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The history of kava in Vanuatu is much older than the history in Fiji. Early Melanesian Lapita people from Vanuatu took kava to Fiji 2000 years ago.
The amount of available land for growing kava in Vanuatu is much smaller than the amount in Fiji. Vanuatu traditionally grows kava via “Small Holders” meaning small family plots of kava. Whereas Fiji Kava whilst still grown via families is done over much larger amount of land.
Whilst Fiji has 9 different varieties of noble kava, Vanuatu has approximately 80 different noble variety kava types. Fiji is known for only having Noble variety kava, whereas Vanuatu has over 20 non-noble kava varieties that are called “Tu-Dei” or “Two Day” and are not suitable for drinking.
It is very important to be sure that if you are buying kava from Vanuatu, that is certified as noble variety kava such as what Australia Kava Shop supply HERE . Check the full list of Fiji and Vanuatu kava varieties here.
Both countries are known for having a high concentration of kavalactones, the compounds in kava that make it so effective at relieving stress and as a social tonic.
Fiji kava generally has a higher concentration of methysticin, which is thought to be responsible for its stimulating effects. It also has a lower level of dihydrokavain than Vanuatu. This means that Vanuatu is likely to be more sedating than Fiji.
However it is not that simple as with 80 different varieties in Vanuatu and 9 in Fiji there are lots of variations in kavalactone structure.
The general rule of thumb is that Fiji kava normally contains a higher amount of kava lactones over all, however they are not necessarily the kavalactones that cause a euphoric or body effect. In many cases varieties from Vanuatu contain lower amount of kava lactones, but higher amounts of the feel good kavian lactone.
Now this is the major difference between both countries and goes a long way to explain why people think Vanuatu varieties are stronger than their neighbors.
Vanuatu kava is drunk using the green freshly pulled up kava root and is mixed at a much stronger kava to water ratio than Fiji. This means that Vanuatu kava drinkers are used to a much stronger kava brew based on a per serve basis. However Fiji kava culture is based around using more water and drinking a milder brew over a much longer period of time.
The Australia Kava Shop team originate from Vanuatu. However we are not prejudice and understand that with over 89 noble kava varieties between both countries, there are no hard and fast rules re who is the best.
We recommend that you apply the same water ratio to both countries kava and you determine which one best fits you.
We make it easy to do this with both our Kava 3 pack and Kava 4 pack options which have a mix of both countries kava varieties in them.