What Kind of Kava Should I Buy?

Thinking of buying kava? Not too sure where to begin with kava varieties or asking yourself what kind of kava to buy? Well, you have come to the right place! I share what kind of kava is best for what scenario, but: The very free Beginners Guide to Kava offers a more detailed analysis and is just a click away. That article outlines the various reasons people come to Kava, whether it’s to relax or chill out, as a way to fight anxiety and/or stress, as a sleep aid, or even as a legal high or an aphrodisiac.

So, you’re sitting there thinking to yourself, “Arghh, there’s so much kava to choose from; I’m so confused!” Or “What kind of kava is best for me?”  By the end of this article, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of kava is right for you, but really, read the Beginner’s Guide to Kava to be an instant expert.

If you want to keep things traditional, the best plan might be to go with the most traditional form of kava kava, which is Powdered Kava Root:

Powdered Kava Root:

Although authentic and quality kava root is hard to find online and is a bit hard to come by in Western and European countries (although this is quickly changing), it is bountiful throughout Oceanic island nations.  The root is traditionally chewed up and spit out into a communal bowl, in order to speed up the fermentation process.  It is then mixed with water or other solubles to create a drink with sedative and anesthetic benefits.  But who wants to do that, just to relax?  Not me!

Having trouble deciding between fresh kava root and dried kava root?  If you wanted to break the kava down into a powder to mix into a shake or turn into a kava drink, then dried kava root is the better option, plus you keep all of the wonderful benefits by retaining its purest form!  If, on the other hand, you really wanted to get in touch with kava culture you could chew up fresh kava root and mix it with water or coconut water and make a traditional kava beverage!

Are you a busy person, looking to get the benefits of kava, but don’t have the time for traditional preparation? Here are some quick options:

Instant Kava:

Instant kava supplements work kind of like instant coffee.  They’re derived from the original plant matter – in this instance kava root – but are manufactured in such a way that they do not require any preparation.  You can toss instant kava powder into a shake on your way out the door, or mix it with water and toss it into a to-go cup – and better yet, instant kava doesn’t require any steeping or straining! Also, it’s important to remember when using instant kava or other kava options that are mixed with water, that kavalactones are destroyed in temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

You also want to make sure that you get a kava instant mix that has kava root extract.  The kava extraction process is how we gain access to the beneficial kavalactones.  Instant kava that is just root (not traditionally prepared) will leave you missing out on all of the wonderful things kava has to offer!

Kava Capsules:

Just like with instant kava – you want to make sure to get a capsule that is made with extracted kava, in order to retain all of those pleasurable kavalactone qualities!  That being said, it’s best to get a supplement that indicates the amount of kavalactones it contains – some sources suggest that 70 milligrams is the minimum amount required to experience the sought-after effects.

However, kava capsules – like with any supplement that deviates away from the purest form – don’t have all of the same benefits as pure kava kava.  Kavalactones are absorbed through mucous membranes, so the capsules miss all of that salivation action going on in your mouth on their way down into your stomach. But, if you’re in a rush or wish to be discreet and need quick relief from a stressful moment, the capsule option may be just right for you.

Can’t stand the taste of kava? 

Many people struggle with the taste of kava, but power through it so that they can enjoy all of the beautiful things kava has to offer.  Personally, as a kava guru – the flavour of kava is homey and right in line with everything my taste buds crave – but, for those that are a bit new to kava culture the taste may take some time to get used to.  So, here are some tasty alternatives to pure kava kava:

Instant Kava Drinks:

Instant kava supplements are often flavoured and are a good method of consuming kava for those who find the taste of pure kava kava less than appealing.  Also, because of the instant form, this kava supplement can be added to shakes or other tasty drinks to mask the overall flavour of kava. Instant Kava is the quick, easy, pain and mess free method of getting an idea of what the Kava experience might be like.

Kava Capsules:

Since kava capsules are swallowed and not chewed or dissolved in your mouth, they are essentially tasteless! So, if kava’s flavour is something that you just cannot bear, masked or otherwise – perhaps this is the best option for you.  You could always start with the capsules and move on to the gum and then to the instant mix and maybe even one day to the root itself – building up a tolerance for the flavour over time.

Kava capsules are a solid option for those who are relatively new to kava or only want to use it occasionally here and there to help ease a moment or day that is particularly stressful.   Since the kava capsules tend to not be as strong as some other forms of kava, they are a good option for those who want to try it out for the first time, but are feeling a bit shy or uncertain.  As you become accustomed to the effects of kava you can increase your dosage as recommended by a physician or other health practitioner or move on to other forms of ingestion.

Want a flexible kava option? Kava Paste:

 Kava Paste:

There is also a nifty option for kava consumption, blandly referred to as a kava paste or kavalactone paste.  It’s a yellowish to orange substance with the consistency of cupcake batter.   Products that are FDA-compliant contain about 55% Kavalactone in them. There are full-spectrum options that contain all of the goodness that pure kava kava contains – all of its kavalactones as well as the various alkaloids – or isolated kavalactone paste, that is infused primarily with just kavalactones.  If you are looking for a flexible method of kava ingestion, the paste is a good place to start.  You can easily regulate the amount you consume, use it as your primary kava source or add it to a tea before bed to get an extra dose of kava as you ease your way into a peaceful slumber.

This is also a great place for veterans who like to take things up a notch when enjoying Kava. Kava Paste is often added to plain water extractions of powdered Kava to take things up a notch. Please remember that 55% Kavalactone content in a paste is quite hefty, and not for the faint of heart.

A Kava veteran and want to kick it into the highest gear? – Kava Tincture:

Kava Tincture:

If you want to experience the maximum Kava has to offer and are interested in the strongest Kava you can buy, then there is no other choice than Kava Tinctures with a 12% Kavalactone content in them. Yes, 12% is not as big a number as 55%, but the liquid extract absorbs quickly in the mouth, especially when placed under the tongue. Kona Kava Farm has a brand new Kava Tincture MAX 12%, which is stunningly potent. Within seconds, the numbing effect that one can feel from Kava is there almost immediately. The effects as well are nothing that beginners should be thinking about until they learn what the Kava experience is all about. As the saying goes; “With great Kava, the ground will come up to meet you…”


Kava Guru