What is the Strongest Kava? [Buyer's Guide]

​​Kava is a traditional South Pacific drink used for centuries as a social and ceremonial beverage. It is an ancient herbal remedy used to alleviate stress and anxiety. In recent years it has become a popular natural option among health-minded individuals looking for a relaxing yet non-psychoactive plant.

But not all kava is created equal. Some varieties are stronger than others, so if you're looking for the most potent kava possible, you'll need to research. To help you out, we've put together this buyer's guide to the most potent kava varieties available today. 

Varieties of Kava

Kava Strains

There are hundreds of distinct kava strains (called kava cultivars). The look or chemical composition of a plant must be distinct for it to qualify as a distinct strain of kava. Selective breeding is used to create strains as farmers will remove roots from plants whose features they dislike and replace roots from those they prefer. This procedure has been going on for hundreds of years, which is why there are now so many different kava strains available.

The potency of different kava strains varies greatly. This is based on both the ratio of each ingredient and the total concentration of kavalactones.

Noble Varieties 

The most important distinction in identifying high-quality kava is its classification as either Noble or Non-Noble. Noble varieties are considered the highest quality type of kava because they have higher levels of the active ingredient, kavalactone. This active ingredient is what provides the many benefits associated with the drink.

They also tend to taste more pleasant and provide more desirable effects than Non-Noble strains. Examples of Noble varieties include Waka, Mahakea, Melo Melo, Lateral Rootless Fijian (RLF), Vanuatu Borogu, and Tongan Ava. Noble kavas are far more pleasant to consume but aren't quite as potent as tudei kava, so you'll need to consume more cups of these to feel similarly "stoned."

There are three main profiles for noble kava:

  1. Heady kava is the type of kava that enhances feelings of exhilaration and mood. They have a powerful calming effect yet rarely make users feel "stoned" or "drunk."
  2. Heavy Kava will have a strong effect on the body making the user feel drowsy or heavy.
  3. Balanced Kava provides a balanced mix of the heady and heavy kava effects.

Strong heady kava has a completely different effect than strong heavy kava. You should therefore be aware of the variations in these effect profiles before choosing a specific strain based solely on its strength.

Non-Noble Varieties 

Non-Noble varieties are generally lower in potency than Noble varieties and usually have fewer desirable effects. These strains often have higher levels of other compounds that can make them taste bitter or unpleasant—which is why it's essential to know how to identify them! Some common examples of Non-Noble types are Hawaiian Awa and Isa Isa from Vanuatu.

Related Link: How to Make Kava Taste Better

Identifying High-Quality Kava Products 

When shopping for high-quality kava products, there are several things you should keep in mind. First, ensure that the product is labeled as "noble" or "non-noble"—this will indicate its potency level and expected effects.

You should also pay attention to where the product was sourced; noble strains are typically grown in Fiji or Vanuatu, while non-nobles come from Hawaii or elsewhere in the Pacific Islands region. Additionally, if possible, try to check out reviews online from previous customers who have tried the same product before making your purchase!

Have any questions about kava? Get in touch today!

Some of the Strongest Varieties of Kava?

Heavy Kava

The strongest cultivars of heavy kava include:

  • Borogu Tememe and Nakasara from Vanuatu.
  • Hina Akau and Huli Akau from Tonga.
  • Pana'ewe and Ikaika from Hawaii.
  • Rahmdel & Rahmwanger from Micronesia.

Heady Kava

The strongest varieties of heady kava include:

  • Ava Sa and Ava Lea from Samoa
  • Bor Kar and Pia from Vanuatu
  • Pouini Ono from Tonga
  • Vula Waka from Fiji

Balanced Kava

The most powerful balanced kava cultivars include of:

  • Ava Talo from Samoa
  • Palarasul, Papa Kea, and Eva from Vanuatu
  • Honolulu and Loa Waka from Fiji

Vanuatu Kava 

Vanuatu kava is known to be one of the strongest kava varieties out there. It's a traditional kava strain native to the Vanuatu Islands in South Pacific but has been exported across the world, gaining immense popularity in many countries. It is known to induce a pleasant sense of relaxation, clarity and tranquility often accompanied with improved alertness and focus.

Vanuatu kava is said to have an earthy flavor with an enjoyable aroma which many people find to be comforting and enjoyable. This variety of kava makes for a great herbal supplement for those seeking relaxation, stress-relief and improved mental clarity.

Preparing a Kava drink for Optimal Effects 

Preparing it correctly is the first step in getting the most out of your kava experience. When preparing kava, it is advised to use water at a temperature of 95°F-104°F (about 35–40°C). It is generally agreed that adding warm water to traditional preparation can enhance the emulsification of kavalactones from the root particles into the liquid.

However, please avoid using too hot water because it might significantly worsen the kava's flavor. While boiling (and filtering) kava root can produce a strong beverage, the flavor and consistency can become nearly intolerable. Additionally, using hot water appears to change the chemical composition of the finished beverage and reduce its overall appeal. Therefore, it is unquestionably not advised.

The grinding method also matters when preparing your kava, as finer particles will release more active compounds than larger particles will. You can use a mortar and pestle or a specialized grinder designed specifically for grinding kavas root powder into a fine paste. It would be best to ground your root powder into as fine a paste as possible for optimal results.

The mixing technique also plays a vital role in how effective your kava drink will be. The traditional way of making a proper cup of kava involves adding water or coconut milk and then stirring vigorously with an instrument called a "kavasse" until all lumps have been removed and the mixture has become thick and creamy, like a milkshake consistency.

This mixing process helps break down some of the compounds found in kava roots that are not released by just grinding alone, thus giving you more beneficial effects from drinking it. 

Related Link: How Long Does It Take for Kava to Kick In?

Side Effects of Drinking Too Much Kava

Although kava is believed to be beneficial for its numerous health benefits, drinking too much of it can cause some side effects. Some of these include nausea, headaches, stomach discomfort, and restlessness. If you’re noticing any of these side effects after drinking kava, it is best to immediately discontinue use. 

Searching for a kava supplier you can believe in? Check out Shot of Joy! 

Drinking The Strongest Kava

No matter what type of experience you're looking for when drinking kava, there's sure to be something on this list that meets your needs! Whether you prefer subtle flavors or intense potency, there are plenty of options—it just takes a little bit of research (and perhaps some experimentation) before you find what works best for you! So grab some kava, sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Related Link: How Long Does Kava Stay in Your System?

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