Saturday, 5 April 2008 11:20 AM

South Florida Also Enjoys Kava

Apparently, Pacific Islanders are not the only people who enjoy kava as a recent article states.

An article by Cristela Guerra, a freelance writer, published on the Sun-Sentinel.com (www.sun-sentinel.com) describes how the social drink well-known in the region has earned a following in South Florida.

According to the article, three kava bars have opened up in South Florida, the first being Nakava. Nakava, located in Boca Raton, was apparently the first to bring kava to South Florida and it has been servicing the locals for the past six years.

Guerra writes 'Manager Ken Hoyumpa admits it took some coaxing for newbies to get into the root-based drink that looks more like dirty water than something desirable.

But, night after night regulars trek in, sit down at the wooden bar and serve themselves single and double coconut shell cups or carved wooden bowls'.

The second bar is the Purple Lotus in West Palm Beach and the owner, Jim Scianno, says that they "only use the kava made from the crown of the plant, which is in the root hairs and makes a much better product."
The Purple Lotus' customers 'live down the street and come in for their daily fix'.

The third bar, Kahuna Awa Kava, is located in Fort Lauderdale and 'opened two years ago and in this time has drawn a regular crowd of "seekers" as Yeram Reyes, one of the servers at the bar, calls them'.

'"People who come here are really into new age spirituality," Reyes says. "We have artists who come to have kava and read some of our books and use the sketch books. It's a kind of meeting place for people to hang out and just be mellow."'

Kava, in the region, is an integral part of most cultures and used in many traditional gatherings besides being a social drink. However, it is not completely new to the Western world where it is used mostly for medicinal purposes.