The Definitive Guide to Barley Tea: Taste, Health Benefits, Recipes, and Side Effects

a complete guide to barley tea

Trying barley tea for the first time? Here's everything you need to know about it. 

 

Barley tea is a type of drink that's no stranger to health-conscious individuals. In fact, barley tea is very popular in East Asian countries. There's Japanese barley tea, Korean barley tea, and it's also prominent in countries China and Taiwan. Barley tea has definitely made its impact as a flavorful and nutritious beverage. 

In this blog post, we'll be sharing with you all there is to know about barley tea. 

 

What is barley tea? 

a glass of refreshing iced barley tea

Organic barley tea is made from a grain that contains gluten. The grains are ground and used to make flour, add into soups, and make tea. It can also be cooked whole. Whole barley is filled with vitamin B and minerals like iron, zinc, and manganese. However, it is unclear how much these nutrients are being infused into barley tea during the process of steeping. Regardless, organic barley tea is still heavily used as a drink for health reasons. 

How is barley tea being made?

scooping roasted barley for tea

The process of creating the barley tea takes place in these simple steps:

  • Roast the barley grains at 204 degrees Celsius for about 5 to 10 mins.
  • The roasted barley is then added into boiling water and steeped for more than 5 minutes. If you want a stronger brew, let it steep for 10 to 15 mins. 

This is the more organic process of preparing barley tea but some prefer to make use of premade tea bags containing roasted barley. 

What does organic barley tea taste like? 

having a nice glass of barley tea in the morning

The taste of organic barley tea is often described as having a light, woody, and nutty flavor. Sometimes, it may produce a slightly bitter taste. So if you want to enhance the flavor, maybe add some milk or cream. Some tea-lovers infuse barley along with other ingredients like roasted chicory and dandelion to make the perfect coffee alternative. This is why barley tea is also referred to as barley coffee in some places.

What are the roasted barley tea benefits? 

pouring a glass of roasted barley tea

As previously mentioned, roasted barley tea is known for its many health benefits. Before it gained prominence as a tea drink for enjoyment, it was first heavily used in traditional medicine. Some of the main barley tea health benefits are its ability to treat diarrhea, inflammation, and fatigue. Unfortunately, there isn't enough scientific evidence or medical research to support these claims but some people swear by the power of barley grains. 

Here are the other roasted barley tea benefits:

1. Rich in antioxidants

One of the barley tea benefits is being rich in antioxidants that protect our cells from free radical damage and can help boost our immune system. Several antioxidants like chlorogenic and vanillic acids are found in barley grains that help us burn more calories. Furthermore, barley tea also contains an antioxidant called quercetin that helps improve heart health, brain health, and blood pressure levels. 

2. Caffeine-free 

Some teas have caffeine in them, but barley tea is not one of them. Being caffeine-free is one of the benefits barley tea has which makes it an ideal drink for those who want uninterrupted sleep. (This is connected to barley coffee which serves as a healthier alternative to normal coffee where there's caffeine). 

3. Anti-cancer properties

Since roasted barley tea is filled with antioxidants, it can potentially help protect us from cancer. A study conducted in China showed that those who have less intake of barley have higher cancer mortality. Regardless, more research is needed to prove that barley tea can be used for cancer treatment and prevention. 

4. Improves digestion and reduces bloating

Barley tea is filled with fiber, which makes it an effective aid in good digestive health. It promotes a smooth and regular bowel movement that help prevent digestive issues like diarrhea, bloating and constipation. You won’t also have to worry about hyperacidity because barley also contains a natural antiacid that can help relieve that.

5. Improves blood flow and circulation

Drinking barley tea may help improve your blood flow and circulation. Thanks to the presence of the flavonoid alkyl pyrazine, blood can flow more easily and fluidly through the arteries and veins, decreasing the risk of blood clots. Blood clots and clogged arteries may lead to severe cardiovascular issues like heart attacks and heart disease. With barley tea, you can combat these illnesses by promoting good blood flow and circulation. 

6. Enhances sleep quality

Barley tea can also help you relax and experience a better quality of sleep. It contains several compounds, including melatonin and tryptophan, that trigger neurotransmitters in your brain to help you feel relaxed and sleepy. Melatonin is actually produced by the body’s pineal gland which is usually stimulated once the sun rests. So if you are looking for a good night’s sleep, it would be recommendable to get some barley tea into your system. 


Ways on how to prepare organic barley tea 

The great thing about barley tea is that it can be prepared and enjoyed in many ways. You can either drink it hot, cold, or even turn it into a coffee alternative. You can prepare your barley tea however you want to. If you need help, listed below are the different ways to make barley tea: 

a cup of hot roasted barley tea with teabags

Hot roasted barley tea

This is the regular way of preparing roasted barley tea. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons roasted barley 
  • 8 cups water 
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Sugar or honey (for sweetening)

Directions: 

  • Scoop two tablespoons of the roasted barley and add it to a medium pot that's filled with eight cups of water. Bring it to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. The more you let it steep, the more bitter it becomes. 
  • Once you've turned off the heat, let the roasted barley cool down for a few minutes. 
  • Pour it into a cup and serve it while hot. You may add a dash of lemon juice or sweeteners like sugar or honey for more flavor.

Barley iced tea 

cold and refreshing glasses of iced barley tea

Some days are just too hot that a good old iced tea barley would do the trick! Here's how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons roasted barley
  • 8 cups water 

Directions:

  • Scoop the roasted barley and add it to a pot with boiling water.
  • Let it steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it cool down. 
  • Pour the roasted barley tea into a pitcher or tall glass (but don't forget to remove the roasted barley grounds!)
  • Place the pitcher/tall glass of roasted barley tea into the refrigerator. Let it chill overnight. Serve afterward and enjoy! 

Barley coffee

a healthy coffee alternative made from roasted barley

Barley is one of the ingredients used to make tea and coffee alternatives. Besides the barley grains being ground and roasted like coffee beans, it's also quite similar to coffee in terms of how you prepare them. 

  • If you are using an espresso machine that uses capsules or pods, you will be needing a capsule containing ground roasted barley. Insert the said capsule into the machine, press the button and wait for it to extract the beverage. 
  • You can also use a coffee kettle or a simple pot to make your barley coffee. Just add the scooped tablespoons of roasted barley into the pot with water and let it boil. 
  • It's up to you if you want to add milk or cream and sweeteners like sugar or honey. 

 

What are the side effects of organic barley tea? 

Barley tea is considered healthy but that doesn't mean there are no downsides to it. It's generally deemed safe to drink but there's no harm in knowing what side effects it might bring to some of us. 

  • Ironically, barley tea has potential anti-cancer properties but it also contains traces of acrylamide. Acrylamide is an anti-nutrient that may potentially cause cancer. This is more present in barley tea bags or those that are only lightly roasted. This is why you must roast your barley grains to a deep, dark brown color before you steep them just to be safe. 
  • Barley tea contains gluten so this is not an advisable drink for those who are celiac or on a gluten-free diet. 

 

Is barley tea different from barley coffee? 

The difference between barley tea and barley coffee is that the former is less bitter than the latter. The more you roast your barley grains, the darker and more bitter they become. This is especially the case when you make barley coffee. Korean barley tea is usually more on the bitter side to the point that the taste somehow resembles that of coffee. Japanese barley tea, on the other hand, is more mildly brewed. It's up to you if you want your barley tea to be just "tea" or if you want it to be a substitute for coffee. 

Are you ready to give barley tea a try? 

Barley tea certainly has its advantages and minor disadvantages, but the bottom line is that it's an interesting drink to try. It's generally good for the body and it tastes good! You have the freedom to turn it into any kind of drink you want. It's a healthy and fun addition to your everyday routine. 

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