The Kava Society: Best Kava Vendor for New Zealand & Australia

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The Kava Society is a New Zealand-based kava vendor with a good mix of single-origin cultivars and in-house blends.

The single-origin strains are great for the purists and connoisseurs, while the blends offer some advantages in being more consistent from one batch to the next.

This company has some of the best kava strains we’ve tried yet. It’s the best brand to go with if you’re living in New Zealand or Australia, but they will also ship to North American and Europe — you just have to pay a bit extra for shipping.

Overall, we really like the products The Kava Society has to offer and value their drive to provide all the information their customers need to drink kava effectively and safely. They have an excellent blog full of helpful guides to get started.

1. Price & Value

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The Kava Society is based in New Zealand and therefore lists its products in NZ dollars. For those living in the US, the prices may seem very high, but they’re actually on par with most other kava suppliers when you account for the conversion rate.

The average bag of KS kava is $0.18 per gram — which is equivalent to around $0.13 in USD. This is the average price for high-end kava. You can find cheaper, of course — but the cheap kava is much more likely to disappoint you with a weak effect profile.

2. Product Lineup

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This company currently lists eight individual product types for sale, as well as accessories like muslin strainer bags.

The product lineup offered by The Kava Society is very balanced — offering options for people looking for heady, heavy, or balanced kava, as well as some more exotic strains like the Parasol or Kelai offerings. They also have instant kava and some cheaper, more common strains like Borogu or Melo Melo for people on a tighter budget.

3. Product Potency

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The potency of these products is higher than average for all offerings on the companies website. It’s clear from the types of strains offered and the level of detail that goes into all of these products that these guys really take their kava drinking seriously.

I’ve tried several of these products and have friends in NZ who order from them regularly and have never once heard of an issue with underpowered kava root.

The strongest strain is the Kelai offering, but all products on the site are going to be in the middle-heavyweight class in terms of what potency you should expect.

4. Customer Service

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This company has an excellent customer service experience. They’re responsive and helpful and have policies in place to make sure any problems with your order are dealt with quickly and efficiently. No-fuss.

I like that this company will even ship worldwide, which is great for people who want some solid kava but aren’t able to find any local vendors. This is more common in Europe and Canada than it is in the US, where most of the kava vendors are based.

About the Company: Kava Society

The Kava Society began after a group of students attending the University of Auckland discovered the plant after one of the founding members took a trip through the South Pacific. They would meet regularly to try new cultivars and enjoy the mellow effects of kava.

This led to the University of Auckland Kava Appreciation Society, which was later shortened to The Kava Society.

Members of the group even started traveling to the Pacific to search for new strains to try after they became frustrated at the quality that was available in New Zealand at the time.

The kava they sourced was initially meant to be for the Kava Society members exclusively, but eventually, the group began selling it to others as more people started requesting a supply of kava for themselves.

The company now supports research programs and advocacy for the plant through universities around New Zealand and helped establish the first kava bar in Auckland — called The Four Shells Kava Room & Shop.

For Australian Customers

The Kava Society is also the best source of kava for Australians — however, it’s not as easy as ordering it online.

Australian law prohibits kava from coming into the country via mail but allows travelers to carry kava on them as they enter the country. This means you or someone you know needs to be in New Zealand to pick up the order in person before heading back to Australia.

The Kava Society does an excellent job at accommodating this and will deliver your package to a hotel, hostel, or other address in New Zealand directly. If you have friends or family visiting New Zealand, it’s a perfect opportunity to place an order, which will be delivered directly to the hotel they’re staying in so they can bring it back (legally) into the country.

Kava Society Products

1. Pacific Elixir

The Kava Society Pacific Elixir

This is one of the most popular products on the Kava Societies website and the first product I tried from this brand. The company describes it as being “mentally refreshing,” which I must say is a great description of how this stuff feels.

You feel euphoric and clear-headed, which makes it perfect for use while you work, paint, or write. I like this stuff in the mid to late afternoon to help alleviate some of the stress picked up earlier in the day without feeling too sedated.

I’d list this kava blend as being balanced but with a headier twist.

Smaller doses of this kava are great for creativity while you work, and higher doses are great for helping you feel plenty tired before bed.

It’s made by mixing top-level cultivars from Samoa, Vanuatu, Hawaii, Fiji, and Tonga. The mix is blended and balanced to maintain similar effect profiles for different batches.

Technical Details

  • Origin — Mixed
  • Total Kavalactone Content —10%
  • Effect Profile — Balanced
  • Strength — Moderate
  • Grind — Coarse
  • Flavor Profile — Nutty & Peppery
  • Kava Code — 423615
  • Recommended Experience Level —All Experience Levels
  • Most Common Side-Effects — Dizziness

Cost Breakdown

Name Total Cost Cost per Gram Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Para Rasul Traditional Grind Single Cultivar Kava NZ $45–$159 $0.16 – $0.18 $1.70

2. Kelai Traditional Grind Single Cultivar Kava

The Kava Society Kelai

This cultivar is, by far, one of the headiest varieties I’ve tried. It produces a strong sense of euphoria and increased creativity and sociability. I like this kava for use while I work or while at the beach for the day with some friends.

This particular cultivar comes from the island of Epi in Vanuatu. Like most high-grade kava, it’s rarely available for people living outside of Vanuatu. The culture here really enjoys their kava, and because of the lack of space available for growing this crop, there’s rarely enough of the high-grade stuff leftover for people on the international market.

The Kava Society is able to secure unique and powerful cultivars like this because of their strong connection with farmers in the region and their dedicated kava sourcing team living across the many Pacific Islands.

Technical Details

  • Origin — Vanuatu
  • Total Kavalactone Content —Not Listed
  • Effect Profile —Heady
  • Strength — Strong
  • Grind — Coarse
  • Flavor Profile — Chocolate, Nutty
  • Kava Code — 421365
  • Recommended Experience Level — Experienced
  • Most Common Side-Effects — Dizziness

Cost Breakdown

Name Total Cost Cost per Gram Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Kelai Traditional Grind Single Cultivar Kava NZ $59 – $189 $0.19 – $0.24 $2.20

3. Quick Shell Instant Kava

The Kava Society Quick Shell

This is Kava Society’s instant kava root powder. Unlike other instant powders, it isn’t made from the micronized root — rather, it’s made by preparing large batches of fresh kava juice and dehydrating it into a powder.

The flavor of this kava is very fresh and is quite potent compared to other instant root powders.

All you have to do to prepare this root is mix it with some warm water for a few minutes. The powder will dissolve fairly quickly, but you still have to spend a minute or two stirring it around to break up some of the clumps that form in the water.

The recommended dose for this stuff is between 10 and 15 grams, which works out to around $5 or 7 per cup of kava.

Technical Details

  • Origin — Mixed
  • Total Kavalactone Content —Not Listed
  • Effect Profile —Euphoric & Anxiolytic
  • Strength — Moderate
  • Grind — Very Fine
  • Flavor Profile — Nutty & Fresh
  • Kava Code — 423165
  • Recommended Experience Level —All Experience Levels
  • Most Common Side-Effects — Nausea

Cost Breakdown

Name Total Cost Cost per Gram Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Quick Shell Instant Kava NZ $55–$239 $0.48– $0.55 $5.00

4. Borogoru Traditional Grind Single Cultivar Kava

Borogoru The Kava Society

Borogoru is a very popular cultivar. Most kava suppliers have at least one Borogoru kava option, if not a couple.

This cultivar is grown in many different countries across the Pacific, and each region will impart slightly different qualities. Borogoru from Fiji is going to have a different set of effects than Borogoru from Vanuatu.

This particular root was grown on the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu. It has a balanced profile that leans a little more towards the heavy effects. This makes this kava a good option for drinking later in the afternoon or evenings.

The effects start out more cerebral, with a notable amount of euphoria. These effects gradually fade out to the rest of the body, where the heavy effects become more apparent.

Technical Details

  • Origin — Vanuatu
  • Total Kavalactone Content — Not Listed
  • Effect Profile —Balanced
  • Strength — Moderate
  • Grind — Coarse
  • Flavor Profile — Peppery & Bitter
  • Kava Code — 243516
  • Recommended Experience Level — All Experience Levels
  • Most Common Side-Effects — Nausea

Cost Breakdown

Name Total Cost Cost per Gram Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Boroguru Traditional Grind Single Cultivar Kava NZ $49– $175 $0.18 – $0.20 $1.90

5. Para Rasul Traditional Grind Single Cultivar Kava

The Kava Society Palarasul

This is one of the three primary cultivars found in the Northern regions of Vanuatu. It has a nice, heady character with euphoric effects that make it perfect for social drinking.

This particular cultivar is hard to find in the Western world. Most of the Palarasul is kept in Vanuatu for the locals. The Kava Society has boots on the ground in Vanuatu who worked hard at finding this single-origin root for its customers.

This is a truly unique kava root worth trying if you get the chance. This stuff is only available from the Kava Society and isn’t always available.

Technical Details

  • Origin — Vanuatu
  • Total Kavalactone Content —Not Listed
  • Effect Profile —Heady
  • Strength — Moderate
  • Grind — Coarse
  • Flavor Profile — Nutty, Creamy, Mild Spice
  • Kava Code — 423156
  • Recommended Experience Level —All Experience Levels
  • Most Common Side-Effects — Dizziness

Cost Breakdown

Name Total Cost Cost per Gram Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Para Rasul Traditional Grind Single Cultivar Kava NZ $55 – $179 $0.18 – $0.22 $2.00

6. Bir Kar Single Cultivar Traditional Grind Kava

The Kava Society Bir Kar

This balanced kava cultivar comes from the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu. According to The Kava society, this is the only place in the world that cultivates this particular strain of kava.

The effects of this kava have a fast onset — starting with a strong body load and tapering off into the headier effect profile after an hour or two. Most other strains work in the opposite direction, starting with the heady effects and fading out to the rest of the body.

This strain is well-suited for people looking for the muscle-relaxant effects of kava. It’s great for use in the evenings before bed, after a long hike, or other causes of tense or sore muscles.

Technical Details

  • Origin — Vanuatu
  • Total Kavalactone Content —Not Listed
  • Effect Profile —Balanced
  • Strength — Moderate
  • Grind — Coarse
  • Flavor Profile — Smooth & Creamy
  • Kava Code — 423561
  • Recommended Experience Level — All Experience Levels
  • Most Common Side-Effects — Fatigue

Cost Breakdown

Name Total Cost Cost per Gram Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Bir Kar Single Cultivar Traditional Grind Kava NZ $49 – $175 $0.18 – $0.20 $2.00

7. Mighty Roots Traditional Grind Kava

The Kava Society Mighty Roots

This kava contains 100% lateral roots (known as waka in Fiji). Separating the lateral roots from the basal root is a common practice in Fiji but less common in Vanuatu, where this strain is grown.

The lateral roots are much stronger than the basal roots (lawena) but also have a much more bitter taste.

All of the other products offered by The Kava Society contain a blend of both lateral and basal roots but offer this option for those who want the strongest effect profile possible and don’t mind sacrificing on flavor.

This strain is listed as balanced, but it falls much more on the heavy side than the heady side of the scale.

Technical Details

  • Origin — Vanuatu
  • Total Kavalactone Content —Not Listed
  • Effect Profile — Heavy
  • Strength — Strong
  • Grind — Coarse
  • Flavor Profile — Bitter, Spicy, Pungent
  • Kava Code — 423165
  • Recommended Experience Level — Experienced
  • Most Common Side-Effects — Lethargy & Nausea

Cost Breakdown

Name Total Cost Cost per Gram Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Mighty Roots Traditional Grind Kava NZ $55 – $99 $0.20 – $0.22 $2.00

8. Melo Melo Traditional Grind Single Cultivar Kava

The Kava Society Melo Melo

Melo Melo is one of the most common cultivars in the world. You can find Melo Melo from just about any kava vendor online.

This kava is popular for its cost-effectiveness, relative consistency from one supplier to another, and overall mellow and laid-back effect profile.

Melo Melo is balanced in its effects, but certain batches are reported to lean slightly more to one side than the other. Some friends of mine who live in New Zealand really like this cultivar and claim the last three bags they ordered (over a 12 month period) all had a more heady profile than the first bag they bought about two years ago.

Either way, this kava is centered enough to be used for just about any application of kava. You can drink it before bed to help with sleep, at work to improve creative flow states, or at the park with friends while engaging in conversation and chilling out.

Even the flavor of this strain is in the middle of the pane. It’s pleasantly creamy and a little bit sweet but still has the characteristic bitterness inherent to stronger kava roots.

Technical Details

  • Origin — Vanuatu
  • Total Kavalactone Content —Not Listed
  • Effect Profile — Balanced
  • Strength — Moderate–Strong
  • Grind — Coarse
  • Flavor Profile — Creamy, Sweet, & Bitter
  • Kava Code — 243156
  • Recommended Experience Level — All Experience Levels
  • Most Common Side-Effects — Lethargy

Cost Breakdown

Name Total Cost Cost per Gram Cost per 10 Gram Dose
Melo Melo Traditional Grind Single Cultivar Kava NZ $49 – $175 $0.18 – $0.20  

Final Thoughts: Kava Society New Zealand

The Kava Society is the best source of kava in New Zealand. It’s also the best source of kava for people living in Australia, but with some caveats. The company will also ship to North American and Europe, but it’s going to cost extra for shipping. I only recommend you order from this company overseas if you’re unable to find good kava locally or are placing a larger order to make up for the additional costs of shipping.

This brand takes its kava seriously. Like many in this industry, they were founded purely based on their love for drinking kava, which eventually led to an online shop. This company is clearly not in the business purely for the sake of making money — they simply love kava, and doing it this way allows them to travel throughout the islands of the Pacific ocean seeking out new and interesting strains of kava to try back home.

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