So you’re trying the interesting and natural herb Kava for the first time. You’ve heard the big promises – you’ll feel calmer, less stressed, less nervous, sleep better, find it much easier to relax your mind and body – and want to put it to the test.
Here are four steps to a great first-time kava drinking experience:
- Know your kava products and varieties
- Select the kava that’s best for you.
- Focus on how it makes you feel – not on how it tastes!
- Buy from a reputable vendor
Know your Kava products and Kava varieties
Kava product types
There are many different types of kava products including ground kava root, micronized kava, kava concentrates, prepared kava drinks, kava teas and kava pills and each varies in strength or potency. Here’s a little information on each.
Ground Kava Root (Medium Grind Kava or Kava Tea) – this is the most traditional type of kava you can buy. It’s kava root that has been ground, like coffee, and is prepared in the traditional way that uses a muslin cloth, involves steeping in water, kneading and straining. The overall consensus is that traditionally prepared kava is where you’ll get your most bang for your buck – the full mind and body relaxation benefits of kava drinking.
Micronized / Instant Kava – Micronized Kava is kava that has been processed into a very fine, or micronized powder and is a more instant, concentrated form of kava. All you have to do to prepare your kava drink is measure out the desired serving size and stir directly into any beverage of your choice e.g. orange juice, almond milk, lemonade, etc.
Kava Concentrate – A kava concentrate is a flavored cordial made with kava extract. To make your kava drink you just dilute the concentrate by adding water. The ease of making a drink using concentrates combined with the fact they are often prepared to a lower potency, make concentrates ideal for first time kava drinkers. Our concentrate was developed with the help of nutritionists and food scientists and comes in two flavors Kavarita (Lemon/Lime) and Guava.
In addition to these different product types there are over 105 different varieties and these are grouped into two main categories of Kava: Noble Kava and Tudei Kava. These two main varieties are world’s apart and, when looking to try kava for the first time, it is important to know the difference between the two.
Tudei Kava has been linked to many unpleasant side effects including nausea and lethargy, which is why South Pacific Islanders have banned it in some countries. You should avoid buying Tudei kava varieties. Instead look to buy only high-quality products made with fresh and recently sourced, lab-tested Noble kava. And you do that buy finding a reputable vendor, (more on this below). Once you are confident you are buying lab-tested Noble kava then it is really just about selecting the kava that will best suit your needs.
Select the right kava for you
To select the kava that’s right for your needs, choose between heady, heavy and balanced kavas. Heady kavas make you feel more energetic and euphoric and are ideal for drinking during the day. Heavy Kavas are more likely to relax your muscles and body and make you feel a tired and perhaps eventually sleepy, so these are better suited for drinking in the evening. Balanced kavas fall in-between these two and are good to drink anytime.
We’ve made choosing what kava to buy real easy. Simply use our Product Selection Tool to discover the best kava for you.
Focus on how it makes you feel – not the taste
Kava will make you feel great, but it doesn’t always taste great, especially when you drink it for the first time. Medium grind, traditionally prepared kava tea tastes very earthy – it’s kind of like dirt water. Even the people of Vanuatu and Fiji who have drank kava their entire lives don’t love the taste BUT, they love the way it makes them feel. The taste of micronized kava mixed with juice is an improvement over traditional kava and our kava concentrates taste best.
To get the best effects from drinking, Kava is best consumed on an empty stomach. Here’s what to expect when you drink Kava for the first time:
First, it’s common for your lips to become numb. Some people enjoy this sensation while others dislike it. The numbness is normal and can last for a few minutes. It is the start of the relaxation process that will slowly seep through your body. And it is a sign that the kavalactone content in the kava you are drinking is strong, and that the kava is high quality and will have the desired effect.
Next, you will begin to feel a bit warm and tingly all over. Muscle tension will start to release and you’ll start to feel as if your cares and worries are melting away and in their place you’ll start to feel calmer and happier, even a little euphoric.
Ultimately, what you personally experience when drinking kava for the kava for the first time will depend on your body, how it reacts, and how much you drink etc. Kava isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ type of herb. Eventually you may wish to experiment by trying different types of kava and changing the ratio of kava to water or other beverage to adjust potency levels. Drinking kava is a journey of discovery and you’ll soon establish your own kava preferences.
Find a reputable online kava vendor
Last but not least, remember that the benefits you derive from drinking kava will be directly related to the quality of the kava you buy. This will vary by vendor, so when you are buying kava for the first time, we recommend you go to an online supplier with a strong, established reputation. Look for someone whose focus is on the quality of their products and not simply the lowest price. As with anything, you get what you pay for and quality comes at a price.
If you buy the lowest priced product you may run the risk of inadvertently purchasing and drinking a kava that might include Tudei varieties, which unfortunately still make their way into a higher percentage of kava sold in the U.S. Or you might end up buying kava that is old and has been sitting in warehouses for months or years degrading in strength. These products won’t bring you the positive benefits you’re looking for. So, do your research into kava vendors before purchasing by learning about them and reading testimonials and reviews.
We at Kalm with Kava sell only lab-tested Noble Kava and we’re our proud of the strong reputation we’ve built within the kava community. In 2016 we were awarded vendor of the year by Kavasseur.
Another way to buy and try kava for the first time is to find and visit your nearest kava bar. When you’ve tried and experienced kava in a fun, social environment, and got a taste for both kava and the kava culture, we’re pretty sure you’ll want to shop online and buy some to drink at home. Learn more about us.
The wrap on buying and trying kava for the first time
If the first time you buy and try kava, you follow these four steps, you are guaranteed to experience the many positive relaxation benefits this amazing natural herb can deliver.
Here’s hoping your first experience of drinking kava is a GREAT one! Let’s us know in the comments below.
Kalm with Kava