Komodo CoCo Char
Coconut Charcoal

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Quick Stats
Date Of Review: August, 2022
Purchased From: Provided by the Manufacturer
Date Purchased: July, 2022
Price: $46/$38
Weight: 22+/10+ pounds
Type of Wood: Coconut shell
Strange Material?: None
Scrap Lumber Pieces?: None
Smell: Typical sweet coconut charcoal smell
Country of Origin: Indonesia

Key Performance Indicators

Compared To Lump Charcoal
Compared To Coconut Charcoal
Chips and Dust: Chips and Dust:
Lighting: Lighting:
Max Temperature: Max Temperature:
Burn Time: Burn Time:
Ash Production: Ash Production:

Quick Links
Contact Information: Click Here
Rate And Comment On This Charcoal: Click Here


It's been 11 years since we reviewed Komodo Kamado's extruded coconut charcoal (then called Komodo Kamado Sustainable) and as we said then, we could write a book about the history of extruded coconut charcoal as it relates to ceramic cookers, but we'll try to keep it to a few short paragraphs. High quality extruded coconut charcoal is a wonderful thing, burning with high heat, low ash and a sweet smell. It also burns with a constant even heat, much like briquettes, which endears it to the cook who is doing long overnight low and slow cooks.

Komodo Kamado wanted to bring that high quality charcoal to the marketplace and attempted to do so in 2009, but discovered it is almost impossible to get suppliers to deliver what they say they will deliver. So Komodo Kamado decided to make the charcoal themselves. They purchased and/or made all the necessary equipment to start their own manufacturing operation. And back in 2011 they were producing some extremely good extruded coconut charcoal. But now in 2022, Komodo Kamado has improved their manufacturing process, so let's see how their new CoCo Char performs.

One word about the comparisons we'll be making between this charcoal and others. We now have reviewed a number of different extruded coconut charcoals and have enough data points, if you will, to draw comparisons among the different types. So we have shown the star ratings at the top of the review to reflect both how this charcoal performs against lump charcoals and other coconut charcoals. Note that if you view our comparison page of all brands and types of charcoal, the star ratings there will reflect just a comparison with all lump charcoals.

What Is Extruded Coconut Shell Charcoal?
For those of you new to this somewhat unusual form of charcoal, we'll describe the process that is used to manufacture extruded coconut shell charcoal.

  1. Raw coconut shells are cleaned. (Not the coconut husk or the coconut flesh, known as copra.)
  2. The cleaned shells are then carbonized.
  3. The carbonized shells are cleaned again.
  4. These cleaned and carbonized coconut shells are then ground.
  5. The ground carbonized shells are sorted into fines, medium and large granules.
  6. Specific weights of these different size particles are blended into a mix.
  7. Food grade tapioca is added to the blend of particles.
  8. The blend of charcoal and tapioca is extruded under high pressure by machine.
  9. The extruded pieces are then dried and boxed.

Carbonized coconut shells.

The final extruded "briquettes".

The Charcoal -- Packaging, Condition, Appearance
Our boxes of charcoal were sent via UPS and the US Postal Service. As you can see in the photos below, the boxes arrived in good shape. The charcoal is contained in a plastic bag, and when you open the bag you find a sheet of paper towel on top of the charcoal. The idea behind the towel is to absorb any moisture that might be driven off the charcoal if a box is exposed to high heat during shipping. Then instead of condensing on the plastic and dripping onto the top layer of charcoal, possibly allowing mold to form, the moisture will be dissipated when it evaporates from the towel.

Once you remove the towel, you then find the charcoal beneath.

The charcoal arrived in good shape after its voyage across the Pacific to Los Angeles and then across North America, finally to North Carolina. As you can see in the photo below, none of the pieces in either box were broken. The amount of powder/dust/granules in the bottom of the bag was stunningly small, a mere 2 grams for the smaller USPS box and 18 grams for the larger box sent by UPS. (A new world record in both cases.) Obviously, this is Very Low () compared to all other lump and coconut charcoals. The charcoal is solid, dense and obviously holds together well. Here's a photo of the box contents as well as the usual table showing the weights of the various size pieces:

Whole Pieces 10.83 pounds 100.0%
Broken Pieces 0.00 pounds 0.0%
Powder/Chips 0.00 pounds 0.0%

Total 10.83 pounds

22-pound Box
Whole Pieces 22.50 pounds 99.8%
Broken Pieces 0.00 pounds 0.0%
Powder/Chips 0.04 pounds 0.2%

Total 22.54 pounds

Now let's look at the individual pieces. The pieces that come in the USPS box are longer than the pieces which come in the 22-pound box, 2⅜" versus 1⅞". (This enables Komodo Kamado to fit 10 pounds in the USPS Flat Rate Box.) Otherwise the two pieces have the same diameter, approximately 2.0 inches across. The hole down the center is 9/16 inches in diameter for both. The USPS pieces average about 122.6g each, or 4.3 ounces. The pieces in the 22-pound box average about 95.4g each, or 3.4 ounces.

Burn Time
Burn time was Very High () compared to the other coconut charcoals we have tested as well as compared to all other lump charcoals we have tested. Truth be told, most coconut charcoal doesn't burn terribly long when you compare it to lump charcoal, but as far as coconut charcoals go, this one is an exception.

Ash Content and Production
Probably one of the more disturbing aspects of the truly inferior coconut charcoals sold is the monumental amounts of ash they produce, in some cases, even more ash than briquettes. So, one sign of quality coconut charcoal is low ash. This charcoal contained 3.1% ash using our crude methods. Komodo Kamado, using slightly more sophisticated methods, has measured the ash content at 2.5%. The volume of ash produced when we burned a standard amount of the charcoal was Very Low (), again comparable to the best coconut charcoals we have reviewed. In fact the volume of ash produced was the lowest we have ever tested, lump or coconut!

Lighting The Charcoal
Lighting this charcoal can be a challenge as this charcoal is so dense. We used our standard chimney starter test and it took 6 sheets of newspaper to light this charcoal. This was average () compared to all brands of lump charcoal, and Low () compared to other coconut charcoal. In our opinion, the best way to light this charcoal regardless of how you intend to use it is to use a chimney starter to start a small amount of charcoal, then use them to start the rest of your fire. Another method is to pile a small amount of lump charcoal on top of the coconut charcoal, light the lump, and then let the lump ignite the coconut.

Maximum Temperature
The maximum temperature we were able to obtain with this charcoal was 1028°F which is Very High () compared to other lump and coconut charcoals. This charcoal will definitely get hot enough to do anything you could want to do in a ceramic charcoal cooker.

Also, after we let the charcoal burn for about half an hour, we then snuff the fire and wait for it to cool down. At that point, we give the charcoal a gentle stir to see if the remaining charcoal will hold together or turn to powder. Some of the inferior brands would indeed crumble to useless powder. This charcoal remained intact and reusable. Here's a short video showing you how durable this charcoal really is:

Smoke, Odor and Food Flavor
Bad coconut charcoal smells like a bad cigar. Good coconut charcoal has a mild and slightly sweet smoke. The smoke that comes off this charcoal is indeed the the slightly sweet and pleasant smell of quality coconut charcoal. With this charcoal, your food will get a light and pleasant flavor. And of course, you can control the flavor of your food by adding your favorite smoking wood chunks to the fire.

Use For Grilling
We don't know that you would want to use this charcoal in a grill such as a Weber kettle, but if you do, it will take a little adjustment in the way you build your fire. This charcoal burns very hot given enough air and you will probably need to use less charcoal than you might be accustomed to. We measured the temperature at the grid level with the lid off when burning a single layer of charcoal pieces in a Weber Smokey Joe grill. Here is how the grid temperature with this coconut charcoal compared to a quality briquette and a popular lump charcoal:

 Grid Temperature
Komodo CoCo Char extruded coconut charcoal600°
Wicked Good Charcoal Briquettes 450°
Royal Oak Lump Charcoal515°

While the steady state temperature hovered around 600°F, we saw spikes as high as 750°F. So if you do use this charcoal for grilling, just be aware how hot it burns and adjust accordingly.

Purchasing this charcoal requires some effort on your part. You can email Komodo Kamado and place an order easily enough, but the shipping is expensive unless you are willing to go in for a large amount. There are shipping breaks for larger orders and if you are interested, you may wish to enter into a group purchase and split the order up. The Komodo Kamado forum has a section devoted to getting people together on these group orders. However, Komodo Kamado has worked hard to obtain rock bottom shipping rates for their charcoal, so getting in on a group order is worth looking into. You can also reduce the cost of shipping if you agree to pick it up yourself at a business or shipping terminal. The boxes obviously stack well, and you can put quite a large amount of charcoal into a pickup or SUV. And finally, if you purchase a grill and order charcoal at the same time, the shipping is even lower. It is definitely worth the effort to contact Komodo Kamado and see what would work best for you.

In addition, Komodo Kamado is in the process of getting their coconut charcoal listed on Amazon.

It is now possible to find a steady reliable source of quality extruded coconut charcoal. Komodo Kamado's CoCo Char extruded coconut charcoal performs very well in all categories when you compare it to all the other coconut charcoals that we have tested as well compared to all lump charcoals we have tested. We are pleased to give our Highly Recommended rating.

To the left is the rating that our readers have given this charcoal. If you have used this charcoal and would like to rate it and leave your comments, Click Here

To view reader ratings of all brands, Click Here.

Contact Information

Website: www.komodokamado.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Komodo.Kamado.Grills
Phone: +1 (888) 755-8691
Email: Dennis@KomodoKamado.com

About This Review

If you are unfamiliar with our testing procedures, you may wish to read How We Review Lump Charcoal before reading this review. Also, you can read How We Score Lump Charcoal to learn about our scoring system.

Prices listed in our reviews are current as of the date of the review. We do not attempt to keep these prices current.

The conclusions and final rating given any charcoal are based upon the opinion of the author. We recommend that you use our rating only as a guide. You should read the entire review and decide what is important to you in making any buying decision.

Performance ratings are designated with stars, 1 star being the worst and 5 stars being the best:

= Performance is Far Below Average
= Performance is Below Average
= Performance is Average
= Performance is Above Average
= Performance is Far Above Average

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