Enter fresh Kava.
There was a time when all we had access to in the continental United States was dried Kava, and then there was now. When I first got this stuff in the mail (see previous post for a video podcast), I let it defrost (it came frozen, packed in ice bags) and then opened it up and smelled it. I have never smelled fresh Kava before, harvested and then ground, frozen, and mailed right to my door. It has a very nutritional, green, vegetative smell that reminds me very little of what I've come to expect from dried Kava. In preparing to pen this follow-up written review, I decided to defrost the Kava, put it in a bowl, and get some good shots of it. So if you've ever wondered what fresh Kava pulp looks like, then here you go:
This time I decided to brew the Kava extra strong, and put extra effort into squeezing it. I heated up the water a little bit more than last time, in order to see what kind of difference it would make. Well, it made a huge difference. I mostly eye-balled the ratios this time, but used about 4 cups of water and 1 cup of coconut juice to a brimming fistful of Kava. I kneaded the Kava for a good 10 minutes, and then kneaded it again. In the end, this is what the squeezed, processed Kava looked like (I chewed on a big wad of this stuff and felt ready for a root canal):
The resulting Kava was a light brownish-white grog reminiscent of a Vanuatu strand. It has a chocolate-milk like color, which dances rather nicely with the flavor. Again, this Kava is sweeter than all dried Kavas that I have tried, with a full, nuttier flavor that is not unlike almonds or walnuts. Whereas a dried root Kava like Nakamal at Home's Wow! has a bitter yet cashewy flavor, this has a brighter, sweeter, and fuller flavor. It is really hard to describe because it is unlike any other Kava I have tried.
As for the effects of this Kava - they are immediate. The kavalactones permeate throughout your bloodstream rapidly, and you automatically feel any kind of stress or anxiety float away. As opposed to a "stony" feeling, this Kava gives you a kind of gentle uplifting. The two times I have tried this - the second time being much stronger - I felt a kind of full, alive form of relaxation. It doesn't make you tired and pull you to the ground, it rather fills you with a positive relaxation that is more productive than sapping. It brings about a well-rounded krunkness that is functional. I do notice a slight increase in photophobia over other Kavas, but it is not altogether disabling (I get this a lot when I brew Kava strongly). Again, this Kava is great for music lovers or musicians, readers or writers. Full-blown krunkness with a functional edge is nothing to be unexcited about.
The effect on the body is also notable. Full muscle relaxation. Any kind of headache or annoyance gone. Works really well on sore running legs. Far better on the body than any other Kava I have tried in the past.
Taste - 10/10
Effect (Mind) - 10/10
Effect (Body) - 10/10
Strength - Strong/Very Strong
Paradise Kava's Black Beauty Blend (Frozen) - 10/10