How To Make Roasted Barley Tea?

Roasted Barley Tea is a popular drink throughout Asia. In Korea, it is called Boricha, while in Japan, it is known as Mugicha. It can be drunk either hot or cold and, as we will discover later, has numerous health and wellbeing benefits. To begin, let’s find out how to make roasted barley tea.

How to Roast Barley for Tea?

How to Roast Barley for Tea

To make roasted barley tea, you’ll need to buy some pearl barley. This is relatively easy to get hold of and is available in many stores. The reason pear barley is used is that it’s easy to get hold of, and the outer husk and bran have been removed, so you get the taste of the pure roasted barley. 

  • Step 1 – Open a window as dry roasting the barley will generate some smoke.
  • Step 2 – Tip some pearl barley into the bottom of a dry skillet. The amount you use will depend on how much barley tea you want to make, but a tablespoon is enough for a large cup. You can roast more and store it, so it’s ready for next time. I roast around a cup and then keep what I don’t need refrigerated in an airtight container once it has cooled.
  • Step 3 – Turn the heat to medium, which will start drying out the barley. Once you begin to smell it roasting, turn the heat down lower, so the barley continues cooking but doesn’t catch and burn.
  • Step 4 – Roast the grains until you reach your desired darkness. The barley will darken more as you continue to cook it. All the time, the flavors will intensify, so if you want a strong flavor, roast for longer or for a milder flavor, cook it less. The darker the roast, the deeper the color of the tea will be too.
  • Step 5 – Once you’ve roasted your barley, you’re ready to make the tea. In a pan, use a tablespoon to measure the amount of barley you need for the number of cups you’re making, around a level tablespoon per cup. 
  • Step 6 – Using the cup you’ll be drinking from, measure out the water, plus an extra quarter to allow for evaporation, and pour it over your barley.
  • Step 7 – Bring the water to a boil on high heat, then turn it down and simmer for 5 to 15 minutes, or longer, depending on how strong you want your tea. Alternatively, you can bring it to the boil for a couple of minutes and then leave it with a lid on, allowing it to steep for an hour, several hours, or even overnight, depending on your preference.
  • Step 8 – Strain the water out of the barley using a strainer. It can be drunk hot or cold as you prefer. If you like it best cold, then refrigerate the liquid for several hours.
  • Step 9 – I don’t find it necessary to sweeten my roasted barley tea, but if you have a sweet tooth, you can choose to add a spoon of honey or a little sugar to taste.
  • Step 10 – Enjoy your barley tea!

In this video, you can see how to make barley tea the traditional way:

How Long to Steep Barley Tea

The length of time you steep your barley tea depends on a few factors:

Factor 1. Are you making the tea from scratch using pearl barley that you roasted yourself, or are you using a pre-prepared barley bag that has crushed roasted barley? 

If using whole pearl barley that you’ve roasted, then having brought the water to a boil, you’ll need to leave it to steep for between 5 minutes and overnight, depending on how you like your tea.

If you’ve brought your tea in ready roasted tea bags, the steeping process is much faster, and 5 to 10 minutes should be sufficient. 

Factor 2. How strong do you like your tea? You may have to do a little experimentation to find out.

What Does Barley Tea Taste Like?

Barley tea tastes nutty with a toasted flavor that has a mild but earthy bitterness. It is similar to Oolong tea but with a greater level of tannins than either green tea or white tea. 

You may find you like it better, either hot or cold, stronger or weaker. Try it different ways to discover which way is your favorite.

What is Barley Tea Good For?

Like many other teas, barley tea is full of antioxidants that can help protect you from many serious health conditions by reducing oxidative stress. Insufficient scientific research has been done specifically on barley tea to know all the benefits it could provide.


If you have sleep problems, barley tea may be able to help. It contains high levels of the amino acid melatonin, which is a hormone our body needs for quality sleep. It also has tryptophan, another sleep-aiding amino acid. 


It could be good news for menopausal women, too as the melatonin, tryptophane combination lowers the instance of nocturnal activity and the body’s core temperature and cytokine levels. This may reverse or limit the sleep-wake rhythms and temperature fluctuations experienced due to age. 


Barley is high in phytonutrients which work with other nutrients to promote good health. It is also rich in anti-inflammatory substances that can help to reduce inflammation in the body. 

Oral Health

A link has been made between barley tea and better oral health. This is because drinking it regularly lowers levels of plaque and bad bacteria in the mouth and saliva. In particular, it reduces the number of lactobacilli and streptococci.


Iron and calcium are essential minerals needed for good health, and barley contains both, helping to increase your daily intake. 


Drinking barley tea in moderation could prove beneficial for several reasons:

  • Improved sleep
  • Possibly reduced menopausal symptoms
  • Lower inflammation
  • Better oral health
  • Greater intake of some valuable minerals

Besides all of these great reasons to drink it, there is one other because it tastes great and is an excellent alternative to drinking other types of tea or coffee. Why not give it a go?

If you’ve enjoyed learning how to make roasted barley tea, then there are bound to be other articles about barley on our site that you’ll love, so take a closer look. 

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