Roasted Barley Tea: Benefits and Ways To Make It

barley tea

Did you know there’s a beverage made out of the very foundational element that beer is produced from? Although you get the flavor profile of beer minus the stupor of drunkenness, you WILL be ultra-relaxed after a cuppa! That’s what roasted barley tea is all about.

What Is Roasted Barley Tea?

Roasted Barley tea is a beverage with Asian roots. This tea is not a true tea but rather a tea-like drink created by marrying water and the roasted seeds of a barley plant. You can serve it hot or cold. Barley is considered to be “the oldest and richest functional food” when compared to other grains. When roasted and brewed as a tea, the main flavor that comes through is nutty and malty. 

Tea made from barley goes as far back as 794 B.C.E., where it was enjoyed as “Mugicha” in Japan. Roasted Barley Tea is the typical summer beverage of choice in Japan, Korea, and China. It is known as “Mugicha” in Japan and “Damai Cha” in China. Korean barley tea is known as “Boricha.” This tea is held in high esteem in Asian countries, just as sweet tea is for southerners here in the U.S.

Just like other popular Asian teas, Roasted Barley Tea caught on in other parts of the world and is enjoyed by many here in North American. In fact, some profess that this tea surpasses Bubble Tea, Kombucha, and other Asian teas as “the tea of the day.”

Does Barley Tea Make You Sleepy?

Roasted Barley Tea is caffeine-free. However, some purport that this tea does the opposite as most teas. Instead of the caffeine jitters, it is said to have a relaxing effect on drinkers. Barley seeds contain natural plant-based melatonin which will induce a state of relaxation. Not only does this melatonin act as a very mild relaxant, but it also has significant health benefits, one being insomnia. Those suffering from this sleep disorder can significantly benefit by drinking Roasted Barley Tea because of the melatonin. 

Can I Drink Barley Tea Every Day?

Barley Tea can be enjoyed on a daily basis provided you don’t have issues with gluten. Barley, like most other grains, contains gluten which should never be consumed by those with Celiac Disease or another type of intolerance for gluten. Additionally, it may also affect lactation in breast-feeding mothers or soon-to-be mothers.

Also, there’s some confusion regarding Barley Tea and Barley Water. Although they are both derived from water and barley, they are two different drinks with varying side effects. Barley Water may not be ideal for drinking every day, and we’ll show you why in the table below.

Barley Tea vs Barley Water

Barley TeaBarley Water
Made From Roasted hulled barley seeds from the barley plant. The outer shell is still intact. Made From Pearl barley (the hull of the barley seed has been polished away, leaving the refined grain.)
Little to no starch.High in starch.
Cooking Method

Boiled in water and strained before drinking
Cooking Method

Boiled in water and enjoyed strained/unstrained
Calories: 0 Carbs: 0Calories: 170 Carbs: 37

Healthy to drink daily unless you are gluten-intolerant, have Celiac Disease, or pregnant/nursing mothers.

Ideally, it’s not a healthy drink to have daily because of the high carbs that come from the starch. Those with gluten-intolerance and/or Celiac Disease and pregnant/nursing mothers should not have.
barley tea vs barley water

Barley Tea Benefits

Roasted Barley Tea packs a punch of benefits when it comes to our health. There are numerous “pluses” to enjoying this beverage. Research has shown that it is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune booster, fights cancer, helps with insomnia, boosts our heart health, helps with diabetes, and more!

Comparison Of Barley Tea Benefits vs. Benefits Of Green And Black Teas

Tea has proven to have numerous benefits, but just how do the benefits of Barley Tea compare to green or black tea? 

benefits of barley tea

Helps With Insomnia And Relaxation

Studies show that barley is one of many plants that produce melatonin. Melatonin-producing plants have the highest concentration of melatonin in their foliage and seeds. As with barley plants, the seeds are used to create the tea resulting in a melatonin-rich beverage.

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in humans (released from the pineal gland when we go to bed) and animals. It regulates our sleep and moods and also affects our immune system. During the day, our supply of melatonin slowly depletes, and our body requires sleep to restore those levels. 

It’s the melatonin in Roasted Barley Tea that helps you to relax and sleep. It does not have the power to knock you out, as some may think, or make you drowsy. 

Promotes Good Dental Health

Drinking barley tea protects your teeth! During the roasting process, the barley seeds undergo a process that changes the structure of the seeds. Formed in the process are melanoidins which are responsible for the color and flavor in beers and, in this case, Roasted Barley tea. Melanoidins are very powerful antioxidants that prevent bacteria from adhering to teeth. 

Boosts The Immune System

Barley plants contain substances (B-glucans, arabinoxylan) that encourage our bodies to produce more bone marrow cells and white blood cells, which are all responsible for protecting us against infectious diseases and those things foreign to our system. 

Is Barley Tea Good For Kidneys?

Researchers found that the B-glucans in barley are known to reduce the uremic toxins that contribute to chronic kidney problems. B-glucans encourage the physiological release of immune fighters for things such as urinary tract infection, kidney infection, and the uremic toxic buildup that hinders healthy kidney function. Magnesium and B6 found in barley reduce calcium oxalates which are responsible for kidney stones.

Does Barley Tea Lower Blood Pressure?

Because barley tea contains melatonin, it has proved to be highly beneficial for cardiovascular health. Blood pressure is directly related to heart health, and as such, the melatonin in the tea reduces buildup in the arteries, which leads to high blood pressure. Additionally, melatonin decreases our heart rate and our blood pressure while regulating our heart’s rhythm.

How To Make Barley Tea

Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese either drink Roasted Barley Tea hot or cold. Typically, in the summer, it’s served as iced tea rather than hot. The method of preparation is very similar between the countries. When browning the barley pearls in the wok/skillet, the longer you roast them (darker,) the more robust the taste will be.

Hot Roasted Barley Tea


  • Barley Pearls (1 tbsp.)
  • Water (2 cups)
  • Wok or Skillet
  • Tea Strainer


  1. Brown the barley pearls in the wok/skillet until brown. Remove from heat.
  2. Place browned barley pearls into a tea strainer.
  3. Fill a pan with water and place the tea strainer into the water, and boil. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour into a cup and enjoy!

Cold Roasted Barley Tea


  • Pearl Barley (1 cup)
  • Water (8 cups)
  • Wok or Skillet
  • Strainer
  • Tea Pitcher


  1. Brown the barley pearls in the wok/skillet until brown. Remove from heat.
  2. Place browned barley pearls into a pan and add the 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove barley tea from heat and allow it to cool.
  4. Strain the barley tea into a tea pitcher.
  5. Serve over ice.

It’s “Bar-ley” Considered Tea

Although Roasted Barley Tea has been around for centuries, it technically does not qualify as a true tea but rather a beverage derived from grain. You can enjoy barley in a beverage such as this “faux” tea knowing the benefits are in your favor.

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