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Noble Kava Tennesse

Kava in the USA


From its first use in the USA in 1842 to its rise to popularity as a social tonic alternative, kava’s history in the USA is quite intriguing. In fact, today kava bars litter cities from coast to coast. These establishments have almost single-handedly made kava one of America’s favourite root plants.

Early history of kava in America

Church Kidney Cure
Turn of the Century USA Kava Products

The early 20th century was a time of great interest in herbal remedies in the USA. Kava and may other botanical herbs were sold as a tonic. Kava products were sold by American Pharmacies, snake oil salesman and even the Sears catalogue! During this time Kava was also incorporated into capsules and blended with other herbs as a medicinal aid. Its application was for ailment such as: anxiety, insomnia and nervousness. Some even claimed it cured sexually transmitted diseases.

It was thought that the kava used in these early products was brought in from Hawaiian merchant traders.  This assumption made sense due to the USA’s connection with Hawaii. However, it wouldn’t be until decades later that kava from the wider. It was only then that the wider Pacific region would used as a source of the kava root. 

The 90’s Kava Explosion

Nakamal at home
Nakamal at Home were one of the early pioneers of online USA Kava vendors who sold traditional kava powder, not value added kava products like capsules.

Similarly to the turn of the century, the 90’s saw an increase in herbal remedies in the USA. Kava products again became popular, however this time with a focus on anxiety. This as opposed to the more expansive and non sensical claims made nearly 100 years previously. The demand for kava in capsules and tinctures lead to a more expansive search of kava suppliers outside of just Hawaii. The Vanuatu and Fiji kava industries up until the late 80’s were domestic niche markets at best. This quickly changed in the 90’s with kava becoming the dominant export for both countries due to the demand for kava in the USA.

In the late 90’s online kava vendors selling kava powder as opposed to value added kava products began to appear in the USA. Whilst not immediately seen as the most convenient way of consuming kava, these early vendors selling traditional kava powder would lead the way for the next expansion of kava into the USA, the kava bar!

Kava Bars in the USA

Nakava Bar
Nakava Kava Bar - Ground Zero for kava bars in the USA

One of the early online kava vendors visited Vanuatu in 1999 to meet with potential kava exporters. During his time there he went to some local kava bars. Seeing the relaxed environment enjoyed by both locals, expats and tourists at these kava bars, he decided to open one in the USA. In 2002 the first commercial kava in Boca Raton, Florida opened. Called Nakava Bar, from all reports it was a slow start with people unsure of what to make of it. However, in 12 months’ time the appeal of kava and enjoying a few shells of kava with people at a bar began to take on.

Noble Kava Tennesse
Noble Kava are one of the early adopters of kava bars and now have a number of kava bars in North and South Carolina as well as Tennessee

Early kava bar pioneers such as Noble Kava in North Carolina and Squarerut in Texas faced similar early challenges, but again through perseverance built a loyal following allowing them to expand to other locations. Indeed, in the past 20 years the kava bar scene has grown to over 200 dedicated bars and at least another 100 business’s that have a kava bar service adjacent to their existing food and beverage business. USA kava drinkers can also find local kava near them by going to the Local Kava Bar site.

Ready to Drink Kava Products

Ready to drink kava products are a convenient way to enjoy the benefits of kava. These beverages are made from ground kava root, which is then mixed with water, fruit juice or other liquids. The result is an easy-to-drink beverage that can be enjoyed at home or on the go! Rallying on from early incantations of kava RTD’s like Vanuatu’s Lava Cola there are many kava RTD’s available in the USA. Some of the most popular include:

Karuna Kava is a ready-to-drink kava beverage that is naturally flavoured and traditionally prepared with organic ingredients. The kava is sweetened with honey or sugar-free options, and it is a healthy, zero-proof social beverage that is relaxing and creates euphoric and cheerful feelings.

Kava in the USA - Ready to Drink Kava

Buying Kava online in the USA

The Kava boom of the 90’s and the development of a kava bar “scene” in the early 00’s has led to a massive amount of online kava vendors. There are over 300 online business’s selling kava in the USA, however a lot of them are simply resellers wanting to ride the coat tails of kava’s success.

The true test of a kava online vendors integrity can be checked by reviewing the following:

  1. Do they post microbial and noble certification of their products both from a country of origin and from a USA laboratory.
  2. Have they travelled to the South Pacific and met with their small holder/kava plantation suppliers. They will likely have pics of them doing this on their website.
  3. Pricing is important. If the price seems to good to be true compared to the leaders in the industry its likely you are buying inferior grade products.

Art of Kava

Whilst reasonably new in the industry, the Art of Kava Team are passionate about their kava. Both Australia Kava Shop and Art of Kava share some of the same small holder and kava plantation suppliers from both Vanuatu and Fiji.

Art of Kava stock kava from Vanuatu, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands. Whilst shipping nationwide, they also focus heavily on people that want to “buy kava near me” and offer direct delivery services (B2C and B2B) to the immediate Jacksonville Florida area. 

The Kava Roots are a well established USA Kava Vendor. Paul and the team at The Kava Roots sell a range of traditional kava powders from across the Pacific. However they have deep ties with Tonga and their Tonga kava, in particular  the Tonga Family Reserve is considered some of the best Tonga kava for sale in America.

Bula RX take a healthy spin on the impacts on kava and we FULLY agree with them. Not only that, but their products are sourced from the some of the well established Vanuatu and Tonga farmers and small holders that Australia Kava Shop sources from!

Kavaloloko are a Polynesian owned company operating out of Colorado. With Tongan heritage they specialize in premium Tonga Kava and have a history in the kava business that dates back over a decade.  Their product is that good they supply multiple kava bars and numerous retail outlets in the state of Colorado.

KavaHana operate a number of kava bars, with locations in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, California. They offer high quality, natural kava root juice sourced from family farms in the Pacific Islands. Their menu includes a variety of kava tea drinks, which are known for relaxing properties. They also sell their in house Kava Nectar kava powder through their online store HERE.

Fiji Vanua Kava is a family-owned business that has been operating since 1989, specializing in sourcing high-quality Kava from farms in Fiji to California. They are dedicated to cultivating and processing their own Kava without involving any middlemen, ensuring premium quality products reach their customers in the United States. Customers can find a variety of Kava products on their website and benefit from free shipping of their premium-quality products across the United States.

Buy Instant Kava in the USA

Coral Sea Kava

If you’re considering buying Instant Kava in the USA, Coral Sea Kava is the perfect option. Coral Sea Kava offers the highest quality Instant Kava sourced directly from the South Pacific islands. Their Instant Kava product provides convenience, allowing you to enjoy a refreshing Kava drink within 30 seconds. 

Kava Imports to the US

Kava imports into the United States have increased dramatically over the past few years–from under $1 million in 2006 to more than $25 million in 2016 (the most recent year available). While this may seem like an impressive number on its own, it’s worth noting that these imports represent only about 1% of total pharmaceutical sales in America–so there’s still plenty of room for growth!

Kava in the USA - Where to from here?

Kava Bar

The USA kava market is already one of the largest in the world. It has been growing steadily since the early 2000s, when it became more widely available to consumers. Kava has become popular with a wide range of people, from those who use it as a relaxation tool to those who use it for its medicinal benefits.

Now that more and more people are using kava as a mood enhancer and anti-anxiety treatment, we can expect to see even more growth in this market! As more research is conducted on kava’s effects on depression and other mental health issues, we may see even more doctors prescribing it.