Is Kratom Tea Weaker? Should I Eat Kratom Powder?


Is kratom tea weaker? This general question ends up in our social media DMs on a weekly basis.  What was at first a vague question, now seems like a great topic to cover because it is relatively complex.

When asking “is kratom tea weaker,” there are a few things to think about. Are you asking this question because you’ve heard you should eat kratom leaf powder?  Are you asking “is kratom tea weaker than capsules?”  “Is kratom tea weaker than toss and wash?”  Is kratom tea weaker than mixing with a smoothie, slurry, etc.?

As we’ve learned, these questions are often asked after you brewed tea and it didn’t work. They’re great questions because they stem from real experiences. And when your kratom tea isn’t effective, it’s easy to draw the conclusion that kratom tea must be weaker.

If you ask us “if kratom tea is weaker,” our answer is simple. It depends on how you brew it.  Done correctly, kratom tea can satisfy anyone’s strength preferences.

How To Use Kratom

As the first kratom tea bag company in the world, we feel responsible for helping you learn how to make a proper cup of kratom tea. 

There are many reasons the American market has remained indifferent to the traditional methods of kratom consumption for so long. Rooted in classic American style, it has to do with the crude, cutting-to-the-chase of eating whole leaf powder. 

In Thailand and Malaysia, brewing and drinking kratom tea is a many centuries long tradition.  In the United States, kratom use has remained relatively unknown. It first started gaining popularity as GIs returned from Vietnam having tried it while deployed.  Yet, it only really entered into the public consciousness following the beginning of the FDA’s crusade against it in 2015.

Kratom Tea vs Pill

Where kratom has been consumed for hundreds of years, fresh kratom leaves are typically chewed or brewed as a tea.  In the United States, people tend to choke down unpleasant piles of leaf powder.

And no, the American profit-oriented way of thinking hasn’t magically discovered a better way to use kratom than the inheritors of a many-hundred year tradition in Thailand.

We believe that Americans consume kratom leaf powder because it is what most vendors sell. We’ve become accustomed to it, especially since consuming whole leaf powder can be very quick.

Yet, this “benefit” is shortsighted. It may sound great to be able to consume kratom in a matter of seconds, but it is not. Eating powdered kratom leaf is plagued with drawbacks.

Some of the recorded concerns are stomach discomfort (and the “wobbles“), and other maladies are reported by kratom leaf eaters. In many ways, these side effects relate to their consumption of small piles of dried plant matter.

For the worst affected, taking leaf powder is off the table completely. With tea, you do not consume any solids, bypassing or limiting this aspect of using kratom. Eating kratom leaf powder instead of making a tea can save you 15 minutes. But are those 15 minutes worth the grab bag of unnecessary side effects?

When brewed correctly, kratom tea has no strength difference than eating the leaf powder directly.  In fact, in Thailand there is a kratom tea so strong that it has taken on a life of its own through hyper-sensationalized news stories. Though to be fair, there it’s mixed with other ingredients we wouldn’t recommend.

Two Thai Teas

The laborer’s second wind

Traditionally, about 5 kg of fresh kratom leaves go into a large pot of water. The works leave it over a fire for about four hours. After lunch, they divide the tea and everyone enjoys their afternoon energy.

When drunk in the mornings, the intention of the tea is to give them a second wind. The laborers then take their teas with them back into the rubber tree groves. Now, with kratom-tinted smiles.

While tea seems to be the preferred way to reap the benefits from kratom, it is not uncommon to see someone pluck a leaf and chew on it for a moment.  They remove its central vein and chew the quid for 10 to 15 seconds. 

How does this work? In short, membranes in the mouth absorb the kratom alkaloids. The onset is fast and very noticeable.There is no traditional preparation that we are aware of that involves swallowing any of the kratom leaf matter.

While these laborers are the figure heads of traditional kratom use, they are not the only users of kratom tea.

Pleasure and the Puritanical Response

At night, a different brew is made. The media refers to it as “4×100.” This “toxic cocktail” was and continues to be sensationalized by local and global news stories. It is a juicy headline complete with all the pickings of the post-Reagan drug hysteria.

Most news stories reported a mix of three key ingredients. Kratom. Soda. And cough syrup. In the wake of this fear mongering beverage was addiction, withdrawal, and insanity. Other articles reported it was mixed with “methamphetamine, opiates, and benzodiazepines.” This manufactured panic is typical for mainstream coverage of anything which can fit their drug war narratives. 

Deconstructing the Sensational

Reporter on all things “strange,” Hamilton Morris investigated the elegit youth-drug-of-abuse phenomenon known as “4×100” in Thailand in 2017. Under the faint glow of the production’s lights, three young men demonstrated the infamous recipe.

Four items made the brew complete: kratom leaves, candied sugar plums, cola, and a bottle cap of chlorpheniramine (an antihistamine) containing cough syrup.

Aside from the diluted, already mild dose of an antihistamine, which likely adds little to the overall effect, it is a sweet kratom-tea. (Why the chlorpheniramine if it doesn’t contribute to the effect?

Well, given how the news influences drug-taking behavior, it’s likely just their imitation of the reported recipe, not the result of any research and development.) 

Yet this night time beverage is noticeably different from it’s daytime counterpart — those who consumed it were looking for mood altering and relaxing effects. The paradox of kratom’s activity is its ability to energize its users when less is taken, while also making them drowsy after having several servings. 

In short, it is reasonable to suspect that 4×100 is simply a strong kratom tea with a lot of bad press. The sugar plum candy and cola mixture probably carries the same health risks as a high fructose corn syrup laden American sweet tea.

Yet the lesson to be distilled from this is plain, kratom tea can be made to suit the preference of those who make it.  A weak tea is frequently made to reinvigorate the weary muscles of the common laborer. Adjacent to that, kratom tea is also brewed to be stronger, more recreational, and meant for pleasure instead of work.  All that goes to say that kratom tea can be any strength you like!

The Virtue of Patience

While making a traditional cup of kratom tea requires a slight investment of your time, it is worth it.  If tea was not the best way to consume kratom, why would this “idea” persist for so long where it has been used traditionally for generations? 

While making your tea, you are also taking the time to practice patience and mindfulness.  You are saying that you are worthy of what is best, and that you are willing to take the time to do it right.  This, along with the delectable cup of kratom tea at the end, is why we believe in the tea “ceremony” as a great practice to incorporate into your wellness routine.

How to Make Stronger Kratom Tea

As a quick review, people in Southeast Asia make kratom tea by simmering it for hours over a fire.  When you use hot water alone for your extraction, a longer brew time is essential.  This is due to mitragynine being water insoluble.

 To replicate this simple traditional tea, we recommend that you bring a pot of water to a boil while your tea bags steep.  Once boiling, the pot is left to simmer for upwards of 4 hours.  Albeit, the longer you steep the stronger your tea will be.

If you do not want to tend to a boiling pot for so long, adding some lemon juice can bring the time down to about 20 minutes.  We’ll talk more about that shortly. Ultimately, our tea making advice stems from lessons distilled from traditional methods while also paying close attention to cutting-edge kratom research.

A Modern Shortcut

Are you trying to use kratom tea as a caffeine alternative? If so, we recommend that you steep your tea bags in boiling water and lemon juice.  A great way to maintain the temperature is to keep it sealed in a vacuum thermos.

Make sure to steep for at least 20 minutes so as to complete the extraction of the alkaloids.  With 1 to 5 tea bags (1 serving size), kratom tea can rejuvenate one’s energy levels.

Yet when one takes 3 or 4 servings of kratom, the effect on one’s energy can reverse course.  Instead of energizing, the tea promotes a sense of tranquility and comfortable philosophical reflection.

The citric acid in the lemon juice greatly increases how soluble the alkaloids in kratom are to water. This means that the brew time for a strong cup of tea is considerably shorter. Because any food grade acid helps, you don’t have to stick with lemon!  Some of my favorite acidic additives are grapefruit, blood oranges, and satsumas.  We definitely recommend you experiment with the fruits that are available to you.

You can never fully get around needing to take time to make a good cup of kratom tea. Given that we are living in a much busier world than the originators of the traditional brewing method, we do sympathize with those whose lives demand the occasional need to rush. Add a thermos to your next order to streamline your brewing practice on those days you’re too busy to simmer your tea bags for 1-4 hours!

Is Kratom Tea Weaker? No!

A correctly brewed cup of kratom tea can be as strong as consuming the whole leaf. When you do not want to take the time traditionally alloted for brewing the tea, one can simply add an extra tea bag and some acidic fruit juices in a thermos until you’ve reached your desired strength per cup.

But however you spin it, the answer regarding the strength of kratom tea is all in how you brew it.