While iHerb was having its rare sale, I decided to order a jar of Nutiva's Coconut Manna to try, since many people have been saying that it is a cheaper version of Artisana's Coconut Butter. Not having had proper smooth coconut butter for more than six months, I was waiting eagerly for my DHL package to arrive.
According to the label on the back of the bottle, Nutiva's Coconut Manna is made of pure, dried coconut flesh. Coconut Manna contains 12% fiber, 9% protein, and nourishing fats. If you live in a cold country, you will have to liquify the Coconut Manna by placing the jar in hot tap water for 5-10 minutes. Regardless, there will most likely be a layer of oil on top, which you should not throw away, but stir into the thicker coconut paste below. I vaguely remember Artisana's Coconut Butter having a layer of oil on top as well, but not as much as the Coconut Manna.
After thorough stirring, the Coconut Manna should turn into a thick liquid with the consistency of pancake batter, like in the picture below. Compared to Artisana's Coconut Butter, the Coconut Manna was not as thick, after stirring all the oil in. That results in easier and more consistent spreading on a surface, if you want to spread it on bread or fruit. If you have already stirred everything, no worries! --the oil will probably float to the top again the next day, and you just need to stir less of it into the paste.
Texture-wise, the Coconut Manna was just slightly grainier than Artisana's Coconut Butter. But in my opinion it was hardly noticeable.
Aside from these differences, the two products tasted exactly the same. Really. If a blindfold was placed over my eyes, I might have thought it was Artisana's Coconut Butter. Maybe only the huge coconut butter fans would be able to tell the difference.
All in all, I was pretty happy slurping mouthful after mouthful of Nutiva's Coconut Manna. It is a wholesome, healthy, versatile treat that can be eaten on its own as well as used as a spread, in baking, etc. At about US$2 less than Artisana's Coconut Butter, I think it is a worthy substitute that all Artisana fans should give a go.
A jar (15 oz / 425g) of Nutiva's Coconut Manna sells on iHerb for US$8.88. If you're a coconut butter addict, you can buy a 15lb / 2.13kg bag of Coconut Manna for US$28.42, which I think is worth it if you have the storage space.
As iHerb's free international shipping / heavily discounted DHL shipping is ending with June 2013, I suggest you get your hands on a jar or bag of Nutiva's Coconut Manna before then! If it is your first time ordering from iHerb, the coupon code "XOJ002" will save you US$5-10 on your first order.