Roasted Barley Milk Tea Recipe

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A simple recipe to make mugicha milk tea, a super comforting and caffeine-free milk tea

If you’re on the hunt for a delicious milk tea with a mild taste and toasty character, you’ll love this barley milk tea.

Imagine the rich, roasted aroma of coffee, but with a much milder flavor, and of course, without any bitterness or acidity.
It’s like a cozy, comforting hug in a cup whether you enjoy it cold or warm!

And since barley tea is caffeine-free, you can enjoy this delicious milk tea at any time of the day (fun fact: my kids, who love this mugicha latte, call it “milk coffee for kids”).

In this post I’ll show you how to make roasted barley milk tea at home.
It’s really easy and you just need to consider one trick: making the barley tea strong enough so it doesn’t get overpowered by the milk!

What’s barley tea?

Mugicha teabags to make barley tea

Before diving into our recipe, in case you haven’t hear of barley tea, it’s a grain-based infusion.

Barley “tea” is made by roasting barley grains.

The grains are then cooked or steeped to make a caffeine-free infusion that can be served hot or cold.

The roasting process imparts the drink with a toasty, nutty flavor that could remind you of coffee, but with a MUCH milder taste.

Barley infusion is very beloved in Asia, where it’s cherished for its soothing qualities and enjoyable taste by people of all ages.
You can find roasted barley tea as ‘boricha’ in Korea or ‘mugicha’ in Japan.

Can you drink barley tea with milk?

While barley tea is traditionally enjoyed plain, it pairs wonderfully with milk, whether dairy or plant-based alternatives.

And you really shouldn’t worry about trying this “untraditional” way of drinking barley infusion, because barley tea is quite similar to barley “coffee”.
And barley “coffee” is often enjoyed with milk!

In my experience, the main difference between barley coffee and barley tea is that barley coffee is often roasted more intensely and most brands add more ingredients to the mix (like chicory), resulting in a stronger, somewhat bitter flavor.

A well-known name for this coffee alternative is Café D’orzo.

Also, barley “coffee” is sometimes sold in granulated form, there’s no need to steep it; you can simply dissolve it in water.

But the taste of barley tea is quite similar to that of barley coffee, and both share the same properties.
So barley tea also pairs wonderfully with milk and won’t curdle or cause any issues.


  • Barley Tea (also known as mugicha or boricha)
  • Sweetener of choice – Optional
  • Milk of choice
  • Ice cubes – Optional (only if you want the milk tea cold)

Ingredient alternatives

Barley tea

Feel free to use barley tea bags or barley kernels.
You can find roasted barley tea in many Asian supermarkets.

If you don’t have barley tea, you can also use barley “coffee” or roast barley yourself.


I usually use dairy to make barley milk tea, but plant-based alternatives work just as well.

You can use low fat dairy for a lighter version, full fat for a creamier drink or any plant milk you like, such as almond milk, soy milk or oat milk for a vegan version.


Feel free to skip the sugar.
I personally love using my vanilla-infused honey for a comforting touch.

Making mugicha with milk: step-by-step

Making mugicha milk tea is as simple as adding milk of choice to (optionally sweetened) barley tea.

Check out the full recipe and ingredient quantities in recipe card at the end of post

Time needed: 10 minutes

How to make barley milk tea

  1. Make barley tea

    If you have barley tea bags, steep them in hot or cold water as recommended in the package.
    If you are using roasted barley kernels, steep them in freshly boiled water.
    For more detailed instructions, you can refer to my post on how to make barley tea.
    Steeping teabag with barley tea to make warm mugicha

  2. Sweeten if desired

    If you prefer sweeter milk tea, you can also add sugar or sweetener to your liking.Adding kokuto sugar to mugicha, Japanese infusion made with roasted barley kernels

  3. Add milk

    Add milk to your taste.Pouring milk into a cup containing roasted barley tea


Roasted barley milk tea recipe tastes best when you brew the barley tea slightly stronger than you would prefer for drinking it without milk.
For example,

  • if one tea bag is meant to make 4 cups of barley tea, I use only 3 cups of water
  • when using loose barley tea, I recommend using about 3/4 teaspoon per cup of water

If the tea is still too strong after adding the milk, you can always dilute it with a bit more water afterward!


Iced Barley Milk Tea

If you prefer your barley milk tea cold, I recommend making your barley tea with half the amount of water as indicated in the recipe.

Then, pour the warm, concentrated barley tea over ice.

The ice cubes will melt as they cool your tea, but the tea won’t taste watered down since you used less water.

To sweeten your tea, add the sugar before cooling the drink down!
If your tea is already cold, it’s best to use liquid sweetener like simple syrup.

Barley tea latte

For a tea latte effect, froth your milk before pouring it over the barley tea.


How long does barley milk tea last?

This barley milk tea can be stored in the fridge for approximately 2 days.
If kept at room temperature, it’s best to consume it within about 3 hours.

Can I use malt instead of barley?

Barley and malt are the same plant, but barley refers to the whole grain, while malt is barley that has been allowed to germinate and then dried.
Barley typically has a milder flavor, but you can make tea with both barley and malt.
Both options work fine for this barley milk tea recipe.

Is there caffeine in barley milk tea?

No, this barley milk tea doesn’t have any caffeine because it’s made with barley kernels, which are caffeine-free.

Roasted Barley Milk Tea
5 from 3 votes

Best Barley Milk Tea Recipe

How to make delicious milk tea with roasted barley tea
Print Recipe
Prep Time:10 minutes


  • ¾ tsp. Barley Tea
  • ¾ Cup Hot water
  • ¼ Cup Milk of choice Any type works
  • 1 tsp. Sugar Optional


  • Make barley tea by steeping it in hot water.
    Steeping teabag with barley tea to make warm mugicha
  • Optionally, add some sweetener.
    Adding kokuto sugar to mugicha, Japanese infusion made with roasted barley kernels
  • Add milk to taste.
    Pouring milk into a cup containing roasted barley tea


  • Feel free to prepare the barley tea using your preferred method, whether by simmering, steeping in hot water or cold brewing.
    You can find instructions on how to make barley tea with various methods here: how to prepare barley tea.
  • You can adjust the amount of milk to suit your taste.
  • This recipe works specially good when the barley tea tastes slightly too strong for your taste: adding the milk balances it out like magic!
  • Skip the sugar for a lighter version.
    I personally enjoy using this homemade vanilla honey.


Calories: 37kcal
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American, Japanese, Korean
Keyword: barley tea, milk tea, with milk
Servings: 2 Serving
Calories: 37kcal

I hope you enjoy this incredibly mellow milk tea with delightful roasted aroma.

Specially, if your barley tea turned out a little bit too strong or bitter for your taste, remember this trick: add some milk.
You can thank me later!

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  1. 5 stars
    I drink barley tea regularly but had never tried it with milk.
    Thanks for the recipe! It turned out great thanks to your tip on brewing the tea stronger as usual.

  2. 5 stars
    Another way to make tea that surprised me. Your milk tea recipes are absolutely THE BEST!
    Thank your for such an easy but wonderful recipe.

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