Understanding All The Different Types of Coconut Oil
Aug 17, 2020By will lauder
How would you like to consume coconut oil made from these moldy (yes that is mold) coconuts?
Well, you might be surprised.
With the rising popularity of coconut products, marketers are losing their minds with opportunities to take advantage of the sexiest fruit (and tree) in the world. I may be biased, but I’ve never met someone who didn’t love palm trees and coconuts.
This has lead to more marketing jargon and false promises than a political campaign. Maybe.
While most people use coconut products because they are believed to be healthy, misleading information has made many people to use different types of coconut oil that are not just stripped of nutrients and the expected benefits, but they are potentially using toxic products which exploit people and our planet. Even worse, people are using the wrong type of coconut oil in their food, for oil pulling, and on their skin.
We are in a time when it’s incredibly difficult to understand what is happening in our world. It’s hard to know what we are contributing to, what we are putting in or on our bodies, and what consequences our decisions have on ourselves, our families, and our planet.
You wont find Kapuluan boasting or making wild claims. We are committed to transparency in everything from our supply chain, to our products and packaging, and our communication methods with our customers. We want to offer accurate information which people can trust in making the right decisions.
Here we’ll cover the different types of coconut oil, where they come from, what they are used in, and what all this means.
Copra or Crude Coconut Oil or Coconut Oil (cocosnucifera)
While the coconut palm is indigenous to the Philippines, its history as an organized industry began only about 150 years ago. More industrialized nations, driven by scarcity of other oil, began to recognize the value of coconut oil. This led to plantations for increased production of Copra (CNO) for world commodity markets.
CNO can be found in many applications listed as Coconut Oil: in body and hair lotions; soaps and detergents; cooking oil and in all applications that call for shortening; medications for abrasions, skin rashes, and burns; as lighting and engine fuel oil.
Traditionally, coconut oil has been extracted from the dried flesh of often-rotten nuts, a product called “copra.” This partially processed product is dried over the course of a few days, often labor intensive and dirty work in remote locations, and limited to men.
Coconut Farmers in the Philippines produce copra while strugging to survive a Way-Of-Life exploited by industrial agriculture and cripped by disasters like Typhoon Haiyan.
Copra is then transported by any means possible to large industrial oil mills that process it using costly capital equipment and noxious chemicals to sterilize it. If transportation to the mill takes too long, mold or bacterial growth occurs, which leads to rancidity. Commercial refinement at high pressures with chemicals removes the nutritive antioxidants and other beneficial components of the coconut, changing a highly nutritious and natural product into something toxic.
Refined Coconut Oil or RBD Coconut Oil (refined, deodorized, bleached) or Carrier Oil
The oil is derived from dried coconut meat – copra. The crude oil is first repeatedly filtered, and then bleached in the process, as the filtration is done using calcareous clays. Then, it is heated to a very high temperature to deodorize the oil, while also killing the germs or fungal spores within it. Afterward, sodium hydroxide (Na (OH) 2) is added, and it is further filtered to remove the mono-fats or free fats. Finally, in some cases, it is hydrogenated to ensure that no unsaturated fatty acids are left in the oil, which elongates the shelf life considerably.
RBD oil is used to create variety of products such as massage oils, body balms, lip balms, lotions and cold process soaps. It is one of the most preferred oils in soap making because soap made with coconut oil tends to be hard, and retains more water than those made with other oils and therefore increases manufacturer yields. It is more soluble in hard water and salt water than other soaps allowing it to lather more easily. Coconut oil is also used in cosmetic manufacturing industries.
Virgin Coconut Oil or Unrefined Coconut Oil or Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
This category is a mess. Unrefined coconut oil is often referred to as “virgin” or “pure” coconut oil. It is coconut oil extracted from fresh coconut meat rather than dried. The fresh coconut meat usually undergoes one of two processes: wet milling or quick drying. Quick drying, the most common method used, promptly dries the coconut meat and the oil is mechanically expressed. Wet milling refers to the process in which the coconut milk is expressed from the fresh meat and then boiled, fermented or separated from the milk using enzymes or centrifuge. Due to the quick process, the resulting oil does not require bleaching or additives. It also isn’t exposed to such extremely high heat levels like its refined counterpart. It retains the distinct flavor and odor of coconut. However, high heat is often applied, and severely affects the composition and nutrient quality of the coconut oil.
These types of coconut oil can be found everywhere. And they are the most abused in terms of marketing. Its very hard for most people to differentiate one oil from the other, and some are of extremely poor quality and not fit for consumption or personal care use. I’ve even seen people oil pulling with yellow oil!
Some of the common traits you will find with these oils: a brown color at the bottom of the jar, a very nutty or roasted smell (its been cooked), and a strong, unpleasant taste.
Raw Coconut Oil
Raw Virgin Coconut Oil is considered Functional Food where it has healing benefits beyond its nutritional contents and is used in Traditional and Modern Medicine.
Raw Virgin Coconut Oil is 100% Natural with high Lauric Acid (53.2%) content, full MTCs, Cholesterol Free and Non Trans-Fat. It is produced from organically grown coconuts with No Fertilizer, No Pesticide and Non-GMO.
Raw Virgin Coconut Oil is naturally processed through proper selection of newly harvested matured coconuts. The oil process starts with grating the meat, which is then wet cold pressed for extraction of coconut milk and natural separation of oil through centrifuge machine with cooling systems. The oil is then filtered and vacuum dried to remove moisture.
Raw coconut oil is the only oil which contains the full composition of nutrients including MCT’s and Lauric Acid. And it is the only coconut oil you should consume unless you’re ok with poor quality products, rancidity, chemicals, and exploitation of people and our planet.
DME Coconut Oil
Direct Micro Expelling (DME) technology was invented to take coconut processing back to the farms where the nuts are grown. The primary benefit of DME coconut oil aside from being of the finest quality, is the fact it can be implemented in rural farming communities, creating opportunity for small-scale farmers. Farmers who are often exploited, and left at the very end of the value chain in the coconut market. Farmers of whom 60% live in extreme poverty.
The DME™ process uses a manually operated cold-pressing unit to produce raw oil from fresh coconuts and takes less than an hour to turn freshly harvested coconuts into Raw hand-pressed Coconut Oil. This Australian technology is the quickest process in the world and uses no fuel or resources in its production. Because the oil is produced so quickly, concern of mold growth or danger of other impurities is non existent. There is no time for nutrients to break down, or for the fruit to begin rotting. This is one of the things that sets DME apart from every other coconut oil.
3 little eyes (or 2 eyes and a nose)
Once a coconut is husked, it exposes the ”three little eyes” to the world. These eyes are membranes, exchanging oxygen and other gasses with the environment. As the coconut oxidizes, enzymes break down the oil inside, creating free fatty acids. These cause a harshness in flavor, and a breakdown of the antimicrobial value of the coconut oil. Once the coconut oil is pressed, it is stable, since it’s been separated from the enzymes. But that time to pressing is critical.
Factory coconut oil can take anywhere from two days to two weeks or longer for pressing from the time of husking. But DME™ coconut oil is pressed within 1 hour of husking the nut, most often as quickly as 20 minutes. DME™ truly is the freshest coconut oil you can buy.