Barley Tea: A Great Alternative to Black Tea
Have you heard of barley tea? It’s very popular in Asia – particularly, China, Korea and Japan. Although barley water has been popular in Britain for eons, the tea is also really good.
Not only is barley tea easy to make but there are lots of health benefits. For starters, it is naturally caffeine free. It also has a cleansing effect on the body and is a good tea to take if you have a urinary tract infection. It also is a good source of antioxidants and thus helps to keep your body healthy and free of disease. Some people say it also helps to reduce cholesterol and even helps when you have a cold. Obviously if you are gluten intolerant, this isn’t the tea for you!
Making it is simple. Simply dry roast (no oil in the pan) three tablespoons of barley. You can do this in the oven but it is easy to do in a frying pan as well. When the grains turn brown, they are ready so take them off the heat and cool slightly. This procedure can take up to fifteen minutes in your oven but is much shorter if you do it in a frying pan. Put the barley in a saucepan or teapot and pour on a liter of boiling water. Let this mixture steep for a few minutes and let it cool down a little before pouring into cups. Enjoy. The taste is toasty and a little bitter. You can add honey, stevia or sugar as well as lemon juice.
You can also portion the roasted barley into tea bags for future use. The Japanese call barley tea Mugicha so look for this tea when you’re next in an Asian supermarket and you can buy the tea bags so you only need boiling water to make your Mugicha. If you find the taste too intense, you can actually make it with cold water. Simply put a tea bag in a jug of cold water and put it in the fridge until chilled. On the other hand you can put the tea bag in a glass jug with cold water and simply leave it in the sun until it becomes a lovely orange red color.
Although this tea is consumed all year round in Japan, it is usually a summer drink in Korea. Try it with ice cubes and lemon or orange juice for a refreshing summer drink.
Hopefully you will try this wonderful tea soon.