How to Make Kava
The Best Ways to Prepare Kava
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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!
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.