Making Kava the traditional way is a chore, and is a huge barrier to encouraging new users to try Kava tea. The process is difficult, messy, and truly not fun. However, a very clever invention by the folks at Kavafied has greatly simplified the process of Kava tea preparation. Clearly inspired by tea infusers, the Aluball system [Amazon Link] uses a sizable stainless steel mesh ball, placed inside of a protein shake-like container, to make a great Kava quickly, easily, and with virtually no mess! In this article, I do an Aluball review, look at the pros and cons, and make my recommendation.
The word “alu” is Tongan for “to go”, and is totally appropriate for this easy to use Kava making system. This design is a huge help to those who prefer to use traditional non-micronized Kava root for their tea, but who also hate the process of making Kava the traditional way. It is a breath of fresh air to the Kava market, and will likely open the doors for many new users to experience the benefits Kava has to offer.
- Stainless Steel Mesh Ball Strainer
- Plastic Shaker
- Plastic Lid with Screw-On Cap
The Aluball package contains all you need to make a shell of traditional style Kava Kava, without any need for strainers, kneeding, blending, and all the rest. Kava is placed in the ball, water (or other liquid) is put into the cup, shake shake shake, and drink. Everything you need to make a Kava tea is here, except the Kava!
About the Aluball
The Aluball was invented by a football player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (and Stanford engineer — an interesting combination!) named Matt Masiflio. He loved the muscle-relaxing effects of Kava, but could not find the time to make a traditional cup of kava after football practice for himself and his teammates. Additionally, he could see that new users would be turned off by the frustrating requirements that come with making a traditional Kava, and felt that a better system is needed. With that in mind, he designed the Aluball in the hope of simplifying and demystifying the Kava process.
Well I agree, and he hit on a significant insight.
How the AluBall Works
With its stainless steel mesh design, the aluball acts as a Kava infuser, much the way tea bags and tea infusers work in typical tea infuser cups. However, the nature of kava is that it must be agitated significantly in order to extract the kavalactones from the root powder. This is typically accomplished by using a Kava strainer bag, and squeezing and kneeding for several minutes. Its a messy hassle, and I’m glad that I don’t have to do it anymore!
Instead of the usual kneeing process, the Aluball extracts Kava using a shaking process, which is way easier. Once the Kava is placed in the ball, typically I’ll shake it for about a minute, maybe two, until I’ve extracted as much as I can for that batch. This is noticeably less time than the 10 minutes I would usually take to kneed Kava in a strainer bag, and way less messy. It is also pretty Kava-efficient, and I find that I don’t use as much Kava per serving as I did previously, probably because I would get tired of blending and kneeding before all of the kavalactones were extracted.
My Usual Aluball Kava-Making Process
- Place Kava in the Aluball Strainer (2-3tbsp will fit)
- Fill with one cup hot, but not boiling, water (175′ or so)
- Place cap on cup, secure screw on cap
- Shake for a minute, or maybe a bit more
- Unscrew cap, pour in cup
- Drink your kava!
For the second wash, I’ll typically fill the Aluball cup with one additional cup of water, and shake for another minute. Usually the water turns a mild tepid brown color, which is an indicator that essentially all of the kava has been extracted from the root. I’ll then pour out the water into a cup, empty the aluball, and place (typically) one more tablespoon of root in the ball. I’ll then pour the water back into the aluball container, and shake with one fresh tablespoon of root for another 1-2 minutes. This way I am getting some fresh kava along with the second wash, but am not adding more and more liquid.
I find this process to be pretty effective, very efficient in the amount of kava used, and easy to drink.
Micronized Kava vs. Aluball Kava
For those who like Kava Kava but hate to deal with straining and kneeding, the other option is to choose micronized kava. Micronized kava doesn’t need to be strained, and is just mixed into the kava like protein powder, and drunk.
Micronized kava is great, and I certainly enjoy a micronized kava from time to time, but it is relatively expensive and there is smaller variety of kavas to choose from in micronized format. Micronized kava is often an excellent way to try out kava for the beginners, but once you have determined that you enjoy kava, going to traditional root is generally cheaper, more enjoyable, and opens up more possibilities. By using the Aluball combined with traditional root, you can keep the preparation and mess to a minimum, as well as keep costs down.
You should also consider that the Aluball can be used in conjunction with micronized Kava as well! Place your micronized Kava inside the Aluball and shake. This will help mix the micronized Kava, and prevent any significant sediment at the bottom of the cup, and make the micronized experience that much better.
Aluball Cost Considerations
The Aluball isn’t cheap, but it’s not terribly expensive either. Given that micronized Kava is usually notably more expensive than traditional root per serving, the Aluball can be effective at keeping costs low, while enabling users to enjoy Kava whenever the want.
You pay up front for the Aluball, but you make it back in cheaper Kava over time. Also, I find that the Aluball is more efficient in Kava usage than other options, and I use less Kava per session.
The Aluball really is the easiest way to make Kava tea, and is a requirement for any household where Kava is regularly consumed. As this Aluball review has discussed, this product is safe, clean, efficient, easy to use, and will help bring the benefits of kava to a wider audience.
I think it is an excellent product, and encourage those who are interested in Kava to take the leap into the Aluball cup.