You are currently viewing Brown Coconuts Vs. Green Coconuts: What’s The Difference?

Brown Coconuts Vs. Green Coconuts: What’s The Difference?

The outer layer or exocarps of some coconuts are green in colour when they are harvested and some others are brown.

Green coconuts are usually harvested for coconut water while the brown coconuts are often dehusked to give you those brown hairy coconut shells.

So what is the difference between the green coconuts and the brown ones?

The main difference between green coconuts and brown coconuts is that brown coconuts are at a more mature stage of development than green coconuts.

It takes about 12 months for a coconut fruit to reach full maturity.

During this period, the fruit increases in size and changes in color from green to brown.

These events are also accompanied by changes in the composition of the coconut fruit including the proportions of the coconut water and the kernel that the fruit contains.

Some coconut fruits are harvested before full maturation as green coconuts especially for their coconut water, but others are left to mature into brown coconuts for their kernels.

This article discusses the differences between green coconuts and brown coconuts.

Green coconuts description

The immature coconuts are usually green in color. In some varieties of coconut palms, the immature fruit might have a yellow or an orange coat.

Coconuts are sometimes harvested from the tree while they are still green. At this stage, they have the most coconut water in their shell.

The coconut water begins to reduce in quantity as the coconut fruit becomes more mature.

Green coconuts are harvested around seven months. At that stage of maturation, the fruit has reached its full size but has not attained full maturity.

The husk underlying the exocarp of green coconuts is also made up of white fibers. The kernel/meat of the green coconut is also soft at this stage and can easily be scooped with a spoon.

Green coconuts are sometimes known as water coconuts, and they are harvested primarily for their coconut water.

One way to confirm that the coconut has high water content is through the sloshing sound the fruit makes when shaken.

Brown coconuts description

As the coconut fruit reaches full maturity, the exocarp layer changes from a green color to a brown one.

The brown coconuts are harvested when the fruits are fully mature. Sometimes the mature coconut fruits fall from the trees and are often dispersed.

The harvested brown coconuts are then dehusked to give those brown hairy coconuts.

There is also a significant change in the amount of coconut water the fruit contains.

As the coconut fruit matures, the coconut water is absorbed into the fleshy portion of the coconut which increases in size.

Therefore, brown coconuts have lesser coconut water as some have been absorbed into the kernels.

This can be indicated by the reduced sloshing sound when a brown coconuts is shaken.

Though brown coconuts have some coconut water, they are not particularly harvested for their coconut water but for their kernels.

The kernel is harder in brown coconut compared to the kernels in immature coconuts, and it cannot easily be scooped with a spoon.

Coconut oil and coconut milk are two products that can be obtained from processing the coconut kernel.

Mature or brown coconuts are selectively harvested to produce coconut oil and coconut milk because of the larger proportion of coconut kernel that they have than green coconuts.

The brown coconuts also have husk that is made up of brown fibers and are more hairy than green coconut husks.

Brown coconuts are Harvested around 12 months, but sometimes they fall when they are fully mature.

The mature coconuts have more carbohydrates, protein, fibre, fats and calories than the immature coconut.

Difference between green coconuts and brown coconuts

Green coconuts have more coconut water

Green coconuts are harvested for their high coconut water content, but as the coconut becomes more mature, the coconut water becomes absorbed into the coconut meat.

Brown coconut have lesser coconut water than green coconuts.

Shaking the coconuts is one way to find out the amount of water it contains

Brown coconuts have thicker kernels

As the coconut fruit approaches maturity, the coconut water gets absorbed into the kernel.

The kernel increases in size as the coconut water reduces.

Therefore, the coconut meat are softer and thinner in green coconuts, and it can be easily scooped with a spoon.

However, in brown coconuts, the coconut kernel is thicker.

Their husks have different colors

The husk is a thick fibrous layer underlying the colorful outer layer of the coconuts. It is mainly made up of fibrous strands also known as coconut fibers.

Mature and immature coconuts could be told apart by the color of this layer.

The husks of green coconuts are white in color while the  husks have brown coconut fibers in brown coconuts.

Their shapes are different

Green coconuts usually have a rounder shape while brown coconuts are often more elliptical in shape.

They are harvested at different times

Brown coconuts are harvested around 12 months. Sometimes the coconuts falls on the floor when it fully matures.

Green coconuts are usually harvested around 7 months when the coconut water is at a maximum.

They are processed differently

Green coconuts are usually harvested for their coconut water, which is a highly nutritious drink.

Brown coconuts are mainly used to produce coconut oil and coconut milk.

The coconut kernel of mature coconuts are dried and can be used to produce coconut oil which are then used in making cosmetics or for cooking.


  • Coconut fruits change color as they becomes more mature.
  • The relative composition of the coconut water, kernel and their nutritional content also changes.
  • Green coconuts are still immature while brown coconuts are fully mature.
  • The coconut fruit reaches full maturity after 12 months but green coconuts are harvested by the 7th month.
  • Green coconuts are harvested for coconut water which is more compared to the coconut water in brown coconuts.
  • The coconut water gets absorbed into the kernel which becomes thicker as the coconut approaches full maturity.
  • Brown coconuts are harvested for their kernels which are also used to make coconut oil and coconut milk.