How to Make Kava
The Best Ways to Prepare Kava
1. Traditional Method
2. Blender Method
3. Mixer Cup Method
4. Stand Mixer Method
5. Kava Extraction Wash Method
6. Aluball Method
7. How to Store Kava
8. Kava Base Liquids
The traditional method of kava preparation is usually used to make a larger batch for either yourself over a long period of time or for you and a few of your friends. The prep is interesting and fun to watch and creates a fun atmosphere.
First you'll need some kind of large bowl. The traditional bowl to use is called a Tanoa. We are working on a vendor to have these in stock or to have available to buy on the site and send directly from the maker. We'll keep you posted!
Otherwise, preferably you'll want to find one that will hold a bit more than 1 gallon of water. That's an amount of kava suitable for a gathering of a few people with shells at 4oz each. If you don't have huge bowl, I found something that works fantastic. They're called Cambro Food Storage Containers. When I worked in restaurants, we used these for hot and cold liquids as well as dry storage. They're multi use when you're not making kava and can store all your kava stuff inside them very easily. They also don't tip over easily and fit in sinks easily to save the mess. They even come with lids. Got like 20 aluballs? Stick them in there and shake shake shake!
Then you'll need some kind of strainer bag like a cheese cloth or a nut milk bag. I highly prefer quality nylon nut milk bags over cheese cloths because you can reuse them over and over. They wash and store easily. Cheesecloths get dry and stiff. You can't get everything out of them usually and if you do it's usually fraying so much you wouldn't want to continue to use it anyway. If you're in a pinch and have them available and old *clean* t-shirt you never plan to use again or clean nylon stockings will also work. The stockings will be a one and done situation as well and the t-shirt will be ruined.
Warm a gallon of water to about 105F. If you don't have a thermometer near by, that's a bit warmer than body temperature. If you've ever been in a hot tub, you'll know what that feels like. You don't want it any warmer than that as it will degrade the kavalactones and make a weak kava. If it's less warm that's also fine. It doesn't have to be exact. A thermometer would be great to have on hand if you have one near by.
Get 100 grams or about 3.5oz of the best medium grind kava you can find.
Put the kava powder in the nut milk bag or wrap it in your straining bag. Pour the water into a bowl or cambro with as much water depending on the amount of kava you decided to use. Usually a gallon of water for 100 to 130 grams of kava root powder. Put the wrapped kava in the water and massage it in the water for 10 to 15 minutes until it has a nice deep brown color.
Below are step by step instructions on how to make a pacific island favorite beverage using ground kava root. There are many ways to prepare kava. If you're a beginner, after it's made, try mixing some of it with chocolate milk to make it taste better. Enjoy!
Blenders are great for smaller, personal portions of kava. A blender will effectively micronize your kava powder by attacking it vigorously with its blades over time. This may make more of the kava powder suspend in your liquid of choice, making it a stronger brew.
Add 4 tablespoons of medium grind kava powder to your blender. Then add 20 ounces of tap or bottled water. It doesn't have to be warm because the blender will warm it. The goal here is not not make kava tea. The agitation will squeeze out a lot of the kavalactones. Water will not pull out kavalactones by itself like tea will. Gently warming it will coax out more but making a cup of water hot to steep your kava will yield a very hard to drink beverage. This is why we only use the blender made warmth to heat the kava just a bit.
Blend for 3 to 4 minutes. If you have a simple blender, I usually blend mine for 3 minutes 40 seconds on medium setting and ending it for 20 seconds on high. I have a Bendtec, so when I use that I usually put it on the whole juice setting 4 times. it takes it through a smattering of low, medium and high blend settings for 40 seconds each. Less than 4 minutes, but it gives great results. These blenders are insane and the company is too! The owner of the company makes these videos, putting crazy things into the blender in their "Will it Blend" series.
Making kava in a blender all the time may wear out some blenders. Wearing out this blender hasn't happened to me yet. Check out them blending this Rake Handle. I get a kick out of that every time I watch it haha.
After your kava is done blending, strain it with a nut milk bag. From there it's ready to drink. I ice mine down before I drink it, but you can also drink it warm.
Mixer Cup Method:
The mixer cup method is a method that was dreamed (dreamt?) up by one of the awesome folks in the Kavaforums. If you haven't been to the forums, check it out. They're a great bunch of people there and absolute fonts of kava knowledge.
For the Mixer cup method, you guessed it, you need a Mixer Cup. These things are pretty cool. They're sold as protein shake mixer cups. Some are USB chargeable and you can even charge your phone from it in a pinch.
Like the blender method, you put 4 tablespoons of kava in the cup. Fill the cup with warm water and put the lid on. Turn it on for 2 to 3 minutes. Strain with your nut milk bag.
It makes a great cup of kava! Also the mixer cup can be used for other stuff like frothing milk for coffee, making vinaigrettes and other stuff you would need something simple to mix things.
Stand Mixer Method:
Another one brought to us from an awesome member of the Kavaforums.
You can use a larger amount of water like you would with traditional prep only you don't have to sit there an knead anything for 10 minutes. The machine does it for you!
The levels of water here are different from bowl to bowl of your stand mixer. Feel free to adjust the water levels to your liking and so you don't splash everywhere.
Add 3.5 ounces of medium grind kava powder to your stand mixer bowl. Add enough water to fill, so you can have the mixer going and don't splash everywhere. Also enough to agitate the kava. Start the mixer on low and get up the speed until you feel you can add more water without splashing. Add more water until you reach a level you're comfortable with. Mix for 10 to 15 minutes at that speed.
Slow the blender to a stop and strain the powder out with a nut bag with the liquid going into a large enough vessel/bowl. It's ready to drink!
Washing Machine Method
Yes, You heard that right! Kavafied, the maker of Aluball has recently shown that adapting a portable washing machine (for clothes), one that you would use in an RV, Dorm etc, can be used to make large batches of kava.
We would highly recommend that if you are going to use this for kava, never use it for anything else (like washing clothes). Make sure your machine is well sanitized before use. Restaurants and breweries use a product called Star San https://amzn.to/3sHZVVB. It’s very easy to use and portion with the air space in the bottle. Just open both caps and squeeze. The small 1oz side will fill up, then you pour that into your water in the bucket. Let it sit for the recommended amount of time and drain. It’s even safe for use with a septic system.
Here is the link to the washing machine we recommend https://amzn.to/3fpturJ
The best strainer out there for kava right now for this method is the Magic Kava Strainer by Kavafied. It is the 3 in 1 magic kava strainer by kavafied here: https://www.getkavafied.com/collections/kava-makers/products/magic-kava-strainer . It works well because it zips and there are 3 strainers in one. The zipper is functional because it lets the bag float around in the kava wash extraction machine without kava powder going everywhere.
This washing machine has one side you can make your kava. The other side will spin dry your kava pouch to get every last bit of liquid kava out of there. This is easily the best one out there for the price. The less expensive ones on Amazon are the ae ones sold elsewhere as kava extraction machines, but aren't very durable. Plus if it does break, the exchange policy on Amazon is way better than most other places.
1 gram of kava powder per 1oz water.
1 gallon of water is 128oz. 1 gallon would use 128 grams of kava powder, but for this you're wanting to make much more than that.
3 gallons of water is 384 ounces which will require 384 grams of kava powder.
We highly recommend the Temotu Purple as the kava powder. Also an excellent blend to make at home is a 50/50 blend of Kadavu Damu and Temotu Purple.
Put your kava powder into the center bag of the zip strainer and zip shut.
Sit the washer up on something. So you can easily drain it later. Do this while empty…yup, it's almost as if I knew u were lifting that thing full of water haha. (Because it's something I'd do for sure!)
Fill the left side of your kava washer with 3 gallons of warm water no hitter than the tap would provide and immerse your closed strainer bag with the kava powder in it, into the water. (Not the side with the metal spinner, the other side)
Turn on your kava washer to the wash setting for 15 minutes and close the lid.
Play a video game of some sort. Maybe Elden Ring? Yah it's been out for awhile but it's still pretty super. Really do want u want. You have 15 minutes and feel like cleaning the house? You do you boo 😉.
Come back to your freshly made kava. Take the pouch out of the left side and put it into the right. Turn on the spin setting. Let it spin for a bit until it's squozen to your satisfaction.
Go get the vessel you'd like to hold your kava in. I'd recommend some kind of bucket, not a bowl. A bowl is wide and you very well may end up like Kevin and his famous Chili from The Office (on the floor).
I'll assume you heeded our warning and got a bucket. For those who didn't, you like to live on the edge and I appreciate that. Godspeed to you.
Put that vessel below your kava washer. Add the hose it comes with to the drain area and put the other end into that bucket. Clean the strainer you just used. Put the strainer down at the end of the hose so you strain out any extra bits. Drain the contents of your kava washing machine through the strainer and into the bucket below.
What you have is a bunch of kava made in a washing machine. Enjoy!
Super easy on the go method to make your kava. This will not make the strongest kava you'll have however it is very portable and easy.
You can get your aluball here: https://amzn.to/3FFvI1c
Fill your aluball with kava. Dont pack it so the water can still flow through. About 2 to 3 tablespoons.
Fill your shaker with water. about 16 to 20oz, or fill.
Give it the ole shakey shake for about 1 minute.
You're ready to enjoy!
How to Store Kava:
How do you store prepared kava? When you make too much kava to drink at once, it can be a problem to figure out how best to store it and why. The thing that makes the most sense and is the go to for many is the refrigerator. While this can be a good option for very short term storage, prepared kavas potency will only last for about 2 to 3 days.
A better way to store prepared kava is in the freezer. A drawback to storing it in the freezer is that when it's thawed, some folks say that it has more of a gritty texture. We don't find that as an issue as the difference is minimal.
The benefit of freezing your kava is that it will stay potent for years in the freezer. Not that it will last that long!
We highly recommend using ice cube trays to freeze your kava. each ice cube tray is typicaly 16 fluid ounces. That means each cube is about 1 fluid ounce each. Which then means that you can thaw exactly how much you want to have that day or easily blend into smoothies, acai bowls, protein shakes, etc.
Kava Base Liquids:
Through this entire post, I only mentioned using water as your liquid. That was in the interest of keeping it simple. If you want to make kava taste better or even make kava stronger, you can add other liquids while you're preparing your kava.
Usually these liquids are fats like coconut milk, almond milk, regular milk or even creamers. Cocoa Pebbles creamer is excellent.
Subtract 1/5 of water and add in any of these liquids above to add a little something extra to your next kava session.