Monday, November 29, 2010

Kava by Rex - Vanuatu Isa/Tudei

Kava by Rex seems to be the new game in town. So far, I've been overwhelmed by the fresh flavor and surprising potency of their Kavas. I also like the grind of it - it is nice and powdery and just smells wonderful when you open the bag. I've already reviewed the Vanuatu 3 Kava and tried the Fiji Waka blend (to be reviewed soon), and both of those tasted fresh and felt great. But tonight I brewed up a batch of Vanuatu Isa/Tudei and was really impressed.

I can't figure out whether or not there is legitimacy to the claim that this is Piper wichmanii, though the Kava by Rex website admittedly explains that it is "speculated" to be so. To those who don't already know, Piper wichmanii is the wild variety of Kava that the various varieties of Piper methysticum were derived (domesticated) from. It is said that Piper wichmanii stills grows wildly in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu and could have been endemic to either of those two contemporary countries. The website also claims that this Kava may last for two days, which I also can't confirm or deny at this point. One thing is for sure: with the kind of pleasant "happy" buzz it gives I certainly hope it really does last two days.

This Kava is quite thick and very typical of Vanuatu Kava. It has a mild peppery flavor to it which I think is much subdued by the prescribed preparation method - 2 tablespoons to 16 oz. of water. It is very delicious and reminds me a bit of Nakamal at Home's "Wow!" Vanuatu Kava. There are actually a few similarities that lead me to wonder whether there is some connection between the two varieties.

It gives off a subdued, giddy kind of feeling that is warm but perky. I was actually feeling a bit tired prior to drinking it but was pleasantly surprised by a kind of "second wind." If you're a Kava kavasseur, you'll understand when I say this Kava helps you "breathe deeply." It makes you want to stretch your body and massage your muscles. It takes away all sense of pain in your muscles and joints. Of all the Kavas I have tried this one seems the most appropriate to be placed in the category of "medicinal." It also has very mild but pleasant psychological effects, reducing feelings of stress and overwhelming worry that too often accompany our "modern" lives. In fact, as I write this I must report that I feel better right now - in this blissful and rested moment - than I have in a few days. As I said above, if this truly is Tudei (two day) than I have found yet another great companion in the Kava universe.

Taste - 8/10
Effect (Body) - 9.5/10
Effect (Mind) - 9.5/10

Kava by Rex Vanuatu Isa/Tudei 9/10


  1. Nice review! I got my Vanuatu3 kava today and tried some tonight, but i wasent that impressed. It could be due to me not being used to actually kneading the kava as i use the strain, blender, strain technique. I made a second batch after i ate and kneaded for about 10 minutes versus the 5 minutes on Rex's instructions. I hope I did better this time! Any suggestions on preparation on this stuff would be most helpful.

  2. Hi Patrick,

    I haven't tried their new batch of Van3, but the old one is my favorite. I use 1 cup root to 6-7 cups water.

    Soak for 30 mins in 75Fish degree water.

    Squeeze in a strainer bag for 10mins.

    Strain out all fibers.

    Drink 4 to 6oz every 10 mins. By the 4th cup you should start to feel the effects and continuing on drinking 4oz every 15min all night.

  3. I think the new batch of V3 is not as good as the one reviewed here. I mean I feel nice and relaxed and happy, but I dont see this getting me krunked by itself. But who knows maybe after a couple more shells I might be surprised..

  4. I just got this in today based on your review. WOW! This is SOO clean. Makes me wonder do other venders even wash the root before grind?

    And this was ground down to almost flour! I did two table spoons in my cloth and had about 1 table spoon left after brew it is so fine. And even what was let over was very was just clean fibers. Like I was able to get all the "good stuff" out.

    Seems to me this is a very high quality product and the effects seem very balanced. Not all in the head and seems to give a nice "warm fuzzy". As you said I sure hope it lasts two days LOL!!

    Taste! This is SOOO smooth. Wish I had had this before I scared others off with Stone.

    I hope Rex keeps up the good work. Even sent me a free HI bracelet as a gift.

    I will try Rex's other offerings but I may have found my Kava here!!! I don't see how anyone could not like this.

  5. Glad to hear you like it. It is so good. I'm beginning to get frustrated because there are so many good Kavas to choose from right now! There are not enough days in the week to drink all the good Kava out there. I would drink this stuff everyday if it wasn't for the fact that I had 10 other new Kavas to try. LOL!

  6. OK, everyone knows that the Vanuatu Ministry of Agriculture forbids the export of Tudei Kava. If Rex is telling the truth, here's what they did. The Isa cultivar is not native to Vanuatu, but obviously Vanuatu is an idyllic place to grow Kava. Someone took an Isa clipping TO Vanuatu (hopefully before 2005), grew some, and now can export it because it's not on the controlled list. Isa is actually a PNG strain, often grown in Hawaii to supply North American's with a Kava capable of meeting their demands for complete and total inebriation.

    Check my name-linked URL for the Vanuatu kava export control list.

  7. According to the killa book that everyone here should get- Kava The Pacific Elixir- Isa, Tudei, piper wichmanii-or wahtever you want to call it is indigenous to PNG -AND- Vanuatu.

    It's the only indigenous strain ever found on PNG so if your buying kava from PNG that is not isa, you are buying stuff that was imported from Vanuatu a long time ago which is right next door and has the most number of cultivated AND indigenous strains in the world.

    Im from Big Island Hawaii and I know that ther is only one place here that grows isa. So Braddah - do your homework before posting stuff like that above. Instead of making quick assumptions like that, you need to get your informatiom from trusted sources. maleko

  8. OK, go to the Appendix and look for Melo Melo. One of the most popular Vanuatu Nobles exported worldwide. I've read the book, I own the book. Also, the book isn't a legal document. The link I posted to is, as far as I know, the classification of kava by type for legal export purposes. Also, the book is out of date. P. wichmanii no longer exists as a separate species (thanks to the author's efforts).

    And, I am LITERALLY doing homework, so excuse me if I don't reach for an out-of-date and incomplete sourcebook, "Braddah."

  9. Play nice, now. There is a lot of different information circulating out there, so it can be a bit confusing. There is a difference between exporting dried root for consumption and exporting cuttings that can be transplanted. I think the idea is that certain kinds of Kava grown and harvested in Vanuatu should be kept in the coutries' nakamals so that not all of the best quality kava is exported. So it doesn't surprise me that Isa/Tudei cuttings have been sent to Hawaii for cultivation. Why not? One thing I can say is that Kava by Rex's Isa/Tudei feels a lot different than most Piper methysticum that I've tried, so it very well could be that primal strain. I was krunk for about 36 hours.

  10. Perhaps I was too harsh. Since she's dead and I was a child at the time, I may as well confess that my mother was involved in biosmuggling. She would raise cichlids from Lake Tanganyika and sell them to pet stores. The fact that it was illegal to remove these fish from the lake didn't really matter once they were released to the commercial pet store/aquarium market.

    I have a problem ordering kava, no matter how strong or high quality, from a retailer who is involved in biosmuggling at any place in the supply chain. On a "spiritual" level, it is disrespectful to the kava. On a social level, it is disrespectful to the economy of Vanuatu and its attempt to establish itself as a self-sustaining nation. On the level of of wanting to only deal with people who are, like me, on the level, I don't want to deal with a store that may wind up reselling moldy kava, kava with lots of hepatoxic bark still on the roots makas redried and repackaged, etc. Once a person demonstrates the capacity to work outside of legal, or even ethical, guidelines, they have compromised themselves irrevocably.

    My speculation was best-case scenario. I have no problems with operating within legal and ethical guidelines to find loopholes. It's like the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion.

    For the time being, maleko, I'll assume that Kava By Rex is a corrupt, unethical business who is willing to ignore laws as they see fit.

    Congratulations, you win.

  11. Yikes. Kaiden, I'm not sure that the Republic of Vanuatu has a specific problem with people growing Isa in Hawaii. If you have read that somewhere, I would be curious to read about it (send me sources). On that topic, I think several vendors have sold Isa anyhow - Kule's Kava, Nakamal at Home (at one point), as well as Kava by Rex.

    On a certain level, I do agree with you. The proper term for such a practice would be "biopiracy," but that would be if the Kava grower acquired the strain and then patented it. There is a whole group of anthropologists who study this practice. As far as I know, acquiring a variety of plant and growing it is perfectly legal if you are not trying to patent it. Patenting would most certainly be unethical.

    As I mentioned before, I think Vanuatu's intention has been to prevent the market from shipping out all the best Kava and leaving only the weaker Kavas in Vanuatu.

    On another note, who does the government of Vanuatu speak for anyway? Do the people of Vanuatu agree with this law? Maybe some communities would like to sell Isa on the international market. These issues can be very complicated and you want to be sure that a "representative" is actually representative. Of all the potential ethical issues we could be dealing with, this is likely a minor one.

    I'm not siding with either of you here, by the way. I'm just trying to say that this is probably much more nuanced than a Kava grower in Hawaii going into Vanuatu and smuggling out some Isa cuttings in a brief case. Unless that can be shown, I would hesitate to hoist Kava by Rex up on the cross for a crime that might not exist and/or was perhaps never committed.

  12. OK, Isa's chemotype is 254631. And is native to Usino (in PNG, not Vanuatu), per the book I own and maleko reed is referencing. It's chemotype group is F, it's Zymotype is 8. These cultivars from from Usino, Morobe, Madang, Karkar... all in PNG, right? OK, settled.

    Now, there are F-group kavas from Vanuatu, but nothing with the "most desirable 254 chemotype," to paraphrase the people who's Google ads are everywhere.

    Now, if you want to see a chemotype match from Vanuatu, let's use Pirimerei, from Santo. It's chemotype group G, and Zymotype group 9, showing they aren't really that closely related, but it's also a 254631. This IS a controlled, non-exportable Two Day kava.

    Now, it's more than just genes that make the kava. It's also soil and climate conditions. If you took a plant of the same chemotype and grew it Vanuatu and let it mature, you'd have a plant that was functionally quite similar to Pirimerei, but was still exportable because the list is somewhat arbitrary.

    As to whom any government actually serves, that is always a very sticky question, regardless of the country in question. My answer is to obey the laws of whatever country I happen to be dealing with.

    But, back to the cultivar. There's Hawaiian growers, there's of course Nakamal at Home's Niugini "Party Grade" kava, and there's what Rex sells. Assuming that all the plants are actually Isa cultivars, how different would you say the finished product is, and how much of this is post-harvest processing vs. pre-harvest environmental conditions?

  13. Man, I got trolled bad... Oops.

    I was trying to find any, any, anything in "Kava, the Pacific Elixir" that made this "maleko reed" even slightly right. The zymotype chart basically showed me I was dealing with a troll. Zymotype 8 cultivars all come from one place - Northern Papua New Guinea. Now, the tudei variety I mentioned above, Pirimerei, is in zymotype 9, and zymotype 9 cultivars come from both Southern Papua New Guinea (notice the distinction), as well as Vanuatu. 8 and 9 do have a fairly high similarity coefficient, meaning they separated relatively late.

    Lucky for me, I'm slightly krunk and perseverant on kava, so I don't mind the trolling. While it is not the most pleasant experience, doing the "homework" that "reed" assigned was a nice break from the drudgery of IT certifications.

    If my future mother-in-law ever allows me to enter her home again, I *will* stock up on what I will assume to be Vanuatu grown Isa.

    Maybe I'll send a sample to the University of Fiji for chemotyping.

  14. Just drank a second shell. Definitely kava. Low in kavain, so no immediate rush. It also doesn't Tong the way Tongan does. (Tongan sort of spoils me with its smooth taste and indescribably something extra). The music euphoria is starting to kick in. Let's see how long two shells lasts.

    Forget that... let's see how long THREE shells lasts.

  15. Hi guys, I'm new to kava and I ordered Isa Tudei from Kava by Rex and I'm almost through the first pound and I have not had any good effects. I've been making it the way Kava by Rex suggests and I have been using tepid (room temp) water and coconut milk with soy lecithin and I've been putting the kava (about a cup per 2 cups of water) in panty hose and letting it soak for twenty minutes, then I knead the kava root in the hose for 5-10 minutes before I finally squeeze all the juice out. My mouth got numb but not like cocaine and the numbness only last about a minute after a drink. How many times/days do you have to take kava for it to work? I was really looking forward to this to help my anxiety but so far I'm having no luck. I've taken strong doses made this way 6 times in the past 5 days. I just got the Stone kava I ordered from Nakamal at Home and I am soaking a batch now but I am anxious that it isn't going to work either. It tastes so bad that I am so disappointed every time I choke it down for nothing. I've even drank quite a bit of the fibers when they come thru I just drink them because I'm hoping for some effects. Please help!

  16. Oh, I have also tried the blender, I have tried soaking longer and I have tried kneading longer and I even left one in the refrigerator overnight so I don't think it's my method how long does reverse tolerance last? When did you guys start feeling effects?

  17. Well I tried Nakamal at Home's Stone kava and I feel great...totally anxiety relieving and relaxed me a great deal. Tasted much better than the other two I tried (Kava by Rex Isa/Tudei and Kona Kava Farm root powder) and was the only thing I got any effects from. I will only be ordering from these guys from now on!

  18. Glad to hear Stone worked for you. On the other hand, make sure you remember the standard "Kava is not intended to treat, diagnose, etc." line. I don't typically drink Kava to deal with stress or anxiety, but sometimes do. If you are feeling overwhelmed in your life and feel helpless, please talk to someone about it, rather than chasing folk remedies. Kava for works for me (when I'm anxious) but it may not work for you! On that note, again I'm glad to hear that Stone worked well for you!

  19. Haven't tried yet, but just ordered and this stuff sold out in a few hours...

  20. This is very informative and great.very inspiration blog.!!
    Lalitpur Grey Sandstone

  21. KBR Tudei Is overpriced Garbage. Tudei is easily found under 30$ a pound and it's sure not a "specialty" item. It grows fast and is easily stronger then most Noble varieties hence the supposed side effects some people get from it. $55.00 a pound is just price gouging.

  22. Tudei and noble are the same plant minus potency. Come on people.

  23. The whole division of Isa/"noble' to me shows what I suspected. I'll say it as no one else seems to:Lame!. I totally respect some of island cultures see it as a ritual thing. That is awesome. I find it amusing KavaForums say's Isa's terribad because it gave me dry skin while also having litteraly hundreds of complaints about some KavaBar selling a kava that gave them a bad stomach.

  24. I enjoy isa because it's pleasant and it's consistent. Also as one of the Rikar Beasts in the room: Isa's cost. For meit's just nice kind that's (for my current) budget is just great. That you can find Isa that's not . I also like Kavatimes Tuvanie Secret, or Hanakapie AI from GHK. To be honest I've had less bad weird or just off experiences with Is/Tudei or what ever it should be called. The whole drama as far as I know got started by one or two people. I simply don't know why.