Kava Guide: Should You Drink Kava Hot Or Cold?

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When it comes to drinking kava properly you should never use either too hot or too cold of the water. This is because both can destroy the natural kavalactones that come from the root. Here is a definitive answer on what temperature water you should use for preparing your kava.

When preparing your kava you should try to use room temperature water. Always try to stick to using clean water which is in the temperature range of around 25-30 C or about 77-86 Fahrenheit. This is because if the water is too hot it will destroy the kava extract leaving you with just a bad-tasting beverage. On the other hand, if the water is too cold then it can cause the kava to not be extracted properly.

After you are done preparing the kava drink you can chill it of course. However, during the kava powder extraction part, you should always use room temperature water. Here at Kava-Bula, we aim to provide the most accurate kava information on the web to guide everybody on the best practices to safely enjoy this cultural drink.

Let’s jump right into the article on whether you should drink your kava hot or cold.

Why You Should Not Use Hot Water In Your Kava

Using hot water is one of the worse things you can do to your kava. Most newer kava enjoyers think the drink should be treated like hot tea and they boil the water.

This is something you should never do. It destroys the important part of the root that gives the relaxing feel, the kavalactone. In fact, in a 2013 study done by the Journal of Food Science and Technology, it was discovered that by using hot water you will destroy nearly all of the kavalactone in the root powder.

When preparing your kava you should instead be looking to use room temperature water. This is because when you put the kava powder into the drink you are attempting to extract the kavalactone from the root into the water itself.

The extraction time varies depending on how long you let the kava powder sit and how often you stir. Generally speaking for every 30 grams of powder you should stir the drink and let it sit for about 30 minutes. As long as the water is room temperature the kava water should be good and ready to be strained.

The absolute hottest I would ever take the kava extraction water to is around 86 F or about 35 celsius. From experiments, we have done in-house the drink begins to lose its effectiveness at a temperature any hotter than this.

Also drinking hot kava is just not pleasant. The drink is not known for its taste, now imagine it’s as hot as coffee or tea. Best to drink your kava cold you know.

The Coldest Water I would Use For Kava Extraction

Just like with extremely hot water, extremely cold water can destroy your hurt your kava as well. While the kavalactone in the powder is not destroyed we have found that any water colder than 65 degrees fahrenheit or about 18 celsius will impede the extraction.

In water that is too cold, it appears that the kavalactones fail to separate from the powder properly. Not only have we noticed this with our in-house studies but also this has been confirmed by a 2004 study on the root itself.

Only use room temperature water during the kava extraction phase. This is tried and true method of extracting the kava properly and should result in a good beverage.

Once the kava extraction has been completed however you can chill the beverage. I typically will put some kava drinks in the refrigerator to help with the hot temperatures during the summer months. This won’t hurt the kava drink as the extraction has already taken place. I am not sure about freezing it however, maybe that could be something you try out.

However, during the extraction phase, I would only use water that is at room temperature. Going any colder then 65 degrees farenheit can cause the kava to not be extracted properly, you will just end up with bad-tasting water. However, once the kava is ready to be consumed feel free to chill it or store it in a cold spot. It makes the drink better.

How To Make The Best Tasting Cold Kava Drink

So you are going to use cold water yea. Now it’s time to spice things up and make your kava taste even better. Here are some great combinations that we have tested over here at Kava-Bula.

Kava and Orange juice in cold water. This combination is great for hot days. Simply have 3/4ths kava and 1/4th orange juice. The orange juice will counteract the taste of the kava and provide a refreshing hint to the drink. This is one of our favorites. However, the drink is still bitter so if you like that try this one out.

Kava and ginseng root. This makes the drink smoother and preserves the kava taste. This one is a favorite in-house as it amplifies the natural kava taste with a bit of ginseng spice. This drink is great for a night with friends and gives the kava a decent aftertaste as well.

Kava and raw cocoa powder on the rim of the shell/glass. This is an old way of drinking the kava. For this drink you need to find raw cocoa powder, it is bitter in taste. You put the kava drink in the shell and on the rim you put cocoa powder. This adds an amazing aftertaste to the drink and makes the drink more bitter. If you are ready to push the kava taste even further check this one out.

Those are three good starter drinks. For your friends who are new to trying out kava check out the kava and orange juice mixture. It typically helps them along in the process as most people are not used to the bitter taste.

As always remember to respect the kava and drink responsibly. When drinking the shell we toast to the good health of the community by saying “bula” so bula to you good friends.


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