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These grains were made for drinking

Rebecca Firkser
January 19, 2018
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If you thought grains were only for eating, open your mind. A popular drink throughout Korea, China, and Japan is roasted barley tea (known as boricha, dàmàichá or màichá, and mugicha respectively). The tea is made by infusing toasty, slightly bitter, roasted barley kernels in simmering water, and can be served warm or cold. Roasted barley tea is milder than herbal, green, or black teas, and completely caffeine-free, making it a soothing early-morning or before-bed drink. Plus, it’s almost too easy to brew.

First, you’ll need roasted barley (also known as roasted unhulled barley kernels). I’ve found roasted barley at a few local grocery stores, but if you can’t, just make your own. Toast regular barley in a large dry skillet over medium heat until golden, about 5-10 minutes. You can also order it online (the grains are actually often sold under the name roasted barley tea).

Next, in a medium saucepan, drop 2-3 tablespoons roasted barley into 6 cups of filtered water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. When the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the mixture simmer for 10-20 minutes, depending on how strong you like the tea. 

Strain the barley out of the tea using a fine mesh sieve or a spider. Transfer the tea to a heat-safe pitcher or teapot. If you’d like, save the barley and add it to your morning breakfast salad or omelet (or just munch on the grains solo). For iced tea, chill the tea for at least 3 hours. Hot tea can be served right away. Barley is a mildly bitter, smokey, and nutty-tasting grain, so if you’d prefer your tea on the sweet side, stir in a tablespoon or two of sugar or honey. 

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