossoming and then producing new fruit (the coconuts). However, it is possible to tap the sap, prevent the formation of new coconuts, but not interrupt the perpetual cycle of sap production itself.  The tree will continue to flower and continue to be healthy, it just won’t grow coconuts.

Tap, tap, tapping

The fact that coconut trees used for collecting coconut sap don’t grow coconuts whilst the sap is being tapped is pretty handy and definitely not damaging to the tree. 

Collecting coconut sap is a highly personal process. There’s no grand-scale farming here. It relies on an individual tapper scaling the coconut tree, usually early in the morning and again in the evening, so it’s good to know that no coconuts will be dropping on anyone’s head!

It’s an amazingly sustainable process. A tree which is tapped will continue to produce sap for the next twenty years. 

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Location matters

Being a small scale farming process, the way coconut tapping is done can vary from country to country. We use suppliers in the Philippines so we are most familiar with, and concerned with, the tapping they do and how it is vital to the local communities.

The individual farmer climbs the trees he is using for sapping twice a day. These trees are usually located in the heart of the community and often around homes – again another good reason the process avoids falling coconuts!

The tapper makes a cut in to the stem below the flowers and bends it in to a bamboo collection tube. The sap then drips in to this, ready to be collected at the next climb. 

The sap collected by the tapper is a milky white substance. It needs to be processed quickly, before it starts to ferment, so this happens at a very local processing facility. Collecting and processing coconut sap really is kept within the community.

The Coconut Company and coconut sap

We truly care about the ethics and sustainability of all of our products. We are proud to have chosen suppliers who are enabling local communities to thrive by supporting coconut sap tappers and processors. We ensure all of our tappers in the Philippines are not only paid a fair wage but also have access to medical care. What’s more, our Filipino suppliers have built a local kindergarten as well as providing help and facilities during the tropical storm season. 

All this talking has made me hungry…

Much like any good story, our story of the coconut sap is best washed down with a morsel of something tasty. Why not order yourself a delicious coconut sap product? In our online store you’ll find such gems as the Teriyaki coconut amino sauce, the zingy chilli and ginger organic coconut vinegar and of course our deliciously sweet organic coconut nectar. What will you taste next?

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