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Roasted Barley Tea

One of the easiest and most refreshing drinks to make during hot weather is roasted barley tea, popular in Korean and Japanese cuisines.

Known as mugicha in Japan, the tea is made by steeping roasted barley seeds—usually whole but sometimes ground–in cold water overnight. The resulting infusion is caffeine-free, calorie-free, and has a slightly nutty, pleasant, taste that needs no sweeteners or other additions, though a touch of honey, agave or other sweetener may be added.

In Korea the tea is called boricha, is made with hot water, and is usually served hot or warm.

The easiest way to make mugicha is to buy roasted barley, which then needs only to be steeped until it becomes flavorful and light brown in color, about 8 hours or overnight. Roasted barley is sold in bags in Asian markets, and is also available in packages of large tea bags that will make 1 quart at a time.

To toast barley yourself, stir 1 cup barley in a hot pan just until browned but not burned, then set aside to cool. To make the tea, place the toasted barley in a largepitcher and add 4 quarts of cold water. Refrigerate overnight. Strain and serve cold.  

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