Woke up to a cold chilly morning…so guess it is winter and I hope this weather stays (minus the untimely rains though). Although a little sun during the day will be great.
I absolutely love this weather! I have a million memories I’ve made over the years during these cold wintery days… I fall in love with a season because of what it brings with it. I love the nip in the air…Love the colours of winter – the hues of pale green, browns, yellows , dull oranges… I love the warm winter foods… I love the winter spices…. I love layering myself with warm clothes….I love to snuggle under a blanket… I love indulging in my signature boozy hot chocolate (yes! ) ….Love digging into my winter pies or a bowl of hot curry and rice ( oh! that rhymes) or ..I love sipping on a gazillion cups of teas and black coffee!
Speaking of hot beverages during cold days …well that is something that gets people going, around the world. Sipping on my smoked green tea ( Yes! smoked 😛 ) with ginger while I’m writing this, btw.
My cousin Priya, lives and works out of the cold desert mountains of the himalayan valley. She lives in Spiti, the north-eastern part of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh (def. worth looking it up!).
Met her a couple of weeks ago and talked a lot about the food of that region ( besides other things of course). She has been living there for a more than year, I think and she has a very many stories to share. She is incredible interesting and noble. She is with an organization that is working towards conserving the Himalayan Ibex and the Snow Leopard. I absolutely enjoyed listening to the stories from her work, the place , the people, the food. Would love to share those with you all, So I’ve asked her to do a Guest Post here – whenever she is ready.
This post is about something that is inspired by my conversations with Priya – Barley Coffee!
Barley is a grain that is grown in abundance in the himalayan valley. It is used like how rice is used in the other parts of the country. As a whole grain or maybe the powder/ flour. What was also interesting to know is that they make coffee with Barley. So it also replaces the coffee bean!
After she told me about the Barley Coffee .. I was intrigued. I looked it up. So turns out that Italians have been making Barley Coffee sinces ages ( Caffè d’orzo ) and the good folks from SE Asia have been loving their Barley Tea forever.
Curious to know how they make their coffee and tea – I continued my research and found out that is surprisingly very simple.
Keyword is “Slow Roasting“and a wee bit of patience!
Bought some barley the very next day and gave it a go.
So if you love coffee, chances are that you will definitely like this Barley Coffee .Note the use of the word ‘ like’ as opposed to ‘love’ – let me tell you why.
When I was slow roasting it in the oven – my kitchen smelt exactly like coffee. The roasted barley grains didn’t look as devilishly darkish brown( or maybe I didn’t let them hit that level) , but it has the same nutty earthy ( not as bitter as coffee beans though) taste. The grains when blended , looked like cocoa powder. Mixed with hot water it looks exactly like black coffee / espresso.
I used my filter kapi maker for making the decoction. I figured that we can use coffee maker also for this.
As for the taste ( because I like my coffee really and I REALLY dark , bitter ) – this one felt a little light. It doesn’t have that depth that our regular coffee has. But for someone who enjoys a light flavoured coffee – this will hit the spot!
Will I have it again- oh! absolutely yes – I will make it stronger with more decoction. But , honestly this will never replace my love for coffee. (And oh! I have a million other ideas on how I want to use some of that roasted barley powder in my cooks.)
And hey it is also Caffeine free, which makes it healthy! Will make an instant hit with many for that reason alone 🙂
So besides my regular coffee, I have this new sensational coffee-like coffee to keep me going through these cold “so called” bangalore winter. ❤
Will roast the next batch even more it to see how dark could the grains get.
P.S – Also starring in these pics are the incredibly healthy, super delicious energy chunks made of raw cacao , goji berries, nuts and seeds. I thank my Bro-in-Law & Sis-in-Law for these babies …every single time I have them!
Recipe – Barley Coffee
Ingredients : Whole Barley Grains ( I used about 100 grams) + Hot water
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees ( and I use the bottom most rack for roasting)
- On a baking tray – lay some baking sheet and spread the barley grains on it.
- Bake / roast it for approx. 45 mins at 160- 170 degrees
- IMPORTANT – Do keep checking on it every 15-20 mins ( You know your oven best. keeping a tab on the grains will ensure that you don’t end up over-roasting / burning it completely)
5. Once it is nicely roasted and ready ( The colour of the grains and the coffee-like aroma is an indicator. You may also pop a few grains over to taste it) – take it off the oven and let it cool off a little.
6. If you have a Coffee Grounding Machine – I’m sure you’ll use that. But if you are like me ( who doesn’t have one) , our best best is a regular blender. Make sure it washed and dried off.
7. Ground it to a powder form – make sure it is smooth and not coarse at all.
8. Keep the powder in an air-tight jar ( just like your coffee powder) .Keeps well for weeks.
To Make Barley Coffee :
- I used my Filter Kapi Maker for this. But you can use a regular coffee maker too.
- I used 2 – 3 teaspoon heaps and 1 cup of hot water to make 3/4 cup of decoction.
- In case you find some residue at the bottom of the decoction collector – just strain it again and you are sorted.
- Mix the decoction with hot water ( to your taste) to make your Barley Coffee.
- I didn’t use milk or sugar. ( If you’d like to try this coffee with milk and sugar – do let know how it turns out)