Processing of Coconut Oil
We feel that it is very important to provide good information to our end users and customers on the various ways coconut oil produced and how that affects quality, stability, its use, and price. Learn below, what goes into creating Coconut Oil and be informed to explore the right types of oil is right for you.
All coconut oils have a few things in common to extract the oil out of the fruit meat, which is the white stuff inside the hard brown shell.
They are all made from the fruit meat, which is the white flesh of a mature coconut, 10-12 months after the flower begins to form a seed.
To obtain the Oil from coconut water, fiber and proteins are removed from the flesh.
Once these constituents are removed, all coconut oil is stable at room temperature.
This oil is more stable than any other oil because it is predominantly composed of medium chain fatty acids which are "saturated" by hydrogen atoms and resist oxidation.
The stability, taste, quality and price of coconut oil depends on how well the proteins, fiber and water are removed and the methods used to remove them.
There are commonly used four basic methods to produce coconut oil.
Centrifuged Coconut Oil
Centrifuged, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil ranks among the top coconut oils. Centrifuged coconut oil is made by first pressing the fresh, white meat of the coconut to obtain a coconut cream. This cream is approximately 40% oil. This pressing processing is done on a very specific machine where both the pressing plate and the sleeve are cooled by chilled water. Using a centrifuge, the cream is then concentrated to yield a higher and higher percentage of oil while the proteins and water soluble substances are separated out. In the end, this coconut oil has a very light, coconut flavor and most people would consider it to be very mild and smooth. It is typically considered one of the highest quality coconut oils, but is also one of the most expensive to produce. This oil should always be labeled as virgin, pure virgin or extra virgin coconut oil. All moisture, fiber, and proteins can be removed without the use of heat, allowing it to be considered raw. We have many producers who produced by using this method. It is extremely pure and considered raw with a delicious and has mild coconut flavor.
Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
Cold pressed coconut oil is made through a process that contains more variables than centrifuged oil. First, the fresh coconut meat is grated and then dried. This drying process is important to the taste and quality of the oil. Most producers dry the coconut to varying degrees of moisture. This dried coconut is then pressed at varying degrees of pressure and temperature. This pressing yields oil with proteins which are fine enough to leak out of the press cake while under pressure. These proteins are then either filtered out or allowed to "settle" in settling tanks so the oil can be decanted. The amount of heat that is generated during the processing and the details of the process can vary significantly. This is most likely the reason there is great variation in quality and taste among cold pressed oils. They can have a toasted coconut taste, the result of high heat used on standard desiccated coconut with very low moisture, or a mild, raw coconut flavor which results from careful, low-temperature processing, or burnt and/or rancid flavors. Therefore, the result of poor drying.
RBD Method Coconut Oil or Expeller Pressed
The vast majority of coconut oil produced in the world is expeller-pressed. During production, there is little concern about heat, how the coconut meat is dried, or many other aspects of coconut oil manufacture. The coconut meat is dried by a wide variety of methods, usually using the sun or smoke. Small farmers or producers usually using sun method. Once dried, the coconut meat is pressed in large expeller presses that generate heat and pressure. This yields a crude coconut oil that is brown and must be "cleaned”. In the end, the free fatty acids a breakdown product from the oil. Any remaining moisture, any bad flavor or smell, etc. is minimized by filtering, washing, and refining. Expeller pressed oil is typically the least expensive of all coconut oils. It is also called RBD coconut oil which stands for Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized, and is generally the same product as expeller pressed coconut oil.
This process mostly used in the far east region at homes to produce coconut oil and has been used India and Eastern Asia for thousands of years by households or small farming producers. This is considered to be one of the oldest process of producing virgin / pure coconut oil. This process involves making coconut milk from fresh meat of mature coconuts. This meat is then allowed to ferment for almost a day or two in containers. After fermentation the containers develop three layers of coconut oil, water, and coconut curd. Water drops down at the bottom and coconut oil forms the middle layer. Water is removed and then coconut oil is removed from curd. This method can vary significantly in quality and it yields the shortest shelf life of all types of coconut oil. This method is great but with certain limitations. This method produces coconut oil of different taste every time. This is because of the extent of fermentation which takes place. Second issue can be that acid of fermentation are sometimes left in the oil giving it even more peculiar taste. Thus different batches of even same brand may have different taste. That is it is mostly sold by the label “Home Made Coconut Oil”.