Sunday, March 7, 2010

Nakamal At Home - Shaman Instant Kava Reconsidered

Every now and then, even Le Kavasseur gets it wrong. I initially tried a one shot packet of Shaman Instant Kava on a dry afternoon, just to quickly get a taste of it and write up a hasty review. What can I say? I've grown an aversion to instant Kavas, they are normally bland, thin, and diet-tasting. They seem to lack the depth and earthiness that we all love in a good Kava. Something that goes down viscous, spicy, and deeply numbs is what a Kavasseur longs for. What people typically fear about Kava - what normally brings on "Kava anxiety" - well, that's what a Kavasseur has grown to love. Pour a shell, stare at the horizon, and gulp it down slowly as the numbness drains from your brain to your toes. I never got that from instants, until now...

I decided to get a tin of Shaman Instant Kava because, well, I get a little lazy sometimes. Although my initial experience with Shaman Kava was underwhelming, I still thought it was good enough to keep around for a "quick dip" every now and then. After all, it's not everyday that we find time to knead, and knead, and knead again until we have a nice frothy bowl of Black Sand Kava. When I got the tin, I was blown away by its appearance - an extra thick hockey puck with a transparent lid and dried Kava juice just bursting from the seams. "How convenient," I thought "I can just dip a teaspoon in here and mix this with water to get a shell of Kava!" One of my original complaints about Shaman Kava was how much I would seemingly need to justify keeping it around. I've had this for a few days, gotten krunked a few times, and the tin still looks pretty damn cool. Le Kavasseur is pleeeeased. Tres bien, Nakamal.

Well, my previous review of Shaman Instant Kava needs desperately to be disregarded. I was wrong in almost every way, except for the fact that it's instant and that it's terribly easy to prepare. I just drained a shell about three minutes ago, and I am currently in a state of bliss. I don't know whether this batch is better than the one I tasted before, but hot damn this stuff tastes fine. Sure, it's a little bit thinner than what we would expect from Black Sand or Wow!. But the flavor contains a lot of sophistication, a lot of depth. It's a bit on the clayey side, with undertones of cashew or almond, and definitely stands in stark opposition to the peppery, spicy, thick Kavas that are kneaded tirelessly before they are ready for consumption. But this stuff is very nice, very balanced, and very ready. It is so instant that it makes Nescafe look like a chore. If you are not blown away by the flavor, you will be blown away by the impact. It's what you need if you are low on time and need a good Kava fix. I, for one, will be drinking Shaman Kava after a long day of work where I don't feel like kneading some ground roots.

Keep this stuff around, you won't regret it.

Flavor - 7/10
Effect - 8/10

Nakamal at Home Shaman Instant Kava - 7.5 shells out of 10


  1. I am wondering about the instant kava because I have ordered it about 4 or 5 times now and each batch tends to differ. I guess you really can't trust the kava juice unless you prepare it, otherwise it may not have been pressed as hard one time, or maybe too hot of water was used another. I think I will stick to making my kava. It stays in the fridge for a few days pretty well.

  2. You might be right. There could very well be a consistency problem. The second time I tried it was completely different than the first time. Kind of hard to fork over $70 when you don't know what you're going to get.

  3. Thanks for the reviews on the instant kava! I purchased some from the nakamal place. I ordered a couple of the little packets to try out. It was free shipping out to hawaii which is always nice. It was better than I thought it would be.

    The only other place I have successfully bought instant Kava was from They also had free shipping and it always seems to be in stock.

    I found their Vanuatu instant Kava to be the most potent that I have tried.I regularly order from them now.

    Has anyone else had any positive results with instant kava? I'm always looking for new sources.

  4. How much do you use at once? I bought a 10 gram packet.

  5. Hey, were did you get it from and how did you like it?

    I like a teaspoon or two. Some like more or less.

    I was using nakamalathome for a while and there stuff is good but when they stopped accepting paypal I switched.

    I solely use Their instant kava is great and shipping is really fast even to the UK. I have never had to wait a month or more for my order like some other places.

    It would be interesting to see how they would be reviewed.

    Does anyone else know where to get high quality instant kava the doesn't take a month to recieve and ships internationally?

  6. I was down in Boca Raton for business and stopped in at Nakamal at Homes Kava bar to have a few shells. I got to talking with Jeff who runs the online side of the business because I was interested in some of the instant varities, as sometimes I'm on the road and mixing up a batch of root just isnt very practical.

    Jeff gave me some sample packets, a couple of Shaman and a couple of Fire Island. The next day I took three packets, I believe it was two fire island and one of the shaman each in a 6-8oz bottled water, and slammed them down pretty quickly.
    I guess I'm not sure exactly how many shells each of these packets are but they are the 0.35 oz. size.

    Anyway, within about fifteen minutes I had caught quite a buzz, probably the most intoxicated I've been on Kava.
    I had taken them on an empty stomach so I dont know if that had anything to do with the unusual intensity that I was experiencing. It felt rather cannabis like, we were in a busy restaurant and the noisiness was rather overwhelming, my senses were heightened and I just kind of wanted to be chilling out in a less intense environment. Definately was more mind effect than body.
    I felt a little light headed and later on when I came down was pretty tired, as I was the next morning.

    At any rate, dont know for sure which variety had what effect since I had mixed the Shaman and Fire Island, but between the three packets it was a fairly noticable high.

    Tastewise, I appreciated the lighter flavor, it didnt seem as grisly tasting as some of the root I've brewed up. I will probably use instant again in the future as
    it definately does the trick and is so much easier to prepare.

    Interested in other peoples experience with instant.

  7. Additonal Comment:

    Just noticed on Nakamal at Homes website that they had got a shipment of instant on Nov. 11th I'm wondering if the freshness of the batch I tried contributed to the potency, I know the issue has been discussed.

  8. Nice story. Jeff is great.

    Anyhow, I really enjoy instant Kava occasionally, but only when brewing Kava is out of the question. I also like to keep instant kava around if I need to de-stress really fast. That's probably my best use for it. Nakamal at Home's Shaman is my favorite, but Vanuatu Kava Store also makes a great Quick Kava.

    Freshness shouldn't matter too much. I have bags of kava from last year that still get me krunked. Just make sure you keep them air tight. I would think especially the instants have a long shelf life.

  9. The instant stuff is OK, but overpriced. Good for travel, when you just want to whip up a fast shell.