Drinking Kava

Drinking Kava in Hawaii

History of Kava in Hawaii

Captain Cook arriving in Hawaii

The history of kava in Hawaii is a long and storied one. It’s likely that the first people to consume kava in Hawaii were the Polynesians who settled there, but those records have been lost to time.

However, we do know that when Captain James Cook arrived at Kealakekua Bay in 1778 he was offered kava from the islanders. He refused it because he did not know what it was and was afraid that it might be poisonous.

The first Europeans to set foot on Hawaii were British explorers like Captain George Vancouver and Captain James Cook who visited the islands between 1778 and 1779. They brought with them sailors from their ship crews who enjoyed drinking kava. They also brought cuttings of the plant so that they could grow their own supply when they returned home. The cuttings were then planted throughout Europe where they still grow today!

The next major wave of migration came in 1820 when a thousand people moved from Tahiti to Hawaii’s Big Island due to overcrowding on Tahiti’s South Pacific Islands. These new immigrants brought their love affair with kava with them — which led them to plant more kava plants on the Big Island than any other island in Hawaii!

Tahitians drinking kava

Hawaiian Kava Culture

kava being prepared in HAwaiia

Nowadays, Hawaiian kava culture is making a comeback amidst a growing demand for kava worldwide.

Kava is popular in Hawaii because it helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It can also assist in relaxing the body and mind after long days at work or school. In addition to being used for medicinal purposes, kava can be enjoyed as a social activity among friends and family members who gather together to drink kava together in groups.

Nowadays, Hawaiian kava culture is making a comeback amidst a growing demand for kava worldwide. Kava Bars are common in Hawaii and with many now on the big island and the small islands. Kava has anti-inflammatory benefits, which couple well with Hawaiian activities such as surfing.

Hawaiins surfing

Drinking Kava in Hawaii - How Kava is Prepared in Hawaii

Hawaiins drinking kava

While kava is available in many varieties and forms, it’s prepared in Hawaii with a traditional method that involves grinding the root into a fine powder, mixing it with water, straining the resulting liquid through a cloth, and then drinking it.

Kava is typically prepared using a wooden mortar and pestle to grind the root, followed by straining the resulting liquid through a cloth. The cloth is usually made from coconut fibers or other natural materials.

Hawaiian Kava Industry and exports

Hawaiin kava plantation

In recent years there has been an increase in demand for Hawaiian kava amongst tourists; however, there are very few farms producing it commercially on any scale. This is primarily due to restrictions on importing kava plants into Hawaii from other countries (which can be easily grown there). So far only about 20 farms have received permission from the government to grow kava for commercial purposes; however the number of farms producing kava is expected to increase dramatically in coming years as more farmers apply for permits to grow their own plants or import them from other countries like Fiji or Vanuatu where they are much easier to grow than here in Hawai’i.

Drinking Kava in Hawai'i - Hawaiian Kava Bars

Hawaiin Kava Bar

The Hawaiian kava culture is stronger than ever before. For instance, there are many kava bars now in Hawaii. As such, a few places stand out as being the most popular and well-known.

The first place to go is PICNIC at the Moana Surfrider Hotel in Waikiki. This is one of the oldest and most famous kava bars in all of Hawaii, so if you want a true Hawaiian experience, this is where you should go. The staff are friendly and welcoming and will help you find your way through the menu.


Another great option is Kavasutra on Kona Street in Honolulu. This bar has been around for over 20 years now, and it’s still going strong! You can expect excellent service from the bartenders here as well as a great selection of kava varieties (and cocktails).

And lastly, there’s Kavasutra on Nimitz Highway in Honolulu. This bar has an awesome atmosphere with live music playing every night of the week! It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for something fun while experiencing everything that Honolulu has to offer.

Drinking kava in Hawaii – always a treasured memorable experience.