How many ways can you prepare Kava?
The kava plant or known otherwise by its Latin botanical name, Piper methysticum, grows in hot and humid climates in the tropical South pacific islands of Samoa, Fiji, Pohnepi, Hawaii, Vanuatu, and the Austral Islands.
Methods to Prepare Kava
Kava is a cash crop in these tropical regions where it is cultivated and so has great significance to people residing in these regions both economically, and potentially in their daily lives. The plant root extracts are used to produce a traditional drink with potentially intoxicating properties due to the psychoactive kavalactones it contains (Davis & Brown, 1999). Below are different methods of preparing Kava:
- Traditionally, the roots were harvested and orally masticated, and then the chewed pieces would be deposited into wooden bowls to be mixed with water. The material would then be strained and the solid deposits removed, with the remaining liquid served from coconut shells. The strainers they would have originally used would have been made from a tree fiber or coconut fiber, but today, a conventional cheesecloth, muslin or nylon nut milk bag would be used to separate the liquid from the solid root remains (Davis & Brown, 1999). The advantage of a nut milk bag is that the mesh material is much finer than other materials and so results in a much smoother drink with less chunky precipates.
- Another method one can implement is a quick blender method where kava is mixed in a blender using a 1:10 or 1:15 ratio of kava to water. This slurry is then blended, its contents strained and the liquid served (2020).
- Kava can also be consumed in other, more processed forms such as a tincture or in a capsule (Walle, 2018).
- An Aluball can also be used for convenience and portability. This is a recent American patented invention where the Kava powder is inserted into a plastic ball, cool water is added, and the liquid is extruded through the fine-pored metallic mesh and then into a retaining receptacle. Some aluballs are accompanied with a shaker bottle that feature an easy to pour spout and closeable lid (Aluball, 2020).
- Some consumers may find the beverage distasteful, other ingredients can also be added to improve palatability such as papaya or some other fruit juice or milk on ice. The additional benefit of adding milk isn’t just flavor or a smooth texture, but fat which increases kavalactone absorption. It can even have ingredients added such as yogurt or fruit pieces to make a Kava smoothie.
Tips for consumption
- The active ingredients in the Kava root called kavalactones, are fat soluble, so combining the drink with a small amount of fat will increase absorption. Cool or warm water must be used as Kava’s active ingredients are heat liable.
- As was said, the kavalactones are not water soluble, and so the effectiveness of the dose being imbibed relies on the suspension of these solutes, and as such, should be consumed rather quickly to prevent the solutes from precipitating to the bottom. The use of warm water also enhances temporary emulsification (2020).
- It may take some time to feel the effects of the beverage and so it is recommended to wait 15-20 minutes between servings and for it to be served on a relatively empty stomach. (Kandola, 2018) & (Walle, 2018).
At the end of the day, feel free to experiment different ways to prepare kava. Leave us a comment on any additional ways you prepare Kava not mentioned above. Bula Vinaka!
Davis, R. I., & Brown, J. F. (1999). Kava (Piper methysticum) in the South Pacific: Its importance, methods of cultivation, cultivars, diseases and pests. Canberra: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. doi:file:///home/chronos/u-0152f692174c9c071cdab377dbfdd673caaff369/MyFiles/Downloads/tr046_pdf_19769%20(1).pdf
How to Prepare Kava. (2020). Retrieved July 17, 2020, from https://kavasociety.nz/how-to-prepare-kava
Kandola, A. (2018). Kava kava: Uses, benefits, risks, dosage, and interactions. Retrieved July 17, 2020, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324015
Walle, G. (2018). Kava Kava: Benefits, Side Effects and Dosage. Retrieved July 17, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/kava-kava
(2020). Kava Makers. Retrieved July 17, 2020, from https://www.aluball.com/collections/kava-makers
Kava Recipes. (n.d.). Retrieved July 17, 2020, from https://mauikavabar.com/kavaDrinks.htm
I extract with pure water, squeeze the background dry, add a tablespoon of milk or half and half, allow to soak for a few minutes, then return to squeezing and dipping for a while longer.
I’m going to suggest that even nonfat milk aids in extraction, not just the fats in milk. This was not the result of measurement but my subjective interpretation of effectiveness, I’d imagine that either the sugars, starches, or proteins in milk are responsible.