Accoreding to which cuisine you use as reference, there are several names for coconut liquid:
*** coconut water, direct from the cavity of the coconut
*** coconut milk (expressed water from grated coconut in H2O)
*** cream de coco ... the above, sweetened
***coconut milk .... grated coconut soaked in milk .... used in Indian / Asian cuisine
To open a coconut and get the water:
Put a coconut on a surface that will take some pounding, and open it by piercing at least 2 of the 3 'eyes' with a new, clean carpenter's nail (wash it) with an ordinary hammer...... turn the coconut upside down over a bowl and shake out the water ...check it carefully to be sure it smells and tastes sweet; if it does not, discard the coconut entirely. (To make sure this does not happen, when marketing, choose a heavy, fresh looking coconut with fluffy brown fibers (not worn shiny), that makes a good slosh when you shake it ... sniff it too, to make sure it does not smell sour.....
To finish it off, if it is fresh:
'roast' the coconut in a preheated 350'F oven for 15 to 25 minutes until it pops / cracks ...then wrap the coconut in a few layers of paper towels, smash it with a wood mallet or a brick wrapped in paper towels to protect your hands, on a surface that will tolerate such treatment - I hesitate to recommend your sidewalk lest I be liable for damage, but find something resilient -
When it is cool enough to handle, remove the paper towels from the coconut and dig off the coconut meat with an oyster knife or something similarly tough, rinse the pieces and proceed as you wish ... or you may also put the pieces shell-side-up onto a clean surface and hit them with a hammer to release the meat ...then, since the coconut has been roasted a little, the brown husk will scrape off easily (it adds nothing to the taste)
And, just for you, you may then put the pieces into a processor with some spring water, let the mixture infuse about an hour; pour the mixture into a cheese-cloth lined bowl and squeeze the coconut dry, then taste the resulting liquid to see if that is to your liking .... or you may try infusing it in some boiling water ... it will not be the same as the fresh water directly from the coconut, but try
I have never seen the water canned. However 'coconut cream' is (for coconut lovers) ambosia!!! Is that is what you discovered and found 'awful'?
Like many things directly from the can, like condensed milk for example, cananed coconut cream is a bit much. But, if you mix a couple of nice dessert spoonfuls into a mixture to then cook up as a pouring custard, it is heaven if served with a sponge cake. Grate some chocolate over it.
with hopes that I have not misled you in any way, LPM