Kava is one of those fascinating substances that has been around for a very long time. Once used medicinally and for ceremonies in Polynesian, Micronesian, and Melanesian countries, kava has grown in popularity as a type of supplement in recent years.
With a 3,00 year long history, there are sure to be a lot of different ways that this substance can be prepared! The tradition methods can still be used, but there are also more efficient and effective ways to prep kava as technology has improved.
Today, we’ll introduce the various ways of making kava tea and help you understand how to prepare the tea properly.
Method #1: Traditional Kava Tea Preparation
The first way that you should learn how to prepare kava tea is via the traditional method. This is how the tea was brewed in many areas for hundreds of years. While it may be a less practical brewing method in today’s world, the rich history of this brewing method makes it a great choice.
This method might sound a bit wild at first, but this is really how the tea was prepared!
Kava root would be gathered. Then, female virgins were to chew this root into a pulp. Because the root is so tough to chew, it would be very difficult to do this, and it caused a lot of damage to the teeth.
Once the root was broken into a pulp, this was spit into a leaf. Water would be strained through the pulp in order to brew the tea.
As you can imagine, many young women did not want to have to keep doing this. Once they got married, they were no longer required to do this duty as it was something that only unmarried women were meant to do.
Method #2: Brewing Modern Kava Tea in Traditional Areas
If you visit areas where kava tea is still very popular due to its history in the area, you are not likely to see a team of virgin women chewing up the root. In addition to this not being very practical, it would be nearly impossible to make enough kava pulp for bars and visitors.
Today, fresh kava root is ground up using a manual grinder. Once the pulp is made, it is mixed with water and then strained through a fine, mesh strainer. This method, which is much more sanitary than the previous method, is much more manageable on a large scale.
Method #3: Kava Tea At Home with Strainer Bags
This is what you’ve been waiting for, right? How to make your own kava tea at home; coming right up!
Here’s what you should do:
- Put one part kava into a strainer bag.
- Put three parts warm water (not hot!) into a large bowl, and then put the strainer bag into the water.
- Reach your hands into the bowl and begin to knead and squeeze the strainer bag for at least 10 minutes. Be sure to use a lot of pressure.
- After the time is up, squeeze the bag as dry as possible.
- Consume it as quickly as possible!
As you can see, this method of brewing at home can be a bit labor intensive. Still, kneading the dry root with warm water in this way helps to break it down and release the beneficial antioxidants of kava more effectively than a short soaking.
Method #4: No-Kneading At Home Method
If you want to make kava tea at home but aren’t keen on the idea of kneading a strainer bag for 10 minutes, this is the method for you.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Get a fine mesh strainer for dry pressed root or a muslin tea bag for powdered kava.
- Add this strainer to your beverage of choice which should be cold or room temperature. Brewing in a hot liquid will ruin the beneficial properties of kava!
- Let it brew for at least 10 minutes; the longer, the better.
- Once brewing is complete, squeeze any remaining liquid out of the kava grounds before discarding them.
- Enjoy your drink!
If this still sounds like too much work for you, you may want to invest in instant kava. Instant kava mixes are made from pre-extracted kava. You can simply mix these into a beverage and be on your way to feeling better!
Method #5: Bulk Brewing Kava Tea
When you make kava in this way, you can make it in nearly any drink that you would like. While many people just use water, adding some type of fat can improve the extraction process. Try using all milk or mixing in one part milk to two parts water before brewing. You can even brew in a juice like a pineapple or a papaya juice!
Some companies that brew kava tea to sell it in bulk use a different method. In this method, the root is never ground up. Instead, the dry root is put into huge strainer bags with a lot of water. After it soaks for a designated about of time, big press machines press the liquid out of the bag to complete the delicious and efficient tea brewing.
This, of course, isn’t a method that you’ll be able to do at home. You can replicate something similar with a french press at home. Add kava and water to the press and let it soak for up to 10 hours. Press the kava tea, strain it, and then restrain the kava until it is not gritty. That’s it!
Explore Kava Tea Preparations!
Most kava tea preparations will have similar results as long as you do not accidentally deactivate the kava by using water that is too hot. Keep the water cold and explore different brewing methods until you find the one that is the easiest for you to do at home.
Remember, no matter how you brew it, kava tea doesn’t have the best taste on its own! Most people follow the tea with a chaser of fruit juice or another acidic and potent flavor that can cut away the earthy flavor of kava tea. Enjoy!