To begin this discussion of kava tea preparation, it is important first to point out that the term ‘kava tea’ is somewhat of a misnomer. It is used fairly commonly simply because there isn’t really an equivalent term in English to describe the brew that is made out of kava. The term ‘kava tea’ often causes confusion, because those looking to buy kava tea often think that they are purchasing a plant product that should be steeped in hot water in order to achieve maximum effects. This is actually quite far from the truth.
Although it is possible to buy kava tea bags (which also contain other herbs) which can be steeped liked normal tea, the vast majority of kava products available for purchase online should not be exposed to temperatures of over 140 degrees Fahrenheit. However, most teas must be steeped at 180 degrees or more over five minutes! That’s more than enough time to destroy all of the kavalactones, the most important desirable active alkaloids in kava. The most important thing when you get your kava is to NOT steep it in boiling hot water – you won’t have a particularly interesting experience if you do this!
Rather than looking for places to buy kava tea, if you want to have an authentic kava experience, look to buy kava root. The kava root is where the potent active ingredients of the plant are concentrated. It is also the only part of the plant that is not poisonous. If you’ve ever heard stories about people suffering liver damage from kava, this is because they consumed kava that utilized stems and peelings, which indigenous peoples have known for thousands of years contain toxins and should not be consumed.
When you buy kava root, you are going to want to prepare a beverage with it, but it won’t be hot kava root tea. Rather, what the term kava tea is really referring to is the process of preparing a cold kava root extraction. Water, milk, soy milk or soy lethicin, coconut milk, or any other similar liquid can be used for extracting kava. The ideal liquid to use in your cold kava root tea is going to be something with fat in it, as this will pull out more of the active ingredients. So, cow milk, almond milk, coconut milk and so forth are the perfect bases to use for your kava extraction! Simply put several teaspoons of kava in a muslin bag or other fine mesh strainer and place in the liquid. Let soak for a few minutes, and then squeeze the liquid out of the kava root and put in the compost. Then you can sit back and relax with your cold kava tea, and enjoy the calming effects it brings.
To get an idea of the energy of traditional kava ceremonies in Hawaii, check out the following short video. This should give you a sense of how kava is consumed and venerated by our people!
Now, many people are completely satisfied with drinking cold kava beverages. However, many other people, especially those who enjoy kava regularly for its healing properties in treating anxiety, muscle relaxation or tension relief, eventually find themselves looking for novel new ways to prepare kava. After all, when you buy kava root, you will find that the flavor is quite spicy and complex – potentially tasty, but definitely an acquired taste.
Fortunately, it is possible to buy kava root that is blended with various delicious flavors. You can find instant kava drink mixes that taste of chocolate and banana, cinnamon, and many other great flavors, and you can also purchase kava chai which are blended with delicious, exotic spices to create a truly bracing and relaxing beverage. These drink mixes can be blended with any number of other ingredients to create delicious and relaxing kava cocktails, smoothies and milkshakes. Kava recipes can be found in many places on the internet, so you never have to get bored!
If, after all of this, you are still longing after a beautiful hot cup of relaxing kava tea, we have found some new information that indicates that kava may be heated to a certain point without significantly decreasing its effectiveness! Our friend over at kava.com received a number of comments from readers mentioned heating kava significantly, even making syrup out of it, and still noticing pretty intense positive effects. This prompted the author to carry out some experiments on heating kava. You can read more about it in the article on Boiling and Baking with Kava, but essentially, the author gently heated kava in with coconut milk, soy lecithin and herbal tea for varying amounts of time. He discovered that even when heated up to 60 minutes, the effects of the kava were still present! (He does mention, however, that heating the kava past fifteen minutes created a very bitter, unpleasant taste).
Then, the author tried boiling the kava tea (at a temperature of about 210 degrees Fahrenheit). This process didn’t seem to decrease the strength of the kava when it was only boiled for five minutes, although the effects did decrease after fifteen minutes of boiling. So, in other words, it seems as if the kavalactones in kava can be heated at around 140 degrees Fahrenheit for quite some time without losing potency, and that they can even be boiled at temperatures much above that for short periods of time! So, in other words, as long as you are careful and follow these guidelines, you CAN make hot kava tea, chai or hot chocolate without losing the potency of the kava!
Interestingly, the author also tried making kava brownies, but found that baking the kava did not allow any of its beneficial effects remain. This is probably because, when baking, the kava would have been exposed to temperatures of over 300 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 20 minutes. If you are interested in baking with kava, your best bet is to search online for some raw food recipes that contain chocolate – then, blend your kava powder or paste with the chocolate and use in the recipe as usual. This should create a kava dessert that will pack quite a punch!
Hopefully this article will assist you in creating different delicious kava beverages once you buy kava root. If you follow the guidelines in this article, you should be able to enjoy kava in any number of different amazing ways with no loss of potency!