A close up of the matrix style screen


The 6 digit code used to classify kavas.

Chemotype is a 6 digit number representing the ratio of kavalatones to each other. The numbers will be listed in order from most abundant kavalactone to least abundant.

The major kavalactones:

  1. Desmethoxyyangonin (DMY)
  2. Dihydrokavain (DHK)
  3. Yangonin (Y)
  4. Kavain (K)
  5. Dihydromethysticin (DHM)
  6. Methysticin (M)

A kava lab report will usually include a chemotype number, such as 462351, which can give an idea of the experience that specific kava will provide. The first three numbers of the chemotype are the main defining numbers for the experience. Kavas starting with 4 will typically lean towards a heady and euphoric experience, while those starting with 2 will be slightly more heavy and sedative. Kavas with the number 5 closer to the beginning of the chemotype will be very heavy. The percentage of kavalactones will indicate the strength of the experience. Non-noble kavas often start with 25 or 52, although this is not a hard and fast rule.

A letter f in the middle of a square.

Siméoni, Patricia, and Vincent Lebot. 2002. “Identification of Factors Determining Kavalactone Content and Chemotype in Kava (Piper Methysticum Forst. F.).†Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 30 (5): 413–24. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0305-1978(01)00093-X.

Wang, Jun, Weiyue Qu, Harry C. Bittenbender, and Qing X. Li. 2015. “Kavalactone Content and Chemotype of Kava Beverages Prepared from Roots and Rhizomes of Isa and Mahakea Varieties and Extraction Efficiency of Kavalactones Using Different Solvents.†Journal of Food Science and Technology 52 (2): 1164–69. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-013-1047-2.