Kava Recipe – Kava Colada

Kava Recipe - Kava ColadaOn a warm evening on the big island of Hawaii, kava grower Zachary Gibson proudly demonstrated his latest drink, a kava colada. “See, I take a whole ice tray of frozen pineapple-juice cubes, put them all in a blender with a full can of coconut milk, add one ounce of fluid kava extract and just a little honey and vanilla, blend it all up, and it makes six really delicious drinks.”

Zachary whizzed the concoction in a blender until the mixture was smooth and creamy. The fat in the coconut would help absorb the kavalactones in the kava extract. The pineapple, coconut milk, honey, and vanilla would all blunt the bitterness of the kava. Six of us hoisted the kava coladas and drank together. The drink was impressively delicious, and we all felt the effects of the kava immediately. Zachary was excited. “See? You make a drink like this with kava, and people will really like it.”

We enjoyed the kava coladas so much that we made another blender full about 30 minutes later and drank those too. Half an hour later, we had a third round. Meanwhile, we did what islanders in Oceania have done for thousands of years. We sat together as the warm, golden sun set into the vast Pacific Ocean, and we shared thoughtful conversation and good company.

 Excerpted from “Psyche Delicacies” by Chris Kilham.

If you have any great Kava recipes, please let us know.  If we like it we will post your idea and/or recipe and send off a free package of 4oz Powdered Kava Root from any one of the Kava suppliers we list or review here as a personal “Thank you!” to you.

Kava Review – Kava Dot Com

This Kava Supplier definitely counts as being one of the most interesting websites we’ve ever visited. For many years, Kava Dot Com has been a source for unbiased Kava information. In 2013 they made a bold move; they decided to go from being an informational website to an eCommerce website. Are we glad they did?

They started the Kava Marketplace; an online store featuring Kava Kava from a number of different Kava suppliers. They also introduced their own brand of Kava in two disctinct grades; Hawaiian Kava with about 4% kavalactone content, and Vanuatu Noble with a minimum of 8% kavalactone and a very “happy” 4-2-6 chemotype. We were a bit skeptical of their Vanuatu Noble variety and thought perhaps that was nothing more than some marketing hype. But we’re pleased to report that their Vanuatu Noble Kava truly lives up to its name, and a little digging into what exactly a 426 kavalactone lineup revealed some very interesting information.

In short, there are 6 major kavalactones out of the 18 in total that have been discovered. Those 6 major kavalactones have been assigned numbers, and it turns out that kavalactone levels are actually “fingerprints” for Kava, and allows one to determine the origin of any Kava root. So, the Vanuatu Kava, with it’s 4-2-6 kavalactone lineup, has a high concentration of kavain (4), with dihydrokavain (2) following, with a 3rd major component of methysticin (6). It turns out that kavain and dihydrokavain encourage dopamine release in the brain, making the Vanuatu Noble variety one of the most pleasurable Kavas out there.

Interestingly enough, it turns out that a specific cultivar of Hawaiian Kava called “Mahakea” Kava, also can have a kavalactone lineup of 426 as well. So, whether it’s a Hawaiian cultivar called Mahakea or the Kava Dot Com Vanuatu Noble Kava Root, if a happy, pleasant repose that lasts longer than one might expect is your cup of tea (or should I say “shell of Kava”), then look no further than KavaDotCom and their Kava Marketplace for your Kava.

If you’re looking for flat out strong but giddy Kava Root, then you’ve found your perfect Kava. If you’re looking for a more complex, and perhaps a more cultured Kava, then the various offerings from Bula Kava definitely fit the bill.

But, Kava Dot Com doesn’t stop at just Kava Root. They’ve got lots of Hawaiian-themed party favors, vegan chocolate, and an entire line of SuperFoods. We get it; Kava is good for a healthy life, and SuperFoods are also good to keep a body healthy to enjoy a happy life. We’re not sure how much SuperFood they’re selling at the Kava Marketplace, but good for them.

Not all Kava Suppliers are represented over at the Kava Marketplace, but we’re hoping to see more Kava Suppliers added as time goes on, as the positive reviews stack up, and other Kava Brands take notice. I know if I were a Kava Brand, I’d be giving the folks over at Kava Dot Com a call to see if they’d be interested in adding my product to their catalog and possibly starting a subscription service for loyal customers. If that becomes an option, FastSpring can help set up recurring billing payments for these services, so businesses and customers can both be happy with the outcome. Seems like a win-win for everyone involved.

Kava Dot Com gets 5 Shells out of 5.


What Does Kava Taste Like?

Dear Kava Guru,
What does Kava taste like?
Rob, Chicago, IL

Now this is a challenge I’m happy to take on!  First of all, let me say that I have yet to meet someone who has been introduced to kava kava who hasn’t needed to acquire a taste for it.  As my wife said when she tried kava for the first time; “You really have to want to drink this.”

This isn’t to say the taste of kava is unpleasant.  Certainly not.  Even for those who find the bitterness something they’re not used to, especially in the West, don’t think the taste itself is necessarily unpleasant.  A comment we hear often is that kava has an “earthy” flavor to it.  That’s not to say that kava tastes like dirt!  I would agree with the assessment that kava has an earthy flavor.  But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for this complex plant.

For me, I would say that kava is something like unsweetened Turkish coffee.  It’s a strong coffee that has the coffee grounds still in it when consumed.  That’s not entirely accurate either, but it gives you a general idea of what to expect.  Imagine a very earthy coffee with the consistency of a milkshake.  The fact is, is a kava beverage made from fresh kava roots is much thinner than kava that’s made from the kava powder that’s typically commercially available.  Whether you extract kava yourself or purchase it as an instant mix, unless you double the amount of liquid that the instructions tell you to use, the kava drink will be a bit thick.

And the bitterness of kava is difficult to cover with just about any kind of sweetener.  Personally, I’ve found that the traditional mixers for kava continue to be the best at “masking” the bitterness of kava.  And those two key mixers/extractors for kava are coconut water or pineapple juice.

That’s my guess why kava is still a relatively obscure “afcionado” type of dietary supplement instead of a household name; it takes some work to get past the taste if you want to enjoy this complex plant as it has been used traditionally for thousands of years.

The good news is that making kava into a drink isn’t the only way to enjoy this dietary supplement.  There are pastes, cordials, capsules, and even a couple of beverages that have begun to appear on the market.  With kavalactone pastes, you still need to taste the kava, but it’s just a small pea-sized amount that can be swallowed quickly.  Capsules, of course, have virtually no flavor of their own.  But traditionally, kava has been drunk in a single gulp from a half coconut shell.  (A single round of kava brew is called a “shell of kava”.)

I can say this:  of all those who worked to acquire a taste for kava, about 75% of those I’ve introduced to kava have discovered the subtle complexities of the root.  They’ve found a mixer that they actually enjoy blended with kava, and find the taste quite pleasing.  For me, working to acquire a taste for kava changed me forever.  Now, I begin and end each day with a shell; it energizes me in the morning, especially when I eat a healthy breakfast with fruits and grains, but it has the opposite effect in the evening, when I slow down, unwind, and gulp down a shell of kava.  It gives me a relaxed, gentle repose that melts away the stress of my day.

Kava Guru