You may know it by its cognate from Tongan - kava. Some people recently have taken to call it kavakava, which I do not think is correct. It is a plant from the Pacific with medicinal properties, somewhat popular here in the States for things like anxiety. A drink made from its root is commonly served in ceremonies in many islands in the Pacific. It numbs you like Novocain. It is bitter, though - it tastes like dirt.
Right. That is why it seems odd that someone would be described as a kava-lover.
Well people do not drink it solely for the taste. As I said, it is consumed for many reasons, and people like the numbing feel of it.
This is a weird one for me also. "Poi 'awa'awa" is sour poi. But wehewehe.org Def.1 says it is a type of root or shrub that kahuna eat to get a narcotic affect. Def.3 says it can be a cold mountain rain, but seems to be used only figuratively, such as in storytelling or poetry. I was translating it as "sour stuff" but I do not know what the instructors had in mind.
In Pohnpei, a part of Micronesia, the root of the pepper plant was pounded to make sakau, a slightly narcotic, gray drink, the equivalent of Polynesiaʻs kava. It was served at formal celebrations. The formality wore off, and people would sometimes drink it it pool halls and so on. There are kava bars in Florida, New York, and Colorado, maybe more places stateside.