How To Make Kava

How To Make Kava

(Updated July 2018) Watch our new step-by-step video, presented by our founder and kava expert, Judd Rench. After you’ve enjoyed the video, be sure to purchase your favorite kava varieties on our website. Enjoy!

Kava has been enjoyed for an estimated 3,000 years in many nations throughout Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia for ceremonies, social events, and as a treatment for various physical and mental ailments.  As time has progressed, so have the techniques used to make this sacred drink.

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How To Prepare Traditional Kava

Up until fairly recently kava preparation in many cultures was a painstaking task which involved having female virgins chew the very tough fresh kava root into a pulp, spit it onto a leaf, and finally strain water through the pulp to make the beverage. This process was a reason for many tribal girls to quickly find a husband before their teeth wore down to nubs from the constant kava mastication.

How To Prepare Modern Kava

Somewhat recently, because of a lack of willing kava chewers and the desire to prepare larger amounts of kava for bars and visitors, preparation has changed in many areas. Now, if you visit a kava bar in Vanuatu for example, the kava will have typically been made by manually grinding the fresh root, mixing it with water and straining the liquid through some sort of fine mesh (A slightly more sanitary approach, I’d say).
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How We Make Kava at Bula Kava House

Tightly squeezing the liquid from a kava and water mixture is the key to a good brew, and although it is possible to manually squeeze up to ten gallons per day for a kava bar using a strainer bag, it didn’t seem all that efficient to me. My search for a solution led me to a juice press that uses a specially made strainer bag placed between two hydraulic plates. The first test of the press was a disaster with kava squirting out all over the place because the hydraulic plates were set to come together too quickly. This was followed with a bit of profanity and a lot of cleaning. Luckily, with subsequent tests we got the process down. Now, all we have to do is mix dry kava root with water, and let it sit for a bit before allowing technology to work its magic.

Step-by-Step Instructions On How To Best Prepare Kava

Here are our recommended steps to make an excellent batch of kava.

All you need is a mesh strainer, and a couple bowls.

  1. For one part kava, use three to four parts water.
  2. Pour water that is warm to the touch (not hot) into a large bowl.
  3. Put the dry kava in a strainer bag and immerse the bag in water.
  4. Knead and squeeze the kava for about 10-15 minutes while applying a lot of pressure.
  5. Squeeze the kava as dry as possible before discarding the separated pulp.
  6. Enjoy your kava beverage!

** A typical serving is 6-8 oz. and is traditionally consumed as quickly as possible.



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  1. Daniel Sempsey on October 21, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    When using an Aluball or similar shake method, put a pinball in the Aluball.

    Shake for at least ten minutes. The pinball bangs around and does the fine kneading.

  2. liz on October 20, 2020 at 10:47 am

    Any thoughts on soaking kava for an extended period of time before straining? I used to make it with very warm water, let it come to room temp and then strain it through cheesecloth or pantyhose.

  3. Caroline Scheen on November 16, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    Kava sucks I can barely get it down. How do you manage to drink it?

  4. Ellen Cantarow on November 14, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Sounds like an awful lot of work!! I need it for insomnia. I will go to Brooklyn and try it in the bar. If it’s effective I’ll go on to the endless kneading process at home.

  5. Ellen Cantarow on November 14, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    Sounds like an awful lot of work!! I will go to Brooklyn and try it in the bar. If it’s effective I’ll go on to the endless kneading process at home.

  6. Sal on October 19, 2018 at 6:00 am

    Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m
    impressed! Extremely helpful info specifiically the
    last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this certain info for a very long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  7. Mariano on October 18, 2018 at 8:53 am

    My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was totally right.
    This post actually made my day. You can not imagine just how much time
    I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  8. Cam Whitby on July 10, 2018 at 2:31 am

    First time kava user here. I’m using Tongan Kava root powder and I’ve prepared accordingly but I’m not sure if I kneaded it thoroughly enough. Any suggestions please? Thanks

    • Bula Kava House on July 10, 2018 at 2:03 pm

      I do about 10 minutes with lots of high pressure kneading and squeezing. I like to listen to three songs while making kava.

  9. on April 22, 2018 at 12:08 am

    My brother suggested Imight like this blog. He was entirely right.
    This submit actually made my day. You ccan not
    consider simply howw much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  10. Tina Mills on January 27, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Is there an alternative without a mesh bag?

    • Meaghan on June 17, 2018 at 5:10 pm

      I just cut the top off of panty hose and it worked great lol

      • Leah on September 8, 2018 at 9:24 pm

        Great idea thankyou.

    • Tzeichert on July 25, 2018 at 7:44 am

      I work at a hospital and sewed four laparotomy sponges together making a double thickness bag and it worked great!

    • Dan on December 7, 2019 at 2:41 pm

      Kavafied makes a shaker bottle that works real good and you won’t have to get your hands dirty.

  11. Marcus on October 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Are you using fresh Kava or dry Kava and rehydrating it?
    Just curious 😉

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