Serious Eats: Drinks
Would You Try Water Made from Juice?
Water brands often tout their mineral content or faraway-mountain-spring sourcing, but Koa Organic Water is a little different. Sure, it looks like water. It comes in a clear bottle. It has no calories. But this product is water clarified from a blend of nine fruits and vegetables: pomegranate, orange, guava, holy basil, red sea lettuce, heirloom carrots, lemon, annatto, and amla fruit (also known as Indian gooseberry.) On their Kickstarter, the company is marketing Koa as 'Sugar-Free Juice', but I think that's missing the point: this stuff is also juice-free juice. It may have 15% of your daily vitamin C and B9, but it tastes like...water.
They're a little mysterious about how they're making water from local fruit, but the basic idea is this: the fruits and vegetables are sourced from farms close to the Ramona, California processing plant (or, they say, gathered from other projects where the juice might otherwise be wasted, such as a barbecue sauce company that only uses oranges for their peels), then destemmed and washed. The juice is cold pressed (resulting solids go to another use) and then clarified. "We borrowed a few ideas from white wine makers and premium spirits companies to help design our custom clarification system," states the website.
The result is crystal-clear, unrecognizable when poured into a glass. While the flavor wasn't completely identical to my San Francisco tap water, there are absolutely no recognizable fruity flavors remaining in the clarified drink. The texture isn't viscous or thick or strange in any way.
Would I buy 'Sugar-Free Juice'? Probably not. The flavor is completely pleasing, but the nutritional content doesn't seem to really justify the purchase (it's not that hard to get 2% of my daily recommended zinc.) I don't buy a ton of bottled water, so perhaps I'm not the target audience.
Does clarified juice pique your interest? Would you try Koa?
Sample provided for review consideration.