It seems that there is a new ‘superbowl’ in town – the ‘tanoa’ or kava bowl.
The fastest growing market for kava is in America. Whether it’s a new kava bar or a new place to buy kava pills opening, or an article on the health benefits of kava, everywhere you turn there is a new story about kava in the U.S. press.
This is good timing as it coincides with our visit to attend ExpoWest in Anahaim (CA) in March, where we gave away Taki Mai kava samples to lucky guests at our booth.
Here is just some of the great press that kava has received lately…
New Yorkers gather around the kava bowl!
An article in the New Yorker magazine recently drew attention to ‘Kava and the rise of healthy New York’ in a reference to the fact that some people are giving up alcohol and turning to kava instead; it is starting to be sold in many health and wellness centers in the city, and the article focuses on the very busy Kavasutra bar – one of the city’s first kava bars.
Kava bars are opening all over the country and it has caught on in the most cosmopolitan city of all, New York.
The article starts with the following:
“’ALCOHOL IS SO 2014. TRY KAVA,’ suggests a sandwich board on Tenth Street between First Avenue and Avenue A, in the East Village.”
It then points out that:
“Drinking is meant to be a ritualized opportunity to unwind, but it also produces the unintended stress of dealing with the side effects of booze. Unsurprisingly, alcohol has a profound and documented cumulative effect on work: a 2015 report from the C.D.C. estimated that drinking (and subsequent hangovers) created a drop in productivity that cost the U.S. economy ninety billion dollars in 2010.”
It describes kava as “a sedative used to relieve anxiety and relax the muscles. But, unlike alcohol, kava allegedly doesn’t interfere with any cognitive abilities, and, if you hydrate properly, it won’t give you a hangover.”
And what of the craze for kava that seems to be sweeping over many pockets of the city?
“Increasingly, it feels as though New York is attempting to reconcile its booze-hounding tendencies with its newfound, almost Los Angelesque obsession with health and wellness.”
Kava is making waves inland too!
Articles in the local U.S. press cover the opening of kava bars all around the country. For instance earlier this month, this article in the Daily Californian focuses on the MeloMelo KavaBar, which serves “a tasty sip of anti-anxiety”.
Traditionally kava culture in the U.S. has centered on the beach communities of the west coast and Florida, but this is rapidly changing.
This one in the Austin Chronicle (in Texas) calls kava a “relaxing and mood-enhancing beverage” and “a tonic that has been revered in the South Pacific for over 3,000 years”.
It’s encouraging to see articles such as these focusing on the many positive aspects of the beverage, and not on the bad press it has sometimes received:
“It has gained popularity stateside for its properties widely purported to relieve stress and anxiety, ease muscular tension and cramps, and alleviate insomnia and depression.”
In U.S. kava bars, the kava is usually served chilled in coconut shells, and is often on tap. Sometimes it is mixed with flavored syrups, which can be a ‘softer’ introduction to the beverage for first-time drinkers. It is usually imported in dried root form, then soaked for two to three days, blended, squeezed, strained, and then put into kegs.
It is worth noting that the ‘premium’ version of the beverage in the Austin kava bar is from Fiji! Clearly, they have their priorities well-tuned! Bula!