If you are looking to buy kava and having trouble deciding which variety/form to purchase, answering 3 simple questions can help you decide which kava variety might is best for you and what kava to buy.
- Why do you want to drink kava? What positive affects are you looking for?
- When do you want to drink kava and experience these affects? In the daytime or the evening?
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.