Kava is the perfect accompaniment to a relaxing night, and preparing it correctly can be a meditative part of the experience. Kava kava is prepared by steeping the root of the kava plant in water and kneading to let the active ingredients flow.
When preparing the best kava in this traditional manner, it's important to use a strainer to remove any bits of root or other debris. Let’s look at some of the different types of kava strainers, where to buy kava strainers, and which ones might be best for different uses.
Household Items: In a Pinch
If you don’t have any kava-straining bags, or if yours popped a hole unexpectedly, some people have used household items in a pinch. Cheesecloth is often used in the final stage of kava preparation when the liquid is poured through the cloth to remove any remaining debris. Cheesecloth can also be used in combination with other strainers, such as a mesh strainer, to create a more fine filtration. By itself, the weave of cheesecloth is usually too loose. We’ve also heard of people using pantyhose, cloth coffee filters, or grabbing a clean T-shirt from the pile. We’ll just say this: make sure all your kava prep is sanitary and consider straining more than once to remove fibers that can cause stomach upset.
Nylon Bags and Nut Milk Bags
Nylon bags are made from a tightly woven material that can trap smaller particles, ideal for filtering kava that’s been ground into a powder. An almond/nut milk bag is a reusable nylon bag designed for straining nut milk, but it can also be used for straining kava. Almond milk bags can often be found in your local health food store.
Authentic Fijian Cloth Bag
Fijian cloth kava strainer bags are woven in a tight pattern that allows liquid to flow through while keeping larger particles contained. The mesh used to make these bags is designed to strike a balance between allowing enough sediment to pass through while effectively straining the liquid. This ensures that your kava drink won't be too thick, while still allowing enough sediment to give your drink the authentic taste and feel of traditional kava.
Using a Fijian cloth bag can add a sense of tradition and authenticity to the kava preparation process, and is a popular choice for those who value the cultural significance of kava. Cleanup is easy, too. You can just wash your kava bags in your laundry with your colors. (Not the whites, as resin buildup can lend a yellowish stain.)
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Using a strainer bag allows for the release and suspension of kavalactones while preventing indigestible particles from irritating the stomach. A proper kava strainer can significantly improve the extraction of kavalactones and the quality of the filtered beverage for a perfect shell every time.
Ultimately, your choice of strainer will depend on the texture of your kava and your desired level of filtration. No matter what you choose, if you select the best kava and prepare it with reverence and care, you can enjoy the best of what kava has to offer.