How to Make Kava Taste Better
For centuries, people have sought out kava for its uniquely calming and mood-enhancing properties. However, there’s one factor that may pause you at the first sip: the plant’s distinct taste.
Native to the Pacific Islands, kava is made from the roots of the Piper Methysticum tree. While its mental and physical effects are cherished, kava’s taste can be an acquired one. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to enhance its natural, earthy flavor. Grab your favorite mug and create a calming and delicious treat with our guide on how to make kava taste better.
Unpacking Kava’s Taste
What does kava taste like, exactly? Technically, the Piper Methysticum tree is in the pepper family. So, does this supplement share the crackling, tongue-tingling taste of its table-condiment cousins?
Not really, but kava does have a kick of its own.
If you’ve ever taken a wheatgrass shot, you may understand the “earthy” nature of kava’s flavor profile. While how you prepare kava can change the flavor, kava usually embodies a varied but plant-based palate, often with the following tasting notes:
If tasters could only choose one word for kava’s flavor, most would choose bitter. In fact, the word “kava” means “bitter” in the traditional Tongan language of the Pacific Islands. Additionally, you may feel sensations of numbness, tingling, and relaxation inside the mouth, since kava can produce physical effects with each sip.
Care for a special treat? If you ever make it to the Pacific Islands, you may get a chance to try fresh, green kava. The flavor profile of this plant is akin to licorice, with a grassy taste and spiciness.
8 Ways to Make Kava Delicious
They say a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. In kava’s case, you may not need sugar—but there are ways to enhance the flavor of this plant-based supplement without forfeiting its impact.
For home preparation, you can start with any of the following kava forms for easy mixing and recipe-making:
Once you have your preferred form, it’s time to get mixing. To make the most of your kava experience, let’s explore the best ways to prepare this soothing supplement.
#1 Boost Your Kava Tea
Traditionally, kava tea is just water and dehydrated kava root. In short, it’s not much in the flavor department. But like any tea, you can enhance the taste of this beverage with a few ingredients and a little care.
The water of tea itself can dilute the bitterness of kava. However, that might not be enough for your liking. Whether you’re buying prepared tea bags or making your own, you can add these touches of flavor for a delicious cup of kava tea:
- Drop a spoonful of honey into the hot tea and stir
- Add any herbal tea (loose or bagged) alongside the kava
- Squeeze a slice of lemon or orange into the tea
- Sprinkle a sweetened spice mix (cinnamon, cloves, etc.) into the tea
- Splash your milk of choice (cow, goat, soy, almond, etc.) into the tea
#2 Make a Kava Piña Colada
Imagine you’re lying on the white, sandy beaches of the Pacific Islands. The breeze is lovely, the sunshine warms your skin, the ocean’s roar is a song—all you need is a delicious tropical mocktail in hand.
Kava makes for an excellent mocktail base, replacing alcohol with a more holistic supplement. In fact, you could even whip up a batch of these kava piña coladas for your next social event. Start by collecting these ingredients:
- 2 oz kava concentrate or prepared kava tea (cooled)
- 4 oz coconut milk
- 2 oz pineapple juice
- 1 oz orange juice
- 1 tsp honey or agave syrup (optional, to taste)
- Ice cubes
- Pineapple slice and maraschino cherry (for garnish)
Once you have all ingredients, grab your cocktail set and turn on your inner mixologist to whip up this delicious kava drink:
- In a shaker, combine the kava concentrate, coconut milk, and juices.
- Add honey or agave syrup if you prefer a sweeter taste.
- Fill the shaker with ice cubes and shake well to combine.
- Strain the mixture into a glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with a pineapple slice and a maraschino cherry.
#3 Brew a Cozy Cup of Kava Hot Cocoa
It’s a chilly winter’s night, and you need something heartwarming, relaxing, and oh-so-delicious. Forget the eggnog. Kava is the holistic secret ingredient to your best hot cocoa of the season.
Combining the rich flavors of chocolate with the calming effects of kava, this cozy and indulgent beverage is perfect for winding down after a long winter’s day. Start by assembling the following ingredients:
- One serving kava powder
- 1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp sugar or sweetener of choice (adjust to taste)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- Whipped cream, chocolate shavings, or cinnamon for garnish (optional)
Fire up the stove and start to brew your perfect cocoa cup with an extra kick of tranquility:
- Heat the milk In a small saucepan over medium-low heat to a warm temperature.
- Mix the cocoa powder, sugar, and kava root powder together in a separate bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients to the warm milk, stirring until all particles are dissolved.
- Add the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt to taste, stirring well.
- Continue heating the mixture until it reaches the desired temperature.
- Pour into your favorite mug and garnish with any toppings of choice.
#4 Blend a Fruity Kava Smoothie
You don’t need the jitters from coffee in the morning when drinking kava can provide stable, focus-enhancing energy. By adding powdered kava to your morning smoothie, you can start the day right with a nutritious boost.
Feel free to improvise on the fruits or other ingredients in this recipe. If you need some ideas, try this formula:
- 2 oz kava concentrate or prepared kava tea (cooled)
- 1 banana
- 1 cup mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup coconut water or almond milk
- 1 tsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
- Ice cubes
Pull out the blender and whip up your soothing smoothie with these steps:
- Combine kava concentrate, banana, mixed berries, Greek yogurt, and liquid of choice in your blender.
- Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Add honey or maple syrup if you prefer a sweeter taste.
- Add ice cubes and blend again until well-mixed and smooth.
- Pour into a glass or travel mug and enjoy.
#6 Whip Up an Indulgent Kava Treat
It’s true: kava isn’t just for sipping. You can even add this versatile ingredient to your plate for an earthy, umami-level boost of flavor.
Kava works best in recipes that can easily incorporate a liquid or powder, so it shines in baked goods. While the jury is out on whether heat deactivates kavalactones, it doesn’t hurt to add this ingredient to your next batch of fudgy chocolatey brownies. Get baking by starting with these ingredients:
- 2 tbsp kava powder
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Grab your mixing bowl and turn on the oven. Your delicious treat will be ready soon with these steps:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Melt the butter in the microwave and let cool to room temperature.
- Add the cocoa, sugar, vanilla, and eggs to the melted butter and mix well.
- Add the powdered kava, flour, and baking soda to the liquid ingredients and continue mixing.
- If you’d like, add chocolate chips to the mixture.
- Line a 13”x 9” baking pan with parchment paper.
- Pour the batter into a baking pan and spread it evenly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center dry.
- Let the brownies cool, and then serve and enjoy.
#7 Sip on a Pre-Brewed Kava Tonic
Care to skip the work of making kava taste good? No worries—there are some high-quality kava tonics out there that can deliver kava’s benefits in a delicious package.
Tonics are a perfect kava supplement for on-the-go drinkers, giving you the best of kava’s flavor and effects in one easy package. How long does kava take to kick in after drinking the tonic? Similar to a kava tea, you’ll likely feel the effects of a kava tonic within 20 minutes. Additionally, some kava tonics add additional mood-boosting and calming ingredients, from lion’s mane mushroom to rhodiola. In short, it’s a feel-good day in a bottle.
Simply can’t handle the bitter undertones of kava? Not all is lost. There are plenty of ways to learn how to make kava taste better. Kava capsules are a safe and flavor-free way to enjoy the soothing mental and physical effects of this plant. Take one with a swig of your favorite beverage for an easy kava dosage.
Botanic Tonics: Kava Made Delicious
Despite the bitterness, kava comes with some pretty sweet benefits. To enjoy this ingredient, you don’t have to let your tastebuds suffer. Try any of the above kava recipes or preparations to find your most soothing and pleasurable kava experience.
No matter the flavor, your kava should be quality. If you want the best of both taste and kava benefits, Botanic Tonics can help.
From the feel free kava drink to our easy-to-swallow capsules, our kava products are made for you to feel comfortable and safe. Botanic Tonics uses ingredients sourced from indigenous plant regions, so you receive kava at its finest quality. Even better? Our products are lab-tested for heavy metals and toxins, creating a clean and consistent experience.
Explore our kava products today online.
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2. VerywellMind. Kava: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage, and Interactions. https://www.verywellmind.com/kava-kava-what-you-need-to-know-89703
3. Rolling Stone. Kava: Inside the All-Natural High That’s Sweeping America. https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/kava-inside-the-all-natural-high-thats-sweeping-america-125828/4. Kratom Times. Kava Brownies Recipe. https://kratomtimes.com/kava-brownies-recipe/