How To Make Kratom Tea: 2022 Update
New and Improved
We’re here to help you learn how to make kratom tea. The tea ritual has been celebrated and treated as sacred in almost every culture it exists in. In the Japanese Shinto context, the art of correctly extracting the tea leaves is mythologized in a ceremony which holds sacrosanct the movement of the body and setting. In Amazonia, other plants are decanted into a psychoactive potion which demands the lifelong tutelage of a shaman to serve.
Even in the UK, a capitalist regime governed by productivity and output, there is a dedicated hour in the midst of the work day for tea. Like the others, a tea has been drank for generations for medicinal, recreational, and productivity heightening reasons in Thailand. This post is about that Thai tea. This is “How to Make Kratom Tea!”
We wrote our first “how to make kratom tea” post in late 2019. Since then, we’ve literally made thousands of kratom teas and have continued to improve our brewing techniques. Keep on reading to learn how to make kratom tea like a pro!
What is Kratom?
Kratom is the colloquial term for the MItragyna speciosa tree and it’s leaves. M. speciosa is an evergreen tree which naturally grows in South East Asia. In the wild, it can grow to be over 80 meters tall and have a trunk with a circumference in excess of 14 feet.
Even the leaves can grow larger than a foot from tip to petiole. Kratom leaves, though, have had a social impact so large that it dwarf’s the giant trees themselves.
Kratom is close botanical cousins with coffee, both belonging to the Rubiaceae family. It’s use also closely mimics coffee. Often kratom tea is drank daily, and used for its energizing effect. However, kratom tea does not contain caffeine. Instead kratom tea contains a myriad of different alkaloids, the most common of which is mitragynine.
Ancient Kratom Traditions
Kratom has been a part of Thai life and culture for at least 350 years (if you look at the oldest temple inscriptions) to speculations of use for over 8000 years. Rarely has kratom leaf been swallowed throughout its history of use in its traditional context. The most common methods are chewing the leaf and spitting it out, or, you guessed it, brewed into a tea.
Since kratom is a wild growing tree, the quickest and easiest way to get the effects has historically been to pluck and chew the leaf whenever you come across a tree. Kratom “quids” are still a common way to consume kratom. This is in spite of the fact that there was a law banning kratom in Thailand from 1943 to 2020 which resulted in the widespread destruction of kratom trees.
This is most common among laborers who spend over 12 hours a day working in the extreme heat. They frequently chew the leaves to stave off exhaustion and hunger, allowing them to increase their productivity.
If You Don’t Chew, Brew
Kratom tea is often used in different contexts than the chewed kratom leaves. This is despite the fact that they are very similar in effect. Instead of being a work-enhancing tool like the chewed leaf, the tea is mostly drank in the evenings, after work has concluded. (Although it is not uncommon to see Thai laborers sipping on a small serving of tea slowly throughout the day. More on that in a bit.)
In this context, the tea is enjoyed for its pro-socializing effects and relaxing qualities. Just as you would notice going to a modern, American kava/kratom bar, after a drink you (and the crowd!) start to get chatty. Fortunately, drinking kratom tea in the evenings won’t keep you up, despite being used for energy in the day. This is due to the fact that the effects vary based on the amount of kratom consumed.
Kratom Serving Sizes
When laborers drink their tea throughout the day it is for the energizing effect. When the laborers (or whoever) drinks their tea in the nighttime, they do so to unwind, relax, and converse. The only difference between the teas is how much is drank or how strong it is. When you have a smaller serving of kratom the effects are energizing. A heaping serving is consumed (equivalent to 3 or more tea bags) when it is time to unwind.
There haven’t been many scientific studies on this curve of effects. Some have speculated that this is just a facet of the receptor site that the most abundant kratom alkaloid mitragynine binds with.
Another hypothesis points to the lesser known alkaloids. The idea is that the effects change when a critical point in the concentration of the peripheral alkaloids is reached. Yet another hypothesis is that there is a varying rate in which different alkaloids dissolve into the hot water of the tea, and that its the longer steep times that result in the different feelings. Even still, some say that the temperature of the water may contribute to the degradation of kratom alkaloids into even more potent look-alikes.
Figuring Out What Is Right for You
Whatever may be the cause, the phenomena is well documented. In terms of 3 gram tea bags, one to three, depending on your body weight, can promote an energizing sensation and three or more tea bags can promote a relaxed body composure. Hopefully science catches up to the traditional knowledge soon!
We can’t spend all our time wishing for science to catch up, however. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Dr. Oliver Grundmann, Dr. Charles Veltri and the scientists at Santé laboratories to conduct a revolutionary study comparing the survey responses of kratom tea drinkers to the varying concentrations of eight different alkaloids in that tea. (Click here to learn more!)
How to Make Kratom Tea
Finally, now that we have the background information out of the way, we can dive into the “how’s” of “how to make kratom tea!”
First, you’ll need your kratom. You’ll want to shy away from micronized kratom powder. No matter how hard you try, you’ll almost always end up with a gritty tea by the end. Stop the sludge, brew kratom tea with a little more care and you’ll be rewarded tenfold.
Whole Leaf, Crushed Leaf, or Kratom Tea Bags
Spring for crushed leaf kratom, or, if you can manage to get a hold of any, dried whole kratom leaves. These larger particle sizes are heck of a lot easier to contain which ultimately gives you the best brewing experience. If you’re using whole leaf kratom or bulk crushed kratom leaves, you’ll have to use specialty equipment. If you have crushed leaf kratom in tea bags, you’re almost ready to go!
With loose leaf kratom tea or whole leaf kratom you’ll need some sort of straining device. Everything from standard tea balls, mesh vessels in tea pots, and thermos with metal strainers will work.
If you’re brewing it in a tea pot or in a tea ball strainer, you’ll need to brew it over the stove. If you’re using the thermos with a strainer, you’ll only need to pour boiling water into the thermos and cap it.
The tea bags can be brewed either on the stove top or in a thermos, whichever best suits your situation!
Once you have your kratom in a vessel and ready to be brewed, you’ll next need your hot water. Like we stated above, you can either brew your kratom on the stovetop by simmering it, or you can pour boiling water into your thermos and let it sit.
The stovetop brewing method is the process which most closely resembles the traditional preparation technique. Historically, most kratom tea has been prepared by simmering a water and leaf mixture over a fire for three or more hours. The relatively low water solubility of some of kratom’s alkaloids are the reason that the leaves have to be simmered for so long. If you make the water acidic, by adding lemon juice or another foodsafe acid, the solubility will increase. Thus reducing the total brew time necessary to make a strong kratom tea.
For this reason, we recommend that you add a dash of lemon juice to your stove top brew in order to reduce the time it takes to finish. There are a handful of reasons why you wouldn’t want to brew your kratom tea with lemon, however. If you simply do not like the taste of the lemon; if you want to follow the traditional technique exactly; or if you want to store the pre-brewed kratom tea for a long time, an acid can be omitted
No Acid, No Problem
All of these methods that omit an acid will require you to simmer the kratom for at least three hours. The reason you will want to not use an acid if you plan on storing your kratom tea in the refrigerator for a while is because mitragynine is acid-labile. This means that acid slowly breaks down the alkaloids into different, inactive molecules.
While not a problem if you’re going to drink your tea within 24 hours, it may result in a gradual loss of potency in stored tea over time.
In summary, if you are brewing your kratom on the stove top, you have two ways of going about it. The first is to add lemon and bring your pot to a boil with the kratom in it, and then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Without lemon, you’ll want to also bring your water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and leave it simmering for about 3 hours. Be careful add water if your pot starts to get low!
We think it is important to recognize the tradition that kratom tea harkens back to, however, we shouldn’t confine ourselves to the technology of the past. The first modernization of the traditional brewing process is adding the acid.
Making the water more polar (via lowering the pH, aka making it slightly acidic) shortens the steep time needed to make a strong cup of tea. The second modernization is using a vacuum insulated thermos.
Thermoses are great for brewing kratom tea. They allow you to add your three ingredients — boiling water, kratom tea bags, and lemon — and then forget about it for at least 20 minutes. Instead of constantly tending to your stovetop, you’re free to travel, work, or even take a nap!
The thermos works to improve the brewing process by maintaining a high temperature. High temperatures increase how quickly the kratom alkaloids migrate from the leaf matter into the water. For more on this phenomenon, also known as the ideal gas law, check out our earlier post on the chemistry of kratom tea!
The Quickest, Fastest, and Most Effective Way to Make Kratom Tea
In short, we recommend you add your tea bags or whole leaf kratom to your thermos first. Then, spritz the kratom with a half lemon or a tablespoon of lemon juice, at a minimum. While the kratom is soaking in the acid, bring your water to a boil. Once your water begins boiling, immediately pour the water into your thermos and cap it. Let sit for 20 minutes, let cool, and enjoy!
When you brew with a thermos, there are two ways to get more “bang for your buck.” One, you can let your tea steep longer than 20 minutes. We love to brew a white vein kratom tea at night and leave it steeping in a thermos at our bedside table to enjoy first thing in the morning.
Another way of getting a stronger kratom tea is to simply reuse your tea bags after your first brew. Empty your thermos after 20 minutes, and repeat the process above. Add lemon juice, boiling water, and let steep for 20 minutes. The tea will be slightly weaker than your first one, but it will be active nonetheless. If you are using three or more tea bags, you can even repeat this process a third time!
The result of following these brewing instructions will leave you with straight kratom tea. So far nothing fun has been added to it. It is equivalent to a black cup of coffee or a shot of espresso even (if you make it strong enough). Now is the time to spice it up!
When thinking about adding ingredients to your kratom tea, you can use two different beverage classes as your inspiration. There are coffee recipes and there are classical tea recipes. You can add some almond milk and sugar like you would a coffee, and you can also add honey or agave like a tea.
Even further, kratom tea mixes wonderfully with many herbal blends. In the morning you can add green tea and yerba mate to give you an extra energizing kick, or use chamomile and valerian root in the evenings to unwind.
The best way to inject flavor into your kratom tea is by using herbal kratom tea blends. These blends are a 50/50 mixture of crushed leaf kratom and an assortment of complementary functional herbs. Since they are light on the kratom, they are best added to a kratom tea beverage that’s already about as strong as you would like it. Adding a single herbal kratom blend tea bag can transform your tea into a medley of rich flavors.