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5 Quick and Easy Ways to Make Kava Tea – A Beginners Guide

A soothing way to end your night, making kava tea is a tasty way to incorporate this beneficial root into your daily routine. Making your own Kava tea at home is so simple! We’ve outlined 5 different ways you can easily brew your own great tasting kava tea at home, all you need to start is kava powder, some water, plus a few things you probably have at home. 

Quick Guide to Making Kava Tea at Home

New to Kava Kava and what it can do for you? You aren’t alone. Although this root has been used for centuries in the Pacific Islands for its calming effects, it is relatively unknown in the continental United States, only recently gaining attention on social media platforms. Let’s dive in and learn more about the “roots” of the Piper Methysticum plant.

What Is Kava Kava?

Kava Kava root, or simply Kava, comes from the roots of the Piper Methysticum, a plant in the pepper family. The name translates roughly to “intoxicating pepper” and for native inhabitants of the Pacific Islands, such as Hawaii, Fiji, and Tonga, they have used kava in social and cultural settings for hundreds of years. People were known to make a paste from the roots (by chewing them and spitting it out before brewing. yuck!) and then mix it with water or coconut milk before ingesting. Kava was also reported to be part of many cultural and religious ceremonies, possibly linked to the suspected psychoactive properties of the Kavalactones in kava. However, research to understand the Kavalactones, fully, is still ongoing.

While users have reported many benefits, there are also concerns over potential side effects associated with overuse of kava. There are reports that excessive long-term use of kava can lead to severe liver damage. The FDA has gone as far as issuing a warning to users and some countries have banned kava because of these reports.

kava kava root
Raw Kava Kava Root is the key ingredient

Does Kava Actually Do Anything?

Studies have found that the kava root has powerful relaxing and euphoriant properties making it a perfect way to end your day and drift into a restful state. A kava tea preparation is one of the easiest ways to start using this beneficial natural botanical.

Forms of Kava

What was once only available in shrubs you would have to dig from the earth yourself, kava, in today’s marketplace, thankfully, can be found and used much easier. There are a few ways you can incorporate this botanical into your life outside of tea. Here’s a quick view of your options when it comes to kava root. 

Kava Powder

This ultra-fine powder is created by crushing the roots of the kava plant. It can then be used by mixing into a drink, prepared into kava tea (more to come on that!), or put into capsules.          

Kava Tincture or Liquid

Kava tincture manufactures use proprietary methods to create powerful extracts, then combine the liquid kava extract with coconut oil or another carrier that may be alcohol based. This preparation of kava is mostly taken sublingually (administered under the tongue).                 

Kava Capsules

You can find pre-made, premeasured kava capsules online or at most places you find powder or tincture, or you can take the more economical approach and make them yourself. [article suggestion: how to make your own capsules.

How to Make the strongest Kava Tea

Because of the longevity and breadth of kava’s history, several different preparation methods are available for brewing your own kava tea. There isn’t a specific method that is better than the other, so have some fun and explore all the different methods from traditional to contemporary. How you prefer to brew and enjoy your ‘cup a’ kava’ is up to you! 

Kava tea is made up of simple ingredients, basically, root with hot water. As one would suspect, the taste will be earthy, dirt-like, and well, not so pleasing. But don’t click away just yet -- If your kava tea preparation includes some of the delectable additions suggested below, Kava tea will not only help you feel pure relaxation, but it will also taste ah-mazing. You can even brew your tea using juices like a pineapple or papaya instead of plain water!

There is anecdotal evidence that suggests heat extraction of the kavalactones in water, then combining with a fatty liquid like coconut, almond or soy milks works the best for extracting the maximum number of kavalactones, the ‘active’ part of the root. Watch the How-to video on the social media channel, Youtube.

Kava root powder
Kava Kava Root Powder

5 Methods for Making Kava Tea

Making your own kava tea at home can be done in many ways ranging from traditional with cheese cloths and bowls, to more modern methods using the oh so fancy French press. Read below to find 5 different ways to prepare your kava tea.

       Method #1: Traditional Kava Tea Preparation

Used by Pacific Islanders and other surrounding areas for centuries, the kava kava root has traditionally been turned into paste before brewing. 

Before you get started, gather the following: 2-4 tbs of High-quality ground kava root, A strainer bag or as an alternative to a strainer bag you can use muslin, cheesecloth, or even an old t-shirt to strain your kava tea – they all work great. Have 8-12 oz, warm but not hot water (tap hot is perfect) standing by, plus a medium-sized bowl. Once you have your tools and ingredients together, you’re ready to get brewing!

               Step 1: Measure your Kava Root

Typically, in kava preparation, a standard serving size for one individual is 2-4 tablespoons of ground kava per 8-12 oz of liquid. How much kava root you choose to use depends on the effects you want to experience and personal choice. 

                       Using Ground Kava Root

Instead of having to harvest and pulverize the root yourself, there are modern day options including pre-ground powders, ready for brewing. If you’re searching for kava online, make sure you only buy your kava from a reputable company that abides by Good Manufacturing Processes

               Step 2: Fill Your Strainer ‘Bag’

If you opted for the cheesecloth or t-shirt method, put your measured kava root into the center of the cloth and close off with a knot or string to keep the powder from escaping. Place your bundle in the bowl.

                       Using a Strainer

If you are using a proper strainer bag, place the root powder into the bag and drop it in the bowl, but don’t close it just yet. 

               Step 3: Add the Water

Take the 8-12 oz. of tap hot water and pour directly into or onto the bag with the kava powder. Just like when brewing regular tea, you can vary the amount of water to determine the strength of the flavor.

Let the kava steep in the bag inside the bowl of warm water for a minimum of 10 minutes. 

               Step 4: Mix, Massage, and Knead

 

Pro Tip: Working the Kava 

If you want the strongest kava tea, don’t forget this step! For about 5-10 minutes knead the kava root in the bag while it is still in the water. Alternate between kneading the kava and squeezing the bag to strain the liquid into the bowl. You’ll know you’re done when the water in the bowl looks similar to chocolate milk. 

               Step 5: Drink Up!

If you already enjoy the naturally earthy flavor of kava, you can enjoy it as is or over ice. If you want to learn more about how to make your kava taste better, keep reading. 

       Method #2: Shaker Bottle Kava Tea

If you can’t seem to find the time for traditional preparation, but still want to enjoy the benefits of kava, you are in luck! There are now products that help make the process of making fresh kava tea quicker and more convenient. We found the AluBall Kava Maker on Amazon. It operates basically like a shaker bottle you would use to mix protein powders at the gym, but with a much finer meshed strainer ball that the kava goes into.

If you’re down to try this method, here’s what you’ll need: A kava shaker cup, 2-4 tbsp of high-grade ground kava root powder and 8-12 oz warm water.

               Step 1: Measure the Kava

Just like the traditional method, you need to start by measuring your kava. Start with the recommended 2-4 tbsp of kava powder per 8-12 oz of liquid. Warning! You may be limited in the amount of kava you can use by the size of the shaker ball provided with the kava maker.

               Step 2: Put the Kava Powder in the Shaker Ball

Once the kava powder is in the strainer ball, seal it up and toss it in the shaker bottle.

               Step 3: Add the Warm, Not Hot, liquid

The next step is to add 8-12 oz of warm water. With most shakers, there will be a fill line marked on the bottle to make things as simple as possible. If you want the kava to have a stronger taste, you can add less liquid.

               Step 4: Shake It!

Seal the shaker well to avoid any unnecessary messes and SHAKE IT! We recommend you shake for 5 or 10 minutes to get as many of the active kavalactones from the powder mixed into the liquid as possible. You can stop shaking once the liquid has a brownish, slightly muddy appearance. 

               Step 5: Drink Up

What’s so convenient with this method is that you don’t even need to remove the strainer ball, you can just add ice and drink right away or put it in the fridge to cool for a smoother flavor, but this is completely optional.

Pro Tip: If your bottle has been sitting still for a bit, make sure you give it another shake before taking a sip. It’s likely the kava has settled on the bottom and needs to be redissolved into the liquid.

       Method #3: Make Kava Tea In your Blender

This option for making kava tea is similar to the above-mentioned options but done by mixing the kava and water together, then straining. If ‘the quicker, the better’ is your style when it comes to kava, this is probably the best choice for you. 

Kava root tea powder
Using powder is a simple way to make kava tea

               The Quickest Kava Preparation: Blender Method

Thank you, Stephen Poplawski, for your time and manpower saver, the blender! This kitchen necessity saves you so much time when making kava tea at home. 

                       Step 1: Measure The Kava Powder

As always, know how much kava you will be using. A recommended serving is 2-4 tablespoons of kava in 8-12 oz of water. After you measure, toss your kava in the blender!

                       Step 2: Add the Water

Add the 8-12 oz warm (not hot) water, coconut milk, or fruit juice. Pro Tip: Boiling temperatures will reduce the number of beneficial antioxidants in your final tea.

                       Step 3: Blend

After everything is in, pop on the top and blend on high for 4-5 minutes. While it’s doing its thing, grab your strainer and glass.

                       Step 4: Strain

As mentioned above, you can use muslin, cheesecloth, or a t-shirt to strain this mixture. Remove as much kava material as possible before the next step.

                       Step 5: Drink your kava!

Pour into your glass, add ice, a slice of pineapple or your other favorite fruit and enjoy!

       Method #4: No-Kneading Required

If spending 10 minutes massaging a strainer bag full of kava root every time you’d like some kava tea seems like too much for you, no worries! You’ll likely love the ‘set it and forget it’ way of making kava tea.

Here’s how to make no-knead kava tea:

  1. Put 2-4 tbsp of powdered kava into your strainer
  2. Add the kava filled strainer to 8-12 oz of warm (not hot) water, coconut milk or fruit juice. 
  3. Allow the kava to steep for a minimum of ten minutes. The longer it steeps, the more effective your drink will be.
  4. After the timer dings, squeeze all remaining liquid out of the bag.
  5. Add ice, fresh fruit, mint leaves and enjoy!

       Method #5: Bulk Brewing Kava Tea

You can also find pre-packaged kava drinks. Companies that brew kava for bulk sales have a slightly different approach to brewing. For bulk batches of kava, the root is never ground up. Instead, the root after it is dried is put into huge strainer bags with a lot of water. After it soaks for a designated amount of time, big flat panel machines press the liquid out of the bag. Presto! Kava liquid! 

This, of course, isn’t a method that you’ll be able to do in your own kitchen, however, you can replicate something similar with a French press at home

Why Should I Drink Kava Tea?

Kava tea has amazing wellness benefits such as calming of the mind and body or as a natural way to ease into a truly restful state. This tea is often drunk throughout the day, providing a relaxed feeling in the body, but still managing to keep the mind sharp.

       Peaceful, relaxed mental state 

The anxiolytic effects of kavalactones in kava teas may help reduce stressful feelings and instead promote feelings of euphoria and joy.

       Feel Truly Rested

How to Make Your Kava Root Tea Taste Better

While kava root is a beneficial botanical to your overall wellness, it doesn’t taste great on its own. We’ve done a little research to bring you the 6 most delicious kava tea recipes.

These are the most delicious ways we have found to enjoy the uplifting and revitalizing effects of the kava root.

                       Kava Colada

Place 8 oz of coconut milk, 1/2 cup chunk pineapple, and 1 cup water into a blender. Add desired amount of kava powder, blend 4-5 minutes, chill before serving. Serve with a pineapple garnish over ice.

                       Kava Banana

Place about half a cup of ice into a blender. Add desired amount of kava powder, a whole banana, and a couple of tablespoons of honey for sweetening. Pour your choice of milk on top, blend well, and serve. We promise you’ll go ‘nanners for this one. Add a dab of peanut butter for a tasty protein boost.

                       Kava Blugurt

Add 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 tablespoon honey, 1 cup milk, 1 cup whole yogurt to steeped kava liquid. Mix everything together and enjoy with a spoon.

                       Kava Cacao

Prepare your kava tea as normal. After your tea has steeped for the desired amount of time, put the liquid plus a dark chocolate bar, 60% cacao or more, in your blender. Mix for 4-5 minutes, and chill before serving… for an extra special treat, top with whipped cream! Yum!

                       Kava Iced Cinnamon-Honey

After brewing your normal cup of kava, add it to your blender with 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and some ice. Blend for 4-5 minutes and garnish with an orange slice.

                       Kava Lemon-Lime

This recipe is great for a larger group: Use 6 tablespoons powdered Kava root and 24 oz of water to brew your kava tea base. Add 1/4 cup of lime or lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of honey. Cool mixture in refrigerator and serve with a sugared rimmed glass and citrus wedge over ice.

Kava can become a beneficial part to your wellness routine and help you achieve a more restful state of mind and body when used as directed. If you haven’t experienced kava before, we recommend talking to your healthcare provider before you try any kava drinks. They know your past and present medical history and will be able to determine if kava is right for helping you achieve your overall wellness goals.

 


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Written by Nimesh D

Updated on May 28th, 2024

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