The vegan leather alternative made from coconut water – Malai

A leather-like material made of coconut water? Can such a thing work at all? The simple answer: Yes, it can and it can do it incredibly well!

The word “malai” refers to the water and creamy pulp inside a coconut that is often obtained as a by-product of coconut processing in the Indian agricultural industry. In order to obtain a solid substrate, the water and the flesh of the nut must be sterilised and then a 12-14 day fermentation process is initiated in which a special bacterial culture processes the nutrients contained therein. After the fermentation process is finished, a mixture of natural fibres and natural resins is added to the obtained “jelly” and then dried. The result is a flexible, water-resistant and very durable biomaterial that feels like a mixture of leather and paper.