The Amazing Social Culture of Kava: A Nakamal

Picture of Kavahana

With its relaxing and euphoric effects, kava is more popular than ever in the Western world, with a rising number of people wishing to reduce their alcohol intake. More than just a calming alternative to alcohol, kava tea is an ancient and rich tradition. 

For generations, the native peoples of Polynesia have enjoyed the social environment of a nakamal. People who wish to truly connect with the kava experience benefit from learning about its traditional roots. 

What is Kava?

kava plant roots
<em>kava plant roots <em>

Kava is the ground root of the kava plant. First discovered by the people of Polynesia, most kava plant varieties grow naturally on the islands of Vanuatu and Fiji. 

By brewing the ground kava root into tea, drinking kava produces feelings of happiness and relaxation. Many people feel more focused when drinking kava, as feelings of overwhelm reduce, and their busy minds can relax. 

As many people start to question their relationship with alcohol in a modern world of increasing stress and an unhealthy drinking culture, many find kava to be a refreshing alternative.

The tradition of a Nakamal

nakamal shutterstock

In the Polynesian cultures where drinking kava originated, it was traditionally drunk inside a Nakamal. A nakamal is a central hut for a community to gather for ceremonies, events, and assemblies. It served as a hub of community activity and social interaction. 

Native peoples in Vanuatu and neighboring islands built nakamals from local materials, often with the help of their entire community. 

Western Kava community in Kava bars

Honoring the roots of kava in the Polynesian culture, today, a kava bar is often referred to as a nakamal.  

A kava bar provides a relaxing, fun, and social environment for people who enjoy or would like to try kava. With a nod to its traditional roots as a social activity, kava bars keep this important cultural aspect of kava alive. 

Sober curious people who do not connect with the scene at alcohol bars anymore often enjoy the alternative experience of kava. Despite this, sometimes they miss the social environment of a traditional bar. Visiting a nakamal brings feelings of community back into their life and helps people connect with other kava fans.

Keeping traditional gathering alive at Kavahana

At Kavahana, we love that we can keep this traditional core of Kava culture alive. As the first kava-only bar in Los Angeles, we are proud to be able to bring people together in this way. 

People who wish to try kava often don’t know how to make it, where to get it, and find it to taste bitter when they successfully make kava tea.

At Kavahana we provide a fun, calm environment for people to try kava and a selection of delicious flavors. With choices including matcha kava and chocolate creme we cater to different tastes. Using kava made with 100% natural root and with no additives, we bring a pure, tasty, relaxing, and social experience to Southern California. 

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The Amazing Social Culture of Kava: A Nakamal



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