How To Make Kava Drink

Although kava kava has gained a great deal of prominence in the Western world in recent years, many people who have purchased or are thinking of purchasing this ancient herb may be uncertain of how to make kava drink. Let me first assure you of this: it is only as complicated as you want it to be. Preparation can involve a number of people and take hours, as is the traditional method in Hawaii and other cultures of Oceania, or it can involve as little as you with a spoon, a glass of water, some instant kava mix, and about a minute to spare! So, then, let’s look at a few ways to prepare a kava drink.

Perhaps the most popular way to obtain kava is to simply buy the powdered root. The active constituents in kava kava root, kavalactones, are water-soluble, although the extraction process is not instantaneous. Here is how to make kava drink using the basic powdered root: the powdered kava (usually 2 to 4 tablespoons per 8 oz. serving) is combined with a bit of soy lecithin, which aids in extracting the kavalactones, in an electric blender, which is then turned on and left to run for at least five minutes. Once this is complete, the blended mixture is then poured into a muslin straining bag (or similar device -- no matter what is used, make sure it is a very fine mesh) held over a bowl; the bag is then squeezed until all of the liquid has run into a bowl or pitcher. The mass of kava and lecithin left in the bag can then be discarded.

Now, if you don’t have a blender, you can still use this method of preparation. Here’s how: combine the dry, powdered kava root with the lecithin in your muslin bag or strainer. Make sure the straining device is sealed as tightly as you can get it. Then, immerse it in the water you’re using for the drink. Once immersed, use your hands to knead the bag while it is submerged in the water; or, you can bring it out of the water, squeeze all the liquid out of it, then re-immerse it and repeat. The bag will at first feel oily, which lets you know that the kavalactones, which are naturally very oily, are being extracted. Repeat the kneading process until the straining bag no longer feels oily -- at that point, the water should look rather muddy. Now you’re done! Discard the material in the straining bag, pour the kava drink, and enjoy. This method is a little more labor intensive than some others, but many people swear that this method produces the most satisfying and strongest drinks, and is the go-to answer for those wondering how to make kava drink.

For those of you who are on, well, shall we say the lazier side of the spectrum (and this often includes me!), take heart -- you can, with the right kava product, make a great-tasting, effective kava drink without the elbow grease and time required for the one mentioned above. Our Instant Kava Mixes are perfect for this, and come in a variety of flavors. With these mixes, extraction and straining aren’t needed, because the dried kava powder used in them has already been extracted from powdered root. Simply use 1 to 2 tablespoons of Instant Kava Mix in water and stir (or use a blender, if you prefer). The mix is micronized and will dissolve completely.

There are a few things to remember that will help you get the most out of your kava drink. First of all, most people who have tried both agree that using fresh kava root produces a stronger drink with a higher kavalactone content. However, a fresh kava brew also comes with a stronger taste. Those who are still getting used to the taste of kava might prefer a drink made from powdered root, or one of our Instant Kava Mixes.

If you go with powdered kava root, be aware that you will have to steep the powder for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour to fully extract the kavalactones and other active constituents. Adding soy lethicin (which we sell under Kava Accessories) can help speed up the extraction process and will also add a smoother texture to your kava drink.

Finally, never use hot water above 140 degrees Fahrenheit to brew kava. Although you may be craving a hot drink, especially in winter, hot water is widely thought to destroy kavalactones, resulting in a less effective kava drink. However, for those who prefer a warm brew, a kava drink can be gently heated up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit for a few minutes without diminishing its kavalactone content.

Well, there you have it! As you can see, kava can be prepared in many different ways. And remember: there is no wrong answer to the question of how to make a kava drink. As long as the drink brings to you the pleasant, relaxing experience that kava has long brought to the people of Oceanic cultures*, then it’s just a matter of taste!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to cure, treat, diagnose, or prevent any disease.