Enjoying Kava, Fiji's National Drink

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Discover All About Kava, Fiji's National Drink

On your first night in Fiji, you will likely find that Fijians like a drink called kava. They consider it their national drink and drink it often and with great ceremony for its mild sedative effect (some say euphoric).

As a visitor to Fiji, you will likely be invited to try it during a kava consumption demonstration at your resort or while visiting a local village. Here's what you need to know about this ancient ceremonial tradition.

What is Kava?

Kava or kava kava, also known by the Fijian name yaqona, is a plant native to the Pacific islands. The plant has been used by Pacific island crops for its pleasant relaxing effects. In the past, it was used exclusively by the chiefs of Fiji, but now it is appreciated by all. However, it is still customary and good etiquette to bring a small yaqona gift (sevusevu) to give to the chief if invited to visit a local village in Fiji.

Kava is a domesticated plant in the pepper family (piper methysticum). For the drink, only the roots of the plant are used. The roots are first crushed into a fine powder and then mixed with cold water and consumed as quickly as possible. The result looks a bit like muddy rainwater and the slightly bitter taste is more unpleasant than pleasant. However, this is to be expected, as kava means bitter in the Tongan and Marquesan languages. The roots can also be crushed against a coral cone or chewed. Chewing the roots produces the strongest effect and fresh kava roots create more potent drinks than dried roots.

In Fiji, sun-dried kava roots are ground into powder, mixed with water, and served. This kava preparation is called grog.

How to Drink Kava

In Fiji, kava is drunk with great attention to detail in a formal setting known as a Kava Ceremony. Dress comfortably but modestly (no short dresses, off-the-shoulder or low necklines, and no hats). Participants sit cross-legged in a circle on the floor in front of the head or head of the ceremony while he mixes powdered kava root with water in a large wooden bowl called tanoa (the root is cleaned to avoid ingress of sand particles). ).

When the kava is ready, it is placed in a bowl called a bilo (made from half a coconut shell) and passed to the first guest to drink. Refusing a kava dish is considered an insult to Fijians, so prepare for the bitterness and experiment a bit. Kava made at your resort or during an organized tour to a local village with bottled or purified water is safe to drink.

When it is your turn to drink, you should clap once, accept the bowl and drink in one gulp, and then clap again and say, "Bull!" As he returns the bilo, he claps three times as everyone joins him.

The Effects of Kava

Kava is said to have a pleasant mind-cleansing effect. It can also have sedative properties and cause drowsiness. After one cup, your lips and tongue will start to tingle, as if your dentist applied Novocaine topically. If you like the numbing effect, have a few cups, there is supposed to be no hangover! Like any drug, kava will affect everyone differently and its effects depend on the variety of the plant, the method in which it was prepared, and how it was consumed.

Where to Buy or Drink

Although kava was traditionally consumed in the Pacific islands, it is becoming a fashionable drink around the world, with kava bars popping up in major cities. Kava is completely legal in most countries, making it easy for store owners to stock up on the drink.

You can buy kava online from many sources. One of the best is Kava.com and it is located in Vita, California. They offer kava from various islands in the South Pacific, including Hawaii, Fiji, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, or elsewhere. Kava is also available on Amazon, but be aware that poor-quality kava can lead to negative reactions.

We hope you enjoy watching this video about What is Kava? Fiji's National Drink

Source: Drew Binsky

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