16 December, 2016, 12:00 am
WHILE most Pacific Islanders love drinking kava, the thought of mixing the beverage in this cold season could prove tiresome for some.
This is where a new invention by Matthew Masifilo comes in quite handy for most kava lovers who prefer their drink on the go.
Mr Masifilo, who is the manager for Pacific Island Kava, came up with the AluBall Kava Maker.
The 27-year-old Stanford University engineering and product design graduate created an easier and accessible way to make kava.
The AluBall is a sphere shaped apparatus that is filled with kava, put in a shaker ball, add water and shake and within minutes kava is ready for consumption.
“The initial response to the AluBall Kava Maker in the US has been amazing. Users love how quick and easy it is to make kava with it,” said Mr Masifilo.
“Old school kava drinkers particularly like how it makes kava in a more sanitary way and that it is harder to waste kava because you are making smaller batches of kava at a time.”
Mr Masifilo said they sold out their initial production run of the AluBall Kava Maker quicker than expected and were bracing for an even bigger year in 2017.
“With national distribution of the AluBall in the US set up, we are working with Lami Kava to get it distributed throughout Fiji. We think the AluBall will be very effective in the Fijian tourism sector,” he said.
Mr Masifilo said he invested most of his earnings from playing professional American football in the NFL into this venture, considering his 100 per cent commitment to the kava industry.
In terms of demand for kava overseas, Mr Masifilo said the demand for kava overseas was skyrocketing.
“American kava bars are opening up in every major US city. I’d say over 90 per cent of our customers are in the US. Thanks to kava bars, food bloggers, and social media, hundreds of new people are discovering kava every day.”
He said the cost of kava was going up quickly in the US as well.
“I think we will feel it heavily in the coming year, especially because the demand will only continue to rise.”