For every dish, or even a drink, there is a particular type of coconut that suits it.
The buko juice that my mom makes usually uses very young coconut, called mala-uhog. Ot is called mala-uhog presumably because of the very tender meat that resembles uhog (nose mucus) that is slimy and transparent. Doesn’t sound too good, huh?! But trust me, mala-uhog is perfect for buko juice because its juicier than the other types.
For some merienda treats like balisuso where grated coconut meat is mixed, the lukarin is perfect for this. This is the coconut that is mid-way between a young coconut and a mature one harvested for copra. The lukarin meat is about an inch thick and crunchier than than of the mala-uhog, think buko salad strips. Although, lukarin is not yet mature enough to be a copra, it contains enough cream to make the merienda treats yummy.
For others yet, the mature coconut is best for its high-gata content. These are usually 2-3 mos old coconut. The coconut cream from this is used for cooking and believe it or not, also for conditioning the hair.
So, how do you make sure you get the right coco for your dish, go to your trusted grocer or magbubuko. The coconut in its various stages produce distinct sounds. An experienced magbubuko will know the coconut you ordered just by tapping it with the blunt edge of his/her bolo.