How to Buy the Kava that is Best for You

Kalm with Kava variety pack of Borogu, Borongoru, and Puoni-Ono kava with traditional bowlsIf you are shopping for kava and having trouble deciding which variety/form to buy, answering 3 simple questions can help you decide which kava is best for you.

  1. Why do you want to drink kava? What positive affects are you looking for?
  2. When do you want to drink kava and experience these affects? In the daytime or the evening?
  3. Where do you want to drink kava? Will you be at home, at the office or traveling and on the go?

The answers to these questions will help you decide what kava is best for you.

Heady, Heavy, and Balanced kavas.

The first choice to make when selecting a kava to drink is between heady, heavy or balanced kavas. With over 105 different cultivars, each kava variety is slightly different for effects. Some kava varieties are great for daytime use, while other have more tiring characteristics and better consumed in the afternoon/evening.

Heady Kavas are the ones better suited for daytime use as they make you feel more energetic and euphoric.

Heavy Kavas are ones better suited for evening use as they more likely to relax your body and make you feel a little sleepy.

Balanced Kavas fall in-between these classes and are good to use anytime. The easiest way to find out if a kava is heady, heavy or balanced is by chemotype or closely reading the product description to see whether the best time of day for drinking that particular kava is specified

With over 105 kava varieties, finding a great and appropriate variety can take a long time. That’s why at Kalm with Kava, we’ve done the hard work for you and selected only the best varieties to meet the needs most requested by our customers.

Tonga KavaPouni Ono Kava from Tonga

This kava is best suited for daytime use, has the least tiring effects and is a great social kava as well. It’s also unique in that many find it to be one of the easiest tasting kavas around. Overall Happy & Uplifting, perfect for easing stress while still being productive or for socializing with friends and family.

Fiji Waka KavaLoa Waka Kava from Fiji

This is the perfect example of a great balanced kava. It is the strongest variety we carry and very popular all around effects. In smaller servings it is somewhat heady and good for daytime use. In larger serving sizes it can become heavier, melting away the stresses of the day.

Borogu Vanuatu Kava TeaBorogu Kava from Vanuatu

This is the most popular variety of kava in Vanuatu and is considered a good afternoon kava. It is still a balanced kava and starts out heady but tiring effects are more pronounced with higher doses and tend to set in a few hours after consuming.

Vula Waka Kava from Fiji

This is the perfect example of a moderately heavy kava. In smaller servings it is relaxing and good for easing worries of the day. In larger serving sizes it can become heavier, good for winding down in the evening or use as a nightcap.

Kava Tea VanuatuBorongoru Kava from Vanuatu

This is the kava we recommend for late afternoon or evening drinking as it is great for reducing stress or anxiety at the end of a work or busy day, or for use as a sleep aid. It is a Heavy Kava and very relaxing.


Understanding a Kava Chemotype & Effects

One good way to know if a kava variety is heady, heavy or balanced and what effects it’s likely to have is to look to see whether the product chemotype is listed. A kava chemotype identifies the composition of active ingredients, known as kavalactones in that particular variety of kava. Each of the main 6 kavalactones are assigned a number between 1 and 6 to make-up the total chemotype.

Kava TestingThe chemotype will list in order from highest to lowest the amount of each kavalactone present in a particular cultivar and any reputable vendor should have this information readily available. Knowing how to read a chemotype will help you select the best kava for you. For example, if a kava variety has the chemotype 436215, it means that the kavalactone #4, Kavain, is most prevalent in this particular variety of kava. Kavain (#4) is responsible for mood elevation. Kavalactones # 2, Dihydrokavain (DHK) and, # 5, Dihydromethysticin (DHM) are responsible for the sedating effects that can come from drinking kava. While, the active ingredient Yangonin, (kavalactone # 3), is purported to be responsible for the stimulating effects of a particular variety.

The kava chemotype and associated composition of kavalactones will determine the overall effect you will get from the kava you drink. Kavas low in # 5 and high in #3 are known as Heady Kavas, better for daytime use as they still impart relaxation but little drowsiness. Kava’s high in #2 and #5 are know as Heavy Kavas better for evening use because they impart more drowsiness and muscle relaxation. It is important to note, if #5, DHM is listed in the first places of a chemotype, it is almost guaranteed to be Tudei Kava, undesirable kava varieties that carry the risk of lethargy and hangover effects that last for 2 days. We at Kalm with Kava only sell high quality, tested, Noble kava varieties. Learn more.

You can learn more about the science behind the natural calm of kava in this blog.

We’ve also created this handy kava product selection tool to help you decide what kava would be best for you.


kava tea concentrate drinkKava preparation at home, at the office or when on-the-go.

A second decision when purchasing kava will be to choose whether to buy medium grind kava, micronized or instant kava, or a kava concentrate that’s been flavored to make kava actually taste good. Each of these kavas are prepared differently, so which one to choose will depend mainly on your answer to question #3 above.

To prepare Medium Grind Kava you’ll need a strainer bag (muslin cloth) and bowl of water to prepare it the traditional way. See our Kava Preparation Page for easy instructions. If you are at home, during the day or evening, it’s most likely you will have the necessary tools to hand. On the other hand, you might not have a bowl or muslin cloth at the office or want to follow the traditional method for preparing kava in an office environment. So Medium Grind kava is usually purchased for use at home.

On the other hand, Micronized and Instant Kava is relatively quick and simple to prepare.  All that you need to do is simply stir 2-4 teaspoons into any beverage. Many people mix micronized kava with juice or smoothies. The benefit of this method is that is also helps mask the earthy taste of kava.

Lastly, Kava Concentrate is perhaps the best kava to buy if you are traveling or on-the go. All you need to do to prepare a tasty and enjoyable drink is dilute the concentrate with water or a nonalcoholic beverage of your choice. It’s super quick and easy. Kalm with Kava developed our great tasting kava concentrate with the help from nutritionists and food scientists and its been constantly one of our best sellers.

You should also keep in mind that these different types of kava product vary in strength. Learn more about which kava product is strongest here.

Well that, in a nutshell – or as we say bilo – is how to choose the kava that is best for you.

Let us know if you have any additional tips or tricks in the comments below.

We’d love to hear how you choose between the different kava varieties on the market and what you think about our new handy kava selection tool.

Buy Kava.








42 Responses

  1. Taylor
    | Reply

    I found this article really helpful when I was first curious about kava.

  2. charlotte sanfilippo
    | Reply

    never tried this brand yet, sounds great, hope I could win

  3. JustinK
    | Reply

    For those new to Kava, I’d recommend Kalm With Kava as a go-to vendor. They deliver consistent products as well as consistent processing and delivering. I’d also recommend researching a bit about Kava. A great place to do this is on the kavaforums. From there you can engage in or read in depth conversations about the plant. Kalm With Kava also has it’s own vendor page on that forum, which is a great place to read reviews and find out which product might be best for you (this is what I did). If from there you are still unsure, a sample variety pack may be right up your alley. I say this because it took me a few tries to find my favorite Kava, which is Borongoru. And this is not to say that I didn’t enjoy other Kava’s I’d tried, I loved them, but Borongoru is what I had been looking for- super heavy, relaxing, not stimulating (I have coffee for that), and a wonderful sleep aid. I’d also recommend the sample pack because it took me yet again a while to discover another one of my favorites that I’d never typically branch out to. The Pouni Ono. I just figured a “heady daytime” Kava just wouldn’t do it for me. Boy was I wrong. This is a potent Kava as well, just very “heady”. Meaning you’re not overly relaxed in the body, but it’s still strong in that you feel it in your head and it gives you a bit of energy and mood uplifting. This is a stimulating Kava and I love it, especially mixed with Borongoru.

  4. Amy Windsor
    | Reply

    Wow I would love to be a lucky winner , all the product’s sound very healthy, and very nutritionist,thanks for the in-depth details about your wonderful products the information is very helpful with making the right choices.

  5. Dylan
    | Reply

    My favorites are Borongoru and their Fijian Loa Waka. I generally got with medium grind but for starters, definitely recommend micronized due to the ease of prep/consumption. Looking forward to branching out and trying the Vula Waka and new batch of Pouni Ono.

  6. Abel
    | Reply

    Awesome article. Appreciate the organization and professionalism

  7. Dalton Cole
    | Reply

    My favorite kava is definitely your micronized kava. Its so simple and quick to mix, and it’s powerfully relaxing. I am instantly relieved of stress when I drink it. Perfect for an end to a long day

  8. Kelly
    | Reply

    I would love to try the heady kava, I can use a energy boost!

  9. Kelly
    | Reply

    Great article very informative.

  10. Meg
    | Reply

    Kava helps me get out and be social.

  11. Ash H
    | Reply

    Kalm with Kava has been my husband’s favorite brand of Kava so far. He uses it to help his anxiety and depression, and I haven’t seen him this happy and upbeat on a daily basis in quite a while. He loves how relaxed your products make him feel! Thank you!

  12. Daniel
    | Reply

    Can’t wait to try the Micro Loa that I have ordered. I originally thought that heavy kavas were the right way to go for myself, but I soon discovered that they make me feel too lethargic the next day.

  13. Patrick Anderson
    | Reply

    Great read! Looking at the three types of kava I think each would be best for me at different moments so I guess I’ll have to try all three! Excited to try your medium grind sampler pack!

  14. John
    | Reply

    I have purchased a couple of micronized kavas from KWK, even though I am a die-hard medium grind guy. I must say the quality and amazingly fine grind of the micronized opens a world of possibility. The prep is as easy as mixing in water, chugging, and getting ready for the calm. Great products and I will certainly be coming back for more. If you are pressed for time or opportunity to do traditional prep, I highly recommend giving the micros a try.

  15. Stephen Satmary
    | Reply

    Cant wait for xmas!

  16. Daniel J. Bomar Jr.
    | Reply

    I love your stuff! clean and nice!

  17. Andrea Fox
    | Reply

    Love the guidance on what Kavas have which effects!

  18. Michael Rice
    | Reply

    I lava kava

  19. Scott Martin
    | Reply

    This was very helpfull to understanding kava. Now that i understand kava i’m going out and get me some woo!!!! woo !!!! Stay tuned to find out my results later my friend’s kava! Kava!!!!

  20. Kaycee777
    | Reply

    I just took 4 tsp of borogu ‘Kalm with Kava’ and feeling wonderfully Kalm…Thanks for the explanation of the various types. It helps before ordering to prevent purchasing the type best suited for my needs. Very effected and powerful at a high dosage. Reassured that it is safe because it is ‘Noble’ kava. Love my liver and this ‘Noble kava‘ will not affect it in a negative way. Very important to me to protect this organ. Wow! Now the room is swaying, I may have taken too much but I am at home and more confortable than I can ever have imagined. Viva Borogu.

  21. Pam
    | Reply

    We purchased the Pouni Ono on a whim. I was looking for something to calm my nerves quickly and help with my anxiety. This product is amazing! I got the instant tingling of the lips and then about 15 minutes, I was calm and very much at peace. Surprisingly enough, the relaxation helped with tension headache i was having! Will definitely buy more!

  22. Dave
    | Reply

    Kava is very helpful for anxiety, but definitely prefer the traditional method of medium grind. As far as a variety, I guess that is up to the individual.

  23. Nickalus Jankiewicz
    | Reply

    Amazing micro. Loa Waka had changed my life. I was a mess before this succulent powder entered my life. Now I’m floating on cloud 9 not an anxious feeling in the world peace like no other.

  24. Felicia
    | Reply

    This is an awesome article. Especially for those who are new to Kava like myself. I will be drinking Kava to relax and help with Fibromyalgia. I’ll drink it at home before bed….

  25. Mark
    | Reply

    Not much to add to this great article, what I can say however is don’t be afraid to do traditional preparation with medium grind. Especially if you use pantyhose or a Kava bag it’s very easy and very effective. Takes 15 mins max too. If you find drinking a lot of liquid to be too much making the Kava in a 2:1 or 1:1 mix of water and coconut milk works great for settling your stomach. Best luck guys!

  26. Arthur
    | Reply

    Love the kalm with kava lineup

  27. Sanjay
    | Reply

    Kwk has some great kava. Can’t wait to try their new waka.

  28. Cheksea
    | Reply

    Thank you Kalm with Kava for introducing me and my husband to your wonderful products. It’s a relaxing and enjoyable hobby together and keeps my husband away from beer as well as the calories and hangovers that go along with it.

  29. Bela
    | Reply

    Wonderful article and really helpful for a kava newcomer, like myself. I can’t wait to start trying kava!

  30. Jeremy Johnston
    | Reply

    Very helpful!

  31. Joe
    | Reply

    Great article. My biggest recommendation to anyone just getting into kava is to not give up or get discouraged. Sometimes it takes a while to get the full effects and in the beginning there is going to be a lot of experimentation. It takes a while to figured out dosage, what kava work best for you, getting your prep method down, etc but once you get everything ironed out its smooth sailing and well worth it. Just stick with it!

  32. Alex
    | Reply

    I love me the heady stuff! As much yangonin as possible!

  33. Mz_K
    | Reply

    Thank you for your helpful articles and amazing products!

  34. Steve
    | Reply

    Kava does wonders for my wife’s anxiety and it is a great way to relax at the end of the day without turning to more harmful substances.

  35. Tracy
    | Reply

    Very good info. I’ve only had the micronized kava, but looking for something new. This definitely helped me out. You guys have some great products along with product description. It helps when making a purchase. ????

  36. slade simkins
    | Reply

    The Vanuatu kava is the best, Kalm knows how to source the ultimate kava experience. There is only ONE brand I trust for my North American Kava consumption, and its Kalm, Kalm, KALM!

  37. NateB
    | Reply

    Very helpful information. I’ve only experienced Kava one time. It was at a lounge. I remember the tingling in my mouth and feeling calm. But at 12 dollars a shell I only had one serving. Hopefully I will find a alternative to unwind here.

  38. Dallas Wease
    | Reply

    The Pouni Ono is my personal favorite mentioned it gives me social energy while encouraging relaxation.

  39. Devin
    | Reply

    Great article! Great for newbies, and I’m a newbie!

  40. Even AE
    | Reply

    Very informative article, an excellent starter’s guide for kava newbies.:)

  41. Kevin
    | Reply

    This post is where I will point new comers, it answers that “what should I buy” question perfectly.
    Of course the best way to decide would be to try them all 🙂 Find what jives with your body best and you will learn to appreciate the greatness that Kava is.
    What isn’t mentioned here is their Vula Waka which is a new favourite, a little heavier and great for weekend evenings.

  42. JaneB
    | Reply

    Great article. Thanks for the description and explanation of the different varieties you carry in the shop.

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