Unfortunately, this heavenly Kava is only available at Root of Happiness Kava bars, but I managed to convince the owner to send me an overnight bag of frozen Mahakea. It was the best Kava experience I’ve had in years. Enjoy the video!
Here’s an oldie but goody. I have changed my preparation methods slightly since 2010, but this is still probably the best way to get the most out of your Kava. No blenders, no toss and wash (remember: “friends don’t let friends toss and wash”). I would no longer even slightly consider using soy lecithin in prep. But sometimes I do use almond milk or coconut water as a slight (possible a placebo effect) potentiate. I also don’t feel the need for warm water is really necessary. I’ve done side-by-side comparisons and found no difference. Most importantly, whatever you do – DON’T follow the Gourmet Hawaiian Kava method of boiling your Kava that’s on YouTube. That’s a recipe that will surely make you develop a hatred towards Kava.
Lastly, the AluBall shaker has revolutionized the Kava world. I think it gets 95% of what you need out of Kava when you use the AluBall method. Plus, it is super easy and unbelievably more clean. Links for good strainers, the AluBall shaker, and my favorite Kavas available on Amazon are attached to the end of this post.
How to Make Kava From Dried Root
I’ve been meaning to write up an illustrated piece on how I make Kava. It’s a question I get a lot, and I think both first-timers as well as other Kavasseurs could benefit from seeing how I make it. It would be great to hear suggestions, advice, or any other tips you can offer related to how you make Kava.
Step 1 – Select Your Kava
Do you want weekend grade? Weekday grade? Weekday-with-nothing-too-important-the-next-day grade?
Step 2 – Collect your gear.
You will need two large bowls that can hold around 6 cups of water. You will also need soy lecithin. Next retrieve a large spoon, a ladle, and a measuring cup. It is good to have two sieves – a large sieve to squeeze the Kava, and a smaller finer sieve to strain the Kava after it is squeezed. At the end of this post, I have added a link to Kule Kava Farm’s smaller sieves, which are absolutely perfect for the final strain.
Step 3 – Heat the water and add soy lecithin.
Once you have everything together, heat two cups of water until they are warm. Pour the warm water into one of the glass bowls and stir in the soy lecithin.
Step 4 – Add additional water and Kava.
Add two more cups of water to the initial two cups of warm water and soy lecithin, so that you have four cups of water with soy lecithin. Next, add ONE cup of Kava – compacted – to the water. If you want more Kava than this, double up your order (two cups of Kava to eight cups of water). If you want a stronger Kava, use less water – though I don’t normally like to drink Kava that is too thick.
Step 5 – Let your Kava sit.
Just let your Kava sit in the room temperature water for about thirty minutes. The finer the Kava is ground, the less you need to wait. However, it is always a good idea to let it sit for thirty minutes.
Step 6 – Squeeze your Kava.
This is the most important step, and one that makes or breaks the final product. Drape your larger sieve over the edges of your second glass bowl and pour half (if one cup of Kava/four cups of water) of the Kava into the sieve. Let the Kava move to the bottom of the sieve and squeeze it for about six minutes, dunking it in and out of the water and finally squeezing it into the root is fully dry. Take out the squeeze-dried Kava and pour in the second half of the bowl, repeating the same process. You can put all of the dried Kava aside and start the whole process over, creating a second, much weaker batch.
Step 7 – Final strain.
Once you are satisfied with the consistency of the Kava you have squeezed, pour it into the second bowl that is covered with a smaller, finer sieve. Gently squeeze whatever Kava is in the bottom out, being careful not to let the bigger pieces of Kava through.
Step 8 – Add ice (if desired) and serve.
This is how I make my Kava. No blender, just strength. I used to use less water, but realized that Kava tastes much better when it is more diluted. I like to be able to drink four or five shells. It would be interesting to hear other suggestions for brewing Kava. Bula!
As part of a new series, I want to revisit some old reviews from years ago. This comes from 2010, when Paradise Kava was emerging on to the market for their all-to-brief reign. They had the best Kava I’ve ever had. Here’s a review to reminisce, however sadly, about this King that walked away all too soon:
There doesn’t seem to be any record for these kinds of things, but I’m quite sure that 2010 has probably been the best year for Kava yet. About five years ago, it was incredibly hard to find good, readily available Kava online. Now it seems like new vendors are opening every day, and that new, fresher Kava powders are been delivered to our door steps. Paradise Kava is one of the best new vendors I have tried, and even though I’ve only had their Southern Fiji Premium Kava and this Hawaiian Awa, I am thrilled to see what they come up with next. According to their website, they will be selling frozen, FedExed fresh Kava juice very soon. That will be a day for the history books.
Now, onto this 100% Hawaiian Awa. It’s another record-setter in my book, and though I’m incredibly high on it right now, I’ll do my best to type out an objective review. According to the Paradise Kava website, this is a blend of Hiwa, Mahakea, and Mo’i varieties (all familiar to those of us who have been ordering from Hawaiian Kava Center) that is sold as an extra fine ground dry root powder. I was fortunate enough to get a bag of this before the website even opened, and I was stunned by its taste, effects, and sheer beauty. Here are a few pictures of the ground powder and the resulting grog:
One thing that stands out about this blend is its anesthetic effect. As an almost nightly Kava drinker, I was surprised at how potently and thoroughly this stuff numbed up my tongue, throat, and jaw. I half expected a dentist to come charging through the back door with a drill and a collapsible chair. It is really quite something, and I haven’t had such a strong reaction in that sense since I first drank Nakamal at Home’s “Wow” Kava last year.
The taste of this Kava is incredibly mild. Let me walk through it. When you first touch your lips to the Kava, it has a bitter, nutty taste that is full and creamy like the very color of the brew. It then proceeds into a kind of peppery taste not unlike Nakamal at Home’s Stone, but a bit longer lasting, more substantial, and thicker. I strained with a traditional Fijian strainer, so I didn’t get any grit – but it still felt heavy and rooty and viney. That peppery flavor kind of naturally switches on the anesthetic response and soon it is impossible to discern the numbness from the flavor. It is like a blend of physical reaction and spicy flavor. Again, I’m krunked while writing this and obviously continuing to drink Kava. Heaven help the Kavasseur.
As for the effects, this might be the most agreeable Kava I have tried. As if I already didn’t think my ranking, or grading, system wasn’t good enough – now I have tried this. Mentally, it is abnormally relaxing. I got home from work around 4:00 and it is now 5:00, and just about 90 minutes ago I was driving home on the freeway getting cut off by people in cars much shinier than mine. Their faces like intent manipulative lizards, those careeners and dodgers are the very bane of modern life. Roads become stress tests and it seems all the annoying comments of the day are dealt with on these concrete arteries. Not mine, of course. I drive slowly and intently like a stream of thick Kava pouring from a shell. No reason to make the hectic hecticer. Let that stress roll off your back when you get home and down a couple shells – let it drift away and never come back. Yes, this Kava is the antidote. This Awa. This Hawaiian Awa. Drain a couple shells and it all falls behind you like a sickly murky dream. As the daylight sets and the Kava seeps into your blood, so does your heart slow down and your eyes grow heavy and kind. Your muscles fill with warmth and your skin tingles. A blanket and some jazz on the couch? Why not? This Kava delivers mentally and physically, and feels crushingly strong. It’s one of those grogs where you’ve downed three shells and then thought to yourself: “Was that too much?” I feel like articulating words and feeling out the contours of their sounds. I’m absolutely krunked.
So yeah, that’s Paradise Kava’s “100% Hawaiian Awa” for you. A new reigning champion. Sorry if that got a little too descriptive, but that’s how my experience this dusk has been. Krunk on…
Flavor – 9.5/10
Effect (Mind) – 10/10
Effect (Body) – 10/10
Paradise Kava’s 100% Hawaiian Awa – 9.83/10
Check out my new EPIC Tanoa Talk video podcast where Señor Chugs and I rap about the sacred root for a solid 40 minutes. We had a little help from our friend, Steven George and his 24 Wave Kava.
This video podcast was sponsored by Ozia Originals “24 Wave” Fijian Waka and Lawena Root (click image for more info):
While there has recently been a lot of negativity in the Kava community, I want to take the time to point out that 95% of Kava drinkers are good, honest, hardworking people that benefit from the sacred root. It is only a minority of us (myself included sometimes) who like to squabble over land and power.
On one end, we have people who like to Krunk and smile in the sunshine and love Kava for its effects. On the other, we have enthusiasts and scientists who are obsessed with the genetics and chemistry of Kava. I like to think of myself somewhere in between. And I think most of us fall in that “fluid” space.
So to all of those out there spreading positivity and Bula-ing to the better things in life, let us clink shells and enjoy this summer!
Kava is the root of the people, the root of our happiness (not the only one, hopefully), and a gift from the people of the Pacific.
Meanwhile, here’s some good Krunkin’ music:
In South Florida, many Kava bars are being scrutinized by local governments and being denied permits. Big booze has become an existential threat to Kava. People looking to walk away from the bottle and find a healthier alternative are under attack. By denying permits to Kava bars under the false premises of Kava being a danger (and some bars selling Kratom – posing as an “entry point” for big booze) local bars and restaurants aim to benefit from a Kava ban. This also means that crime and vehicular accidents could rise as Kava bars are shuttered.
We need to reassert that Kava is a great way for people to overcome alcoholism and drug addiction. When I was at “the Nak” run by Nakamal at Home (www.nakamalathome.com) I met many people who were recovering nicely from alcoholism. Many had experienced significant benefits to their lives and their families’ lives. Kava can literally be a life saver.
Sadly, some people in the Kava community (such as prominent figures at the Kava Forums and True Kava) have been making the same arguments Big Booze has been making to attack Kava bars like “the Nak.” They claim that by selling other botanicals like Kratom that these Kava bars are a threat. This ironically puts them in the same camp with the anti-Kava Big Booze lobbyists. We need to make sure we stay united as a community in helping people stay sober and healthy. This includes refraining from attacking Kava bars who sell other legal botanicals. It’s better for someone to drink Kratom than to drink whiskey or gallons of beer before they get behind the wheel. I call on the online Kava communities such as the Kava Forums to stop blacklisting Kava vendors who sell other botanicals like Kratom.
First it was big pharma trying to keep people on Xanax. Now it is Big Booze trying to keep people at the local bar or nightclub. Let us not fall into their greedy trap.
Don’t be fooled – support your local Kava bar and support healthier and more peaceful communities for all.
**NOTE: This is a blog about Kava. I don’t use Kratom. The intention of this editorial is to show how Big Booze is using the controversial herb Kratom to try and attack Kava, Kava Bars, and alternative botanicals. I am not endorsing (or condemning) Kratom. I don’t use Kratom**
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I’ve been in Madagascar on a humanitarian mission, and in Ghana visiting my family. But I’m happy to say I’ll be back next week with reviews of new Bula Kava House Kavas and a Kava Time Kava!
In the meantime, shop around by clicking on links and donate to my reader supported blog at my PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org or email me at that same address for other options.
Meanwhile, enjoy this picture from Ghana: