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!