Barley Tea is Essential for Summer
Summer in Finland is Surprisingly Hot
Summer in Finland is hot. In terms of maximum temperature, there are only a couple of days when it exceeds 30 degrees Celsius. At night it drops below 20 degrees Celsius almost every day. Yet it is still hot. There are several reasons for this; houses are built to store heat in order to survive the long and cold winters, or most houses don’t have air conditioners because the hot days are not that long.
The best way to get through the hot summer is to drink a cold drink while sitting in front of a fan.
I Want to Drink Barley Tea
I want to drink barley tea, that’s Japanese traditional summer drink. However I don’t have any at home, and can’t purchase in Finland. So I decided to make it by myself.
First, I’d like to buy barley in grain form, but I don’t know Finnish, so I spend an hour looking it up.
Ohranjyvä: barley in grain form
Vehnänjyvä: wheat in grain form
The store I went to did not have barley. But I figured wheat would be okay, so I bought wheat. You can also buy them directly from the manufacturer’s website.
Roast the Wheat
Now, let’s roast the wheat. I was told that the wheat was already threshed, and they were. 100 grams of wheat is about 100 mL, just enough to fit in a 26 cm diameter pan.
As soon as I started heating it over medium heat, I could hear it bursting lightly. As they gradually turned color, I stirred them from time to time to roast them fully.
After about five minutes, I could smell the nice aroma. At this stage, some of the grains had already turned black. But I felt that they were not yet fully colored, so I continued roasting.
After 15 minutes, some of the grains had turned brown, but the color was still sparse. I’ve read several reports of people making barley tea from barley, and they all said that it took about 15 minutes for the barley to turn brown enough. So I felt a bit uneasy but decided to continue roasting.
After 25 minutes, the color had evened out, so I stopped heating.
After heating, the wheat was browned and just the color of barley tea. I added about 4 tablespoons of wheat to 1 liter of hot water.
As soon as I put it in the water, I could smell the delicious aroma of barley tea. However, it was extremely hot.
I boiled it for about 5 minutes, let it cool down for a while, then strained the wheat and chilled it in the refrigerator.
Isn’t the color too light?
No, but I believed that it should taste good, so I tried to drink it.
Doesn’t it taste thin?
Yes, the aroma is perfectly barley tea, but the taste is very modest. It’s a bit too modest.
I Want to Make It Easier
It’s not only the taste, but also the amount of time and effort it took to get to this point. It was hot and I wanted to drink some barley tea to cool down. That’s what I wanted to do, so I started to make it. It’s like putting the cart befor the horse that I ended up spending almost half an hour in front of the frying pan to roast it.
I also noticed the uneven roasting when I heated it in the frying pan. There was always a difference between the heated and unheated areas, resulting in uneven colors.
I don’t want to be in front of the pan for half an hour, I want it to heat evenly, and I want it to be able to heat a lot at once. Well, there is the perfect cooking tool for that. It’s an oven.
Roast Wheat in the Oven
Place the baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 200°C. After preheating was complete, I spread a cookie sheet on the baking sheet and placed the wheat on it. Since this is a dry roast, the cookie sheet may not be necessary.
I set the oven to convention mode so that the air would circulate and heat evenly. If you don’t have a convection function, you may want to set the oven to heat from the top and bottom and stir the mixture a few times during the process.
As soon as I started heating them, I heard the sound of wheat spluttering. In the frying pan, it was just a light bounce, but in the oven, it was going strong.
I opened the oven every five minutes to check the browning.
After about five minutes, some of the grains were still quite dark, but the other grains were a more even shade than in the pan.
After 20 minutes of cooking, the color was about the same as if it had been cooked in the pan for 25 minutes. From this point on, I kept a close watch on the color and smell changes.
After 28 minutes of cooking, the burning smell began to be mixed with a savory smell, so I stopped cooking and let it cool.
Here is how the wheat looked after heating in the oven.
The top photo is the original wheat, the bottom left is cooked in the frying pan for 25 minutes, and the bottom right is cooked in the oven for 28 minutes. You can see that the wheat is more evenly colored than in the frying pan.
I made tea, using the same amount as before, 4 tablespoons in 1 liter of hot water.
The difference is obvious. In fact, the lighter the color, the stronger the barley aroma. However, in terms of the balance of aroma and taste, the darker barley tea heated in the oven is definitely better as barley tea.
By the way, I also tried making barley tea with water, but it didn’t extract much. Boiling seems to be the best way to make homemade barley tea.
You can easily make wheat barley tea in the oven
Barley is usually used to make barley tea, but we were able to make it with wheat without any problems. I also found out that you can just heat it in the oven. If you roast barley in bulk on a cool day before summer, you can easily enjoy barley tea after it gets hot.
If I see barley in the future, I’ll try it there too.
The recipe can be found here.