How to Choose the Best Kava for You
Choosing the best kava for you and your needs can be a challenge. It is not always easy to know what product or variety to buy. Answering three simple questions can make the selection process simple:
- Why do you want to drink kava? What specific relaxation benefits are you looking for? What wellness needs do you have?
- When do you want to drink it? In the daytime or the evening?
- Where do you want to drink it? Will you be at home, at the office, or traveling and on the go?
Below we explain how these three questions can help you to select the kava that will be right for you. We start with some basic information about this amazing herbal supplement.
About Kava: The Basics
Kava is a small shrub grown in Pacific islands, mainly Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, and Hawaii. Centuries ago the islanders discovered its relaxation properties, found a way to prepare and consume i,t and started to drink it at social and religious ceremonies and for medicinal purposes.
Today, the benefits of drinking kava are more widely known. People drink it to relax mentally and physically. It calms the mind, reduces stress, and helps you sleep better. It can make you feel happier, put you in a better mood, and is great as an alternative to alcoholic beverages for social relaxation.
What relaxation benefits you get depends on the specific variety and product you drink. You need to discover what will be best for you and your needs in order to choose the best kava for you.
When You Know Why & When You Want to Drink Kava
Choose between heady, heavy, or balanced kavas
First, to choose the best kava for you, you need to select between heady, heavy, or balanced kava varieties. There are 103 different cultivars, each with slightly different effects. Some types are great for daytime use, while others have more tiring characteristics and are better consumed in the afternoon/evening.
Heady kavas are the ones great for daytime use as they make you feel more energetic and euphoric.
Heavy kavas are 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.
Closely read product descriptions to learn whether a variety is heady, heavy, or balanced and whether it is best drunk in the daytime or evening. With this many options, it’s best to experiment. Our Kava Sample Packs were designed to help those looking to try kava for the first time do just that.
Choose the best kava variety for your needs
The descriptions below will make it easier for you to know the best variety for you.
Pouni Ono from Tonga
This type of kava is ideal 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. Pouni Ono is a heady kava variety.
Loa Waka® 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 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 consumption.
Vula Waka from Fiji
This is the perfect example of a moderately heavy kava. In smaller servings, it is relaxing and good for easing the worries of the day. In larger serving sizes it can become heavier, good for winding down in the evening or use as a nightcap.
Borongoru® 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.
Melomelo from Vanuatu
Another great afternoon/evening kava from Vanuatu that is aptly named—it will make you mellow! It is a heavy kava and pleasantly relaxing.
This is our current Special Limited Edition Kava from Samoa. Similar to the Pouni Ono it carries a nice light taste compared to other types of kava and is a good daytime drinking selection as it provides relaxation without too much sedation or tiring feelings. Samoa Ava is a heady kava.
Understanding Kava Chemotypes & Effects
Knowing how to read a chemotype will help you determine if a variety is heady, heavy or balanced and to choose the best one for you. The chemotype is a six-digit number that lists in order from highest to lowest the amount of the six main active ingredients, (kavalactones), in that specific cultivar.
Each kavalactone is designated by a number between 1 and 6. Kavain, which is responsible for mood elevation, is represented by #4. So if that appears towards the beginning of the chemotype, that cultivar is likely to be a heady one. On the other hand, if the earlier numbers in the chemotype are 2 or 5, those represent Dihydrokavain (DHK) and Dihydromethysticin (DHM), the active ingredients that are responsible for more sedating effects. If the numbers 2 and/or 5 are included in the first three digits it indicates a heavy variety. Learn more about the science behind the natural calm of kava.
The Difference Between Tudei and Noble Varieties
The chemotype also helps you know if you are buying a Noble or a Tudei kava variety. If #5, DHM, is listed as the very first number it is almost guaranteed to be Tudei Kava. Drinking a Tudei carries the risk of lethargy and hangover effects that can last for two days and should be avoided. Learn more about Noble Kava vs Tudei varieties. At Kalm with Kava, we sell high-quality, tested Noble kava only.
When You Know Where You Want to Drink Kava
Choose the best kava product type for your needs
Where you want to drink kava will dictate what type of product to buy; medium grind root, micronized or instant kava, or a concentrate that’s been flavored for a more tasty beverage. Each of these product types are prepared differently.
Medium Grind Kava is prepared the traditional way and requires a strainer bag (muslin cloth), bowl of water and kneading to make a tea. So medium grind root is usually purchased for use at home.
Micronized Kava is relatively quick and simple to prepare. Just stir 2-4 teaspoons into any beverage. Many people mix micronized with juice or smoothies making for a better-tasting drink with less of an earthy taste. A jar of micronized kava can be taken with you anywhere.
Kava Concentrate can also be taken with you when you are traveling or on the go. To prepare a great flavored drink, just dilute the concentrate with water. It’s super quick and easy. We developed our great tasting concentrate with the help from nutritionists and food scientists and its been constantly one of our best sellers. Our 2 oz. bottles are especially popular for those with a fear of flying who take them with them on the plane and prepare a drink to calm their nerves.
Also, keep in mind that these different types of products vary in strength, with micronized and medium grind being stronger drinks than those made with concentrate.
Still wondering which is the best kava for you? Try out our handy quick selection tool. After answering a few, simple questions, you will be matched with a kava product that matches your specific relaxation needs.
Quality Matters: Buy Kava from a Reputable Vendor
The quality and strength of any given kava product will also depend on who you buy from. Make sure to buy from a reputable online vendor. Quality matters, so read their product reviews and customer testimonials before purchasing. To learn more about Kalm with Kava and our dedication to providing the best kava in freshness and quality, check out the details about us here.
Note: We know that some people turn away from trying kava, even though it could be the best herbal supplement for their wellness needs, after reading about the potential risk of liver toxicity. In truth is minimal. The abundance of misinformation on this topic online originates from inaccurate research finding dating back years. Read this more up-to-date, balanced overview of the safety and potential side effects. Or check out the scientific research.