Kava: A Look At Its Ancient History and Rich Culture

indigenous peoples sitting drinking kava

Used for centuries by the native people of Polynesia, kava is increasing in popularity across the Western world. A unique and completely natural product that can help us to relax and cope with overwhelm in these ever more stressful times. This centuries-old tradition offers a new way to experience calm to people looking for an alternative to alcohol. 

kava leaves
<em>kava leaves<em>

What is kava?

Kava is the ground root of the kava plant. It is ground into a powder and brewed into a peppery, earthy-flavored tea. Kava creates a relaxing, and happy state of mind due to the kavalactone receptors that we have in our brains.

A 100% natural product, when kept in its pure form, kava is fast becoming a popular alternative to alcohol. Although new to many people, this incredible plant root has a rich and long history. 

A rich and traditional history

Discovered and created by native Polynesian people on the islands of Vanuatu and Fiji, kava was traditionally turned into tea. Kava drinking was an integral part of their traditional ceremonies, social events, and celebrations. 

two hands holding small cups of kava

The calm feeling people experience with kava can help people to feel more socially interactive. When we feel socially comfortable we show more of our personalities and can overcome any natural shyness. When people use alcohol for this purpose, it often takes a more negative turn. 

With the highest number of species of kava plants growing in Vanuatu and Fiji, historically, seafarers would take kava with them on journeys between islands. 

Over time, kava spread across Polynesia, Oceania, and South Asia as communities were excited to discover its effects and benefits. Kava became a part of culture across the region and it still remains so today. 

A rich tradition that brings people together. It fosters community and honors their ancestors who discovered the now famous kava plant. 

Introduced to the world

In the 1600s, the Western world discovered kava during their journeys to the Polynesian islands with Captain Cook. They witnessed the natives using kava in their social and ceremonial settings. 

After bringing the kava root back to their home countries, kava has been a part of the Western world ever since. Becoming even more popular in recent decades, people who drink kava enjoy keeping such an old tradition alive.

What are the benefits of kava?

wooden bowls for kava
kava bowls

Kava produces a relaxed, euphoric, and happy feeling. It can help to combat feelings of stress, overwhelm, and sadness. A welcome change for those living a more sober, or sober curious life, kava can also add a social element back into the lives of people who don’t enjoy traditional bars. 

Kava produces these feelings without creating the same impairments as alcohol. It allows people to avoid unpleasant hangover symptoms that alcohol often brings the next day. 

Our modern lives are a never ending source of stress

Our work, life, and family stressors are increasing and don’t seem to be slowing down. We often feel disconnected and trapped. People are more keen than ever to find natural solutions to feelings of stress. People want to feel less tension but want to avoid creating new unhealthy habits. 

When feeling overwhelmed, many people lean on alcohol more than they want to. Drinking culture has become a seamless part of life. But our experiences with alcohol often create more problems and stress. 

Where can you find it?

Kava is available to make yourself at home, or it can be enjoyed at kava bars. Kava bars are a laid-back, relaxed alternative to alcohol bars for people who enjoy kava. For people who actively try to avoid alcohol and bar socializing, kava bars make a wonderful place to interact and enjoy a natural and more predictable alternative. 

At Kavahana, we are thrilled to bring the benefits of kava to the people of Los Angeles. As the first kava-only bar in Los Angeles, we are excited to introduce this peaceful and calming alternative to traditional bar life. 

Benefits of visiting a Kava bar 


The most obvious benefit to a kava bar, like a tea or coffee shop, is that you don’t have to do it yourself. You can make kava at home, but it requires shopping for kava, having the tools, and finding the time to learn and ultimately make it. Visiting a kava bar makes the experience as relaxing as possible since there is no work required. 

close up of glass of brandy with woman hand over the glass and her other hand signaling no
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When you visit a kava bar, you get to select from a choice of flavors that suit your palette. Some people love the earthy taste of kava alone but some find it bitter and prefer to drink flavored kava to enhance the experience.

At Kavahana, we offer multiple delicious flavors of kava including Brown Sugar Milk Tea, Creamy Coconut, and Honey Lavender to tempt your tastebuds. 

Kava bars offer a relaxing and social atmosphere. Much like a coffee shop or regular bar, but without the unpredictable issues that alcohol can bring to a crowd. If you like to socialize but are looking to stay away from the bar scene, kava bars can be a perfect space to relax and interact. 

When being intentional about the amount of time spent around alcohol, it can feel like options to enjoy a similar atmosphere to a bar disappear. Kava bars allow you to enjoy an atmosphere of a bar, without the expectation or temptation to drink alcohol. 

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