There are a variety of ways to enjoy and prepare kava. Most commonly kava is consumed through the ingestion of beverages made from the pressing of freshly picked kava root, or in drinks made from ground, shredded or powdered root. While freshly picked kava is only available in the South Pacific islands where the plant is grown, anyone in the world can enjoy kava powder.
Trying to brew kava at home can seem a little overwhelming at first. Fortunately, the process is much simpler than it looks. Here are a few tips on how to prepare kava in the traditionally consumed liquid brew.
Brewing Kava – Solid Base
When preparing kava, you should always use cold or room temperature water. Never use hot or boiling water to prepare kava as the high temperatures destroy the main active ingredient found in the plant – kavalactones. Without this ingredient, your beverage won’t provide the relaxing properties associated with the drinking kava.
Extraction of kavalactones from the root of kava plants is performed by leaching the root in liquids like milk or water. Both work well for kava extraction, as they provide a good base for the kavalactones to leach into. However, the best liquids used to draw out the active ingredients in kava contain higher levels of fat – generally milk from either coconuts, soy, cows or goats are all excellent.
The simplest form of kava extraction is done using water, which you can add some fat to if you so choose. The fat can come from adding milk to your kava mixture. Keep in mind that you can also use juice with a little added fat as you extract the liquid, such as from papaya or pineapple or whatever you enjoy drinking the most.
Brewing Kava – The Process
Here’s how to make kava: take the kava in whatever its form – typically either shredded, ground, pressed or powdered – put it in a strainer and place that in your liquid of choice and allow it to seep for several minutes. The longer you let the kava brew, the better your drink with become. However, don’t use traditional tea strainers if you’re using a powdered kava; the wire mesh isn’t fine enough to prevent the powder from seeping into your drink. Rather, use a fine muslin bag that is both reusable and better for straining the kava.
After you’re done brewing your kava, you can squeeze the excess liquid out of the semi-solidified material in your strainer and either throw the used material away or place it in your compost.
Once your extraction process is complete, sit back, relax and enjoy your drink. Studies have shown that kava offers a variety of healthy benefits; from easing insomnia to reducing stress to relieving muscle aches.
You can also learn more about how to brew kava from the experts at Portland kava bar, Bula Kava House.