Part of the experience of drinking kava is in the preparation. You can
Learning how to make a traditional kava drink is a fun way to entertain friends and enhance the quality of your kava.
Traditional Kava Drink
If you want to make a traditional kava drink as close to the authentic process used for centuries by South Pacific islanders, then you’ll want to learn this method. The traditional kava method takes about ten to fifteen minutes more than steeping a kava tea bag. Utilizing this method increases the potency of your kava.
The difference between this method and the islander method is that we suggest using a high-quality kava powder instead of chewing the kava root and spitting the kava juice into the tea. Using a kava powder is significantly more sanitary.
To prepare a traditional kava drink, you’ll need the following tools:
- A strainer bag (can substitute with a muslin bag or cheesecloth)
- Medium to large mixing bowl
- A kitchen scale
- Teacups for serving kava tea
You’ll need the following ingredients:
- 10 grams of high-quality ground kava root per person
- 1 cup of warm to mildly hot water per person (you need to be able to touch it without burning your hands)
How to Make a Traditional Kava Drink
Follow these steps to prepare kava tea in the traditional method:
- Measure your kava powder for everyone who will be drinking. You’ll want 10 grams of kava powder for every person on your kitchen scale. If you don’t have access to a kitchen scale to weigh the kava in grams, you can use 3-4 tablespoons of kava powder per person.
- Pour the kava powder into the strainer bag. A strainer or muslin bag is preferable because you can tie off the bag without spilling the powder. If you use a cheesecloth, you’ll need to be careful when kneading the powder so that it doesn’t spill out.
- Place the strainer bag in the mixing bowl.
- Add the warm to tap-hot water. Measure a cup of warm water per person. Pour the water into the strainer bag or over the top of the muslin bag.
- Let the kava powder bag rest in the water for about 5 minutes. This gives the powder time to absorb the most water. The water will begin to appear murky, which means the kavalactones are working.
- Knead the kava powder in the strainer bag. This is a critical step that will increase the potency of your kava. Using your hand, squeeze, massage, and twist the kava powder in the water as much as possible. The water will turn a murky light brown that looks a bit like muddy water. This process should take about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove the strainer bag while squeezing out the remaining water. You can save the strainer bag with the powder for two to three more uses that will be lower strength. Most people store the bag in the freezer until their next use.
- Pour the kava tea into teacups and enjoy.
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How Long Do You Soak Kava For?
How long to soak your kava is really up to you. While we recommend steeping the kava powder for at least five minutes, you can steep it longer for higher potency. Many like to soak their kava for about ten minutes before kneading and massaging the powder.
What Does Kava Tea Taste Like?
Kava can be a bit of an acquired taste. While most people love the effects of kava, not everyone enjoys the earthy flavor. Some feel kava has a smoky whisky flavor that is quite strong. Others think it tastes bitter or a bit like mud.
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Related Link: What is Kava?
What Can I Add to Traditional Kava Tea to Make it Taste Better
To improve the flavor, some people like to:
- Mix kava with their favorite milk base or creamer.
- Chase each sip with a slice of fruit, juice, or some nuts.
- Add more water to dilute the kava tea to a more palatable flavor.
- Add coconut water to give it a hint of tropical flavor.
- Add kava tea to a fruit smoothie or sweet drink.
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Related Link: Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do the Effects of Traditional Kava Drink Last?
Most people feel the effects for one to three hours once the kava is absorbed into the bloodstream. You may notice a numb, tingly feeling in your mouth at first, and then after fifteen to thirty minutes of consuming the kava tea, you should feel a relaxing sensation seep through your body. This feeling will increase for about two hours before tapering off.
A Traditional Kava Drink is Something You Should Experience
If you are looking to create a unique memory for you and your friends, you may want to make a traditional kava drink for increased potency and an authentic South Pacific experience. Traditional kava tea is easy to make and a conversation piece to share with friends.
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