I’ve written before of my love for Korean style barley tea (Mugicha). I’d heard it was pretty easy to make so I decided to give it a go. I combined what I learned about making it from various online sources, as well as some info I picked up from Alton Brown on his recent Good Eat’s episode on barley.

Mugicha Barley Tea

First I dry roasted the barley in a skillet. I wasn’t sure exactly how much to roast them, so I let them go until they got nice and browned, removing from heat just before they were about to burn.

Mugicha Barley Tea

The roasted barley then went into 2 liters of boiling water, continued to boil for about 3 minutes, then was removed from the heat and left to steep. I also added in about a quarter cup of agave nectar and half a lemons worth of juice.

Mugicha Barley Tea

After steeping for half an hour, I strained the liquid from the barley and set it aside to cool. The cooked barely looked and smelled really good too, I’ll get back to that in minute.

Mugicha Barley Tea

And here’s the result! It came out pretty good for my first try, though it wasn’t exactly like I wanted it to be. I didn’t like the lemon, or maybe I just used too much of it. The lemon idea came from Alton Brown (damn you, Alton!)… next time I make this I’ll leave out the lemon all together and add some in afterwards if I think it needs any. Also the tea had taken on a bit more of the roasted flavor than I would have like, so maybe I did let the barley roast for too long after all. It didn’t taste burned, but the taste had crossed over from a delicate tea flavor to more of a roasted coffee flavor.

Now back to the cooked barley. When cooking barley to eat it should be cooked longer than the half hour I boiled this batch for, but because it was left to steep in the hot water for a while, it got cooked through and was only slightly “al dente”. It had a wonderful nutty scent and the taste of sweet agave nectar had been cooked right in, so instead of wasting it I decided to make a hot cereal out of it.

Barley Cereal

I added in some rice milk, cinnamon and drizzled on a little bit more agave… and this turned out to be one of the tastiest late night breakfasts I’ve ever accidentally invented by way of making something else.

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21 Responses to “Mugicha: How to Make Barley Tea.”
  1. VeggieGirl says:

    definitely looks like the most delectable “accidentally invented” dishes to me!! yum!! isn’t Alton Brown great? he’s a bit of a loon, but “Good Eats” is quite informative (and incredibly entertaining, haha).

  2. FoodEater says:

    VeggieGirl: Yeah, Alton is great and he’s like a walking encyclopedia of food knowledge. I liked his ‘Feasting on Asphalt’ show, it’s fun to see the sort of food people are eating in places I’ll probably never visit.

  3. Vegyogini says:

    I love watching Alton Brown and learning all the chemical, nutritional, and other tidbits he knows about food. It’s so cool that you were just telling me about this experiment and now I get to read about it, too! You’re fearless about recreating dishes and beverages you enjoy.

  4. Trina says:

    Yum! I love barley tea, and I was thinking while I was reading, oh, I hope she’s going to make a porridge with that barley, and then you did, and it just all looks so wholesome and delicious.

  5. Your barley breakfast looks quite delicious! Yay for accidents!

    I’d never heard of barley tea before, so thanks for the lesson. :)

  6. FoodEater says:

    Vegyogini: I’m only fearless about the easy stuff!

  7. FoodEater says:

    ruby red vegan: Give it a try sometime… refreshing and delicious!

  8. Vegan_Noodle says:

    Wow, I’ve never heard of barley tea, and how cool that you made it yourself! I like the accidental late night breakfast for sure….

  9. vigilant20 says:

    How cool! I would have never even thought of that.

  10. Pam says:

    Thank you. Your instructions seemed less confusing than some others.
    I had barley tea a few months back at a great Korean restaurant in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Michigan area and have craved it ever since.

  11. FoodEater says:

    Pam: I’m glad you found my instructions useful! It wasn’t a perfect finished product but I think with a little bit of tweaking it just might get there :)

  12. Jeremy says:

    I was just recently turned on to barley tea from a Japanese couple who drink it when it is hot. It has become my favorite drink in the hot weather, and found this site as I searched to learn how to make it myself. Thank you for sharing your full experience for others like me to learn from! :)

  13. Caedmon says:

    You might want to use less barley or more water – I see that on a site that sells big teabags of barley two tea-bags of roasted barley at .36 of an ounce each is supposed to be enough for 1 to 1 1/2 liters of water. Now, those bags probably have broken barley in them to increase strength.

    My sister always used to use the lees like rice, with a savory sauce on it.

  14. FoodEater says:

    Caedmon: Thanks for the tip… It actually seemed like the ratio was ok, the main thing that threw the taste off a little bit was adding the lemon. That’s what I get for listening to Alton Brown!

  15. meh says:

    late night breakfasts

    awesume =)

  16. Eve says:

    What type of barley did you use? The only kind I can ever seem to find is pearled, and I know for some recipes that doesn’t work. Thanks! (And if you used something else, can you tell me where you found it?)

  17. FoodEater says:

    Eve: I used the regular pearled barely. Honestly I don’t know if that’s the correct kind to use or not but that’s what I went with. Your mileage may vary :)

  18. stopping by says:

    I love the barley tea as well, but just to correct the name of the tea, koreans call it “Bo-ree-cha.” It might have sounded different depending on how you hear it, but barley is actually called “boree” and tea is of course “cha.” Happens a lot even with second generation Korean Americans as they learn Korean mostly through hearing their parents speak it.
    Anyway, great use of the left-over barley. I’ve never heard/thought of using the barley that way! At home, though, my grandmother always used another seed to brew tea which I drank as just plain water. It’s called “gyul-myung-ja” tea and “Cassia obtusifolia” in the scientific name, says the wiki. :-)

  19. FoodEater says:

    stopping by: Thanks for the info. Mugicha is what the Japanese call it. Same good stuff!

  20. Gina says:

    Hi! I see this is an old post, and I hope you don’t mind but I linked it on a post of my own about summer and the Fire element in TCM, as I’ve lond known that cool barely tea is an excellent summer beverage. Thanks for the info and the illustrations are great!

    PS: here’s the post: http://www.embodygrace.com/home/2009/7/24/the-heart-of-summer.html