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Mugicha: Roasted barley tea is not just a good summer drink

Non-sugary, non-alcoholic, and caffein-free. This is not the complete list of mugicha (roasted barley tea) benefits. It is also good for dieters, people with stomach and skin problems, for children, and for people who are suffering from bacterial infection. It is even good for fighting the major reason of tooth decay and cleansing the body! Mugicha also has a pleasant, nutty taste.

My Japanese husband says that mugicha is a typical summer drink and is supposed to be cold, but my doctor thinks little bit differently. Last time I visited the doctor’s office, he prescribed me to fasten for 2 days. Among the drinks he allowed me to consume was the said barley tea. And since it was winter, I drank it warm or hot as Koreans do. Can you find the kanji for mugicha (麦茶)?MugichaMugicha came to Japan from Korea or China, where it is called Boricha and Damaicha (or Maicha) respectively. It is available practically at every supermarket.

Roasted barley is also used as a non-caffein coffee substitute in some countries, especially in America. Not all foreigners like its taste, though. But I have never seen a Japanese or Korean person who does not drink mugicha! It is a part of culture and they start drinking it in early childhood. Personally I gradually came to like it, especially when the tea is not too strong. It is also available in ground form, mixed with chicory, as a coffee substitute. I never compare it with real coffee, though. It is more like a dandelion coffee that definitely does not taste like coffee!MugichaSometimes I get confused at the Japanese vending machines. There are too many sweetened or caffeinated beverages. But I’m saved if there is a bottle of green tea or roasted barley tea. I just wish it was also available at the eateries all year round, not only in summer. However, I must admit that there is nothing like a jug of ice-cold roasted barley tea on a hot August day.

Article by Olga Kaneda

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