Yesterday Allison and I were going to meet for coffee and have a meeting but found out that the coffee house we were going to meet at had recently turned into a “kava bar”. I had heard of kava before but thought it was something more along the lines of kombucha or loose-leaf tea.
We decided to take a chance and see what kava was all about. The nice guy behind the counter at SquareRut gave us a pretty long spiel about how it was a root from the Pacific Islands and their specific stock came from the island of Vanuatu. It’s used as a stress and anxiety reducer (YES PLEASE!), an aid to sleeping and various other positive wellness benefits. It also gives you a tingly feeling in your mouth within the first couple of sips and after your first 4 oz cup it gives you a slight buzzed feeling that you would have after a glass or two of wine. They made it clear that you aren’t intoxicated but it’s just an overall feeling of relaxation. Lastly, they say that several hours after you drink kava you get an energy rush and it’s great for afternoon productivity.
The only negative according to them seemed to be the taste – it was very “earthy” tasting and tasted like a No 2 pencil – not that I ever tasted one of those in elementary school.
The kava drink was served in an awesome cup along side some pineapple chunks to chase the taste.
It was pretty bad, yo. The first cup that we had was completely raw and no additional flavors added. We both felt the tingling sensation pretty quick on our tongues and in our throat. It reminded me of the numb feeling you get from chloraseptic spray for your throat. Then, after our first cup was finished and our pineapple was eaten we started feeling the other side effects that accompanies the drink. I definitely felt like I had an alcoholic drink. My arms were heavy and I was feeling pretty relaxed.
We weren’t experiencing the energy rush but was hoping for it since we were trying to focus on business ideas and discussion. I guess that was supposed to come later.
About 15-20 minutes later the owner came over to give us our second cup of kava – this one was spiked with coconut water, honey and cinnamon. I thought this one tasted worse actually but it’s probably because I don’t like coconut water OR cinnamon. I downed it pretty quickly since it was making me feel queesy to actually smell it.
The feeling after this cup was more of the same – tingling and overall relaxation feeling just like having a couple of drinks. I definitely could not drive at this point and was kind of agitated that they had told me I wouldn’t feel intoxicated. I suppose legally I wasn’t “intoxicated” but I would not have driven or wanted anyone else to drive feeling the way I was feeling.
The waitress came over to try to sell us on a third cup but neither Allison nor myself were up for it. She had to go back to work and I had to go to a job on the other side of town and we needed the effects to move on before we could leave. We focused on work and allowed time to elapse.
After we felt better we finished our meeting and went our separate ways. A little while after I started to get stomach cramps and I googled the side effects of kava and it was one of the top 3. Argh! Allison had another top side effect and that was severe thirst and dehydration. We are just two peas in a pod, apparently.
The stomach cramps lasted well into the evening and they were pretty serious. I was clearly annoyed and had the entire evening wasted. Not the productivity I was promised, that is for sure.
As for the kava bar itself, the location was nice and it was decorated very well inside. It definitely felt like an island get away and the owners were super nice and you could tell they enjoyed educating people on kava and its effects. I just wish they would have told me that I might suffer from 7 hours of stomach cramps after my encounter with the root!
The kava bar also has a ceremonial bowl that you can order and share with your friends. You know, if you all are interested in kava.
I’m 100% sure I won’t be back but it’s just not for me. Take it as you will though – I’m not a fan of anything that makes me feel altered in any way. Tons of people are and if you can get over the flavor then I guess it’s a legal and natural way to get your buzz on.
Have you tried kava? Do they have kava bars where you live?