MeloMelo is the first to bring Kava to the Bay Area!
We're excited to bring you the Bay's first nakamal, or Kava bar! Kava is an ancient beverage from the South Pacific made from the roots of the Kava Kava plant Piper methysticum. The traditional beverage has been consumed in that part of the world for thousands of years and we're happy to be the first to bring it here!
What is Kava?
First and foremost, Kava is a plant. Specifically, it is the name of the beverage made from the root of the plant Piper methysticum, a close relative of Piper nigrum or Black Pepper. The name Kava is given to this beverage by the people of Vanuatu, commonly believed to be the architects of this plant. Vanuwhat?! Think of Vanuatu as a set of islands that Fijians might plan their family vacation to. These islands are about 750 miles west of Fiji, or about the distance between San Francisco and Tijuana (though I imagine the sailing trip to be a little more exciting!). We source most of our kava from Vanuatu because the kava roots and tradition are older, and therefore the product, in this case through selection, is superior. Although the exact origin of the plant is as of yet unknown, it is believed to be an artificial selection of another member of the Piper genus, Piper wichmanii.
Kava, has many names reflecting the many languages in the South Pacific. The Hawaiians referred to it as ‘awa, or ‘awa-‘awa. In Samoa it is referred to as ava, and yaqona in Fiji. Because it spread so slowly, and due to lack of cell phone reception two thousand years ago, different islands have adopted kava for different reasons: ceremonial, recreational, spiritual, medicinal, political, and cultural. It's also because of this slow spread that kava actually has a different name, depending on which island you float to. Regardless what it was called, the plant and beverage it was named for had the same reverence and respect: a root of peace and friendship. But let's be honest- much like anything good for you, it doesn't taste all that great.
Why drink it? Why have islanders in the Pacific been consuming it for over 3000 years?
Well, for one thing, we all seek new experiences- especially when it turns out those new experiences make you feel great!
It might have taken a little longer for kava to float over to the Bay, but why is the Bay Area adopting kava? We elect to recreate this long lost art of community. We are but one tribe in a very, very big village. We are here to learn from tradition, and in turn, create our own. Whatever your reason to consume kava, whether it a be socially driven desire, to help reduce anxiety, for better sleep, to try a new experience, or even just as a more positive alternative to your day to day (or night by night) lifestyle- we say Welcome!
On the islands, we don't say "cheers", we say BULA. Just like that, all caps. And to you, reader, for getting this far and not losing too much focus, I say BULA!
(We are proud to have partnered with and feature Kava certified "Noble" and meets all UN Codex requirements by True Kava. Be sure you always ask about your Kava, the varietal, root ratio, and testing! See our footer for more information)