Aloha! Our bitter tasting product needs some guidance to turn tasty!

Paradise Kava
01/03/11 07:18:02PM
3 posts


Thank You for having us on the forum! Great to be here! We are choco-lovers albeit novices at working with this amazing medium.

My wife and me are kava growers on the Big Island of Hawaii. Kava is a relaxing antianxiety agent. This bitter tasting root has been used in Polynesia for over over three Millenia.

We have been experimenting to find ways to make our kava more palletable and came up with a kava chocolate paste (73% cacao. Hawaiian made chocolate)

Because the chocolate is not sweet enough, we put it in a double boiler and added raw sugar to it and whisked it about. The granules refused to melt so I was forced to add a tiny amount of water and this totally worked and the chocolate gathered a sheen and thickness and turned beautiful! We cooked the water off and were left with an outstanding chocolate paste to which we can add our kava.

Here are some questions, comments and concerns we have:

a) By doing what I did above, are we lowering the shelf life of our chocolate (if left at room temp - ingredients are only cacao masse, coconu oil, sugar with vanilla.)? We are hoping for a one year shelf life at room temp if possible (the added kava is totally stabilized)

b) The final product is very hard after the chocolate cools. A serving size of our product is 1/4 tea spoon (or a gram) and this makes it very hard to get a dose as one is fighting with a tiny spoon to get a tiny mount out! TO soften this product for easy access, we added coconut oil. Our question is if we can add something more effective which is dairy free, shelf stable. If it is not flavored, this is a plus, but slight flavor is acceptable. Any ideas?

c) For such a bitter product, we feel a lower cacao % a better option. We feel the only problem with this is that the additional cacao butter will harden the product even more! What can be done here for a smoother, softer dairy free product which is not as bitter?

d) Do you prefer any citrus oils from a particular vendor online? Cost is not a consideration as we are trying to produce the finest artisan kava product.

Mahalo Nui Loa for reading this post and helping out!

Aloha from the Big Island

A. Ghiasi

updated by @paradise-kava: 04/10/15 05:23:04PM
01/04/11 02:39:12AM
38 posts

Try grinding nuts (macademia maybe) with sugar into a paste and working 10-20% sweetened nut paste into the 73% chocolate. Adding water to the chocolate is going to shorten its shelf life and seize the chocolate making it difficult to melt. Sugar does not dissolve into chocolate so I would recommend starting with a sweeter chocolate if you don't have any grinding machinery.

Nut paste will soften your chocolate (Gianduja) and cut the bitterness of the kava.

Hope that helps.

All the best,


Paradise Kava
01/04/11 03:44:54AM
3 posts

thanks so much for your reply Jo.

I was skeptical about adding water to that chocolate to tell you the truth and my hunch proved right, thanks for confirming.

I like the mac nut butter idea and will look into it.

My vision is to keep this product as simple as possible with minimal ingredients.

Play a game with me Jo and let's trade hats for a second.

You have a bitter paste, it's REALLY bitter, and chocolate reduces the punishment of consuming it when mixed into the kava. Phew! But it's still so bitter you try to sweeten the 73% cacao chocolate (you WANT to keep it local even though it's getting hard to get custom supply for this stuff)

So you say, alright, I'll try a non Hawaiian chocolate to move things along!

Which chocolate would you try and experiment with?

What does this chocolate taste like, and what's the ideal cacao % to start playing with and is there a consistancy you are looking for?

Price per pound is not really a consideration at this point.Not if the kava get's it's soul mate in chocolate!

I am going to guess it's border line milk chocolate (least amount of cacao % before it gets into dairy - you want a vegan product for maximum shelf life and since this is a health food store product) .

Thanks for indulging me Jo,

A. Ghiasi

01/04/11 07:22:43AM
75 posts

Any added water that may not cook out could lower the shelf life as it provides an environement in which bacteria can survive. Is it the sugar or cacao granules that are not melting? If it's the sugar, try grinding it to a powder in a coffee grinder or powerful blender. Don't use commercial powdered sugar as this has corn powder in it to reduce caking.

Coconut oil or other stable vegetable oils will soften the product without diluting the cacao taste too much. It would be best if you could grind the cacao, kava, sugar, and butter together with a stone grinder like a Santha which many people on the Big Island use to make chocolate bars.

Faerie's Finest has good organic and food grade citrus oils.

How do you deal with the possible intestinal distress from ingesting whole kava powder instead of the water extraction as it is used traditionally?

Paradise Kava
01/04/11 07:38:11AM
3 posts

Thanks for the reply Nat.

What if I add the water to the fully made chocolate along with granulated white sugar and cook it for a while as I whisk it around in a double boiler? you think shelf life is still compromised?

Our kava product is CO2 extract based so no problems there.

I am working with finished chocolate and totally agree on staying away from powdered sugar with the anti caking corn powder in it.

However, I hear there is a powdered sugar with no corn powder added.

Will try and find that and play with it.

Thanks again!

Ice Blocks!
01/04/11 05:02:28PM
81 posts
Try lightly roasting the Macadamia nuts before grinding. Makes for an exceptional taste.
01/05/11 01:38:58AM
38 posts

There seem to be several Hawaian chocololate makers on this forum. It's hard for me to imagine you couldn't convince someone to make a small amount of sweeter chocolate for you. Remember, cocoa is also very bitter, fat and sugar are the ingredients that counter the sweetness. You probably just need to get the right balance of sugar.

I would recommend using a chocolate that you like the way it tastes. I don't know what type of bitter taste the kava root has, but you probably need plenty of sweetness to cover it. Try using a chocolate that is semisweet (50% cacao -60%) instead of bitter, maybe that would balance the kava. I don't know because I've never used the product.

The macadamia nuts will "sweeten" the chocolate a little as well with a similar creamy feeling as milk. If you want a paste and not a bar than use a larger % of nuts to chocolate so it can spread.

All the best,



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