How to Convert Your Cafe To a Kava Bar in the Evening

How to Convert Your Cafe To a Kava Bar in the Evening

You have a coffee shop and are looking to find a way to extend your hours into the evening.

Starbucks has tried to do this with alcohol and was relatively unsuccessful. People are craving that third place feeling in the evening without having alcohol being pushed on them. Today’s youth are turning away from the alcohol is fun lifestyle with the popularity of alternatives in the market rising. These alternatives can still be intoxicating but with a different twist. A more mellow feeling and less bad decisions. 

Then folks find out about the kava bar.

What is kava?

Kava is a plant that originated and grows in the south pacific and is also known as kava kava, kava root or kava tea. Farmers cultivated the plant over thousands of years into what is known as Noble Kava. There are other types of kava that are not sold outside of the south pacific which can produce hangovers and such. Those are called Tudei or Wild Kava. These farmers will grow the Noble Kava plant to a minimum of 4 to 5 years old, then dig up the plant to harvest its roots and basal stump. In Fiji, the roots are known as Waka and the Basal Stump is known as Lawena. Once the kava is harvested, it’s washed, dried and pulverized into a powder. This kava powder, usually called medium grind kava powder, is added to a filter bag and massaged into water. This will make the final product which is an earthy, peppery tasting brown beverage. 

How does kava feel? 

The feeling of kava can be different from person to person, blend to blend and from cultivar to cultivar. Commonly these feelings are expressed in 3 terms, 

  1. Heady Kava - This can be a euphoric feeling, typically experienced in the head. Very uplifting, social anxiety reducing, talkative, not energy producing but more of a sense of calm. Pretty much all kava has a heady component to it 
  2. Heavy Kava - This is most easily described as a feeling of heaviness in your body. A sink into the couch relaxing feeling. You can just be. This kava is typically more sedating as well which can lead to a good night sleep with less kava.
  3. Balanced Kava - Just what the name says, a balance between heavy and heady kava.

Why is kava a good fit for my coffee shop and cafe?

With the recent popularity of non-alcoholic bars and continuing trend toward the need for a place to hang out that is free of alcohol, a kava bar is an excellent choice. It is non physically addictive, can feel like a glass of wine, but without the loss of control and decision making processes. When someone has too much kava, they become sleepy. Which is fantastic if you’re winding down your day. 

Your cafe becomes a safe space for people to meet and mingle in the afternoon and evening. It becomes a space where bands come to play, people hang out, have some drinks and drive home safely, not drunk.

Why would I want to turn my cafe into a kava bar in the evening anyway?

You already have customers that enjoy coming into your space during the day. You close up shop at 3 or 4 and if they want that 3rd place experience, they’re forced to go to a bar with alcohol, a restaurant, etc. No real safe space to hang out. If you open from 4pm to lets say 11pm or Midnight, they’ll come back to experience what you’re doing. Email and social media marketing will make it much easier to get people in during these times than a kava bar just starting out. 

You will then come up on search traffic online for kava bar near me as well as coffee shop near me. Increasing the range of people that find you and why they find you. You will attract an entirely new set of customers that will come at first in the evening. Since they already know you, they’ll likely stop by for their coffee instead of the other place down the street. Increasing your revenue during your old hours as well as pumping your revenue during your new evening hours. 

A kava bar open from 4pm to midnight can make similar revenue as a coffee shop open from 6am to 4pm with similar or less labor. It’s almost like adding an entirely new shop, but keeping your rent the same.

If your area doesn’t have a kava bar yet, you will be the only game in town for a time. This will allow you to be featured on the news via press releases etc. Significantly enhancing your marketing efforts with little to no extra out of pocket expense.

****We help you through the entire process and are available to answer any questions you have along the way, you are not alone******

What do I need to convert my cafe into a kava bar?

Since you already have a cafe space, the hard part is over. If you already have a triple dip sink, grease trap and anything else required by your local department of agriculture or department of health, you’re ready to start serving kava. 

If you don’t have a triple dip sink or a grease trap, look into your local regulations. You may still be able to serve kava in your space. You may just be limited to not serving anything that can expire like milk (lattes, non alcoholic mixed drinks etc). Kava is a supplement as far as the FDA is concerned, however some states dept of ag or health dept, choose to look at it as a food. Which makes the regulation a bit different. 

We will assume you already have the capacity to sell kava drinks in any form. If you’re reading this you’re likely a cafe that sells lattes etc anyway. This is also by no means legal advice or an exhaustive list. Just the equipment needed to get you started selling kava.

Equipment List:

3 or 4 food grade 5 gallon buckets

Kava Strainers

Noble Kava Powder that passes testing required by FDA

Kava Cups, Glasses or Shells (you can use what you already have)

Blender (optional)

Cooler (to store prepared kava)

Ladles (to serve your kava from the buckets in the cooler)

Ice wands (optional: to quick chill your kava for immediate service)

Is That Really All We Need?

To start selling kava, yes.

In addition to the above, educate yourself and your staff on what kava is, how it's intended to be used and even a bit about its history to train your customers to love the experience. This is easily the most important part of the process. 

There are plenty of products out there that go well with kava and there are also lots to stay away from. We help you through the entire process to keep you as informed as possible. Your customers trust you to carry the highest quality products and ingredients available. That's what we do.

Why are you telling me this and what do you get out of it?

By helping you through the process, we’re hoping to make a friend and a business partner. We would like to be your source for kava powder

Do you have to use us if you take this and run with it? 

Absolutely not. We’re confident that our kava and the help we have and the help you will get from us along the way will prove invaluable to the expansion of your business. You get a consultant for the process in exchange for the product you already need. 

If you’re interested, please email Zac at and we can get you started!

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