Korean Roasted Barley Tea


My first summer in Michigan. While the winter this year was rather mild (as I have been told repeatedly by the old-timers here), it still seems like a miracle to be able to step out without wrapping oneself in a bundle of warm clothing. Among other things, it also brings the opportunities to experiment with new coolers.

Yesterday’s sunny weather reminded my of an iced barley tea I had had in a Korean restaurant in Delhi. On a sweltering day in July of 2013, I had to shift loads of my stuff including large cartons of books and the kitchen armory, to a friend’s place before I was to leave for a 3-month research stay in Berlin. Another friend joined to help me but boy, weren’t we exhausted… The travails of the venture were rewarded though, when we decided  to join his cousins for a lunch at this uptown and authentic Korean place at Green Park in South Delhi. Our orders of bulgogi and stir fries also brought a range of hors d’oeuvre and an inviting jug of Barley tea. The first few sips, and we thought it was an elixir to our parched and dehydrated souls. Imagine our joy, when finishing the whole jug in about 10 minutes, the hostess kept refilling it. Blessed we were 🙂

With such a fond memory, I hit the internet to recreate the magic of Korean Barley tea. Recipes I found were simple and made me wonder why I didn’t try this sooner. Here is how I went ahead:



About 2 ltrs/ 8-9 cups of  water
1/3 cup of pearl barley


  1. Roast barley in a non-stick skillet till golden brown. Takes less than five minutes on a medium-high heat, but requires constant stirring to avoid burning the grains.
  2. Once it is done, take it off the skillet onto the plate/ paper towel.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil.
  4. Add the roasted barley to this water, put in on a medium heat and let the grains simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Take off the heat and strain through the tea-strainer. (I kept the cooked barley grains aside to be used in a salad later).
  6. Cool the beverage to desired temperature (warm/ iced/ refrigerated).

I enjoyed both cool and hot versions. Interestingly, hot barley tea tasted like a mild but smooth cup of coffee to me. Of course, there is no caffeine. I guess, it is the roasting that gave that impression. Try it to find out 🙂