Frequently Asked Questions
What is Kava?
Kava is the name given to the drink prepared from the roots of the kava plant, scientific name Piper methysticum. The drink has been prepared traditionally throughout the pacific islands for more than a thousand years. Thought to have originated in Vanuatu and then been traded to the rest of the pacific, Vanuatu has the highest concentration of different varieties of Kava. With each of them having slightly different effects.
Pharmacologically the effects are produced by molecules known as kavalactones. There are 6 primary kavalactones that give different effects depending on their concentration within the plant. More information on the chemistry of Kava can be found here.
What forms of kava are available?
Traditionally, kava roots are freshly harvested and ground using primitive stone tools (or chewed), the juice is then strained using coconut fibers and consumed in a coconut shell during special events. In the modern day, there are multiple forms of Kava available for consumers.
Fresh Kava: In Vanuatu, the most common way to drink kava is to harvest the plant fresh from the ground, mince it up using a meat grinder and strain it with water through fabric to produce the drink. This form is not available for export.
Regular Dried Kava Powder: Roots and chips from the stump of the plant are dried and ground up in mills to produce a powder that can be mixed with water, strained and consumed.
Instant Kava: Instant kava is produced by dehydrating pre-squeezed kava juice into powder form, no straining is required. It can simply be mixed with water and consumed. No additives are added, our instant kava is one of a kind as it is made from freshly harvested kava plants.
Micronized Kava: Different from instant kava, micronized kava is dried chips and roots that have been very finely ground so it can be mixed with water and consumed without straining. Micronized kava may cause nausea due to the amount of fiber present in the juice.
Kava Capsules: Available from various places, not recommended. This form is not used traditionally throughout the pacific islands.
Kava Extracts: Extracts of kava use solvents such as acetone or ethanol to extract the kavalactones, this method of extraction has been discouraged as it is what gave rise to the original reports of adverse events resulting in liver damage due to the acetone extracting unwanted lactones from the plants.
How do I prepare my Kava powder?
(Warning: This recipe is for a traditional Vanuatu strength mix, go easy and drink it slowly.)
This mix should be enough for one session of kava for one person, you may have more if you wish.
This recipe is for regular dry kava powder, it is NOT for instant kava
Mixing tables for regular kava powder and instant kava powder can be found here.
You will need:
-A large bowl
-Straining cloth: cheesecloth or a pair of stockings work very well, or normal fabric
-A coconut shell or small bowl to drink it out of (you can use a cup)
In a bowl, mix 50g to 60g (10 tablespoons) of kava powder with 600mL of water. Stir it well and allow the kava to soak up the water, you may also blend it in a blender to improve the extraction, blending is optional.
Pour the mix through your straining cloth and squeeze it as hard as you can to get all the juice out, dip it back in the water and continue squeezing. Repeat 5 to 8 times to achieve the best results.
Once you have squeezed out all of the kava, discard the leftover fibers and strain it again through the cloth to remove any fibers in the mix.
Consume 100mL to 200mL per cup, wait 15 minutes before consuming another cup. Drink it in one shot, DO NOT sip your kava. It is highly frowned upon to sip your kava, the cup must be consumed in one shot.
Drinking it with friends or in a social setting increases the effects.
Where do you ship to?
We ship Kava to Europe, the United States of America, Canada, South America, Japan and all countries where kava is legal. If you are looking to buy kava direct from Vanuatu in Europe or the USA, we can supply you. Australian customers must order through our Melbourne branch due to kava regulations in Australia.
Shipping to the USA is via EMS and will arrive within 2 weeks, shipping to EU is via FedEx and may take longer. We always have kava in Vanuatu and by ordering direct from the place of origin, you are ensuring 100% that you know what type of kava you are getting and that it is a reputable variety.
What forms of Kava do you have available in Australia?
Currently, we provide regular kava powder and instant kava powder will be available by early July. Australian kava sellers require an import permit for each batch sold in the country, we cannot supply Australian customers directly from Vanuatu so we must keep all of our stock in Australia. Hence the limited availability. More varieties of kava will be available in Australia through us in the near future.
Our regular kava powder is currently available to buy in Australia and we ship to all states: Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania & South Australia excluding Northern Territory.
Our stock is kept in Melbourne and can be shipped express to Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart and surrounding areas. We currently offer free shipping on all orders, We are here to help anyone looking to buy kava in Australia.
I heard that kava causes liver damage, is this true?
Claims of liver damage from drinking traditional kava mixed with water have been refuted by the scientific community. The original reports of liver damage from kava were due to people consuming kava extracts, specifically acetone-based ones. The solvents extracted non-active compounds called flavokavains in high concentrations. This is why we do not recommend consuming kava extracts, there are now rules that state that the kava drink must be prepared with only water and kava roots, no other additives.
Got any more questions?
Join the kava community at KavaForums and Reddit