Kava tastes like dirt. That's not figurative language, nor is it a reason to pass on Bula Kava House (3115 SE Division St., bulakavahouse.com), a cafe serving the drink made with the mildly psychoactive roots of a pepper found in the South Pacific. Steeped overnight, the dried and ground kava roots numb the mouth and offer a sedated, Valium-like buzz. Elaborate rituals traditionally surround kava consumption. The laid-back Portland version involves coconut-shell cups and a bright space with big acacia tables and comfy booths. Kava promotes socialization and relaxation, traits reflected in Bula's warm vibe. A tiny but excellent food menu accented with sweet onion, pineapple and macadamia nuts is a nice touch, too. Kava is unregulated, though Bula's menu says you "should be at least 18 years of age" to imbibe. Kava will be better enjoyed by experienced drinkers craving an exotic, albeit dirt-flavored intoxicant.