What Drinks to Order in Samoa
Treat the tastebuds to the tropical flavours, homegrown brews and more “potent” beverages of Samoa. Whether you’re relaxing at a bar on Upolu or ready to experience the traditional drinking customs of an ‘ava ceremony, know what to order thanks to this list of the drinks in Samoa you have to try!
1. Koko Samoa
The Samoan version of hot chocolate, “koko Samoa” is where cacao is turned into a paste and mixed with hot water and sugar, which has been part of the fabric of Samoan homes for generations. Oral history suggests that the original introduction of “koko” into the Samoan culture was due to contact with South America circa 700 AD, while others suggest it was introduced during German colonialisation in the 1800s (which you can learn more about in A Brief History of Samoa). Either way, koko Samoa is part of the breakfast offering of most tourist accommodations in Samoa, while koko Samoa paste is widely available at supermarkets and market stalls across the islands.
Learn more about how to make koko Samoa at the koko Samoa demonstration at Amoa Resort or do a tour of a koko plantation at Va-i-Moana Seaside Lodge, with further details found in the 10 Best Foodie Experiences in Samoa.
Like in many of the Polynesian islands of the South Pacific, ‘ava or kava is a popular drink used for ceremonial purposes. ‘Ava is made from the root of a pepper plant that has been ground up and mixed with water. It has narcotic/sedative properties, but the quantity usually consumed by tourists won’t have much effect.
Experience ‘ava at attractions like Samoa Cultural Village, while some volunteers are chosen to try ‘ava at fiafia nights. Learn more about both in the 10 Best Cultural Shows (Fiafia Nights) in Samoa.
3. Vailima Beer
The original beer of Samoa, Vailima is the signature brew of Samoa Breweries, first flying into the hands of Samoans in 1978. Likely due to Germany’s colonial influence, Vailima is a german-style lager but has become iconic across the islands, available in most supermarkets and bars. The brewery can be found in Vaitele near Apia but is not open for brewery tours.
4. Taula Beer
The direct competitor of Vailima, Taula has been brewed in Samoa since 2012 and now dominates the Samoan beer market with approximately 70% of market shares. With that, you certainly won’t struggle to find Taula in bottles, cans or on tap!
Niu is the Samoan word for a drinking coconut, which makes for a refreshing beverage in the hot Samoan sun. The drink is the milk of an unripened coconut and is typically served in its original shell with a straw stuck through one of the coconut’s eyes.
Niu is on the menu of cafes and restaurants across the islands, as well as at markets such as Fugalei Market. Ask if the niu is fresh, as the fresher the niu the better! Learn more about Samoa’s markets in the 8 Best Markets in Samoa.
6. Vai Tipolo
The Samoan version of fresh lemonade, vai tipolo is made with lemons (moli), water and sugar as the base, while some establishments might have “secret recipes” to add an extra zing to their beverage. However it’s made, vai tipolo is an ultra-refreshing alternative to alcohol and soda while you’re holidaying in Samoa.
Find it on the drinks menu of most cafes, restaurants and bars in Samoa – check out The Food Guide to Samoa: Places to Eat & Food Tours to get started with restaurant recommendations.
Another refreshing Samoan juice, vaifala is a pineapple drink made with pineapple, coconut cream, coconut juice or water, and sugar. Although a little harder to find on drinks menus than vai tipolo, vaifala is well worth trying if you find some for a refreshing sweet drink in the tropical sun.
That’s right, Samoa cultivates its own coffee beans, locally known as kofe. Try Samoan kofe at almost any accommodation as your morning brew or in the form of beans or instant coffee in supermarkets and convenience stores across Samoa. Learn more about Samoa’s grocery stores in A Guide to Supermarkets & Food Shopping in Samoa.
9. RiVaiv Turmeric Juice
Samoans swear by turmeric for its immune system-reviving qualities with RiVaiv turmeric juice fast becoming the country’s favourite health drink. If you don’t want to buy a full bottle from supermarkets, particularly around Apia, you can try shots of this drink with a kick at the RiVaiv Cafes in Vaitele and Tanugamanono. The cafes even serve it in lattes and smoothies if you want to try some alternative mixes.
Find out more about RiVaiv Cafes in the 10 Best Cafes in Samoa.
10. Taxi Soda
Samoa’s homegrown soft drink brand, Taxi is brought to you by the same company that produces Taula. Try it in seven different flavours: cola, raspberry, lemonade, orange, cool lime, blue and strawberry! Taxi can be found in just about any supermarket, convenience store or drinks menu.
11. Sili and Moni Alcoholic Soda
Alcoholic soda drinks from Samoa Breweries, Sili and Moni are another offering from the folks that bring you Vailima beer. The fruity soda drinks come in four vibrant flavours and Moni contains 5.5% alcohol while Sili is 8% alcohol. Sili and Moni are available at a limited number of convenience stores and bars across Samoa.
Check out some of Samoa’s drinking establishments in the 10 Best Bars in Samoa.
12. Samoa Whisky
For a unique drinking experience and souvenir to bring back from Samoa, Samoa Whisky is the world’s first whisky made from talo (taro). The whisky was developed by the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (SROS) as a response to government plans to develop export goods from Samoa’s agricultural products and is now produced by Nafanua Pure Products Company.
You have to be lucky to find this drink in Samoa, but we have found it in gift stores at Faleolo International Airport.
13. Tropical Fruit Smoothie
With an abundance of tropical fruit available on the islands all year round, Samoa is a place where tropical smoothies are done oh so well. Juice and smoothie bars are abundant in Apia, while smoothies are also on most cafe and restaurant drinks menus.
Check out some of the fruit grown in Samoa in the 10 Exotic Fruits in Samoa You HAVE to Try!
14. Tropical Cocktails and Mocktails
Finally, it wouldn’t be an island holiday without cocktails and mocktails! To fit the bill, Samoa is home to well-trained mixologists and bar staff who can shake up some amazing cocktails in minutes. Check out The Ultimate Guide to Samoa Nightlife + Happy Hour List for places to try your “Sex on the Beach”.
More About Drinks in Samoa
Now that you know the best drinks in Samoa to try, here are some spectacular places to try them!
- 10 Best Bars in Samoa
- 10 Best Foodie Experiences in Samoa
- The Food Guide to Samoa: Places to Eat & Food Tours
Finally, don’t neglect your stomach too, by sampling the Traditional Samoan Food: 20 Foods to Try in Samoa.