How do I make kava?
There are many ways to make a kava beverage. Below are our opinions on some of the methods but our view may be very different to yours. Kava consumers are free to choose the method that works best for them. There is also a discussion of various methods on the kava forums here.
The closest to the traditional method is to place a measured amount of medium grind kava into a strainer bag and and place the bag in a large bowl. Add a measured quantity of cool water and then vigorously knead the kava for 5 to 10 minutes or more. Kneading may not be suitable for some people such as anyone suffering arthritis of the hands. If using this method it is important to use food safe gloves as immersion in the kava mixture can cause dermatitis. The strainer bag is then squeezed to extract any further kavalactones. The remaining contents of the bag (the ‘makas’) are then discarded. Having said that, every step in this method has alternatives.
For example, the extraction can occur by placing the strainer bag in a small jar (e.g. shaker bottle) or a large jar, e.g. mason jar, adding water and then agitating the jar. Vigorous shaking is not necessary or recommended . This is our favourite method. It is quick, easy and less messy than many other options. See an example below by a superb ambassador for kava, Krunkie McKrunkface from kavaforums or krnewman on youtube. Skip to 3:59 for the shaking segment.
Note that the amount of kava used by Krunkie is not recommended for first-timers. The best effects occur on an empty stomach. For first-timers we suggest adding 20-25g of Ozkava kava (you may need twice as much with other kavas) to a strainer bag that is sealed and placed in a shaker bottle (our recommended bottle is here) or jar with 450ml of water added. Leave some space between the kava and the closure (string or clip) to allow the kava to freely agitate. Shake well for at least one minute. Once the liquid has been decanted and the bag squeezed to release the remaining liquid there should be about 420 – 430ml left (the bag and the makas absorb about 20 – 30ml). This will make three 140ml shells (cups) which should be consumed 15-20 minutes apart. Once this quantity has been consumed, a second wash can be made by refilling the blender bottle with ~280ml of water and repeating the agitation for a minute to make two more shells. For future sessions it is easy to experiment using this method as a starting point.
Another option is to place water and the kava powder into a blender and blend on high speed. The contents are then poured into a strainer bag and strained. This is an effective method that makes a strong brew but comes with three disadvantages: if the blender has steel blades some of the makas will ground fine enough to slip through the strainer bag; the straining is messier and takes longer; and the blending may heat the beverage to be too warm to be palatable.
A slightly stronger brew can be made using hot water with any of the above methods. We don’t like this method because in our view the tolerability of the kava beverage becomes worse for a small benefit. The resulting mixture can even become a slimy nasty sludge at high temperatures that also greatly increases the probability of nausea.
Lastly, the kava can be mixed with water and consumed without straining (toss-and-wash) which makes for a strong beverage but we do not recommend this option. The makas are strained in the traditional method for the good reason that they contain fibrous material and other compounds that can cause gastric distress, dermopathy and other undesirable consequences.
I tried kava and I feel little or nothing. Why?
It is relatively common for a person new to kava to not feel much effect for the first two or three sessions. This is known as ‘reverse tolerance’. As long as the kava powder is good quality noble kava, prepared in the correct manner, the consumer should notice effects by the third session. If not, then the dose needs to be increased or the preparation method revised.
What is the difference between instant, micronized and medium grind?
True instant kava is made from the fresh juice of green kava roots which is then dehydrated to a fine powder which easily mixes with water. It is the closest in taste to a fresh green kava beverage but it is expensive to manufacture and to purchase but for the consumer it is quick to make and straining is unnecessary.
Medium grind kava is made from kava roots that have been peeled, washed, dried and then ground to a semi-coarse powder. This allows a beverage to be made and strained, leaving the coarse and undesirable components (the ‘makas’) in the strainer.
Micronized kava is dried kava root that has been ground to a fine dust. In includes some, or all, of the fibrous and undesirable components of the kava root. While this makes a strong beverage that is not intended to be strained (or ineffectively strained) we believe it to be an unhealthy choice as it greatly increases the risk of nausea, dermopathy and adverse side effects. Such a powder was never consumed traditionally and we think for good reason. Some kava is misnamed as instant when it is in fact micronized. We do not sell micronized kava.
How should I store kava?
For short-term storage we recommend placing the kava in a resealable bag in the refrigerator, especially in hot climates. For long-term storage vacuum sealing and freezing will keep the kava in good condition for at least two years.
Is kava safe to consume?
Yes. It has been safely consumed in traditional communities of the South Pacific for around 3,000 years. For a detailed discussion of the safety of kava see this section of the kavaforums. It is also important to bear in mind that kava is a legally recognised food for importation and consumption in Australia.
Can I drink alcohol with kava?
This is not recommended. Some individuals can suffer an allergic reaction if alcohol is consumed before, during or after kava consumption. See this article by Jimmy Price, the highly knowledgeable and experienced kava guru (and the owner of kavaforums) on the risks of combining alcohol with kava. A minimum time interval of 18 hours is prudent.
Do you sell kava only to Australian addresses?
Yes, we only sell to Australian addresses (except the Northern Territory where sale or supply is illegal). We do not sell to overseas destinations.
Can I order other products on the Artisan Arcade site?
Yes, you can combine any products on the site into the same order such as kava, aftershave, shaving soap etc. However we do not deliver orders containing kava to the Northern Territory or New Zealand.