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Pacific Island Kava: the Difference Between the Islands and Their Kavas

February 17, 2022



Pacific Island kava has been around for centuries. With deep, traditional roots, kava has been at the heart of Pacific Island culture for generations. Kava is a unique plant that comes in many varieties throughout the Melanasian and Polynesian islands. Kava growth, the flavor, and the style of drink vary depending on the climate and growing conditions of each island. Even with the variation, one thing is consistent across the islands: how much island inhabitants cherish kava. Let’s take a look at the different island nations and the kavas they produce.

Tongan Kava

Tonga Quick Facts: Tonga is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Called the Friendly Islands, Tonga is an archipelago consisting of some 170 islands. People inhabit only 36 of them. Volcanic undersea mountains form the two chains of the Tongan islands. Several of the islands are still active volcanoes, which makes their soil rich and unique.

About Tongan Kava: The unique, volcanic soil of Tonga creates a smooth, easy-tasting kava. What’s more, all kava varieties cultivated in Tonga are Noble kava varieties. These kavas are known for being uplifting and suitable for daytime drinking. For example, our Pouni Ono Kava is a wonderful, social kava that can help with mental relaxation and mood enhancement. Interestingly, the word “kava” originates from Tonga, while the other kava producing nations use differing words.

Vanuatu Kava

Vanuatu Quick Facts: Vanuatu is an archipelago in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Out of its 83 small islands, 65 are inhabited. The name Vanuatu means “Our Land Forever” in many of the locally used Melanesian languages. Vanuatu is incredibly diverse geographically. It ranges from rugged mountains to rolling hills to coastal terraces to active volcanoes (found on several islands).

About Vanuatu Kava: Vanuatu is the ancestral home of Pacific Island kava! There are over 80 varieties of kava in Vanuatu with many unique to the individual islands. At Kalm With Kava, we sell three varieties of Vanuatu kava: Borogu, Borongoru®, and Melomelo. These kavas are good for mind and body relaxation and for helping you shift to a mellow, calm mood. Ni-Van peoples often call kava “malok”.

Samoan Kava (Ava)

Samoa Quick Facts: Samoa is a country in the central South Pacific Ocean. Samoa is sometimes called the “Cradle of Polynesia” because Savai‘i island is said to be “Hawaiki”, the Polynesian homeland. Samoan culture is central to the Pacific Islands and quickly spreading worldwide.

About Samoan Kava: In Samoa, kava is referred to as Ava. At Kalm With Kava, we sell Samoa Ava Kava, and it’s our first and only kava variety from Samoa. It’s really rare because Samoa doesn’t grow a lot of kava. Samoa Ava is an uplifting, happy kava with little to no sedation. Best of all, it’s one of the best-tasting kavas around!

Hawaiian Kava (‘Awa)

Hawaii Quick Facts: Hawaii is a state in the Western United States. It’s the only state that is an archipelago and the only state in the tropics. 137 volcanic islands make up the Hawaiian chain. The eight main islands are as follows: Hawai’i (The Big Island), Maui (The Valley Isle), O’ahu (The Gathering Place), Kaua’i (The Garden Isle), Moloka’i (The Friendly Isle), Lana’i (The Pineapple Isle), Ni’ihau (The Forbidden Isle), and Kaho’olawe (The Target Isle).

About Hawaiian Kava (Awa): In Hawaii, kava is known as ‘Awa, pronounced “ah-vah”. Hawaii currently has 13 traditional varieties of Pacific Island kava, and they all are good for drinking. Hawai’i’s ‘awa is all considered noble.. Two foreign Tudei kava varieties (Isa and lwi), which are not native to Hawaii are now grown on Hawaiian islands. Kava has deep roots in Hawaiian culture, religion, and history.

Fijian Kava

Fiji Quick Facts: Fiji is a country and archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean. It consists of some 300 islands and 540 islets, the largest and most commonly known of which is Viti Levu. The majority of Fiji’s islands were formed from volcanic activity. Some of the islands still experience geothermal activity.

About Fijian Kava: Kava is the official national drink of Fiji, where it is called both Yaqona and Malogu. Yaqona (which means bitter) refers to the earthy, unique taste of Pacific Island kava. Malogu (which means subdue) references the relaxing effects of a drink of kava. At Kalm With Kava, we’re proud to sell Vula Waka Fiji kava and Loa Waka® Fiji Kava. Both of these are strong kavas known for mind and body relaxation effects.

Pacific Island kava has a rich history as unique as the countries and islands it comes from. The islands’ eclectic geography, vibrant volcanic soil, and different growing conditions produce incredible, varied kavas. Each kava offers something a little different and it pays to try kavas from different islands to find the variety that suits you perfectly. Treat yourself to Pacific Island kavas here.

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