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Powdered Kava Review Ambae's Kava


Kava Curious
Ambae - 'Kava Time' product review

Preliminaries (ordering, shipping, first impressions etc)...

I placed the online to this company in Florida order late night 6/12. It arrived in Alberta early afternoon on 6/17. I don't have an issue with five days from USA for a parcel that was held at the border, even if briefly. I would prefer, if current realities permit, it was just put in on a truck and a human being handed it to me in 10-14 days with no detours or extra fees.

When Kava Time's Ambae (3 lbs) arrived, the FEDEX driver ignored the huge sign on front door: 'Welcome, please come to backdoor'. He rang and left within about 10 seconds. COVID? Yesterday I had informed FEDEX to add the no front door delivery instructions for driver. They said they would 'do their best' (would you accept a surgeon saying that before an operation?) The sender was unable to do so. The box had been inspected and resealed by Canada Border Services.

Parcel is compact and with the best kava packaging I have seen in 15 years, like vacuum-sealed gourmet coffee. Perfect for airline travel and stashing in a cool place where I spend my winters overseas in the tropics. Each package bore an identical hand-written six digit number, which I presume is a product lot or order identifier. Immediately at opening I noticed a stronger aroma, darker colour, and coarser grind than the kava from Yaqona. Perhaps the more powerful fragrance was due to a recent saline nasal rinse.

My next impression was, "how am I going to measure this?" I cut off about a 15% as a conservative test. Hand-mixing the exceptionally dry powder it felt as close to zero humidity I have ever felt in a kava. I estimate that returning this Martian from its space capsule isolation and breaking it up added another 50+% in volume. The package was exceptionally easy to close with elastics and put in a zip lock. I really like the smell, but lack of any discernible moisture I find unusual. The soft powder ended up being 13 level tablespoons, measured using a bakers' spoon.

Sieving the kava 'powder' with the same utensil used in my Yaqona review, it left not only a heaping tablespoons of chips, those that got through seemed to my memory longer slivers than the Yaqona kava.

Price for three lbs was CAD288 after all was said and done - purchase, FXS, shipping, taxes, probably a hidden fee by FEDEX that I missed also. So that's AUD320ish. Looking closer at switching to hops. This is a bloody expensive indulgence!

Experiential rather than observational review now...

Supplier claims Ambae is a cultivar from the island of Ambae that is a combination of melomelo and borugu. I don't know if this means two cultivars mixed or that the cultivar is a hybrid. Chemotype 243561, like I care. Yet another noble kava.

This time my ratio was much more liquid than solid, so comparisons with the Yaqone kava (see previous review) is really not comparing apples to apples.

Context: last meal 6 hrs previous, last food (snack) 150 minutes previous

- 5 tablespoons kava of sieved kava
- 1 litre of warmed up coconut water (canned not fresh)
- kneaded for 20 minutes, with watching 'Hyperdrive' on Prime
- set for 5 minutes
- pour first cup an after 3 mouthfuls, wait five minutes

First sensation: Nothing except sweetness of the coco water and peppery taste
Second feeling: mood of lightness
Third mood: after 10 minutes breath slows, thereafter anaesthesia of roof of mouth and tongue (not the usual numb lips)

When drain cup a weird unpleasant taste (sludge?)

After first mug I wait 15 minutes. Soon thereafter I feel a bit giddy. A smile creeps across my face as I feel a physical glow of happiness, a cool (literally) peace. Could be the BBC comedy sci-fi.

2nd mug: drink it slowly for 20 minutes.

Side effects: unfamiliar sensation in digestive system, very mild and not truly nauseous. Heartbeat increases. Not as serious as first stage effects of cnbs, but perceptible.

Primary mood: quiet, happy, peaceful but no inebriation

Post-imbibing meal: 150 minutes later take a large meal and become distracted from kava drinking. One more cup remains for tomorrow night.... until I decide to have the rest as a nightcap. But instead of my usual hyper-cautious slow drinking, I drink the last cup quickly as if it is juice or water. Soon my heart has sped up. I am not at ease with this so leave 1/5 in the cup and drink a lot of water. The top of my mouth has that cool sensation and I am not at peace because I overdid it. Seems that for me kava has a vascular influence (even though it lasted only 12-15 minutes after stopping). It's not major but it seems real. Time for bed.

Conclusion: pleasant but underwhelming.