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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Trader Joe's Roasted Barley Tea

"Cheerios water."

For better, or for worse, or for whatever reason, those were the first words out of my mouth after my first sip of a new icy cool Trader Joe's Roasted Barley Tea.

"Ch...Cheerios water? What the heck are ya talking about, and how would you know what Cheerios water would taste like? You tryin' that out on you own time or sometime?"

"Heck no. But like...if I had a bowl of Cherrios, but instead of milk poured water over it, ate the Cheerios, then drank the water, I think this would taste like that."

"Okay, weirdo. It's..." pauses for another sip "...more like coffee. Like a really weak coffee, like what I'd imagine emergency ration coffee would be like, all watered down and everything...which I hope we won't find out what that'll be like..."

"Thanks for the stark assessment, love."

Well, there ya have it. There's a little slice of life between my lovely bride and I the other night, after making a quick stop at TJ's after a long hot day capped off with a family bike ride to try and save some of our collective sanity. Left us parched, and I figured no better time to give a new beverage a try.

For a first time tryer of boricha (the actual Korean name for this type of drink, though I make no claim to this TJ's version's authenticity), it's so simple a drink, yet one that leaves me intrigued. I mean, literally, it tastes like nothing but grain, kinda, and water. There's no sugar, no other flavors or spices or anything to "liven" it up. It's barley...and water. Part of me wants to be all wiseguy 'merican and say to add malt and hops and then we might really be on to something, but that's not what we have here.

It's light but not overtly crisp and I waver on calling it refreshing or not. I'm sure some folks could consider it that, but I'm not quite on board. It's not awful, by any stretch, and I definitely enjoyed it the more I drank it, but I didn't finish the bottle entirely overjoyed, either. Yet I wish to try it again, and for $1.19 a bottle it's a low priced gamble.

I just noticed on the bottle it said it the barley tea can be served hot or cold. If it ever cools down, I'll definitely have try a heated up version - honestly I think I'd enjoy it more that way, but not when it's in the mid 90s and I have no AC, thank you very much.

Not overly in love, but I'll try it again for sure. That warrants a three in my book, subject to change with further experience. Despite our exclusive to ourselves oddities, my wife shares in this assessment with a three of her own.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Roasted Barley Tea: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. At a tea tasting I attended, they said that barley tea was a perfect and popular coffee alternative. I enjoy it hot but I’ve never tried it cold.

  2. At (more traditional) Korean restaurants you're more likely to be served boricha with your meal than water. I really like it, but it was a love/hate deal with a lot of the other expats. It's a bit earthy for sure.

    Having it HOT in the winter is very soothing - HOT with all caps because sometimes they served it to me a little too freshly boiled...

  3. I tried it today and the flavor was different and unique. I liked the taste. But it reminded me of something so I kept on sipping it. Then it hit me. I was reminded of the early morning cup of coffee and a cigarette. I stopped smoking years ago and all of a sudden the craving hit me. The price point at TJ is too high for me and I will try Roasted Barley tea again.

  4. Sounds like Celestial Seasonings Roastaroma tea

  5. I haven’t tasted this Trader Joe’s version but I drink boricha cold every day instead of water. Water is just too bland for me. I make a huge pot every night and put a hug in the fridge to drink. It helps me drink more water. I’m excited to give the Trader Joe’s version a try.

  6. I love the trader joe's roasted barley tea. For years I have looked for this tea in grocery stores. I was so excited to find the tea. The tea more than met my expectations. I live it cool with ice and hot. What pleasures me is the no sugar and the slight roasted taste. It is delicious. My only concern is wondering if this tea has acrylamide units preservation process. In the meantime I shall continue to purchase this long sought after tea

  7. I lived in Japan for several years and was happy to find this barley tea at TJ - not as good as Ito-en mugicha but decent. When they discontinued I was a bit sad but then found these guys!
    For authentic mugicha I just get their loose barley tea (US grown btw!) and for a modern flavor twist the cans are yummy too. They ship nationwide which is how I get their stuff but starting to show up at retailers looks like, so maybe TJ will carry these one day as well since they don't have their own barley tea anymore!


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