Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Paradise Kava - PNG Isa Kava

**One great thing about Paradise Kava is that all of their Piper Methysticum is grown on the big island of Hawaii. So, despite this being a Papua New Guinea strain, it is still big island grown. This explains why most of Paradise Kava's products are slightly more expensive than other Kava vendors. It is one thing to keep in mind when ordering from them - you are bound to get a fresher Kava that is a bit more expensive because of agricultural labor costs in the United States.

I didn't try PNG's Isa Kava until I arrived in Ghana after a grueling 36 hour trip. And then, I waited a day or two to acclimatize and wind down before brewing up a big bowl in the village where I farm cocoa, plantains, bananas, and taro. Combined with jet lag and the shock of working on the farm after being off of it for three weeks, this Kava bowled me over in a perhaps unexpected way. I probably should have chosen a Fijian or Hawaiian variety, but I wanted to give this a squeeze as it was fresh out of the pipeline.

When you open a bag of Paradise Kava, you are always greeted with a pungent whiff of very fresh Kava powder, and Isa can throw you off a bit because it is so immediately strong. Compared to their other powders, this is quite a heavy hitter in terms of strength and flavor. It is not comparable to the grassy, viscous Papua New Guinea varieties that vendors like Nakamal at Home or PNG Kava sell, but it is still piney and more terrestrial-scented.

The flavor of PNG's Isa is not like that of most of other PNG Kavas on the market (those sold by Nakamal at Home or PNG Kava, for example). It is noticeably less grassy, a bit nuttier, but is definitely still very strong. It does not go down smoothly like a Fijian, Tongan, or Hawaiian variety. Similarly, it has that almost overwhelming numbing effect that one would expect from a PNG Kava. In this sense, the taste is very satisfying in the "stony" department - you know you are swigging something that is going to knock your socks off. Like most PNG Kavas, I can't say I altogether enjoy drinking it from an aesthetic perspective. It is thick, acrid, and heavy. Like Nakamal at Home's Chief's Jungle Kava, this all makes sense when one considers the effects.

The effects of the PNG's Isa are imminent and overpowering. It is on the stronger side of strong. I would argue that it is perhaps a bit stronger than Nakamal at Home's "Chief's Jungle" but has a more pleasant strength that could be loosely compared to Nakamal at Home's "Stone" (though slightly stronger). My one apprehension about this particular Kava is that it has a pronounced "Tudei" effect. The day after I drank a few shells of this, I was still substantially krunked and even slightly nauseous. I don't particular enjoy that feeling, so I'd put this at the bottom of my Paradise Kava list (which is still a good thing, considering there amazing selection).

This is THE Kava for people who are looking for strong effects. It will krunk the senses out of you. But be careful, because you will feel it the next day!

Taste - 7/10
Effects (Mind) - 8/10
Effects (Body) - 8/10

Strength - Very Strong

Paradise Kava's Isa Kava - 7.6/10


  1. Haven't tried THIS Isa, but I know all of Paradise's other stuff. I will get some! I know this will be good...!
    `\nm/ shoots

  2. Last night had Paradise's PNG Isa for the first time. Didn't drink a lot (two large tablespoons in 16 oz water/coconut water, massaged/squeezed for about 10 minutes). Enjoyed it a lot--felt great, body and mind, stomach felt OK. For me, it's an excellent kava.

    And thanks for your reviews, Douglas. Much appreciated.


  3. I can confirm that this will melt off your face.

  4. Yeah, starting to think this one deserves a higher rating. I made some more and enjoyed the taste, but it still gives me a krunky hangover.

  5. this is what I've been looking for out of kava all my life-- intoxicating! Gets you very very very high! four shells and I was under the pavement wasted! Don't understand why PK's "awa" gets a 10 on body mind when it is also listed as strong-very strong.
    this is only "very strong" but gets an 8/8?
    I consistantly get better effects from the isa, and kavasuer consistantly under rates them. this stuff is just beyond mad powerful! Hide the car keys!

  6. this is the kava I've neen looking for my whole life! Thanks to kavasuer I have finally got a decent buzz from Kava kava BUT this went beyond that! This stuff got me completely wasted. Yeah there was a hangover the next day, but guess what? tollerence to the bad effects built rapidly.

    that's my thank you, kavasuer part of the post...
    and now for my * you kavasuer post!

    You consistantly under rate your Isa varieties, probably because you cater to the general public which is largely composed of wimps.

    It has been my understanding over the last 20 years that you had to go to the islands to get the real deal and you enforced this thinking saying fresh frozen was a level of magnitude better than any powder!

    Based on your reviews I thought surely the stuff that paradise kava sold fresh would take me to the next level.

    In fact I had no idea how it could be better than the powdered Isa they sell...

    It did nothing. Not for me, not for THREE of my friends. They replied to my complaints that it was their "crown jewel" and that if I drank somewhat over 1/2 a pound between me and my wife I would see how special this stuff is.

    Tired it.

    Even Kona Kava's Mahakea is stronger than Paradise Kava's fresh frozen Mahakea!

    I did not HAVE to drink 2/3rd of a pound (that was my third try with this stuff)to get a small barely noticable buzz from Kona Kava's CRAP. I only needed 6 tablespoonsful.

    Crown jewels?

    Wanna know what I think the translation of "mahakea" is?

    "Palatable-- unless you are already used to the taste of kava, in which case it is so bland as to make you gag."

    Bland! bland! Bland!

    Weak! Weak! Weak!

    I like strong tasting and strong feeling kava. I felt like I wasted my money on paradise kava's fresh frozen, and it was YOUR GLOWING REVIEWS that made me go the extra mile, financially, to try that worthless SH*T!!!!!

    This Isa, however! This Isa has changed my life!
    I only wish some SOB would market fresh frozen ISA kava!

  7. Wow. Well, I don't know what to say to that. I just disagree, I suppose. I don't drink Kava to get %%&* up, I drink it to enjoy it. I am one person who writes one blog. If I was a Kavasseur who was intent on finding the most potent, mind-blasting root out there, that would be a different story. Fresh Kava to me is the best experience one can have. It is subtle and medicinal. Isa is overpowering and lays you out - sometimes for a number of days. I appreciate your feedback, but I think you have to remember people get into things for different reasons. I am biased towards my preferences, and have never claimed to not be. This Kava doesn't do it for me. I am a farmer and do some hard labor, the last thing I need is a Tudei hang over. If I could get fresh kava here in Ghana I would fork over $200 for it. But hey man, I'm glad you like it.

  8. I can confirm that this one will make you feel groggy the next day.Im looking forward to trying the fijian.

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  10. Hi All,
    I guess if you want to knock your head off (in a similar way as sniffing glue), PNG kava/ Isa is definitely a greta wonderful kava. But for real kava lover, it is total crap. It is a medicinal kava, only consummed by the local in the past on very special occasion. There is a reason for it! If it was good, they would have selected it and drunk it everyday... Keep away from this kava if you are concerned by your health!