Mugicha: Types and Benefits of Japanese Barley Tea
“Mugicha (麦茶)”, or barley tea, is a traditional summertime refreshment in Japan made by boiling or infusing roasted barley seeds in water.
Although Mugicha is a staple beverage in Japan that is drunk throughout the year, it is especially favored during the hot summer months. In fact, you can see people drinking it everywhere in the summer.
Mugicha is available in several forms, such as cans, bottles, and tea bags, and you can buy any type of Mugicha in supermarkets, while canned and bottled ones can also be bought from vending machines in every corner of the city.
In addition to being very easy to drink, the Japanese barley tea is characterized by a nice toasty aroma from roasted barley seeds. Besides, it contains no caffeine, so you can serve it to children without any worries.
Types (Rokujo, Nijo, Blend)
Mugicha mainly comes in 3 types, “Rokujo Mugicha (六条麦茶)”, “Nijo Mugicha (二条麦茶)”, and “Blend Mugicha (ブレンド麦茶)”.
- Rokujo Mugicha (六条麦茶): The most common variety using six-row barley which contains a moderate amount of protein. The main characteristic of Rokujo Mugicha is its good scent
- Nijo Mugicha (二条麦茶): The one using two-row barley. Two-row barley is larger in size, richer in starch than six-row barley, and with Nijo Mugicha, you can enjoy the original natural sweetness of barley
- Blend Mugicha (ブレンド麦茶): The blended one. Blend Mugicha may use six-row barley, two-row barley, naked barley, and other grains like rice, corn, millet, foxtail millet, and Job’s tears. Hence, with Blend Mugicha, you can enjoy various tastes
How to Make Mugicha from Tea Bags
As I mentioned above, there are 2 ways of making Mugicha from tea bags, infusing or boiling to bring out the flavor. By the way, the barley tea can be enjoyed cold or hot, but we Japanese usually serve it chilled.
Both hot water and cold water can be used to make Mugicha from the teabag. Put the teabag in a jar of water and let it steep for up to 2 hours.
A basic boiling method is to bring a pot of water to a boil, turn off the heat, add in the teabag, and let it infuse for 10 minutes or so. After that, stir the contents of the pot lightly and remove the teabag.
It is said that the barley tea Mugicha has an antioxidant action and components that are effective in preventing cancer, apoplexy, and heart attacks, as well as making the blood flow smoothly.