This is so interesting! I'm Fijian and we drink a lot of Kava socially. It's a social drink that we have from a traditional wooden bowl. The power is grounded from the root plant and a silky cloth is used to trap the residue when mixing with water. It gets passed around using the smaller bowl, everyone gets a turn to drink. The taste is really bitter and a lot of people say it's like muddy water but if you eat something sweet afterwards, that'll take the bitterness away.
Kava is so relaxing! After an hour or so, you'll feel quite good, it doesn't get you drunk like alcohol but it definitely makes you more mellow and relaxed. It also helps you sleep. I'd suggest Fijian/Tongan kava. We grow it ourselves so I reckon it's better quality but I haven't tried any non-pacific kava so I wouldn't know.