Hot Kava Tea?

Posted by on Aug 2, 2011 in The Mind of Makaira | 13 comments

Hot Kava Tea?Aloha everyone!

Ever since I was a child, I have been drinking kava cold. Traditionally, as you may know, kava is prepared by soaking the fresh or dried root matter in cold water and straining out the plant matter when the water turns cloudy. As I got older, I began to experiment with many different ways of preparing kava – combining it with coconut milk, adding in honey and lime juice, even making kava smoothies with banana and cacao nibs, but I always thought I had to prepare these beverages cold to make them effective. It is widely published that kavalactones, the active alkaloids in kava, will break down at any heat beyond 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so I assumed that heating up my kava would make it ineffective. I have experimented with baking and cooking with kava before, but I usually found that, although the flavor might be quite nice, the effects were not anywhere near as strong as a cold cup of kava. So, I simply figured that kava had to be taken cold for any real effect. Therefore, I never really tried a hot cup of kava tea.

However, I recently ran across an absolutely fascinating blog article which says differently! The article, Boiling and Baking With Kava, suggests that kava can be gently heated to produce results that are equal to, if not STRONGER than cold kava! The author of the blog did a pretty impressive personal experiment in which he (or she?) experimented with a number of different methods of heating kava. You can read the full article for yourself (and I recommend that you do, it’s totally fascinating), but, long story short, it seems that the author discovered that if kava can be steeped in hot water OR boiled at temperatures of around 210-220 degrees for short periods of time (five minutes or so) to produce effects that were equal to those of cold kava preparations! Preparations which were heated longer than five minutes seemed to become bitter and lose strength (and, as I experienced, baking with kava – at least at high temperatures for long periods of time – seemed to remove strength as well).

The implications of this could be pretty amazing! This opens up quite a few new doors in the preparation of unique kava beverages. People often ask me if they can make hot kava kava tea, and up until now I would have said that heating the kava, even a little, would render it ineffective. Now, though, it seems that if one heats kava carefully, one can enjoy a delicious cup of hot kava tea, hot kava cocoa, or even hot kava mexican hot chocolate!

After reading this blog post, I was able to find a forum which references a book, ‘Kava: From Ethnology to Pharmacology”. I have not read the whole book as of yet, but it mentions the fact that some of the kavalactones in kava (of which there are quite a few) are more stable than others. Therefore, although heating kava may break down some of the active constituents, applying a short period of mild heat will probably have little to no negative effects on the strength of the beverage. One individual even mentioned that heating his kava a little bit seemed to increase the effects! Wow!

I was pretty excited about this whole revelation, so I decided that I had to try it out for myself. Honestly, the recipe I came up with is probably more appropriate for a cold winter’s day than the summer heat we’ve been enjoying here, but I just couldn’t wait to see if this really worked! So, I prepared my favorite Mexican Hot CocoChocolate recipe using kava!! It’s quick, easy, creamy and delicious, the cinnamon, cayenne and kava complement each other perfectly and are warming and wonderful, and best of all, the effects were just as strong as a normal bowl of cold kava! Plus, a kava tea high in warming spices and chocolate makes for a truly decadent experience! Check out the recipe and let me know what you think!

Mexican Hot CocoKavaChocolate

2.5 cups coconut milk, unsweetened
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp kava
1/8 tsp chili powder
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch Himalayan Sea Salt

1. Put coconut milk, cacao powder, kava and agave nectar in a blender and blend until smooth.

2. Add in vanilla extract, cinnamon and chili powder.

3. Heat mixture in a saucepan over medium low heat until warm, about five minutes

4. Strain through a muslin bag, cheesecloth or other strainer (this step is optional, but I find it improves the texture a bit)

5. Top with whipped cream (optional) and dust the top with a tiny bit of cayenne pepper and himalayan sea salt. Enjoy!

This recipe makes 2 servings of kava.

If you have any new recipe ideas that involve gently heating kava to make kava kava tea, please leave a comment and let us know! If we include your recipe on our site, we will send you a free bag of kava! I’m excited to see what everyone comes up with.

Aloha no,
Makaira

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13 Comments

  1. Aloha Steve!

    Glad you’re enjoying some hot kava tea! Tincture is another great way to do it, for sure!

    Aloha no,
    Makaira

  2. I’m drinking a cup of hot tea w/ 30 drops of kava tincture RIGHT NOW! I drop in the kava after the tea has steeped, and it has always done the trick for me.

  3. Aloha Freddi!

    I’ve never tried heating a kava tincture, but the indications provided here should hold true for the tinctures as well. Just pop the tincture into your hot beverage just before drinking and you’ll be just fine!

    Aloha no,
    Makaira

  4. I have kava tincture and was curious about heating that for of kava? Thanks!

  5. Aloha Suzan,

    Thank you for the comment! Did you try out the heated kava tincture? If so, how did it work? If you come across any interesting kava tincture combinations, come back and let us know! I’m very curious to try making my own tinctures, just to see how they go!

    Also, very glad to hear you have had success with kava, and that your doctor was prudent enough to have you come off of the pharmaceuticals before trying kava! It’s great to hear that more doctors are willing to work with patients to try natural remedies!

    Aloha no,
    Makaira

  6. My last kava tincture I made on October 8th. My son ordered me more kava and we split the tincture I have left. I had recently made Chaga tincture and used the double extraction method, boiling half of it and mixing that in after it cooled. So, I started to make my kava the same way. Just as it was starting to boil, something that had been nagging at me finally came to me. I keep my Kava in the fridge. I ran to look at your website and sure enough, you cannot heat kava over 140*. I poured the just boiled kava in a jar and set it aside, thinking I had ruined it. Then got on the blog and found this on the blog about gently heating the kava. I also caught the post about combining kava with valerian root or other herbs. I just gave my valerian root, hops, passion flower tincture to my son. But we will also be experimenting with the combinations. When I first found kava I was on multiple pharmaceutical medications. I wanted to try kava so bad, but my doctor said NO. So, we compromised. I went off all of my medications for an extended period before I tried the kava. That was a very long time ago and I do not miss my medicines in the least little bit. Kava works better and faster for me and I have no side effects.

  7. Dear Pat,

    Many people do report that kava has muscle relaxing effects, especially for headaches, neck and back pain. Of course, kava is not a substitute for medical advice from a doctor, but many people do report experiencing relief from muscle pain from using kava, so it can’t hurt to try it out!

    Aloha no,
    Makaira

  8. Aloha Janice!

    For this recipe, I used our powdered Mahakea kava root (the second item from the top). You can use one of our Kava Chai products as well, if you want to add an extra delicious flavor element to your beverage! Really, the sky is the limit – as long as you heat the kava gently and don’t heat it for too long, you can enjoy any of our delicious kava products as a hot beverage!

    Enjoy!
    Makaira

  9. Aloha Brenda!

    When we say ‘extract’, this means that you will want to put your kava powder in a muslin bag or tea bag and soak the bag in the cold or mildly warm liquid of your choice for five minutes or so. The delicious flavor and the kavalactones will be ‘extracted’ in to the liquid, and you will be able to enjoy them without having to consume the powder itself, which doesn’t have the ideal texture. This is the traditional method for consuming kava, and I think you will find it much nicer than just blending the powder in to the liquid!

    Aloha no,
    Makaira

  10. I bought the Kava Cinnamon chia and the directions say to “extract” 1 Tabelspoon into the liquid of your choice. Do we just blend the powder into the liquid and drink???

  11. For the hot chocolate recipe what form of kava should be used, powder?

    J

  12. Please tell me if this can help with extreme muscle tension. Pain meds and muscle relaxers don’t work. I have lived with this pain for over 30 years. Let me know ordering info and any testimonials that pertain to headaches, neck and back pain relief.

    Thanks. Pat

  13. I have been using kava most of my life and i love it i will have to try out this coco recipe. it also gave me a idea of with mixing it with coffee grounds. will try and let u know how it turns out lol :D

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