Bula Kava House – Nangol Noble

See the video review of this Kava here.

This kava, named after a traditional bungee jump ritual in Vanuatu, is a blend of noble kavas that will leave you glued to the couch with a broad smile on your face. It is absolutely fantastic, and mildly overwhelming when it first washes over you. Drink this kava with a bit of care and keep it away from lightweights. If strength is what you’re looking for, then look no further. This is a root blend that competes with many others for the rank of most potent, heady, stony, and pain-killing. Enjoy it!


A spoonful of Nangol Noble powder is very floral and fragrant. The smell of the powder alone is bright and stimulating.


The color of the Kava is a lightish brown. But don’t let it deceive you. It’s strong in flavor and potency.


Effects (Mind) – 10/10
Effects (Body) – 9.75/10
Flavor – 9/10
Strength – Very strong/Extremely Strong. This represents the most extreme place on the spectrum of “strong.” Certainly a weekend Kava.
Best for – Stimulation, creativity, sociability

Bula Kava House Nangol Noble – 9.58/10

Kavafied – AluBall and Tonga Tongatapu

This is my first “double review” and it comes with mixed results.

First, the AluBall.

This product is absolutely fantastic and I can’t imagine life without it – and I’ve only had it for about one week! You can brew about two tablespoons at a time with the AluBall, which is a small ball that screws in half. You spoon Kava into it until it is half full, screw it closed, and drop it in a plastic thermos that closes tightly at the top. The ball is surrounded by small holes with little metallic sieves. Once the ball is in the water, you shake the container vigorously for about one minute until the water becomes saturated with the Kava. So far, I have seen no weaknesses in the AluBall or the container it came with.

The greatest thing, in my opinion, about the AluBall is that it makes really frothy Kava. I love frothy Kava. And a shell will just foam over with frothy Kava after a great shake.

The AluBall and container make a relatively small batch. I get about 300 ml of strong Kava from the first shake, and 300 ml of middle strength Kava from the second shake. In other words, you need to shake a new batch for each shell that you make. I made some Kava for my friends with the AluBall and this got a bit tiresome. I’m not sure how this can be addressed in the future but it would be helpful if there was a way to make stronger batches with this method (without having to put in too much effort).

In terms of portability, this is where the AluBall is a grand slam. I can keep this in my car and shake a batch out really quickly. Most importantly, there is no mess at all to speak of. You can simply take the whole thing home, wash it out, wash the AluBall, and then let it dry so you have it the next time you walk out the door. Drinking Kava in the car or on the job has never been easier! I used to have to carry a whole prep kit around with me. Not any more with the Aluball!

Now, for the Kavafied Tonga Tongatapu.

For such a delightfully delicious Kava, this is a bit of a disappointment on the effects side. I brewed a strong batch of this on an empty stomach and really only got a mild body effect. I doubled up with an extra two tablespoons (four in total) and again really enjoyed the mild, creamy taste of this Kava. It has a pretty decent anti-anxiety effect but doesn’t totally take the edge off. The bottom line is that the effects just don’t compare favorably with other Tongan Kavas I’ve had. On top of that, it comes in a pretty small 200 gram bag so taking it to the next level just wouldn’t have been a good economic choice. I don’t want to dwell too much on this, but I was hoping for more.

Product Review: 9/10

Kavafied Tonga Tongatapu
Effects Mind: 5/10
Effects Body: 8/10
Flavor: 8.5/10
Strength: Weak
Best time to drink: Ideal day-time Kava

Overall: 7.2/10

Buy here:


Gourmet Hawaiian Kava – Hanakapi’Ai

**NOTE: The second time I ordered this Kava it made me feel very ill for 48 hours and had “two-day” like effects such as nausea and dizziness. This product seems inconsistent or it might have been moldy or somehow spoiled**



You can view the video review here.


As a newcomer to Gourmet Hawaiian Kava, my expectations have been built up in an unparalleled fashion. They have been celebrated for taking a kind of revolutionary approach to ensuring a pipeline of certified Noble Kava that is grown in Hawaii and harvested fresh, packaged, and delivered directly to a very solid base of customers. By cutting out the international dimension of buying and selling Kava, Gourmet Hawaiian Kava guarantees a product that they know from the inside out. And boy does it show.

I chose to order Hanakapi’Ai as my first Gourmet Hawaiian Kava for no particular reason. I just scanned the available Kavas and grabbed the first name that jumped out. I have been told great things about the Hiwa and Nene Kavas that are sold by Gourmet Hawaiian Kava, but you can often tell how good a vendor is by buying some of their less talked-about stuff. I made a good choice.

Hanakapi’Ai has a silky smooth, almost almond milk taste when squeezed to medium strength. I’d say  three heaping tablespoons to one cup of water should get you a fine tasting strong Kava. If you overdo it, it has an overwhelming peppery flavor that might cause you to shake a bit. But if you aren’t in it for the taste and want to be blown away quickly, you might want to opt for a cup of Kava to two cups of water. But don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Of course, you can see how this stuff hits just by watching the video above. But I’ll try to walk you through it. A heavy numbing taste on the palate radiates out to the limbs pretty efficiently, letting your muscles kind of droop away from any stress that has inflated them. This Kava is particularly felt in the eyes. I got a kind of heavy stoniness behind my eyes that made me feel like there literally wasn’t a care in the world.

Hanakapi’Ai not a “down” Kava. Don’t drink this before going to sleep, because it provides some entertainment in the form of humorous thoughts, creative ideation, and absurd observation. I wanted to get to sleep early, but instead got myself into a writing frenzy.

  • Strength (Mind) – 9.5/10
  • Strength (Body) – 9/10
  • Flavor 8.5/10
  • Overall Strength: High – Very Strong
  • Best time to drink: Evening Kava or Weekend Kava

The chemotype for GHK Hanakapi’Ai is 423651 with an overall kavalactone content of 9.13%.

Cactus Kava – Vanuatu Eva

Cactus Kava keeps their name in the Kavasseur headlines with this warm, mellow and highly sedating medium grind from Vanuatu. With a mature, frothy drink that goes down smoothly and permeates the body rapidly, ‘Eva is a choice afternoon Kava for days where you need to get an extra low charging buzz. It is not advised as a daytime Kava unless
This Kava is a certain compliment to Ono in that it can easily top off the week or be consumed generously on a weekend where deep relaxation is on the menu. You could Ono all week and ‘Eva all weekend and have a good Kava plan in action.
No observed undesirable side effects come along with a date with ‘Eva. I would suggest not drinking this on a day where you need to be productive. This is the ultimate medicinal Kava!
  • Strength (Mind) – 9/10
  • Strength (Body) – 8.5/10
  • Flavor 8/10
  • Overall Strength: High – Low-Medium
  • Best time to drink: Evening Kava or Weekend Kava
The chemotype for Cactus Kava ‘Eva is 423616 with an overall kavalactone content of 7.05%.

Bula Kava House – Solomons Kava

Bula Kava House has got its hands on some rare Solomon Islands Kava, which only a few vendors have carried up to this point. Oddly, I encountered some Solomon Islands Kava last week at a new Kava bar that opened in San Diego. But, like many Kava bars, they brewed theirs a little on the weak side and flushed out the flavor with coconut juice.

This Kava is a heavy and heady super combo that hits you quick and pretty hard. It has a very pleasant, mellow flavor reminiscent of a Tongan or Fijian Kava, but a rapid punch impact that reminds you of a Vanuatuan Kava. The taste, like other Solomon Island Kavas I have had, is absolutely stellar and would make for a great introductory Kava for your friends. Although it is not True Kava Noble Certified, none of the initial effects would make me believe that it isn’t a Noble Kava.

See the video review of this Kava:

Solomon Islands Kavas are known for producing a low buzz that kind of hums through the body, and a stony heady feeling that makes you feel relaxed and focused. This Kava pretty accurately captures all of those effects, and with pretty remarkable strength. I’d put this Kava on your shopping list to broaden your offerings and definitely to open the way if you’ve been itching for a trip to the Solomon Islands.

Because of its deep, vibrant effects I would recommend this as an evening Kava and possibly a weekend Kava.

*UPDATE: Solomon Islands kava is noble as verified by HPLC with a 246 chemotype and approximately 9% overall kavalactone content

  • Strength (Mind) – 8.5/10
  • Strength (Body) – 7.5/10
  • Flavor – 9/10
  • Overall Strength: High – Strong
  • Best time to drink: Evening Kava or Weekend Kava

Vanuatu Kava Store – Tanna Kaolin

Despite Vanuatu Kava Store’s claim that Tanna Kaolik is the strongest Kava from Tanna Island in Vanuatu, Tanna Kaolik is overall a relatively mild Kava that is appropriate for weekday consumption. I thought I was going to be getting myself into something overwhelming when I squeezed out a batch of Tanna, but in the end I was able to drink about 5 cups and only get a mild buzz with a little bit of pleasant tiredness.

Vanuatu Kava Store’s two Tanna Kavas – Tanna Kaolik and Tanna Marang – both come from Tanna Island in Vanuatu. The video featured on Vanuatu Kava Store’s website which is used to aid Kava drinkers in how to brew Kava features scenes from Tanna Island.
Tanna Kava is definitely not a “strong” Kava, as advertised on the VKS website. Again, it is difficult to know whether this is a problem with consistency or just because it is simply not a strong Kava. It is, at best, a slightly relaxing Kava that provides a good way to wind down after a long day. Unfortunately for Tanna Kaolik, there is already a perfect Kava for that – Malekula Magic. If I’m putting down money at the Vanuatu Kava Store, it’s going to be on Malekula Magic.
In terms of taste, it is a pretty run-of-the-mill Kava with no really impressive differences. It has a pretty mild numbing effect and can be described as a slightly peppery, somewhat bitter Kava that is comparable to other Vanuatu Kavas, such as Nakamal at Home’s Black Sand. Again, I am not a huge fan of the bouquet of flavors provided by Vanuatu Kavas – I prefer the milky, nutty taste of a Tongan Kava or the fresh, delicious flavor of a Fijian Kava. That being said, VKS’ Malekula Magic is a Vanuatuan Kava that is prepared by peeling the roots before drying and grounding them. Reviewed earlier, Malekula Magic is one of my favorites. Tanna Kaolik is not.
Taste – 7.5/10
Effect (Mind) – 7/10
Effect (Body) – 7/10
Strength – Mild
Vanuatu Kava Store’s Tanna Kaolik – 7.2 out of 10 shells