As kava has become a commodity on the global market, a proliferation of stores both online and physical have popped up offering kava in forms ranging from the whole root to kava paste to readymade packets of kava tea. However, just like with any kava product, figuring out where to buy kava tea to get the most bang for your buck isn’t always a clear cut exercise. We decided to examine some of the basics of purchasing and preparing kava tea, to give anyone who’s interesting in finding where to buy kava tea the tools to find a high quality, enjoyable, and potent product.
Of course, the obvious first step in ascertaining where to buy kava tea is finding a vendor that carries it. Due to kava’s growing popularity as a relaxing and socially stimulating beverage, many different health food companies and stores are beginning to sell kava tea as part of their lineup of herbal teas. Unfortunately, as with any market with multiple suppliers, not all kava tea brands are created equal. When you’re looking for where to get kava tea, it’s better to avoid the herbal sections of big box stores and health food stores: the quality of their kava will likely not be as high quality as a product purchased from a vendor who specializes in kava. To make the best kava tea, you’ll want to obtain kava root that is fresh and harvested from the lateral roots of plants that are least four years old, as older plants produce a higher amount of kavalactones. In general, vendors who specialize in kava will provide you with a better quality product that meets the standards above; they have to, because their business depends on selling customers kava that is potent and satisfying.
A quality source is essential when you’re looking for a good place to buy kava tea, not just to ensure yourself a satisfying experience but also for safety reasons. In the past, unscrupulous vendors looking to cash in on the kava craze sold a few people kava that contained stems, leaves and bark peelings— parts of the plant containing toxic alkaloids that landed several people in the hospital with liver damage. You definitely don’t want to be buying tea bags that contain stems or leaves! Whether you purchase kava tea in a bag or buy the ground root in bulk, you should always make sure to buy only from vendors who specifically state that they use only the kava plant’s lateral roots in their preparations. If you’re not sure about a vendor, you can also consult an independent review website to see what other customers have said about their products.
The second half of enjoying really good kava tea lies in how you prepare it. Properly prepared, kava tea can deliver all the same benefits as a cold kava infusion, including improved mood, reduced anxiety and stress, calming effects, and restful sleep. Plus you get the added comfort of relaxing with a warm beverage which you can easily flavor with honey, cinnamon, and other warming ingredients if you so desire. When it comes to making a potent and delicious tea, many people also prefer the ground root to a prepared tea bag because it’s easier to determine the freshness of the root before steeping. Furthermore, you may get better results by making a tea from the ground root because the loose material can move more freely in water, allowing for the maximum leaching of active kavalactones.
Any kava tea of good quality should have the same soothing properties as a regular cold kava infusion, and should be treated with the same respect for its potency. Make sure not to drive or do anything requiring reflexes after drinking kava tea, especially when you’re trying it for the first time. Both the cold brew and the hot tea will generally contain a similar percentage of kavalactones and should be similarly potent; in fact, the traditional cold kava infusion could even be considered a type of kava ice tea! The main advantage of hot kava tea over a cold brew is its convenience: the hot tea takes maybe a half hour to 45 minutes to steep, compared to several hours for a cold extraction.
For the curious, here’s a sample kava kava tea recipe you can use to make kava tea from scratch ingredients: using a ratio of 1 teaspoon ground kava root to 1 cup milk or water, heat the liquid until it’s hot but not boiling. (To preserve the root’s active compounds, most recipes recommend you not heat it above 140 degrees Fahrenheit, with 120 degrees considered an ideal temperature.) Pour the hot liquid over the loose ground kava root and steep the mixture for about 45 minutes, then strain the liquid into a different mug, using a coffee filter to catch the kava dregs. Drink up and enjoy the kava tea’s relaxing, anxiolytic and sleep-promoting properties. Perhaps you and some friends could get together for a kava tea party of an evening!