From the white sandy beaches of the Fijian islands to kava bars scattered across the U.S., kava is sought after and enjoyed for its all-natural ways to relax the mind and body. From inducing feelings of contentment and euphoria to increasing sociability and minimizing anxiety, many people love kava’s mood boosting qualities. Few, however, are in love with kava’s taste.

Made from the ground roots of a South Pacific plant—known as Piper Methysticum—kava in its traditional form is an acquired taste that many describe as “earthy”. For those who dislike the taste of traditional kava but still want to benefit from drinking it, this blog post is for you. Ready your palate and read on to learn about kava’s unique flavor profile and how to make kava taste better with our top kava preparation tips and tricks.

What Does Kava Taste Like?

When drinking kava for the first time, many people end up saying that it tastes bad. This is a normal reaction because, at the end of the day, kava is just a ground up root. You don’t typically use the leaves or stems of the kava plant to brew with. Instead, you use the root, as that is where most of kava’s active ingredients, kavalactones, are located. So, when you drink kava, you are essentially drinking a super strong-tasting root.

Residents of the Pacific islands have been drinking this root drink for thousands of years and have become accustomed to kava’s signature taste. The word “kava” itself stems from the Tongan language and means bitter. Many people describe kava as having a very earthy taste that is both bitter and spicy, while others describe it as tasting like muddy water. Many kava drinkers get used to the taste over time, but if you want the health benefits and you’re not willing to stomach the taste until you get used to it, there are a few things you can do.

How to Make Kava Taste Better


One way to make drinking kava more palatable is by mixing it with other drinks and flavorings to create your own unique beverage or kava “mocktail” equivalent. Mixing kava with other nonalcoholic beverages like juices, teas, purées, and flavors can mask kava’s bitterness and create a more flavorful beverage. Here are a few of our top recommendations of mix-ins to try with your next kava concoction.

  • Milk – The best liquid to draw out the active constituents of kava contains a healthy amount of fat—generally milk such as cow’s milk, goat’s milk, soy milk or coconut milk. Milk also helps mask kava’s flavor to make it taste better.
  • Fruit Juice – Adding in any sort of fruit juice can help kava taste better. One of the best combinations of flavor for a kava drink is kava and orange juice, because the bitterness of the kava is balanced with the tart flavor of the orange juice.
  • Holiday Spices – Pumpkin spice (composed of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice) is a perfect pairing for a kava tea drink. It has a strong flavor that is ideal for helping to mask the unpleasant bitter taste that kava is known for. At the same time, pumpkin spice also has a somewhat earthy flavor, just like kava. These spices, overall, are an ideal complement to a kava drink, even supposedly making it more potent.
  • Chocolate Syrup and Peppermint – It sounds strange, but chocolate syrup and peppermint work very well with kava! Kava itself is peppery-flavored, so it mixes well with peppermint. And the muddy concoction gets flavored up with the addition of chocolate (which, in our opinion, makes everything better).

Below are some of our favorite kava drink recipes to try out and use for inspiration in your own kava drink experiments. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to drink kava so long as you enjoy the taste and relish the peace and relaxation it delivers.

  • Kava Arnold Palmer – This kava recipe is a customer favorite. It offers a twist on a classic, summer drink, the Arnold Palmer, which is a refreshing mix of iced tea and lemonade. With the addition of micronized instant kava, this drink provides relaxation and refreshment on a sunny afternoon.
  • Coconut Hot Chocolate Kava – You’ll adore the comfort and calm that comes from a cup of our Coconut Kava Hot Chocolate. Use coconut milk and coconut water to make a creamier kava tea, and add a few spoons of chocolate syrup for sweetness.
  • Creamy Pumpkin Spice Kava Chai – This autumnal kava chai recipe is cozy, spiced, and perfect for crisp fall days and nights. The classic fall spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves will transform your kava tea into your new fall drink of choice.
  • Guava Kava Colada – This recipe brings you a taste of the Pacific Islands while delivering the relaxation kava is known for. Utilizing Kalm with Kava’s guava concentrate combined with coconut milk, this recipe creates a creamy tropical fruit flavored nonalcoholic cocktail in a hurry.


Micronized kava is the perfect solution for those looking for an easy-to-prepare, milder tasting kava drink. Our micronized kava is a kava root that has been sifted into fine particles. All the coarse fibers found in medium grind kava root have been removed, eliminating the need for steeping and straining the root. These particles are so small that the kava turns into a ready-to-mix powder.

Ease yourself into drinking kava by mixing 2-4 teaspoons of our micronized kava into your favorite non-alcoholic beverage to help balance the earthy taste with a flavor you know and enjoy. It’s as easy as that! Whether it’s a fruit smoothie, some hot cocoa, or iced tea, micronized kava pairs well with a variety of beverages. Micronized kava is also a go-to product for drinking kava while traveling. With micronized kava root, relaxing the island way wherever you are is only a stir and sip away!

Our micronized kava is available in the following six varieties. If you want to see which kava variety fits your needs best, try our kava selection tool.

  • Pouni Ono
  • Loa Waka
  • Borogu
  • Borongoru
  • Vula Waka
  • Samoa Ava
  • Melomelo


Kava concentrate is a flavored cordial made with kava extract. At Kalm with Kava, our kava concentrates have been specially formulated to make kava actually taste good! We utilize custom kava extracts from our hand-selected kava varieties. Our concentrates are made with our proprietary, alcohol-free kava extract, natural colors and flavors, and either stevia or cane sugar as a sweetener.

Developed with the help of nutritionists and food scientists, our concentrates are available in three delicious flavors–Guava, Kavarita (lemon-lime), and Iced Tea. Simply dilute 1 ounce of concentrate with 5 ounces of water to make a quick and tasty kava drink whenever you’d like some instant relaxation.


Don’t forget to check out our travel-sized kava concentrate option. It includes two TSA-approved 2-ounce bottles of kava concentrate that are perfect to take anywhere, including on the plane! Don’t be anxious or stressed out on your next traveling experience, mix up a kava drink and stay #kalm!


All the previous suggestions do alter the “realness” of kava and its unique taste, so some people prefer chasers to avoid the bitter and unpleasant taste of kava without affecting its traditional preparation process. Kava chasers are beverages or snacks that can be consumed between quick servings of kava. Once you drink a rich serving of kava, you can try to experience the complexity of the flavor for a few seconds, but 10 seconds later is when you might want to grab your chaser. Here are some of our top kava chaser recommendations:

  • Slices of Fruit – Any variety of fresh fruit will work, including oranges, pears, and apples or mangoes, pineapple, and papaya if you want to keep with kava’s #islandlife vibe. The advantage of taking a bite of apple over drinking fruit juices is that it may stimulate digestion and absorption of kava’s active ingredients, so you don’t just get to cleanse your palate, but also improve your overall experience.
  • Nuts – The salty taste of mixed nuts helps offset the often bitter taste of kava.
  • Strong Herbal Teas – Herbal teas are used as kava chasers to prevent stomach aches after consuming kava, as few people might experience stomach discomfort after drinking kava. In addition, it also speeds up the effects of kava as the kavalactones can easily pass through the stomach due to heat. The preferable herbal teas to use as kava chasers are prepared using kawakawa, peppermint, and ginger.
  • Sparkling Water – A great solution to make kava taste better is to simply chase it with sparkling water. There’s something about carbonation that overwhelms the taste buds that have just been exposed to kava. And sparkling water is zero calories, as well.

Kalm with Kava Puts the Fun and Flavor Back in Kava

While dealing with kava’s earthy, bitter taste can be a bit of a bummer at times, there are lots of different ways to experiment with and enhance its flavor. Whether you love kava and are just looking for a new tasty kava recipe to try or you don’t love the taste of kava and are looking for something delicious to mix it with, Kalm with Kava has got you covered! From fruity kava concentrates you can dilute with water to micronized kavas you can mix into your favorite beverage, our selection of premium Noble kava products put the fun and flavor back into drinking the South Pacific’s most beloved beverage.

Ready to taste and see what Kalm with Kava’s products can do for your relaxation experience? Browse our range of kava products today, and don’t hesitate to contact us for more flavor-enhancing tips.

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