Gourmet Hawaiian Kava: Are They Trustworthy? [2020 Reviewed]

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If you want to take a trip to what the internet looked like in the 90s — visit Gourmet Hawaiian Kava’s website. You’ll find repeating tiled backgrounds, text that’s nearly impossible to read, and a lot of empty product descriptions.

With the poor website aside, can we trust Gourmet Hawaiian Kava? What’s the quality of the kava coming from this online shop?

In this review, we’ll explore Gourmet Hawaiian Kava and its products. We’ll break each product down — describing the effect profiles, potency, and more.

1. Price & Value

⭐⭐⭐

The cost of the raw kava powders from Gourmet Hawaiian Kava are fairly consistent with the rest of the industry. They’re more expensive than Wakacon, but less expensive than Root of Happiness or Kalm With Kava.

However, the micronized powder (super finely-ground) is way overpriced. This stuff costs nearly 5 times the equivalent dose of the coarse ground kava. We’re not sure why this product is so much more expensive. Most companies will charge about 50% more for the micronized root — some companies as much as twice as much.

2. Product Lineup

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Gourmet Hawaiian Kava has an excellent lineup of Hawaiian kava cultivars, and one Fijian kava.

There are several different options, covering all categories of effects (heady, heavy, and balanced). We’re not going to deduct any points for lacking kava from other regions because everything about this company is specific to Hawaii.

In fact, there are no other companies in this space that can even come close to competing with the variability of Hawaiian strains. most companies don’t offer even one Hawaiian-grown kava.

The only issue is that most of their products are out of stock at any one time. You’ll have to keep checking back if there’s a particular root you want.

3. Product Potency

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Most of the kava from this company is quite strong — certainly comparable to the top brands in this space.

4. Customer Service

⭐⭐⭐

This company is very clearly a small family business. Everything from the website and packaging, to the customer service operation is low-tech. The responses we received were undeniably human and not scripted, which is a plus, but it was very poorly constructed and full of typos. We also didn’t really get any answers to our questions probing for more information about the company.

About the Company

Gourmet Hawaiian Kava has been selling kava within the United States for a long time now. The earliest reference of the company we could find was from 5 years ago via the company’s Youtube channel, but we suspect they’ve been in business for longer than that.

Gourmet Hawaiian Kava is owned and operated by a man named Chris Allen — who has been researching and cultivating kava for over 25 years. The photo section of the website features images of Allen with other experts in the field cultivating, harvesting, and drinking Hawaiian kava.

The company specializes in single-strain Hawaiian kava (Awa). Allen and his team are closely involved in the production and processing of kava — which is certainly a great sign, since most kava resellers purchase the raw kava second or third-hand. The further away from the cultivation of the kava, the more room there is for issues with quality.

Gourmet Hawaiian Kava offers kava strains you’re unlikely to find for sale anywhere else online. Most strains in this company’s product lineup come from varieties we’ve never seen anywhere else. If you’re a true kava aficionado, we highly recommend you check this company out.

Let’s cover each product in more detail.

(Gournet Hawaiian Kava founder, Chris Allen featured on the right & revered kava expert, Ed Johnston on the left)

1. Awa Hiwa

Rating — 5/5

Best For:

  • Meditation
  • Relaxation
  • Anxiety

Positive Effects:

  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Creativity

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About This Kava:

Traditionally, Awa Hiwa was reserved for the Kahuna (priest) of the community. Although there’s likely another reason for this reservation, we found this heady kava to be excellent for meditation.

This strain is the darkest colored kava plant you’re likely to find on the Hawaiian islands — it has dark black-colored stocks and dark green leaves.

The flavor of this kava is quite strong, sharing a mixture of bitter and spice flavors.

Technical Details:

  • Origin — Hawaii
  • Total Kavalactone Content — Not Listed
  • Effect Profile — Heady
  • Strength — Strong
  • Grind — Medium – Ultra Fine
  • Flavor Profile — Fresh, Strong Bitter, Strong Pepper
  • Kava Code — Not Listed
  • Recommended Experience Level — All Levels
  • Most Common Side-Effect — Dizziness

Cost Breakdown:

NameTotal CostRough Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Awa Hiwa$30 – $57$1.30
Awa Hiwa — Micronized$53 – $105$2.30

2. Fiji Kava

Rating. — 4/5

Best For:

  • Social Drinking

Positive Effects:

  • Euphoria
  • Mental Clarity

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About This Kava:

Not all kava sold on the Gourmet Hawaiian Kava website is Hawaiian — this particular kava is a Fijian strain. However, we believe the kava you get when you order this product was grown on Hawaiian soil.

This is a particularly strong kava with a balanced effect profile. Some of us testing this kava felt nauseous during the first hour after drinking, but the sensation quickly faded in the second or third hour. It’s likely this kava takes a little bit of playing around with to get the right dose for each person individually.

We recommend this kava for more experienced users.

Technical Details:

  • Origin — Fiji
  • Total Kavalactone Content — Not Listed
  • Effect Profile — Balanced
  • Strength — Strong
  • Grind — Medium
  • Flavor Profile — Fresh, Smooth, Mild Bitter
  • Kava Code — Not Listed
  • Recommended Experience Level — Experienced Users
  • Most Common Side-Effect — Nausea

Cost Breakdown:

NameTotal CostRough Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Fiji Kava$30 – $57$1.30

3. Ikaika

Rating — 4/5

Best For:

  • Muscle Relaxation

Positive Effects:

  • Muscle Relaxant
  • Sedation

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About This Kava:

Ikaika Kava is well-known on some of the rural islands of Hawaii. It’s perhaps the strongest heavy kava available in the region. A few cups in a row of this kava is sure knock you out within an hour or two.

Lower doses of this kava deliver powerful muscle-relaxing effects. Be very careful with dosing this. It doesn’t take much of Ikaika to start inducing heavy sedative effects. Once asleep, Ikaika Kava keeps you in a deep sleep for a long time. A lot of people who use this kava report sleeping a few hours longer than normal.

Technical Details

  • Origin — Hawaii
  • Total Kavalactone Content — Not Listed
  • Effect Profile — Heavy
  • Strength — Strong
  • Grind — Medium – Ultra Fine
  • Flavor Profile — Mild Bitter, Mild Pepper
  • Kava Code — Not Listed
  • Recommended Experience Level — Experienced
  • Most Common Side-Effect — Grogginess

Cost Breakdown:

NameTotal CostRough Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Ikaika$30 – $57$1.30
Ikaika — Micronized$56 – $112$2.47

4. Mahakea

Rating — 4/5

Best For:

  • Social Drinking

Positive Effects:

  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Social

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About This Kava:

Mahakea Kava from Hawaii is a great all-purpose kava option from Gourmet Hawaiian Kava.

This kava starts out with a strong euphoric feeling in the first hour, before gradually fading into a heavy effect profile — sometimes causing users to feel sleepy. Other times, they remain in a state of calm euphoria.

This kava is excellent in social environments because it makes people feel sociable and relaxed. It’s very easy to find a comfortable position when drinking this kava, making it a good option for casual movie nights or afternoons spent lazing around on the beach or at a park.

Technical Details

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

Cost Breakdown:

NameTotal CostRough Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Mahakea$30 – $57$1.30

5. Moi

Rating — 5/5

Best For:

  • Stress

Positive Effects:

  • Relaxation
  • Creativity

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About This Kava:

Moi is a mild heady kava suitable for just about everybody. We really like this kava while at work because it’s not too strong but has excellent calming effects. As Moi Kava kicks in, stress levels begin to fade. As the stress fades, we’ve found it much easier to enter productive flow-states or enter creative mindsets.

If you’re a freelance writer, designer, or developer, we highly recommend keeping some of this kava around for rainy days, whenever you hit a creative roadblock, or need to get yourself into a flow-state.

Technical Details

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

Cost Breakdown:

NameTotal CostRough Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Moi$30 – $57$1.30
Moi — Micronized$53 – $105$2.30

6. Nene

Rating — 3/5

Best For:

  • Meditation/Relaxation/Anxiety

Positive Effects:

  • Sedation
  • Relaxation

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About This Kava:

Nene Kava is another heady option that’s a little bit stronger than Moi Kava.

Nene is better for anxiety and muscle aches than Moi but still offers the benefits towards supporting a creative thought process. The difference here is that it’s much easier to take too much Nene, which can result in side effects like nausea or dizziness.

So while Nene is more well-rounded than the similar Moi, it’s important to be slow and thoughtful about how much you take. We recommend testing this kava out at home first to get the dose right before taking it at work.

We also found Moi very useful during meditation in low doses. Higher doses is excellent for supporting sleep if taken at least 2 hours before your intended bedtime, so the kava has enough time to take effect.

Technical Details:

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

Cost Breakdown:

NameTotal CostRough Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Nene$30 – $57$1.30
Nene — Micronized$52$5.20

7. Papa Kea

Rating — 4.5/5

Best For:

  • Sleep

Positive Effects:

  • Social
  • Mental Clarity
  • Euphoria

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About This Kava:

If you’re looking for a strong kava with very noticeable effects, this is the one.

You don’t need much of this Papa Kea Kava to begin feeling the effects. Despite being very strong, it’s difficult to take too much of this kava — We’ve found that no matter how much of this kava you drink. The first 2 hours feel like you’re floating on a cloud, completely free from stress, but around hour 3 or 4 you begin to feel the urge to sleep.

This kava is best used in the evening a few hours before bed.

Technical Details:

  • Origin — Hawaii
  • Total Kavalactone Content — Not Listed
  • Effect Profile — Heavy
  • Strength — Strong
  • Grind — Medium
  • Flavor Profile — Mild Bitter, Mild Pepper, Smooth
  • Kava Code — Not Listed
  • Recommended Experience Level — All Levels
  • Most Common Side-Effect — Dizziness

Cost Breakdown:

NameTotal CostRough Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Papa Kea$30 – $60$1.3
(Source: Gourmet Hawaiian Kava)

(Source: Gourmet Hawaiian Kava)

Final Thoughts on Gourmet Hawaiian Kava

Gourmet Hawaiian Kava is a small local company based out of Hawaii, USA. They’ve been in the business of selling kava long before most of their competitors ever entered the market.

As a small company, there are some key elements of business the company is missing. The company website is very poorly constructed and difficult to navigate — something that matters these days as the rest of the world obsesses over having seamless user interfaces. The company also lacks testing and analytical information about their kava products — like the kava chemocodes and kavalactone content.

With that aside, the founder, Chris Allen and the rest of the team behind Gourmet Hawaiian Kava is clearly passionate about the work they’re doing. The kava we received was top-notch in quality, despite not listing any lab results. Everything we tried from this company tasted fresh — just as advertised.

Most products offered on the company website are rare strains of kava you’re unlikely to find elsewhere.

We hope to see Gourmet Hawaiian Kava update its business operations with a new website, improved packaging, and more extensive information about its products in the future because the actual kava the company is offers is top-notch.Shop Gourmet Hawaiian Kava