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Home / News / Five Different Ways to Prepare Kava

Five Different Ways to Prepare Kava

Diana Grace image

By Diana Grace

Published March 25, 2022

“There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

How many of you have heard those words? Seriously. What kind of a strange phrase is that?! Why would we even entertain the idea of pulling the skin off of a cat? It’s so weird.

And it’s such a strange way of telling someone that there is more than one way to complete a task. That’s all it means. You can accomplish something in more than one way. 

This little principle can hold true for quite a few things … mowing the lawn, washing a glass, making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, preparing coffee … The list goes on and on. And just like making a sandwich, many of these things are about personal preference. 

It’s not always just about your personal preference. There are times when the way you choose to skin your proverbial cat is because you want to achieve something very specific. 

For example, you might be planning to make spaghetti. You could make it the traditional American way with spaghetti noodles made from white semolina flour or you could go for the whole wheat pasta, and you would pour a jar of pasta sauce over it. That’s pretty straightforward. 

But what if you have some major fitness or weight-loss goals? Then, you probably need to consider using spaghetti squash with homemade sauce that doesn’t contain any sugar, and you may want to add some ground turkey for lean protein. 

So, there might be more than one way to skin that cat, but the end results might be a bit different. For example, there are multiple ways to prepare kava, but the kava they produce is absolutely different. The taste, the texture, and the intensity will all vary greatly depending on the preparation of the kava.


Traditional Kava Preparation

Okay. So, before you read this, keep in mind that kava has been around for centuries. The natives of the Islands of the South Pacific probably have all sorts of traditions that sound a little off the wall to many other cultures. Just remember that …

Long ago, much before the internet and television, kava preparation was extremely sacred. The path for preparation was to be very strictly adhered to. It required the cooperation of female virgins. (Sorry, ladies. It sounds like a bad movie, doesn’t it?)

Female virgins were tasked with the sacred duty of chewing the kava roots until they were mashed into a pulp. After chewing and chewing, the young ladies would spit their pulp onto a leaf, then proceed to pour water over that leaf and the freshly masticated pulp. Those virgins must have some seriously perfect pearly whites, huh? 

The resulting liquid is what the natives would drink before island ceremonies and rituals. Drinking the fresh kava was purposely used to put everybody at the ceremonies into their happy place. This way, any possible tension or fights could be prevented. 

The good news? None of those virgins were sacrificed in the making of the kava.  


Modern Traditional Kava Preparation

There are no ceremonial virgins required to prepare kava anymore. Now, some of the natives who are still steeped in tradition like to get the kava ready through the old ways.

Fresh kava root will be chopped into smaller pieces that fit into the mouth. It’s tough. If you have weak teeth, you cannot make kava this way! A person needs strong jaws and secure teeth to successfully chew kava because you will be chewing it for quite a while to turn it into a mashed-up pulp. 

Rather than spitting it onto a leaf, natives would then spit that pulp into a bowl and add water. After letting it sit and mixing it around, it’s strained and drunk immediately to receive the full benefits of the precious kavalactones. 

After having your own personal eww moment, you are probably wondering why anybody would ever consider drinking something that has been chewed and spat out by another person. After all, we are not birds, are we?! 

The enzymes from our saliva are supposed to bring out the most kavalactones from the kava. There you have it. Magic spit.


Today’s Kava

Kava is a major crop farmed on the islands of the Pacific. Farmers harvest the roots of piper methysticum, otherwise known as kava. The farmers who sell kava choose to separate the noble kava from any other nasty strains of kava. Noble kava is the best kava for delivering the desired results!

What might those desired results be? Kava is a very social drink. It helps you to chill out and release your inhibitions, and at the same time, it relaxes your muscles and increases your mental focus. 

Once the farmers have harvested the kava, the roots are dried and ground up. And the grind? Well, that could be very, very fine, or it could be more of a medium grind with fibers present—basically, superfine or a bit chunky. 

The farmers then sell their products to suppliers all across the globe. Some of these suppliers will turn kava into capsules. Others will turn it into a paste, gel, candies, tinctures, or teas.

To get the most out of kava, it really needs to be in the form of a drink. The other forms are not going to deliver anywhere close to the same results. 


Kava Tea Preparation

Kava is sold in traditional tea bags, just like green tea or black tea. For regular tea, you would put a little kettle of water on, wait for it to boil, then steep your tea in the boiling water for a few minutes.

For kava tea, you only want to use hot tap water that has not reached the boiling point. Put your kava tea bag into this hot tap water. After it has steeped appropriately, the bag is removed. Then you simply drink your kava tea. 

That’s it. Keep in mind, these effects will be very mild compared to more traditional methods of preparation.


Micronized Kava Preparation

Micronized kava is a very finely ground kava root powder. To prepare this type of kava, it’s kind of like making hot cocoa from a packet. All you need is a mug, a tablespoon, and hot tap water. (The water must not be boiling hot or it will kill the kavalactones.)

Just measure out the suggested dose of kava and pour it into your mug of water. Stir your kava well and chug away. We would say “enjoy your kava,” but have you tasted kava? The word kava means bitter for a very good reason.


Modern At-Home Traditional Kava Preparation

If you want to get in touch with your island side, then you are probably going to choose a medium or traditional grind. Both of these grinds of kava are going to have a much thicker grind with some fibers present.

To make kava at home, you’ll need a few tools at your disposal. The first and most important tool is a mesh strainer. Many kava manufacturers sell these strainer baggies. If you don’t have one, you can use muslin, cheesecloth, an old cotton t-shirt, or even a sock. (Maybe use a clean, disinfected sock. Otherwise, your kava will not only be bitter but it will also be sweaty.)

You will want to have two bowls handy. One of these bowls will be for the baggie containing the kava. The other bowl will be for your strained liquid. 

First, read the directions on your kava bag to determine serving size. Then put the appropriate amount of kava into your strainer bag and seal it up. 

Now you can pour very warm tap water into a bowl. (Remember, you don’t want it to be too hot or you’ll destroy those lovely magical kavalactones.) It will taste slightly better with warm water, as opposed to hot water. Any help you can get with the taste is a plus!

Now, take your little bag of kava and put it into the water. Let it sit. After a few minutes, the water should begin to turn a milky shade of brown. And your next step is to get your hands dirty. Put your hands right into the water and knead your kava as it sits in the water. All of this kneading will release the kavalactones into the water.

This will not be a quick process. You should be ready to knead your kava baggie for at least five minutes and as long as ten minutes. The longer you knead it, the more kavalactones will be released into the murky liquid. 


Kava Cocktails

Okay, so calling it a kava cocktail might be a bit of a stretch. We just mean kava mixed with other ingredients to improve the flavor. It’s pretty hard to mask the incredibly bitter taste of kava!

There are people who choose to add a few citrus fruits to their kava. So, they add some lemons, limes, or oranges to their kava. You can call that special drink “a little slice of kava.” 

Other people mix in micronized kava with their protein shakes. Just add a scoop of kava with your scoop of protein powder to a blender cup with ice and water or unsweetened almond milk. Or, you can kick it up a level and add frozen berries, almond butter, and a bit of banana. 

You can also try throwing some water, milk, kava powder, ice, and cocoa powder in a blender. This also makes the flavor of kava more pleasant.

The best kava blend is not one you can make at home. It is a premade kava drink that is mixed with just the right amount of additional ingredients to give it a nice, fruity flavor. After trying your first cup of kava, you may very well want to know exactly what this fruity blend is!

You don’t need to do any prep work at all. You just need to press a few buttons on your keyboard when you order online. Four ounces of Ü Relax Calming Tonic is all you need to reach a true state of zen. 

At Calming Co, we have taken the work and research out of your kava journey. We partnered with a brilliant expert in molecular cell biology. Through our clinically-proven method, we combined noble kava with L-theanine, chamomile, lemon balm, and ashwagandha. 

Every one of those ingredients enhances the effectiveness of our noble kava. The additional ingredients help to relieve agitation, reduce body stress, relieve overall stress, encourage relaxation and well-being, and bring on a sense of calm and increased focus. 

You can drink a full four ounces of Calming Tonic in the middle of a crazy workday to take the edge off and help you concentrate on your tasks. Not only can it help you concentrate but you may just find yourself being more creative! 

No mixing, better taste, better results? Yes, please.   

In the End …

There are at least five ways to make your kava. Of course, there are even more ways than that if you count the option for mixing it up a little and adding ingredients to your kava! 

Now, if you want your kava to be better rather than bitter, we are going to point you straight to Calming Co! So, grab a six-pack and enjoy the best kava blend on the planet.