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Home / Your Driest January Ever / Day 3 - This Is How Americans Drink Kava

Day 3 - This Is How Americans Drink Kava

By Adam Davies

Published January 8, 2024

“What’s in this?”

That seems like a simple enough question. And sometimes the answer is very simple. Sometimes

Like if you asked, “What’s in this applesauce?” The answer might be, “Just peeled Granny Smith apples that were cooked down.” Or it could be a little more complex. “Apples, sugar, cinnamon, and a dash of salt.”

Those are pretty basic answers. 

Sometimes we ask a question that we think should be fairly simple. “What’s in this hot cocoa?” A simple answer would be, “It’s a packet of hot cocoa and hot water.” Or … a tastier simple answer would be, “Cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, and whole milk.”

But. That hot cocoa might be flavored. Like … maybe it’s adult hot cocoa. (Yes. Grownups can have their own cocoa.)

Adult hot cocoa might have cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, a dash of sea salt, half-n-half, real whipped cream, and Kahlua, Baileys, or Frangelico. Or, it might have melted dark chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream. There are so many delicious possibilities. 

And suddenly the answer to “What’s in this?” becomes a little more loaded. 

So you can imagine why asking, “What is a Kava Drink?” could be a little trickier than one might think. 

Let’s tackle it. Inquiring minds want to know …


What is a Kava Drink?

Alrighty. The easy, no-frills, completely-unhelpful answer is this: Kava is a drink made from the root of the kava plant.

Did that clear it up for you? You can now have a completely intelligent conversation about a kava drink. Right?

Nawh. That’s not gonna cut it. 

It’s true. Kava is made from the kava root. Nobody can argue that point. It’s just not enough information to do it justice. There is more to it than telling you it’s from the root of the kava plant, the end.

To know what a kava drink is, first you need to know what kava is. 

Kava is a plant that grows naturally in the islands of the Pacific. More specifically, kava was traditionally grown in the Pacific islands of Hawaii, Fiji, Vanuatu, Federated States of Micronesia, the Samoas, and Tonga. (And suddenly, you may find yourself wanting to do some in-person research on kava. It’s for a good cause. You should go… and do your research.)

Various island cultures have been using kava as part of their ceremonies and other traditions for centuries. It has been part of their history, passed down through the generations.

The islanders would chop off pieces of the root, take a hunk, put it into their mouth, chew the daylights out of it, and then spit it into a bowl. But not just anybody could be chosen to masticate the kava. Tradition stated that a young virgin girl or boy with good teeth would be the best person for the job. 

It’s no easy task to chew a kava root. Imagine chewing on a piece of wood until it reaches the consistency of a hard mash. The candidate had to use just the right amount of saliva so as not to make the pulp too mushy and wet. After spitting it into a bowl, the next phase would begin. 

Why would natives drink something that somebody else chewed up and spat out? Well, this method of preparation is supposed to activate kavalactones more thoroughly than any other method. The enzymes in saliva have a beneficial effect on the kava root’s properties.

This means that chewing the root and preparing the kava right away results in the most potent kava because it contains the highest concentration of kavalactones. (Kavalactones are the unique compound that makes the kava do its thing in our bodies.)

So, some could say that saliva is a key ingredient in a kava drink. 

Oh my. That might be their Grandma’s kava … but we seriously doubt you want that to be your Grandma’s kava!!

So if you’re not up for drinking another person’s spit, what can be done? Good old-fashioned elbow grease can be used. Instead of working your jaws, you’ll work your forearms and hands as you mash that root repeatedly in a big, sturdy bowl, grinding and pounding it to a pulp. 

The exact method used for creating the pulp varies from island to island. They might pound it with a stone or grate it with rough coral. Whatever they do, the goal is the same—to end up with a soft pulp to which they add cool water for the next step. 

In the next part of the process, the kava sits in the water to be kneaded or stirred until the water becomes yellowish, muddy, and opaque-like in appearance. While they stir or knead, they socialize with one another. 

The kava is then strained and the remaining liquid is consumed by the villagers. This is typically done in the evenings as they relax and relate with one another, or at a purposeful ceremony.

Kava puts everybody in a state of zen. This is why they drink it when they’re together... Any tensions basically melt away when they drink kava together. 

Ta-dah! That is how the kava drink came to be.

Now, you’re probably thinking, Thanks a lot. I don’t live on an island in the Pacific. And I have no plans to make a trip to Samoa just so I can watch somebody chew up kava and spit in my drink. What on earth does this kava drink have to do with my lifestyle?!

So, here’s the question. How do non-islanders drink kava? 

Let’s have a real talk about drinking kava away from the Pacific.

How the Average American Drinks Kava

Americans often think they get their very first taste of kava through a brewed bag of kava tea. It only takes a little bit of googling to find out that buying a box of “kava tea” results in receiving very little of the traditional benefits of kava.

It would take several cups of kava tea to truly get results anywhere close to those that the native islanders experience or by using a potent extract like we use in Ü Relax.

We get a little closer to the natural form of kava when we channel our inner Pacific islander and make kava with a strainer baggie or by using some cheesecloth. You will knead your way to a cup of traditional kava when you choose to use this method for making your kava.

So, what exactly does this look like? This looks like finding yourself a bag of high-quality noble kava as your first step. Once you have your bag of ground kava powder, you want to be sure you have a way to strain it.

Some kava suppliers also have strainer bags. If this is not the case, you can always find some cheesecloth and tie it closed with a string.

Here’s what you’ll do. Read the directions on your bag for the proper amount of kava powder to use. Then add your little scoop to your strainer bag and tie it up. 

Take a small mixing bowl and fill it with warm tap water. Now, drop your bag in that tepid water, let it soak for a few minutes, and watch that water turn muddy. 

Next, it’s time to get a little dirty. Yep. You will need to get those clean hands all covered in that muddy kava water as you knead, knead, and knead some more. The combination of warm water with the power of your magic hands releases more kavalactones.

Kavalactones are the key component to giving you that happy, chill vibe that only comes from a great cup of kava. The more kavalactones you squeeze into your cup, the better.

If you don’t keep that powder strained, you will be drinking gritty, chunky kava. Don’t do that. Nobody wants to chew their cup of kava. Eww.

After you squeeze your little bag of happiness for one last time, you are ready to pour your kava into a cup. You are welcome to drink it lukewarm by pouring it right from the bowl into your mug. Or, you can put it in the fridge for a bit and drink it cold. 

Prepare yourself. Kava is not fruity, or minty, or cinnamon-like. Nope. Kava is what you might call earthy in its flavor. Some people might even tell you it tastes like dirt. Remember, you’re drinking something made from a root.

Let’s just say that traditional kava is an acquired taste! Your first sip may be a bit shocking … or cause you to gag just a little. That’s pretty normal. 

But what happens next is anything but a normal feeling. 

When you drink truly potent kava, something happens to your mouth. It gets a wee bit tingly as your lips and tongue go numb. Yep. Numb. You know it’s good kava when the sensation kicks in.

Then get ready for the rest of your body to have sensations of their own, wonderfully relaxing sensations. Your muscles begin losing their tension as your mind continues to stay sharp and focused. 

That is the beauty of kava … in the right dosage. You need to be careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on your package of kava. The proper amount will give you the best results that reduce your stress, ease anxiousness, relax your muscles, and bring you just a touch of blissful euphoria. 

You just have to get past the taste. If you can do that, you’re golden.

Otherwise, you need to find a different, perhaps better, way to drink kava. If that’s the case, you are in luck. We have just the thing. 

What Kava Can You Drink If You Don’t Like Traditionally-Brewed Kava?

You are not stuck with earthy-tasting kava in order to embrace your very own kava experience. You have an alternative that requires no brewing, no kneading, and no gagging. 

That’s right. You can drink kava that actually tastes good. We know this to be true because we made it that way on purpose. We wanted all of the benefits of kava without the essence of dirt in every sip.

So, we created Ü Relax

Ü Relax may not be found on the islands of Fiji or Samoa. But we do trust the islands to find the best kava on the planet to make our blended premade kava drink. We took kava and kicked it up a notch. 

With every sip of our beautifully blended kava, you will feel your stress melting further and further away. Our naturally soothing creation encourages deep relaxation, calms your nerves, and lifts your mood. 

Our kava drink is made even better because it has delicious fruity flavors. There is no worry of choking and gagging on a cup of healthy dirt-flavored kava.

Plus, our kava drink is clinically backed with plant-derived ingredients. Each of these ingredients has been clinically tested in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. And then, we deliberately selected the dosage in our perfectly portioned tonics.

It was really important to us that we use real people to test our formula. We did this over and over until we took Ü Relax from the “test kitchens” of our labs to the shelves of stores. 

You may not care that we painstakingly chose additional ingredients to enhance your kava experience. You may not care that we hired a highly-qualified Ph.D. to develop our calming shots.

But you will care about the amazing effect our Ü Relax has on you. Ü Relax is the ideal balance for a kava drink that isn’t too heavy or too heady. It delivers you just the right amount of calm with euphoria while causing you to focus so well that you can drink a glass while you’re working.

Yep. You can drink Ü Relax during your workday! Relaxed and focused at the same time? Yes, please and thank you!!


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Discount available only for the participants of the Driest January Ever challenge!

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