The Kava Experience: What To Expect From Your First Time

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So you have decided to give kava a try, welcome to the family. However, you want to know what to expect from your first time trying this root. First off don’t worry, people have been drinking kava for thousands of years on the islands. Here is what you can expect from your first time.

When drinking kava for the first time it is important that you set realistic expectations. Most people don’t feel anything on their first time, that’s fine kava takes time to work. For your first time, you will probably feel relaxed and social.

Kava is a social drink. It has been used as a way to bring local communities together for over a thousand years across the islands of the Pacific. The team here at Kava-Bula has been drinking kava for years and we love introducing new people to the beauty of this natural root.

Let’s jump right in ya; here is an entire article on what you can expect from your first time drinking kava.

How Does Kava Interact With Your Body

It is important to understand just how kava interacts with your body. Here at Kava-Bula we don’t pretend to be doctors but we have substantial experience in drinking kava. By its very design kava is designed to cause you to relax and become more open to socializing with people.

However, it is important that we don’t just tell you about our experiences with kava. Over the past 20 years, doctors have heavily tested kava and its effects on the human body. Below are some summaries of recent studies done on how kava interacts with the human body.

In 2020 the journal Nutrients released a large public research study titled “Kava as a Clinical Nutrient: Promises and Challenges.” In this study, kava appeared to suggest that “Recent studies suggest that kava and its key phytochemicals have anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects, in addition to the well-documented neurological benefits.”

We can’t say for certain if this is true. None of the team here at Kava-Bula have had any form of major illness thankfully but we like to think it’s because we do a lot of surfing. However, kava might have some impact on this.

In 2016 the World Health Organisation released an official statement on the rising popularity of kava. In this report, the WHO recognized that kava taken in moderation had little direct effect on the health of those who drank it.

So what does kava do to your body? Well, generally it is accepted by doctors and research scientists that kava generally causes people to become more relaxed by providing a small sedative effect on the muscles.

So to put it simply, kava causes your body’s muscles to relax and for you to feel less stressed. This causes people to relax and become more willing to socialize with people.

Your First Time Drinking Kava: Expectations

Most people who don’t know anything about kava make the mistake of thinking that it is either similar to alcohol or even worse a psychedelic. This is a major mistake as kava is more like tea or coffee than anything else.

When you drink kava you should set realistic expectations for the effects. Chances are you won’t feel anything on your first try outside of some relaxation effects. This is because kava actually has a reverse tolerance effect. This means that as you drink kava your body learns how to process it better. This means you will become more relaxed the more often you consume it.

As such when you drink kava for the first time expect to feel a bit relaxed but nothing crazy. Enjoy kava with some new or old friends and simply enjoy the moment. Most people go to kava bars to socialize with people or watch movies.

Simply put, when you drink kava for the first time you are probably not going to feel anything. As you continue to drink it however you will notice that you will become more relaxed and open to communicating with people.

How Much Kava Should You Have On Your First Time

This is another mistake that first-time kava drinkers make. They think that because they don’t feel anything on the first try they should drink more; do not do this.

For your first time you should get one ‘shell’ or 8 oz glass of kava. After drinking this wait about 20 minutes to see how you feel. After this drink a glass of water and let yourself relax.

Do not treat kava like alcohol, instead drink it like hot tea. Nobody orders 2 hot teas expecting to feel a certain way, however a tea will more than likely cause somebody to relax. The team here at Kava-Bula has seen too many new kava drinkers order 3 shells of kava only to not enjoy it. Take it easy and drink one shell at a time to see how it impacts you.

Just order one shell and see how it goes. People go to kava bars to relax and socialize with those around them. Think of a kava bar as a giant social club and not a traditional bar. One shell should be fine for your first time drinking kava.


That’s about it when it comes to what to experience from your first kava session. A good kavatender will walk you through the experience so that you don’t have any wrong ideas on what to expect from kava.

Remember to respect the kava. It is a traditional drink that has been used to unite a community for thousands of years across the Pacific. Whenever we drink kava we say “Bula!” This word translates to wishing your local community and those around you good health and fortune. So Bula to you!


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