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Barley Tea (大麦茶)

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Roasted barley tea is a caffeine-free, roasted-grain-based tisane made from barley, which is popular in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cuisine. It is also used as a caffeine-free coffee substitute in American cuisine. Barley water is a popular traditional soft drink in Britain.

Roasted barley tea is called mugicha (麦茶) in Japanese, dàmàichá (大麦茶) or màichá (麦茶 or 麥茶) in Mandarin Chinese, and boricha (보리차) in Korean. While the tea is generally regarded as a cooling summer beverage in Japan, it is served year-round, hot in winter and in the summer as a cooling drink, in Korea. Originally, roasted barley seeds were stewed in hot water (this is still the method generally used in Korea), but tea bags containing ground barley became more popular during the early 1980s; this is now the norm in Japan. It can be found from many different distributors in vending machines all over Japan.

In Korea, roasted unhulled barley is used to prepare the tea. Often the barley is combined with oksusu cha (roasted corn infusion), as the corn's sweetness offsets the slightly bitter flavor of the barley. A similar drink, made from roasted brown rice, is called hyeonmi cha (tisane) or genmaicha (with green tea added).

Roasted barley tea, sold in ground form and sometimes combined with chicory or other ingredients, is also sold as a coffee substitute.

Health Benefits


Barley tea requires little effort to prepare and provides diverse health benefits too. It is considered that this drink is effective in purifying the body of toxins, ameliorating the fluidity of blood, reducing the risk of some maladies such as cancer, it being also characterized by antioxidant properties. According to some studies, roasted barley tea improves immunity when fighting cold and reduces blood cholesterol. However, barley tea or any other preparation which contains barley is not recommended for pregnant or gluten intolerant people.

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References

Roasted barley tea, en.wikipedia.org

What is Barley Tea?, www.wisegeek.com

Barley Tea, www.buzzle.com

Damai cha (barley tea), kaleidoscope.cultural-china.com