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.
Watch Our How To Make Kava Video
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).
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.
- For one part kava, use three to four parts water.
- Pour water that is warm to the touch (not hot) into a large bowl.
- Put the dry kava in a strainer bag and immerse the bag in water.
- Knead and squeeze the kava for about 10-15 minutes while applying a lot of pressure.
- Squeeze the kava as dry as possible before discarding the separated pulp.
- Enjoy your kava beverage!
** A typical serving is 6-8 oz. and is traditionally consumed as quickly as possible.