Today we are looking at how to make each (evening) kava session perfect, based on our own experiences. This guide is meant to be of use to those who want to drink kava at home, by themselves or with their partner/friend. We will soon publish another post dedicated to those who, like us, usually drink kava with a bunch of other people.
1. Make sure you choose the right kava (and that you only drink noble kava roots!). While all noble kavas are calming and relaxing, some kavas might be slightly better for a tired body and other kavas could be better for creative writing or contemplation. It's important that you know your kava and it takes some time to figure out which kava strain and in what quantity works best for you.
2. Some people drink kava (especially some of the very heady varieties) during the day, at work to combat work-related stress, but most people tend to drink kava in the evening, after work and before dinner. Make sure you have enough time to enjoy your kava. Even if you only want to drink a little bit of it, you don't want to do it in a rush. VERY IMPORTANT: Kava works best when it's consumed on an empty stomach! Make sure you don't eat anything for at least 3-4 hours before your kava session.
3. You will need more time if your kava comes in a traditional grind form. Get a small bowl, find a good strainer and measure the right amount of powder. Most people use around 30-50g (less than half a cup) of dried, traditional powder, but you might require less or more depending on your body chemistry and what you want to get out of your session. If you want your kava to be fairly strong per serving, we would recommend using around 2 cups (500ml) of water. Some people prefer their kava to be more diluted (and less bitter) and choose to use more water, but in our experience consuming a large amount of kava liquid can make one feel a bit bloated, so we prefer smaller, but stronger servings. Either way, make sure your water is warm (but not hot). Put the powder into a strainer, tie it up and place it in your bowl with water. Squeeze and KNEAD the bag for 5-10 minutes. Squeeze out the liquid until the last drop. You can put the bag aside for later use (the so-called "second-wash" - a much weaker, but sometimes effective second round of kava).
4. If your kava comes in a micronized or instant form, the preparation is a bit quicker. We use around 10-15g per session, but again, the exact amount depends on your preferences and body chemistry. We know people who use not more than 5g of instant kava (apx one teaspoon) but also those who sometimes use 30g+ of micronized or instant. Try with a lower amount and see how you like it. Again, use around 500ml per session for a start. If it's too strong/bitter you can use a bit more water. Or you can choose to mix your instant or micro powder with some soft drink (we recommend apple juice with freshly grated ginger).
5. Always remember that some of the kavalactones take a long time to start working, so don't drink all your kava at once. Separate it into small servings (100-150ml each) and take 15-20 min breaks between each serving. We like drinking our kava in coconut shells, but any small bowl or cup will work.
6. Kava is bitter. Some kavas are milder tasting than others, but nobody drinks kava for its taste. If you use instant or micro you can improve the taste by using some nice juice instead of water. If you prefer the more "traditional" flavour (or use traditional grind), make sure you get a good kava chaser. Juice is good, but it's better (and healthier!) to eat fruits in between servings. We recommend oranges, apples, pears, pineapples or grapes.
7. Depending on the type of kava you drink, play some nice music, read a good book, talk to your partner or friend. In other words, try to do what you would normally do to relax after work. Kava won't replace these activities, but it can help you to enjoy them with more peace and tranquillity.
8. After your kava prepare a light and warm meal. After dinner you should still feel relaxed and peaceful.
Avoid consuming alcohol on the same day as kava might potentiate the negative effects of alcoholic beverages.
Obviously we are all different so you may want to plan your kava session differently. Some of you might want to enjoy kava during the day, at work or on the beach. The above plan is meant to be used as a rough guide only, but if you follow the above steps you should have an enjoyable kava experience.