What Is Kava?

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On a recent trip to Vanuatu, I pulled aside a waiter at a restaurant where we ate most days.
A young, friendly and capable local who seemed to know instinctively when to hit me with another Tusker Bitter.
I figured he could hook me up with legit kava.

'Not that tourist shit, the stuff locals drink, yeah?'
'No, no, its proper strong!'

He told me where the shop was. I found it next day and I grabbed a bag.

I cracked open that bag an gave the fine powder good sniff and was hit with a pungent, earthy and spicy aroma.
Or to put it another way, black pepper and dirt.

I mixed a cup as per the prescribed method and (literally) choked it down.
It both burnt and numbed my throat and triggered a gag reflex that I struggled to resist.
Its truly awful.

Was it worth the buzz?
Nope. Felt kind of like the 'dreg out' phase after smoking pot.
Perhaps one needs to consume vast quantities to feel the full effect.

Would not recommend to a friend.
I cracked open that bag an gave the fine powder good sniff
There's your problem, dried kava is absolute shite
Fresh stuff is the best way to consume it, freshly crushed and steeped
It should just taste like muddy peppery water
There's no high/tripping/whatever, you'll just be relaxed, sleep well and chilled out
If you drink boatloads (I outdrank the band boys one night), you may feel a little floaty/dizzy