Cactus Kava Review: A Look Behind the Curtains [2021]

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Cactus Kava is an online kava retailer offering a variety of kava powders and accessories, including bowls and strainers. The Arizona-based kava company started out with a retail shop before moving into the online space a couple of years ago.

Should you buy from Cactus Kava? What does the company sell and how does it compare to the competition?

In this review, we’ll discuss Cactus Kava at length and highlight the company’s product lineup.

1. Price & Value

⭐⭐⭐

The coarse-grind kava root (normal grind) is on par with other kava vendors including Root of Happiness, Kalm With Kava, Squanch Kava, or The Kava Roots — but the micronized powders (ultra-fine grind) are very expensive. The micronized version is available for each root offered on the Cactus Kava website, but they’re more than twice the price. 

2. Product Lineup

⭐⭐⭐

Cactus kava only has a few products to offer, and they’re all considered balanced. There are no heady options, heavy options, or other category types available from this company. While we consider niche product types, like tinctures or premade drinks a bonus, rather than necessary — we do expect companies to offer kava cultivars with different profiles to give customers some options. All of the kava from this company is very similar. 

3. Product Potency

⭐⭐⭐

The potency of this kava is middle of the road — not too weak, but also not particularly strong either. 

4. Customer Service

⭐⭐⭐

We have no complaints about the customer service from this company aside from one thing — nobody was able to answer our questions regarding the origin of the Malolo kava offered by this brand. It isn’t on the product web page, and the customer service team gave us a generic answer of “our kava is sourced from Vanuatu, Fiji, and surrounding Pacific islands” — duh — this doesn’t answer our question. 

About the Company

There isn’t much information about the company on the website or Facebook page. This company is clearly a retail shop first, online business second. We tried reaching out to the company for more information but didn’t receive any response.

Even after our first order, we didn’t receive any word from the company past the initial order confirmation email.

Unfortunately, this leaves little to say about the company or the people behind it.

Let’s have a closer look at the types of kava they sell.

1. Eva Kava

Rating

4.5/5

Eva Cactus Kava

Best For:

  • Creative Work

Positive Effects:

  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation

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About This Kava:

This is the headiest kava the company has to offer — but we’d consider the effects of this kava in the middle between heavy and heady compared to other kava products on the market.

The company claims this to be a strong kava, but we’ve found the effects to be about average compared to other products.

Overall, this is a good all-around kava option, but if you’re looking for something more prominently heady, we recommend going with another company like Kalm With Kava or Bula House.

Technical Details:

  • Origin — Vanuatu
  • Total Kavalactone Content — 7.0%
  • Effect Profile — Balanced
  • Strength — Average
  • Grind — Medium – Ultra Fine
  • Flavor Profile — Mild Pepper, Smooth
  • Kava Code —  423615
  • Recommended Experience Level — All Levels
  • Most Common Side-Effect —Dizziness

Cost Breakdown:

Name Total Cost Rough Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Eva Kava $24 – $45 $1.06
Eva Kava — Micronized $50 $2.20

2. Loa Lawena

Rating

4/5

Cactus Kava Loa Lawena

Best For:

  • Muscle Relaxation

Positive Effects:

  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Muscle Relaxant

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About This Kava:

This is our favorite kava from Cactus Kava. It has an excellent smooth, peppery flavor, and a very low incidence of side effects. We like this kava for its muscle relaxant benefits, but it also has a relatively strong euphoric feeling to it as well.

Most of the strong muscle relaxant strains we’ve used so far come with more sedative effects, so this one stands out as a great kava choice for tight, or injured muscles to use during the day.

You can find this kava in both the regular coarse-ground kava and micronized kava.

Technical Details:

  • Origin — Fiji
  • Total Kavalactone Content — Not Listed
  • Effect Profile — Balanced
  • Strength — Mild
  • Grind — Medium – Ultra Fine
  • Flavor Profile — Smooth, Strong Pepper, Lemon
  • Kava Code — 426351
  • Recommended Experience Level — All Levels
  • Most Common Side-Effect — Dizziness

Cost Breakdown:

Name Total Cost Rough Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Loa Lawena $24 – $45 $1.06
Loa Lawena — Micronized $50 $2.20

3. Malolo Kava

Rating

3.5/5

Cactus Kava Malolo

Best For:

  • Social Drinking

Positive Effects:

  • Relaxation
  • Euphoria

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About This Kava:

Although we’re not sure where this kava comes from, the word Malolo is Tongan.

This is a very subtle kava option, with a mild flavor, and a balanced effect profile. The subtle nature of this kava makes it great for social gatherings — especially in circles where the kava drinking tends to go on and on for several hours.

There’s little information available about this kava, and we’re skeptical about the consistency of one batch to another. The first batch we received was much stronger than the second — though both would be considered below-average in potency.

Technical Details:

  • Origin — Unknown
  • Total Kavalactone Content — Not Listed
  • Effect Profile — Balanced
  • Strength — Average
  • Grind — Medium – Ultra Fine
  • Flavor Profile —  Smooth, Mild Bitter, Mild Pepper, Sweet
  • Kava Code — Not Listed
  • Recommended Experience Level — All Levels
  • Most Common Side-Effect — Nausea, Grogginess

Cost Breakdown:

Name Total Cost Rough Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Malolo Kava $24 – $45 $1.06
Malolo Kava — Micronized $50 $2.20

4. Ono Kava

Rating

4.5/5

Cactus Ono Kava

Best For:

  • Muscle Relaxation

Positive Effects

  • Muscle Relaxant

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About This Kava:

This kava comes from Vanuatu, but the name “Ono” is a Hawaiian word — meaning “tasty”. This is actually a good description of this kava strain because the flavor is exceptionally fresh and smooth compared to many of Cactus Kava’s other kava options.

Ono kava has a balanced effect profile and about average strength compared to other kava options. It’s a good starter kava for people who are just getting started or find they’re having a hard time adapting to the flavor of kava.

Unfortunately, we’ve found this kava to produce nausea about an hour or so after using it. This appears to happen in about 20% of the people who drink it. However, the feeling isn’t too strong, and after another hour, the effects tend to disappear on its own.

Technical Details:

  • Origin — Vanuatu
  • Total Kavalactone Content — 5.6%
  • Effect Profile —  Balanced
  • Strength — Average
  • Grind — Medium — Ultra Fine
  • Flavor Profile — Fresh, Smooth
  • Kava Code — 423156
  • Recommended Experience Level — All Levels
  • Most Common Side-Effect — Nausea

Cost Breakdown:

Name Total Cost Rough Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Ono Kava $25 – $48 $1.10
Ono Kava — Micronized $50 $2.20

Final Thoughts on Cactus Kava

Little information is provided about Cactus Kava, and we were unsuccessful in contacting the customer service team even after making an order. This leaves us with a lot of questions about the company.

We’re much more comfortable ordering from and recommending companies that have a clear description of the people behind it. We also wish Cactus Kava could be reached via phone or email for further questioning.

Despite all of this, we went ahead and tried the company’s kava options.

After testing Cactus Kava’s lineup, we found that all the kavas offered by this company could be classified as balanced. Only one kava had an effect profile leaning towards the heady side and none that had a particularly strong heavy effect.

Overall, Cactus Kava is a strong choice for beginners, but it may not be the best option for experienced kava drinkers, or those looking for kava with a specific set of effects.