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I know it's not really coffee, but I fell in love with "Caffe d'orzo" on a trip to Italy. I seems to be ground, roasted barley run through an espresso machine. The shots don't taste quite like espresso, but grassier, milder, and less oily than coffee (in a way that I sometimes crave). Can I make it--or something like it--conveniently without living on the Mediterranean? I think some expensive "pod" (N)espresso makers sell pods for it in Italy. If I could figure out the roasting myself, I might even invest in a countertop espresso maker, but I don't want to ruin expensive equipemnt.

Perhaps there's a safer way to experiment - ubrik, bialetti, etc? Anyone experimented with this?

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You should be able to find the roasted barley itself in an international food store, often sold for steeping like tea (a tisane). It is often called mugicha (Japanese) or other names. When prepared for tea, it is sometimes sold blended with, e.g., green tea, so be sure to check the label. Alternatively, a home-brewing outlet will probably have roasted, malted barley available. This will be even sweeter and maltier still.

Amazon also sells roasted barley for tea in bags. I'm sure it would be a bit different when brewed like espresso but maybe similar enough and convenient in tea bags. I like the taste of the tea-like infusion, like toasted malt.

I think your idea to brew in a moka pot is a good one, but you'll have to find a grind that works well: I suspect a grind just a bit coarser than you would normally use for moka would be a good place to start. I don't think you need to be worried about equipment damage, but I haven't tried this (yet!). Next time I can get my hands on some mugicha I think I shall!

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if you're keen to experiment i'd look at homebrew(beer) stores. i'd try chocolate/black or coffee/brown barley malt(both pure barley names refer to roast) i don't live in the US but you should be able to buy for around a couple of $/lb. you also try mixing with crystal rye, smoked malt, peatted malt or anything interesting you can find. i'd also ask them to mill the grain fine as possible. i'd be interested to see how it turns out

  • Welcome to Coffee SE! That's an interesting idea. Do you suggest the barley be ground and steeped? – Ivan Kapitonov Nov 9 '15 at 23:17

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