Barley tea is a blend made of roasted barley seeds with a subtle amber color and a mildly bitter toasted flavor. Popular in East Asian countries, this drink is favored in countries like Taiwan, South Korea, China, and Japan. Tea has an abundance of health benefits that should be explored by more people all over the world.

barley tea

What is Barley Tea?

Barley is a grain that is rich in gluten. Its kernels are dried and ground to make flour, added to stews and soups, or cooked as whole grains. Barley is also used to make tea. The plant’s roasted kernels are boiled in water, or the powder is available in pre-made tea bags. Barley can be harvested for malting or even as a home-garden small crop. The simplest harvesting method includes waiting for the grain to ripen and drying out the moisture content. Timely harvesting and storage management are essential for harvesting this crop. For home gardening, one needs to cut the crop manually with a scythe at the end of 60 to 70 days of planting. 

a cup of barley tea

Health Benefits of Barley Tea

Barley is becoming more and more popular, backed by scientific research, as a powerhouse of health benefits. Whole barley is a rich source of Vitamin B and minerals like zinc, iron, and manganese. Barley tea has been used as a traditional medicine to keep fatigues, diarrhea, and inflammations at bay.

Low in calories

Barley is very low in calories, and the steeped tea is virtually calorie-free. Traces of carbs and calories may be found in the tea, depending on the brew, but this will be insignificant to your daily calorie count. 100gms of hulled, cooked barley contains 354 calories and 73.5gms calories only.  Barley is a flavored, healthy alternative to water, especially if one is trying to lose weight. (1)

Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are botanical compounds that protect our body cells from free radical damage. These radical molecules cause cell dysfunction and inflammations in the body. Barley tea is enriched with antioxidants that prevent these cellular damages (2, 3). Antioxidants like vanilla and chlorogenic acid in barley boost fat-burning and facilitates weight management. Antioxidant quercetin improves heart health, and brain health, and controls blood pressure (3, 4).

Anti-cancer properties

Barley is known to have cancer-preventive properties. A study in China on regional barley cultivation versus cancer mortality suggests that low barley cultivation and consumption give higher cancer mortality. However, more human studies are being conducted on this matter.

Everyday Benefits

Other than these larger researched benefits, barley tea is also beneficial in everyday detoxification, digestion, and immunity. It boosts dental health and reduces skin problems like acne with its antibacterial properties. It has a cooling effect and relaxes the body to facilitate better sleep.

woman with slim tummy

Uses Of Barley Tea

  • Barley is known to reduce hunger. Barley tea may be beneficial in weight loss programs since it is also low on carbs and calories and may minimize hunger pangs.
  • The high fiber content of barley helps in better metabolism and digestion. 
  • The high fiber content in barley is also said to reduce the probability of gallbladder stones. 
  • Barley contains beta-glucans are shown to reduce ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Drinking barley tea may help bind bile acids and reduce the chances of imbalance in cholesterol levels, which can lower the risk of heart ailments.

woman filling cup with barley tea

How To Consume Barley Tea

Barley tea can be made by steeping the roasted kernels in boiling water. It is served hot during winters and cold during the summer. Barley tea is not traditionally sweetened.

  • Best to use filtered water, add roasted barley kernels to the water and bring to a boil.
  • Cover and steep or brew the tea for 5 minutes. If you like your tea stronger, it can be brewed for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Strain the barley out while pouring the hot tea into a cup. 
  • The tea can be added with milk or cream.
  • In South Korea, the tea is sometimes blended with roasted corn tea for a hint of sweetness. 
  • Asian countries today have ready-made sweetened barley tea products in bottles.

Alternate Uses

Sweetened barley water is famous in countries like Spain, Mexico, and Great Britain and is also used as a substitute for water in some Asian households. Apart from its multiple health benefits, barley tea is refreshing and relaxing, soothing the body and mind.



A caffeine-free beverage, barley tea is fast evolving in the modern world, with ongoing research suggesting multiple benefits. But inconclusive studies leave a potential bridge to be gapped before this crop is considered a powerhouse magic potion. For example, alongside studies to prove barley tea’s anti-cancer benefits, it also shows acrylamide traces, which may be a potentially cancerous nutrient. This gluten-rich tea may also be detrimental for people on gluten or grain-free diet or who are gluten-intolerant.  Nonetheless, the instant benefits of regular un-overwhelming consumption of barley tea will surely add a variety to your beverage tray.


Himanshi Hairiya

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