Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kona Kava Farm - Mahakea Kona Kava

For some odd reason, I picture Kava (or Awa, as it is called in Hawaii) varieties growing weaker and weaker as they radiate away from Vanuatu. A great web of Kava with a muddy, spicy, numbing core on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. Tongan Kava represents a kind of alternative core in the Kava world, a place from whence a mysterious white Kava emerges that has peculiar qualities and is incredibly medicinal. Vanuatu Kava is thick and ritualistic, Tongan Kava is milky and utilitarian, Fiji Kava is stranded somewhere in between, and now Hawaiian Kava....

Well, it's pretty damn good. I should say that, like Tongan Kava, it has a completely different taste, texture, and effect. According to Kona Kava Farm, the Mahakea Kava Root has the "426 kavalactone/chemotype line up," whatever that means. I used the Kona Kava Farm recipe, which included a small bag that came with the Kava. They recommend two tablespoons of Kava to half a quart of water. I felt like that was pretty low, but went for it anyway. The final product, after ten or so minutes of squeezing, was a Kava that had a more transparent color than others I have had, but had a more "agreeable" taste as well. This Kava would be beyond ideal for a beginner, because it has a very neutralized and mild taste. It has a bit of a spicy edge to it, but is more notable for the relatively big anesthetic effect it has. Compared to most Kavas, this one produces a fairly high amount of the lip and mouth numbing effect. In terms of flavor, it is really good and has a lot of complexity. For someone who has drank a lot of Kava, it would probably be passed off as too mild. But if you really swish it around and focus on the flavor, it actually does have a lot going for it. And again, this one would be good for those friends of yours who have pushed shells away in the past.

The effect is great as well. It is extremely relaxing. It doesn't give you a great buzz, but it does offer a good route for winding down. I drank three shells and the minor headache I had floated away, the soreness in my legs from running disappeared, and I felt like I could easily fall asleep if I desired to. You're not going to wobble like you would after draining three shells of Stone Kava, but you'll definitely notice the effect and feel very happy about it. Like I said, it doesn't have the ritualistic intensity of a viscous Vanuatu Kava or the intensely relaxing glory of Nakamal at Home's Tongan, but it is a good alternative if you're not in the mood to lose yourself. I'd probably reach for the Tongan Kava on a weekday night, but I might reach for this on a weekday afternoon. Tastes good, feels good, and will be good to have around.

Taste - 7/10
Effect - 6.5/10

Kona Kava Farm's Mahakea Kona Kava - 6.75 shells out of 10

-Le Kavasseur


  1. Seein as you've got a pretty big kava repertoire, I was wondering if you've ever tried any kava from this website before ?

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  2. I've visited their website but am yet to try any of their Kava. Have you tried it?

  3. ~~Douglas~~Realkava (Kava Kauai) was the company I tried over ten years ago before I was on track to be a co-Kavasseur and this was the one I'd mentioned in a previous post as the recipe I'd tried that was a lower strength recipe (but I still enjoyed it). I ordered from them a couple of times and it seemed they had at that time several interesting varieties. I didn't have the nakamalathome gold standard to compare to but I do feel like they would def. hold their own; and their customer service was very friendly & communicative. I think they'd be good to keep track of for interesting Hawaiian varieties.
    ~~The Awa (Hawaiian for Kava: or "Kava" being Vanuatan for Awa) history and cultivars fascinates me. This site: mauikava dot com references a book Hawaiian 'Awa--Views of an Ethnobotanical Treasure which categorizes different kinds of Hawaiian Awa.
    They also list 18 varieties (altho they all seem to be currently out...?) with various chemotypes. At puuohoku dot com [another interesting site] I found the key for the Various Kavalactones:
    ~~~~~~~1 Demethoxy-yangonin (DMY)
    ~~~~~~~2 Dihydrokavain (DHK)
    ~~~~~~~3 Yangonin
    ~~~~~~~4 Kavain
    ~~~~~~~5 Dihydromethysticin (DHM)
    ~~~~~~~6 Methysticin
    ~~So, the chemotype code is as such -- going back to the maui kava page -- a "463251" plant, would have the highest #4 (Kavain; considered the most euphoriant kavalactone) and the lowest #1 (Demethoxy-yangonin (DMY)). Here are some others on that page:
    ~~~~~~~463251: Papa Kea, Honokane'iki, Mo'i, Papa ele'ele,
    ~~~~~~~~~Papa ele'ele Pu'upu'u, Rahmedal, Rahmwager, Samoan
    ~~~~~~~462351: Hiwa, Kuma Kua, Mapulehu, Nene
    ~~~~~~~246531: Isa
    ~~~~~~~461235: Mahakea
    ~~~~~~~423651: Hanakapi'ai
    ~~~~~~~463215: Panaewa
    ~~~~~~~-----: Opihikao
    ~~The lore of these types and traditional usages is as useful information as the chemotype and of course, personal experience is probably the most important. To that I say Kava power. So many more to try.~~Anthony

  4. Thanks for all that. Sooner or later I'll get to blogging about all the good literature on Kava there is out there. If you have access to online journals and databases there is a lot of good anthropological literature on Kava kastom, horticulture, and ritual. I do have "Kava: The Pacific Elixir" but haven't gotten around to it because I am reading thousands upon thousands of pages for my thesis. Thankfully, Kava is around to always pull me through. Let me know specifically which Kavas I should try from Real Kava and I'll order them down so I can review them. I'm always game to try new companies and varieties. So far, I've had the best luck with Nakamal at Home.

  5. Nope haven't tried any of theirs yet, think I will be buying some soon though.
    Their Vanuatu power is all lateral root which should make it quite potent!

  6. I plowed through $65 dollars of Kona Kava Farm products
    Kava Elixir - Kava Root 1:1 (1oz)
    Kava Concentrate (Cocoa Banana) - 4oz
    Kava Elixir - Kava Lotus Blend (1 oz)
    Kavalovetone 84% - Capsules (30)
    over the course of 3 nights without a single minute of euphoric, buzz-type feelings. I wouldn't even say it was a relaxant -- I ended up just getting angry as I consumed more and more product without any sort of effect that I've come to expect from Nakamal@Home stuff. I unfortunately could not recommend Kona Kava for anyone reading this. Either save your money or splurge elsewhere. Too bad too, because I know it's grown in Hawaii (I typically like to buy in-country).


    P.S. And no, I'm in no way affiliated with any other Kava company; just a recent discoverer of Kava :)


  7. JB, this blog has the first positive review of Kona Farms kava I've ever seen. I think the problem is that any processing beyond drying and grinding degrades the kava beyond usefulness. J. Bowman of Nakamal@home states, "For the best results you should drink kava and not take kava pills. Kava needs to be in an aqueous solution in order to be absorbed most efficiently."

    You might be able to feel effects with a tincture, if you want something quick and easy, but I would stick to either instant kavas or go through the mess of mixing and squeezing real root powder.

    Even with root powder or instant kavas, you're still not feeling the full effect of fresh root. For that you'd have to travel, as it is highly perishable.

  8. Like my review above says, this Kava is pretty decent. I brewed some last night for a first-timer and they really enjoyed it. It gives me enough of an effect that I like it. I probably won't ever buy it again, but that doesn't mean it's bad. LOL. I'd much rather drink N@H Tonga or Fiji on a regular basis than drink this Kava.

  9. Perhaps you're right about the processing of the Kava, Kaiden. Since then I tried the "Chief's Jungle Kava" from N@H (making it the old-school way) and had a somewhat pleasant experience, although it took a lot more to get any sort of the desired effects than I'd hoped, and then when it did it was different than I was expecting.

    To be honest, I'm looking for a substitute for drinking as I realize it's relatively unhealthy, but I enjoy a good time, heh. Of the instant or standard types go, what product and supplier would you Kava Gurus recommend? Everything I've tried so far has been enjoyable, but different than I'm looking for.

    Any advice from the pros would be appreciated :)


  10. You definately need to 'pay your dues to the kava gods', before you start to really feel the effects of kava. If you just drink it expecting to get intoxicated I don't think it will help, just relax and let it come to you. Maybe it will take a few drinking sessions, but relax and just enjoy it. Took me a week of drinking it every other day before I felt any real effects.

    I don't know what effects you're looking for, but its not going to get you drunk like alcohol. From my experience it is a fantastic anxiety and stress reliever which gives you a real feeling of contentment but while still giving you full clarity, not like alcohol.

    But i'm just a newbie so i'll let the others give their opinon :-)

  11. Wow, kavasseurs! I'm a Kava newbie for sure but would go as far as saying I'm at least an educated newbie.

    So far I've only tried the Mahakea Kava from Kona and was quite happy to read this post. I actually found it quite nice and was super pleased with the effects of Kava.

    I've got some Vanuatu Kava from on the way as well as some Stone kava from Nakamal@home. The stone Kava just cleared customs today if I'm really lucky I'll be "stoned" in 24 hours or so...

    Good job on this site its very informative, I've read all of your posts a couple of times :)


  12. How does this compare to Nakamal at home Black Sand Kava?

  13. I have sampled Kava Kauai (just the Instant Kava) and found their Kava excellent after a few goes (although their tincture did not produce any effect). Have also sampled Kava capsules from WholeHealth, the result of which was negligible though it did improve sleep quality.

    As regards Kona, my experience matches that of J B. I went through a bag of the stuff over the course of a week or so and found it very disappointing, despite careful preparations.

    Kaiden, have you come across negative reviews of Kona elsewhere?


  14. The Kava Appreciation Society on Facebook has a very brief review: "I got better results with source, for some reason was very weak, never bought from then again." I don't know if it's because of a general low kavalactone content of their kava, low DHM/DHK content, or simply the recipe being somewhat dilute. I tried making Tu'i Grade Tongan kava with the ratio of two rounded tablespoons for one quart of water.

    I don't want to say anything bad about a cultivar/supplier I've never tried.

    As far as the cultivar goes, I've been trying to find more science info on it. I haven't been able to find the complete kavalactone profile, although 426153 and 426351 aren't very different from each other, given that over 75% of the kavalactones are in the first half of the code. The one thing I did notice is that at, most varieties sell at the standard kava rate of $35 per pound, but Mahakea sells at $25 per pound. It could simply be that Mahakea has more availability, or it could be a cultivar unsuitable for what we are looking for.

  15. For the Win - the Kona Farms kavalactone paste vs. Shaman or Fire Island.

    First, this is the process on how to make a paste:

    1 Dry matter
    2 Crushing
    3 Reduction to fine powder
    4 Maceration, hot or cold in a solvent
    5 Filtration
    6 Elimination of solid residues
    7 Evaporation and recovery of solvent
    8 Extraction of a brown coloured resin
    9 Resin mixed with a base to create a 30% kavalactone powder

    Compare this to the spray-drying process of instant kava powder:
    1 Fresh root
    2 Crushing
    3 Filtration
    4 Fresh juice
    5 High pressure pump
    6 Spray drying
    7 Water-soluble powder obtained

    Keep in mind, I've never seen either product being made. I just happen to know the South Pacific Kava industry... not as an insider, sadly, but as a highly educated consumer. My information could be wrong.

    I think most of the negative review on the Kona Farms stuff comes from people who try the kavalactone paste. I've never tried it, but given my preference for fresh kava, I'll stick with what I know.

  16. It's the variety...

    Mahakea is a very subtle, body acting kava, and does not go to the head much.

    For hawaiian kava, the gold standards are black hiwa, purple mo'i, and I guess, pana'ewa, with Honokane'Iki being rarely available outside of a bit of tincture.

    Also, Hawaiian kava, outside of Ise, just doesn't really stone you much.


  17. bonjour esque le thé kava yogi fonctionne?

  18. The upper part of my chest breaks out in quarter sized red blotches. Happens when I am under high levels of stress, nervous, and embarrassed. The break out is painless but extremely difficult to hide and I suffer in agony when it happens. I am just wondering if anyone has taken Kava to reduce or alleviate this kind of problem.

  19. Hello there, I using Kava for half a Year now, and I recognized when I use a lot of it a few Days long I get a heavy Headache which always seems to last 3 Days. Can anyone confirm that Experience?

  20. I purchesed the drink mix. I drank three full cups, and i felt absolutely nothing... Don't use Kona Kava Farms unless you just want i discusting drink.

  21. the kava festival is coming soon in october
    check out the kavafestival site on google
    please come for the day
    awa dreams

  22. I am relieved to hear others post less than favorable reviews of Kona Kava farms products. I have used their paste and a pound of the root, and found that neither had very much affect, nothing like I've described by others when feeling the effects of kava. I thought it was just me. I will try the Stone kava and maybe some other products from Nakamal at home and see if I get any more effect from them. Thanks for this resource.

  23. It's exciting to see someone doing this!!
    We grow kava on Hawaii (20 varieties right now which is our germ plasm repository) from which we will see which are commercially viable for our area (Big Island- Hamakua). We do not like monoculture so many varieties are going in the ground, and we are intercropping this kava in a fruit orchard.

    Will Le Kavasseur please email me? paradisekava (at)

  24. I have to agree with everyone on here. This kava in terms of effects offers little more than mild relaxation with a small body buzz ( for me it was in the legs). I do appreciate Kona kava though because they introduced me to the root and their kava was weak enough that when I tried a real kava I was pleasently surprised! Overall, ok kava... But just doesn't have the effects most are looking for in my opinion. I hope they improve or offer new strains in the future.

  25. This was my second Kava out of three so far. I did not like it too much. After finishing up a bag of PNG it was radically different. IF this had been my first Kava and I did not find your blog here I might have given up on Kava. To me it was more milky smooth (might be great with coconut milk). So far I like the Stone and PNG better for their "kick". However this proved to me that not all Kavas are the same. Try a few before deciding if it is for you or not. This might be a great Dayquil Kava.

  26. I wish I could attend the Kava Festival, but its in Honolulu, and I just dont have the money for it. Have a great time tho! Im sure it will be a blast. Drink a shell for me :D

  27. I have not had a problem with Kona Kava. I purchased the capsules of Kava Kava Root powder, and find them to have a medium relaxing effect. I have some neurological issues, as well as a few other health concerns, which cause pain and anxiety. 1-2 Kava are a natural alternative to muscle relaxers for me, without the groggy feel. Occasionally, if I take them for a few nights in a row, I will get headaches. I'm not sure why, but found that drinking more water before and after taking them helps.

  28. Hi Guys:

    I've purchased 1 lb of this product and admit am new to Kava. After consuming that and purchasing my 2nd pound plus 1/2 oz of Kavalacone extract, I found this site. I've gained no "krunky" benefit thus far, and am becoming dismayed. I like the idea of kava from what I read here, but am having dissapointing results with this brand. I'm not expecting the effects of alcohol, but would welcome a relaxing alternative. How much do I need to consume to make a breakthrough? Navakamal's WOW is sold out, so I'm searching for recommendations. A little help will be much appreciated.

  29. Same experience with me..weak stuff that made me more tired than anything..

  30. Have you ever tried 'Eua Kava from the Kingdom of Tonga?

  31. I have tried various types of kavas from different vendors, but I have decided to stick with kona kava from now on. Honestly, kona kava was the weakest kind I tried when I did a cold water extraction, but when I mixed 4 heaping tablespoons with milk and lecithin, I felt the effects of the kava that was similar to drinking the same amount of WOW! kava when doing a cold water extraction. This is because when I drank the kona kava, I drank everything, including the root. Kona kava is the cheapest, and when you drink the root, it is just as potent to me as some of the higher grade more expensive kavas. Give it a try if you will people, you will be pleasantly suprised.

    Although I could only drink it root and all if I held my nose shut as I drank, and afterward chased it with water and a piece of cookie.

  32. hello everyone, i am a new kava drinking, and the first kava i ordered was a half pound from kona kava farm. and i do enjoy the kava very much, its nice to unwind with after a long day, but it seems much weaker than i thought kava would be, is this kava just not potent or is this pretty much how all kava is? i want to order some stone kava, perhaps a half pound of it, but it seems so expensive for half a pound, is it worth the price?

  33. Hi there. Kona Kava's Mahakea can be plenty o' strong. Follow this recipe: 3 topped tbs. of kava in a strainer bag or old, tightly woven (clean!) sock, 1 large cup of boiling water and 1 large cup of cold combined to give you 2 cups of lukewarm plus. Knead for at least 10 min. Very cerebral, not so much bodily. I was sceptic myself to begin with, but am now a true believer. Bula!

  34. This is the second brand of kava I've bought so far. The other bag I bought was from the University Stop, a convenience store near the UH Manoa campus in Honolulu.

    I bought a package of 1/2 pound powdered kava from Kona Kava Farm, and compared to the first batch I bought, Kona Kava is really strong. The kava I bought from University Stop made me feel relaxed for about an hour or two, granted that I used about 3-4 tablespoons to a cup of water/milk.

    The initially thought that the Kona Kava was going to be weak, so I mixed a bit more than recommended (4 tablespoons to a cup). After about an hour I was knocked out fast asleep, but I guess because of my small frame I'm a bit of a light-weight. I tried it again just an hour ago from now using the instructions on the package (2 tablespoons of kava to 5 ounces of milk) and honestly, I still feel light-headed. I can't even walk in a straight line. But I guess this might just be me and other people might react differently.

    Also, I mixed the kava with milk for about 10 minutes each time. Perhaps this is the reason why I'm experience such dramatic effects compared to everyone else. Who knows?

  35. Kona Kava Farm recommends 2 to 4 tablespoons of Kava to 5 to 10 ounces of water..... If you want to call yourself an expert tell people the truth instead of trying to sell kava for nakamalathome.... You must think all of us are retarded

  36. i've had the same dramatic experience drinking kava in maui. i could barely walk and was 'buzzing' massively. I did however experience some not sure if I liked that part of it.

  37. kona kava farm sucks.... the first patch samplier i bought was strong.... then after that everything i have purchase has been very weak... no buzz.dont watse your money

  38. I use KonaKava.
    You have to grind it way more, than it is delivered.
    Then i put it into my highend mixer with some Soymilk & some InstantCocoa powder (with extra soy lecithin)
    I give it 6 Minutes on very high then i strain it NOT with a textile but with a metallstrainer so that more parts of the root go into the drink...

    I find it relatively strong kava....

  39. OR:

    Extragrind in electric coffemill till very fine!
    Then put into mixer very short and then strain through a textilstrainer! Then squeze for 15 Minutes.

  40. Why have you suggested allopathic medicine?
    Research has showed that 40% of the diseases are result of unfair consumption of the medicines. People start to consume them without discussing it with doctors. So please stop killing them with this venom approach. If you really want to help the masses, you can refer Herbal stress remedies through natural substances. Hope you will understand my point.

  41. Hi, kava drinkers.
    What i'm expecting, or seeking is a benzo challenger.
    Need to get rid of this shit and find a reliable, natural remedies to go on with.
    1) Is there S.o who do use kava on a daily basis?
    2) wich kava is the most potent? (i'm starting wth real kava root powder and got very very mild effects even inrasing the doses i took it twice, maybe should i let kava more time to xpress its potency...).
    3) can Kava kava really be a benzo challenger for people suffering from anxiety, i mean real anxiety... not mild stress of occidental way of life.
    from what i read, it seems weather the most potent thing, or as useless as valerian.
    I put much hope on it, maybe too much...
    3) What is the best recipe to get all the potency of the root?
    straining it is maybe not necessary?

    Thank you alot in advance for your help...
    need some education about it. hard to find where i live.

  42. Tongan Kava is milky and utilitarian, Fiji Kava is stranded somewhere in between, and now Hawaiian Kava.... I sell Kava Kava Extract (Kavalacetons)

  43. Great information about the Tongan Kava. I usually like Kratom and read guides on Kratom Guides daily.

  44. I get my kava extract from barrett botanicals and it definitely helps me with my anxiety.