Friday, December 25, 2015

Kavafied - Tonga Tongatapu and AluBall

This is my first "double review" and it comes with mixed results.

First, the AluBall.

This product is absolutely fantastic and I can't imagine life without it - and I've only had it for about one week! You can brew about two tablespoons at a time with the AluBall, which is a small ball that screws in half. You spoon Kava into it until it is half full, screw it closed, and drop it in a plastic thermos that closes tightly at the top. The ball is surrounded by small holes with little metallic sieves. Once the ball is in the water, you shake the container vigorously for about one minute until the water becomes saturated with the Kava. So far, I have seen no weaknesses in the AluBall or the container it came with.

The greatest thing, in my opinion, about the AluBall is that it makes really frothy Kava. I love frothy Kava. And a shell will just foam over with frothy Kava after a great shake.

The AluBall and container make a relatively small batch. I get about 300 ml of strong Kava from the first shake, and 300 ml of middle strength Kava from the second shake. In other words, you need to shake a new batch for each shell that you make. I made some Kava for my friends with the AluBall and this got a bit tiresome. I'm not sure how this can be addressed in the future but it would be helpful if there was a way to make stronger batches with this method (without having to put in too much effort).

In terms of portability, this is where the AluBall is a grand slam. I can keep this in my car and shake a batch out really quickly. Most importantly, there is no mess at all to speak of. You can simply take the whole thing home, wash it out, wash the AluBall, and then let it dry so you have it the next time you walk out the door. Drinking Kava in the car or on the job has never been easier! I used to have to carry a whole prep kit around with me. Not any more with the Aluball!

Now, for the Kavafied Tonga Tongatapu.

For such a delightfully delicious Kava, this is a bit of a disappointment on the effects side. I brewed a strong batch of this on an empty stomach and really only got a mild body effect. I doubled up with an extra two tablespoons (four in total) and again really enjoyed the mild, creamy taste of this Kava. It has a pretty decent anti-anxiety effect but doesn't totally take the edge off. The bottom line is that the effects just don't compare favorably with other Tongan Kavas I've had. On top of that, it comes in a pretty small 200 gram bag so taking it to the next level just wouldn't have been a good economic choice. I don't want to dwell too much on this, but I was hoping for more.

Product Review: 9/10

Kavafied Tonga Tongatapu
Effects Mind: 5/10
Effects Body: 8/10
Flavor: 8.5/10
Strength: Weak
Best time to drink: Ideal day-time Kava

Overall: 7.2/10

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Kalm with Kava - Fijian Loa Waka

Kalm with Kava’s Fiji Loa Waka comes from a farmer that the folks at Kalm with Kava personally know in Taveuni, Fiji.  There is nothing more reassuring to me as a farmer’s advocate all over the world than to hear that Kava vendors are developing meaningful relationships with Kava farmers. I believe this is the next frontier in the Kava world – turning the world’s best medicine into a social enterprise that can help give farmers in the Pacific Islands better incomes and opportunities.  I’ll be making a big announcement very soon on my own initiative to engage with Kava-growing communities in the South Pacific. 

Fiji Loa Waka is divinely delicious, with a smooth milky texture and fresh taste. My first impression of this Kava was “wow, this stuff smells like it was just harvested and dried within the last few weeks!” This stuff goes down the hatch very smoothly and has a crisp finish that wouldn’t create a gag effect even in the greenest Kava drinker. I kneaded this stuff several different times and making it with chilled coconut milk was absolutely euphoric.

Fijian Kavas are known for being light, bubbly, and subtle. Loa Waka isn’t really like that at all. Loa Waka is made from 100% lateral roots and packs a 12% kavalactone content. The chemotype for this Kava is 463251 and its effects are immediately noticeable.

·      Strength (Mind) - 9/10
·      Strength (Body) - 7/10
·      Flavor – 10/10
·      Overall Strength: High – Strong

·      Best time to drink: Day time for stress relief, heavy evening session for trunking

Overall Rank: 8.7/10

   Buy Kalm With Kava Loa Waka Here:

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Gourmet Hawaiian Kava - Hanakapi'Ai

As a newcomer to Gourmet Hawaiian Kava, my expectations have been built up in an unparalleled fashion. They have been celebrated for taking a kind of revolutionary approach to ensuring a pipeline of certified Noble Kava that is grown in Hawaii and harvested fresh, packaged, and delivered directly to a very solid base of customers. By cutting out the international dimension of buying and selling Kava, Gourmet Hawaiian Kava guarantees a product that they know from the inside out. And boy does it show.

I chose to order Hanakapi'Ai as my first Gourmet Hawaiian Kava for no particular reason. I just scanned the available Kavas and grabbed the first name that jumped out. I have been told great things about the Hiwa and Nene Kavas that are sold by Gourmet Hawaiian Kava, but you can often tell how good a vendor is by buying some of their less talked-about stuff. I made a good choice.

Hanakapi'Ai has a silky smooth, almost almond milk taste when squeezed to medium strength. I'd say  three heaping tablespoons to one cup of water should get you a fine tasting strong Kava. If you overdo it, it has an overwhelming peppery flavor that might cause you to shake a bit. But if you aren't in it for the taste and want to be blown away quickly, you might want to opt for a cup of Kava to two cups of water. But don't say I didn't warn you!

Of course, you can see how this stuff hits just by watching the video above. But I'll try to walk you through it. A heavy numbing taste on the palate radiates out to the limbs pretty efficiently, letting your muscles kind of droop away from any stress that has inflated them. This Kava is particularly felt in the eyes. I got a kind of heavy stoniness behind my eyes that made me feel like there literally wasn't a care in the world.

Hanakapi'Ai not a "down" Kava. Don't drink this before going to sleep, because it provides some entertainment in the form of humorous thoughts, creative ideation, and absurd observation. I wanted to get to sleep early, but instead got myself into a writing frenzy.

  • Strength (Mind) - 9.5/10
  • Strength (Body) - 9/10
  • Flavor 8.5/10
  • Overall Strength: High - Very Strong
  • Best time to drink: Evening Kava or Weekend Kava
The chemotype for GHK Hanakapi'Ai is 423651 with an overall kavalactone content of 9.13%.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Cactus Kava - 'Eva

Cactus Kava keeps their name in the Kavasseur headlines with this warm, mellow and highly sedating medium grind from Vanuatu. With a mature, frothy drink that goes down smoothly and permeates the body rapidly, 'Eva is a choice afternoon Kava for days where you need to get an extra low charging buzz. It is not advised as a daytime Kava unless 

This Kava is a certain compliment to Ono in that it can easily top off the week or be consumed generously on a weekend where deep relaxation is on the menu. You could Ono all week and 'Eva all weekend and have a good Kava plan in action. 

No observed undesirable side effects come along with a date with 'Eva. I would suggest not drinking this on a day where you need to be productive. This is the ultimate medicinal Kava!

  • Strength (Mind) - 9/10
  • Strength (Body) - 8.5/10
  • Flavor 8/10
  • Overall Strength: High - Low-Medium
  • Best time to drink: Evening Kava or Weekend Kava
The chemotype for Cactus Kava 'Eva is 423616 with an overall kavalactone content of 7.05%.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Bula Kava House - Solomon's Kava

Bula Kava House has got its hands on some rare Solomon Islands Kava, which only a few vendors have carried up to this point. Oddly, I encountered some Solomon Islands Kava last week at a new Kava bar that opened in San Diego. But, like many Kava bars, they brewed theirs a little on the weak side and flushed out the flavor with coconut juice.

This Kava is a heavy and heady super combo that hits you quick and pretty hard. It has a very pleasant, mellow flavor reminiscent of a Tongan or Fijian Kava, but a rapid punch impact that reminds you of a Vanuatuan Kava. The taste, like other Solomon Island Kavas I have had, is absolutely stellar and would make for a great introductory Kava for your friends. Although it is not True Kava Noble Certified, none of the initial effects would make me believe that it isn't a Noble Kava.

See the video review of this Kava:

Solomon Islands Kavas are known for producing a low buzz that kind of hums through the body, and a stony heady feeling that makes you feel relaxed and focused. This Kava pretty accurately captures all of those effects, and with pretty remarkable strength. I'd put this Kava on your shopping list to broaden your offerings and definitely to open the way if you've been itching for a trip to the Solomon Islands.

Because of its deep, vibrant effects I would recommend this as an evening Kava and possibly a weekend Kava.

*UPDATE: Solomon Islands kava is noble as verified by HPLC with a 246 chemotype and approximately 9% overall kavalactone content

  • Strength (Mind) - 8.5/10
  • Strength (Body) - 7.5/10
  • Flavor - 9/10
  • Overall Strength: High - Strong
  • Best time to drink: Evening Kava or Weekend Kava

Overall: 8.3/10

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cactus Kava - Ono

Effects (Mind) - 9.5/10
Effects (Body) - 9/10
Taste - 9/10
Strength - Medium Strength, with strong euphoric and relaxing qualities

Overall - 9.16/10