Roasted Korean Barley Tea (Boricha)
Korean Barley tea, or boricha, is a popular and healthy drink in Korea. Made from roasted barley grains, it offers a nutty flavor and numerous health benefits. Best of all, it’s super easy to brew at home.
For centuries, barley tea has been a popular drink across different cultures. Its delightful and mild nutty flavor is derived from barley grains.
Korean barley tea offers a caffeine-free alternative to coffee and tea as it doesn’t contain tea leaves. It not only refreshes and delights the taste buds but also provides several health benefits. You can serve it hot or cold depending on your preference.
What is Korean barley tea?
Known as boricha in Korea, barley tea is a staple beverage in Korean restaurants and households. Tea enthusiasts worldwide appreciate the light, nutty flavor and roasted aroma of this caffeine-free tea made from roasted barley grains.
The drink itself is commonly consumed with meals in Korean household. It is also a versatile drink that can be served hot or cold, depending on the season. You can enjoy it cold during hot summer days and serve it hot to keep the body warm during winter days.
In addition to its refreshing taste, barley tea is a healthy drink option for both children and adults. Unlike sugary drinks, this drink has no fat or sugar content.
Korean barley tea has several health benefits. It is low in calories and contains no fat or sugar, making it an excellent alternative to sugary drinks.
The tea is also high in antioxidants and minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which can help promote overall health and wellbeing.
Not only good for your health, this tea also makes a delicious and refreshing beverage that you can enjoy at any time of the day.
Whole grain vs tea bag
There are two ways to make this tea – using whole roasted barley grains or tea bags.
If you choose to use whole barley grains, it is best to roast non-hulled barley and steep it in hot water. This process creates a slightly earthy flavor that is characteristic of traditional boricha. You can conveniently purchase pre-roasted whole barley grains online.
Alternatively, barley tea bags made from crushed or ground roasted barley are available in Korean stores. These bags produce a milder and clearer tea, which is more convenient to use.
Whole barley grain vs pearl barley: Two barley options for tea: Whole barley grains offer traditional, earthy flavor, while pearl barley (readily available) has a smoother taste after hulling and polishing.
Preheat a skillet over medium-low heat. No oil is needed. Add the barley and stir around until it browns, which should take about 10 minutes. The darker the grains get, the stronger taste you will have.
Pre-roasted whole barley is also available for purchase at Korean stores or online.
How to make Korean barley tea (boricha)
Place the water and barley in a kettle or pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 5-10 minutes. The longer you steep, the darker and nuttier the flavor will be.
Pour the tea into a cup and serve hot. Be sure to discard the barley (or tea bag) after brewing and do not reuse it.
Iced barley tea: To enjoy boricha as a cold drink, transfer it into a jug and refrigerate until ready to serve. Adding ice cubes can help keep the tea cold when serving.
4 Delicious Korean Drink Recipes for Every Occasion
Roasted Korean Barley Tea (Boricha)
For roasting barley
- 1 cup (157 g) whole barley grain, hulled or non-hulled
For barley tea
- 4 cups (960 ml) water
- 2 tbsp roasted barley
To roast barley
- Preheat a skillet over medium-low heat. No oil is needed. Add the barley and stir around until it browns, which should take about 10 to 12 minutes. The darker the grains get, the stronger taste you will have.
To make barley tea
- Use a tea bag or a tea strainer container to hold the barley and make clean-up easier. Place the water and barley in a kettle or pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 5-10 minutes. The longer you steep, the darker and nuttier the flavor will be. Pour the tea into a cup and serve hot.
- You’ll need about 2 tablespoons of roasted barley for every liter (about 4 cups) of water.
- To enjoy barley tea as a cold drink, transfer it into a jug and refrigerate until ready to serve. Adding ice cubes can help keep the tea cold when serving.
- Be sure to discard the barley (or tea bag) after brewing and do not reuse it.