How To Make Kava Tea: Step-by-Step

Kava is a ceremonial drink in Polynesian cultures and is currently being touted as a natural treatment for anxiety. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to make Kava tea.

how to make kava tea - pieces of kava root
Kava kava is used as an alternative treatment for alcoholism

Kava kava root‘s Latin name is piper methysticum, which means ‘intoxicating pepper’. It’s closely related to chile peppers and is known for its relaxing and stress-reducing effects.

Kava is native to the South Pacific Islands and has been consumed there for at least 2,000 years.

Recently it’s become popular in western countries, especially the U.S. and Germany, as a treatment for anxiety and alcoholism. If you live near a large city, you may be able to step into a kava bar to try some. This is often the best way to get tea made from fresh kava root.

Kava kava is used in some addiction recovery centers as an alternative treatment for alcoholism because it gives the same anxiolytic effect as alcohol, but without the negative side effects, including hangover and addiction.

What Does Kava Do?

Drinking tea made from kava root has an anxiolytic effect on the body, meaning it gives a calm, euphoric feeling. This makes it ideal for treating anxiety disorders.

The compounds in kava that give it its tranquilizing effects are called kavalactones. Research shows that kavalactones have psychotropic effects on humans, including relaxing muscles and acting as a sedative.

If you’re interested in trying to make some, you can order kava root in dried or powdered form and make the tea yourself.

The first time you make kava tea at home, we recommend following one of our recipes below for safety.

There are several different preparation methods for making kava tea. They all pretty much end up with the same result, but require differing amounts of time and effort to get there.

Tip: Use room temperature or warm water to make kava.  

Using boiling water or even just hot water from the tap will make more potent doses and render the taste and consistency nearly impossible to consume. Using boiling water or even just hot water from the tap will make more potent doses, but can also render the taste and consistency nearly impossible to consume.

Traditional Kava Tea Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes


  • Strainer bag
  • Large bowl


  • 3-4 tbsp kava per person
  • 1 cup warm water per person
  • Whole milk optional


  • Measure the dose of kava.
  • Add the kava to a strainer bag and close it tightly. A muslin bag tied with string is common, but you can also use cheesecloth, a clean cut-up t-shirt, or any other piece of cloth that will keep the powder contained but allow water through
  • Place the bag into a large bowl and add room-temperature water. Adding fat can improve the extraction process. Try making it with whole milk, or an equal mixture of water and milk, for a stronger brew.
  • Let the tied bag sit in the water for five minutes.
  • Start kneading the bag gently with your hands in the water for another 5 minutes. It should start turning a light brown color, akin to chocolate milk. Be careful not to let any of the roots escape from the bag.
  • After 10 minutes, your cup of kava should be ready to drink.
  • Add ice cubes or chill in the fridge for an hour if you prefer.
food processor appliance displayed in a retail store
A food processor may be used to steep kava tea

Blender Kava Tea Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes


  • Blender or food processor
  • Cloth strainer


  • 3-4 tbsp kava per person
  • 1 cup warm water per person
  • Whole milk optional


  • Add the kava and warm water to your blender or food processor.
  • Blend or process on high for four minutes.
  • Strain the mixture through a cloth strainer. Chill until cold if needed, and drink.

The Last Word In Making Kava Tea

Making kava tea is not difficult, but if you have trouble finding supplies to make it in the traditional manner, you do have one alternative: Instant kava products.

You can purchase processed kava plant powder on websites such as Amazon. These products don’t need to be steeped or strained.

They tend to have lower levels of kavalactones, but they are very convenient. Simply dissolve them in liquid, like coconut milk, skim milk, or tap water, and drink.

How To Make Kava Tea FAQ

When should I drink kava tea?

Experts as well as indigenous communities who use kava ceremonially recommend drinking it on an empty stomach. The active ingredients absorb into your stomach more efficiently. If you find it makes you slightly nauseous, eat a small snack after drinking such as a slice of fruit or a handful of nuts.

Are kava pills safe?

For short-term use, yes. If you really dislike the taste of traditional kava tea, you can take kava root powder in pill form. Studies have shown that kava pills can treat anxiety disorders and can be used safely for up to six months.

See Also:
Best Tea For Iced Tea


  • AE Inman

    A E Inman is a direct response copywriter and humor blogger. When she's not poking fun at her attempts to start a writing business, she can be found in the tea aisle of her local import store, arguing with strangers over the merits of rare tea varietals. She enjoys writing copy while consuming copious amounts of coffee and gunpowder tea.