Kava is a South Pacific beverage that is rapidly growing in popularity due to its pleasant, relaxing effects. It is now available locally in many stores. But with a few exceptions, most of the Kava available in local stores is of poor quality, with no sourcing information, few details on strains, chemotypes, etc. As online sales have become more and more popular, it’s quite easy to get high-quality Kava in a variety of forms online. And when we all think of online shopping, the first word that comes to mind is Amazon. Yes, there are several outstanding Kavas available on Amazon!
In this article, I will look at the Best Kava on Amazon, highlight some of the outstanding options easily available, and also point out a few of the reasons I would shy away from some of the more questionable Kavas on Amazon as well.
I have broken down the article to a quick TL;DR identification of the best Kavas on Amazon, depending on the format. From there, I discuss the various formats of Kava and the pros and cons of each. Then I look into each format and point to high-quality Kavas on Amazon. Lastly, I discuss a few tips for avoiding some of the lower quality Kavas out there.
- 1 Best Kava on Amazon
- 2 Best Micronized Kava on Amazon
- 3 Best Kava Extract on Amazon
- 4 Best Kava Supplements on Amazon
- 5 Types of Kava
- 6 Ground Kavas on Amazon
- 7 Micronized Kava on Amazon
- 8 Kava Extracts on Amazon
- 9 Kava Supplements on Amazon
- 10 Kavas to Avoid on Amazon
- 11 Why Do We Care?
- 12 How to Identify Bad Kava
Best Kava on Amazon
After an extensive examination of Amazon’s Kavas, I’ve found that the Best Kava on Amazon is Dua Na Bilo’s Fijian Waka Kava. It hits the right balance between potency, taste, and price. It’s tested and certified 100% Noble and is a great option.
For further details on Dua Na Bilo and other excellent traditional grind Kavas on Amazon, see the Best Ground Kavas section below. Also, I have a full review of Dua Na Bilo that offers more details.
Best Micronized Kava on Amazon
If you’re sick of the preparation of traditional ground Kava, or are just getting into Kava and aren’t familiar with the methods of preparation, Micronized Instant Kava is the way to go. Kalm With Kava sells several excellent Instant Kavas on Amazon, and their Pouni Ono Instant Kava from Tonga is a great choice for Micronized Root.
It tends to be more on the energetic side of Kavas and is an interesting Kava, great for daytime use.
For more information on this and other Micronized Kavas, see the Micronized Kava section below.
Best Kava Extract on Amazon
There aren’t many Kava Extracts on Amazon that are worth trying, but the Polynesian Gold CO2 Kava Extract looks pretty good. There is no specific certification mentioned with this extract, but it does state that it is Vanuatu Borogu and Melo Melo Kava, which should be Noble.
For more information on the Polynesian Gold Kava Extract, see the Extract section below.
Best Kava Supplements on Amazon
Ok, so this is a bit of a stretch of the definition of supplement, but the Kava Stress Relief Candy by Ozia Originals is a good choice for those who simply don’t want to drink a Kava beverage, or taste Kava in any way. The Stress Relief Candy is not super potent, but it does work to take the edge off, especially if you take a couple of them. They taste quite good, and there are two flavors available: orange and ginger mint. I think the orange tastes best.
For more information on the Kava Candy, see the Supplements section below.
Types of Kava
Kava now comes in several formats, each with their own positives and negatives. In this section, I’ll look at the most common formats of Kava, and the trade-offs of each.
Traditional Ground Kava
Barring the fresh Kava root available only on the South Pacific Islands, ground and dried root is the most common and traditional form of Kava available. It typically comes in the form of a thick powder, occasionally with sticks and twigs in the mix, depending on the grind size.
You can find the widest variety of Kava types in the traditional grind format, and per dose, this format is typically the cheapest. However, Kava preparation is a bit more involved with a Traditional Grind than some of the other formats.
Kava Strainer Bag/Kneed
The most common way to make a traditional Kava is to kneed it in a Kava strainer bag, mixed with water, for a long period before squeezing out as much liquid as possible, and drinking. I’ve put together an instruction guide to making Kava here. The bottom line is that it’s a lot of work, and it can be messy.
An alternative is to use an Aluball, which is a much easier method of making Kava, and one that is my typical method of Kava Preparation. To make Kava with an Aluball, all you need to do is shake up the Kava in a tea-infuser type ball for a couple of minutes and you’re good to go. The How to Make Kava guide covers the details of using the Aluball.
Micronized Kava is Kava that has been ground extremely finely and typically has the insoluble fibers (somewhat translated as makas) removed. This leaves a fine, highly-potent Kava powder that is effective on the order of teaspoons rather than tablespoons. Micronized Kava dissolves completely in liquid and can be drunk quickly without straining.
Micronized Kava is much easier to make than traditional grind. But it is usually somewhat more expensive and doesn’t have quite as long of a shelf life as Traditional Kava.
Instant, Micronized Kava is a good choice for those who are new to the Kava world and don’t want to deal with strainers. But if you like to imbibe Kava regularly, you’ll do better getting used to straining or by purchasing an Aluball. At that point, you can switch to traditional root, as it is cheaper and the selection of varietals is wider.
For those who don’t want to deal with powders, many Kava manufacturers have chosen to make extracts of Kava. Unfortunately, most of these extracts are alcohol extracts, and alcohol and Kava should not be mixed. Both are taxing on the liver, and caution suggests avoiding the mixture of the two.
However, some manufacturers use CO2 to extract Kava, and these extracts are sometimes quite good. The now-defunct Paradise Kava CO2 Extract was one of my favorite methods of enjoying Kava, but it is no longer in existence, unfortunately.
There are a few CO2 extracts available on Amazon now, though most are still dodgy alcohol extracts or CO2 extracts with very little information available about them.
Kava Supplements, Pills, and Candies
Kava comes in pill form and is often sold in bulk by large supplement companies. These pills are generally made up of ground Kava root, and often have a good deal of insoluble fiber in the pills. The advantage to these Kavas is that you don’t have to deal with any preparation, and you can just pop a couple of pills which don’t taste bad in order to get the effects of Kava.
Unfortunately, the quality of these supplements is generally pretty low. Though they are sold by health food stores, vitamin shops, and the like, these stores typically don’t know how to identify good Kava. Most Kava supplements should be avoided, as there is almost always no information as to Kava chemotype, source country, potential contamination, etc.
There is one exception, the Kava Candy, and I discuss that below.
Kava Tea Bags
Kava Tea Bags are the ubiquitous format for Kava, though there is almost no Kava in these teas. Like Supplements, they are generally not worth purchasing, though it is likely that many get their introduction to Kava through these Teas from the grocery store, so I won’t knock them completely.
Ground Kavas on Amazon
In this section, we’ll look at the best Traditional Ground Kavas on Amazon.
Wakacon is perhaps the first high-quality Kava vendor to start selling on Amazon, and their Fijian Waka Kava has a long history and solid reviews on Amazon. I frequently purchased this Fijian Waka when Wakacon was really the only supplier on Amazon, and it has treated me well over the years.
This Waka Kava has a nice balance of potency to price, and while it is not extremely strong, it is fairly inexpensive. You can always use a little more of this Kava to get the desired effect, as it’s reasonably priced.
Wakacon does a pretty good job of testing their Kavas and confirms that they are Noble varieties, free of adulterants or undesirable Tudei root.
- THAT STRONG KAVA SMELL LETS YOU KNOW ITS GOOD
- TRADITIONAL GRIND MAKES THE STRAINING EASY
- DARK NOBLE KAVA YEP ITS GOT KICK
- POTENT IT GETS THE JOB DONE EVERY TIME
- CHECK OUT OUR NEW STRAINER BAGS
Dua Na Bilo has begun selling their Fijian Waka Kava on Amazon as of the last year or so, and it’s an extremely compelling Kava. The price is excellent relative to the quality and potency of the Kava. Though it’s not the cheapest per ounce, when potency is taken into account, it may well be the least expensive Kava per dose.
Dua Na Bilo tests their Kava and confirms that it is Noble and free of Tudei Kava.
Though this Kava is suggested to be a “daytime” Kava, I found it to be quite potent and relaxing, with more of a heady feel than body feel. It’s really a nice Kava, but I would not consider it to be a daytime Kava.
Given the potency of this Kava, and the price point at which it’s sold, I’ve picked it as the Best Kava on Amazon. For more information on Dua Na Bilo, see my review here.
- Strong Noble Fijian Kava
- Premium Waka from Fiji
- Lateral Kava Roots Only
- Traditional Grind
- Heady Kava
Bula Kava House has long had a solid reputation as an outstanding Kava bar, and vendor of great Kavas. They are fairly responsible in testing, and their Kavas are Noble (I should note it is possible they are selling Tudei varieties, but if they are doing so, they are labeling them as Tudei. I believe that they are currently not selling any Tudei varieties, though.)
Regardless, the Nangol Kava is definitely a Noble Kava from Vanuatu. I will be writing a review of it in the near future, and I hope it is as high quality as the other BKH Kavas I’ve had.
Unfortunately, it’s rather expensive on Amazon. It can be found cheaper on Bula Kava House’s site, but I think it’s fair to say that shipping times are much more reliable on Amazon as opposed to through BKH.
- A heady euphoria that will leave you feeling happy and relaxed.
- A great introductory kava that's perfect for first-time kava drinkers...
- A fresh taste that doesn't leave a lingering aftertaste.
- 100% tested and certified Noble Kava Powder.
Kalm With Kava is yet another reputable vendor that sells on Amazon, and their Pouni Ono is quite nice energetic, warm feeling Kava. This Kava is priced in the mid-range of Kavas on Amazon, and I would say is a medium potency Kava.
The Pouni Ono is a bit more energetic than some of the other Kavas on our list, and it also tastes a bit milder than, say, Dua Na Bilo’s Kava. It’s a pretty good choice for those who are starting out with Kava, or who want more of a “daytime” Kava.
Kalm With Kava tests their Kava and certifies it as Noble. Virtually all of Kalm With Kavas’s traditional root Kavas are outstanding, and they sell several varieties from throughout the South Pacific on Amazon.
- Farm Fresh Tongan Kava!
- Premium Pouni Ono Variety with that easy Tongan taste
- Unique - more energetic and euphoric than most kava varieties
- An excellent Kava for both experienced and new kava customers
- Happy, Uplifting, yet Relaxed and Alert effects - great social kava
Kavafied, the maker of the wonderful Aluball Kava system, also sells an excellent Kava on Amazon, their Supreme Kava from Vanuatu. With a great price, and solid potency, this Kava is an excellent choice for many starting out, and it’s always wise to have some on hand, as it’s not terribly expensive.
As this Kava is from Vanuatu, it should be free of any Tudei Kava. Kavafied tests their Kava, and it is certified as Noble and free of contaminants.
- The Official Kava Root Powder of the AluBall Kava Maker
- Strong and Smooth Noble Kava Kava Drink Mix
- A Premium Blend of 100% Noble Vanuatu Kava
- Easily prepared with the AluBall Kava Maker or Kavafied Kava Strainer...
- Independently lab tested to ensure quality, safety and nobility
Micronized Kava on Amazon
Compared to the Traditional Root, there are nowhere near as many good quality Micronized/Instant Kava vendors on Amazon.
Kalm With Kava has a few solid options for Micronized Kava available. Their Vanuatu Borogu is a great place to start when it comes to Micronized Root.
As with all of Kalm With Kava’s selection, these kavas are tested and certified Noble.
- Micronized Kava - Instant Kava - No Preparation Needed
- Simply stir in 2-4 teaspoons in any beverage and Enjoy!
- Specially processed to remove coarse fibers
- Noble Certified Vanuatu Kava
This is the micronized version of the Pouni Ono root mentioned above and is an excellent energetic Tongan Kava.
As Kalm with Kava tests their Kava, there is no concern about Tudei or other contaminants here.
- Micronized Kava - Instant Kava - No Preparation Needed
- Simply stir in 2-4 teaspoons in any beverage and Enjoy!
- Specially processed to remove coarse fibers
- Noble Certified Tongan Kava
Kava Extracts on Amazon
Most Kava Extracts are made with alcohol, which is less than ideal and is generally not recommended for consumption due to the interaction between Kava and Alcohol. Both substances stress the liver, and taking both at the same time isn’t a great idea. There is a second way to make Kava extracts, and that is with CO2. Unfortunately, only one CO2 extract currently available on Amazon is worth trying.
I haven’t personally tried this Kava CO2 extract, but it seems to be a pretty well made, extract of Borogu and Melo Melo Vanuatu Kavas. It is presented as 100% Noble Kava, and the vendor identifies a 245 Chemotype, so it’s going to be a relaxing, body heavy Kava.
The jar is not an ideal storage system for this kava extract. Some have reported that the lid of the jar got knocked off, and the contents spilled, during shipping. Obviously, that’s a total bummer, and if that happens to you, be sure to contact the vendor immediately for a replacement.
Kava Supplements on Amazon
The vast majority of Kava Supplements available on Amazon are not very good, and should largely be avoided. None of the major reputable Kava brands sell supplements in the pill form, and few if any Kava supplements test and certify that their Kava is noble, free of contaminants, and the like.
These candies are not supplements in the typical sense, but they are a pill-shaped Kava that does not need to be mixed in water or prepared in any way. Just pop a couple of the Stress Relief Candies, and your anxiety will be dialed from a 9 down to a 5. These aren’t super potent, and you certainly won’t get “wasted” on them, but they’re a great option for those who want some quick stress relief in a convenient candy format.
I will occasionally take one or two of them 45 minutes after enjoying a traditional Kava beverage. These tend to lengthen the Kava experience and supply a bit more potency to the sensations, without needing to go mix a whole new cup of grog.
The Stress Relief Candies are advertised as Noble, from Vanuatu, though certification is a bit questionable. The company seems to be pretty reputable and appears to want to conduct their business responsibly.
- Stress relief at work! Manage stress and ease anxiety with a kava...
- Natural stress management that is great for the workplace, meetings...
- Our candy was developed in Hawaii using premium kava extract powder...
- Convenient for busy on-the-go days. 8 orange-flavored individual...
- Get ready for an earthy, orange creamsicle flavor that will numb your...
Kavas to Avoid on Amazon
After making this article, I think it’s unfortunately fair to say that most of the Kava products available on Amazon should be avoided. If they’re not specifically on the above lists, it’s probably best to stay away from them, though it is quite possible that some of the ones not on this list are fine. I’ll continue to update it as more information on various vendors comes out.
Why Do We Care?
In the 1990s, when the first big wave of Kava popularity crested, there were some cases of users dying from liver failure, or hepatoxicity. It’s still not entirely clear what happened, but the primary causes seemed to be:
- Alcohol Extractions involving parts of the Kava plant that were not typically consumed
- Potential Tudei Kava strains
- Kava and heavy alcohol use
- Kava contaminated by other substances
Due to these events, the responsible Kava vendors and enthusiasts really pushed for transparency from the Kava suppliers, with certified lab tests proving quality and sourcing.
A bright line exists between those companies that strive for transparency and quality, and those selling low quality Kava with zippy marketing, or making grandiose promises that simply won’t hold up.
There are plenty of shady people selling on Amazon, and with all of the high-quality stuff out there, there’s no reason to pick up bad stuff. But how can we identify crappy Kava, and distinguish good from bad?
How to Identify Bad Kava
In general, if the marketing materials for a given Kava are stating that the Kava is organic, FDA approved, a powerful nootropic supplement, super potent extract, and the like, it’s probably a junk Kava.
The FDA does not distinguish between Noble/’Awa Kava, and Tudei/Isa Kava, so those sorts of details don’t really matter. The marketing materials for these sorts of products are geared towards supplement buyers, as opposed to those who are interested in the Kava experience. Consequently, the quality of the Kava is likely extremely low. The buyers of these supplements don’t know how to judge quality.
If the Vendor is not talking about the country of origin, chemical testing, Noble varietals, and the like, it’s not a good sign, since these are the most likely to pass off Tudei Kava, as no one is paying attention.
If they’re identifying chemotype, that’s a positive, as it assumes the potential buyer may actually care. And of course, if the chemotype is 25XXXX or 45XXXX, that’s a Tudei and should generally be avoided.
The list of Kavas to avoid below is not exhaustive. I’m not going to link to these to avoid confusion, and if these companies start to supply better information and certifications, I will update this article. I hope to move them off the list in the future!
Mood and Mind Kava
This Kava is questionable. They advertise it as Vanuatu and/or Tongan. Kavas from these areas are usually rather different in effect, so the fact that they can’t specify the origin is a turn-off. Additionally, they say that it has been certified as Noble, but do not produce a certificate when requested.
It could be fine, and yeah it’s cheap. But it’s best to skip it until they provide better information.
Starwest Botanicals Kava
Starwest Botanicals says that their Kava is from Fiji, but gives no indication that it is Noble, nor is any Certification supplied. Avoid, at least for now.
Bulksupplements sells a Kava extract with essentially no information about it. It says that the Kava is lab-tested, but no other information is provided. It’s best to avoid this stuff.
It’s best to avoid this stuff. Despite the name Kona in the brand, it doesn’t appear that this Kava is made in Hawaii, and there’s no information as to source or Certification at all. Stay away.
Kava King Kava
According to the Kava Subreddit, Kava King was involved in some importation of Tudei Kava from Vanuatu. Stay away.
Samsara Kava suggests their Kava is sourced from Fiji, and gives some generic pronouncements as to its quality. However, no testing information is provided, so it’s unclear whether this stuff is good or not. Best to skip it.
HawaiiPharm Kava Kava Extract
This extract is a CO2 extract of Hawaii-grown Kava. Sounds good, right? It does to me, but there’s no testing information to be found, and very few details other than avowals from the company that they do a good job sourcing their Kava. Just because Kava is from Hawaii doesn’t mean it’s Noble, and the FDA does not distinguish between Tudei/Isa Kava and Noble/’Awa Kava.
Hopefully, HawaiiPharm will supply more info on this one, and I’ll be able to move it to the “good” list!
There’s no information as to quality here, so it’s best to avoid it.