Malt coffee is a delightful beverage made from roasted barley grains instead of traditional coffee beans. Despite lacking caffeine, this drink offers a similar taste and aroma to regular coffee, making it a popular choice for those who wish to enjoy this infusion without experiencing stimulating effects.
This beverage is popular worldwide, particularly among communities that value organic and vegan products and lead healthy lifestyles. It’s worth mentioning that this type of coffee is often blended with chicory, thanks to its low-calorie content and its digestive benefits.
If you’re interested in learning how to prepare malt coffee, this article will provide all the information you need about this fascinating infusion.
Origin and history of malt coffee
Although malt coffee is a different beverage from traditional coffee, its history is closely related to the popularization of coffee consumption in general.
Coffee arrived in Europe in the 16th century and quickly became popular. However, during the 18th century, there were times when the availability of coffee was affected by blockades and trade restrictions, leading to the search for local alternatives such as malt.
As malt coffee gained popularity, different production methods and techniques were developed. Malt grains were roasted and ground, and prepared similarly to traditional coffee, using coffee pots or infusing the malt in hot water.
How is malt coffee made?
Barley is a cereal used to make a delicious malt infusion. The recipe may vary slightly based on individual preferences, but here’s a basic recipe to prepare with or without a coffee maker.
To prepare malt coffee with a coffee maker, you’ll need the following:
- Malt (whole or ground)
- A frying pan or oven for roasting
- A Moka pot, manual filter coffee maker, or French press
Here’s the step-by-step process using unground barley (if you have ground barley, you can skip directly to step 3):
- Toast the malt: Like coffee, barley malt must be toasted before use to develop its flavour. You can toast it in a frying pan or oven, according to your preference.
- Grind the malt: The malt should be ground to a medium coarseness. You can use a coffee grinder to do this. Remember to use the appropriate amount (approximately one tablespoon per cup).
- Prepare the coffee maker: You can start now if you have ground malt. Place one tablespoon of ground malt (adjust the amount to your liking) in your coffee maker. Follow the instructions for your specific coffee maker, whether a Moka pot, French press, or another type.
- Prepare the coffee: Start the brewing process as you would for regular coffee, according to their instructions.
- Customize your coffee: You can add milk, sugar, or other ingredients according to your preference. If it’s your first time trying malted coffee, I recommend tasting it plain to appreciate its flavour from the beginning. However, like with tea or other infusions, you can add milk or other ingredients later.
If you prefer to make malt coffee without a coffee maker, here are the steps:
- Heat water in a pot until it’s near the boiling point without allowing it to boil. The ideal temperature is between 90°C and 95°C.
- Add the ground malt to the hot water and stir well.
- Let the mixture steep for 3 to 5 minutes to infuse the flavours into the water.
- Use a cloth strainer or coffee filter to strain out the residue from the malt as you pour the infusion into a heat-resistant cup.
- Remove the strainer with the malt residue once the liquid has been fully strained.
Enjoy your malted coffee prepared without the need for a coffee maker!
Varieties and flavours of malt coffee
Depending on the brand and additional ingredients used, such as chicory or certain spices, malt coffee can offer variations in flavour. Some varieties may have a spicier touch or subtle herbal notes. Here are a few examples:
- Malt flavour: This flavour can be smooth and slightly sweet.
- Roasted notes: Like traditional coffee, malt coffee can have toasted and smoky notes that develop during the malt roasting process. These notes can vary in intensity and provide a deeper and more robust flavour.
- Natural sweetness: Some varieties of malt coffee may have a natural sweetness, similar to caramel or brown sugar. This can add a touch of sweetness to the beverage without the need for additional sugar or sweeteners.
- Gentle aroma: Malt coffee often has a pleasant and gentle aroma that may remind you of freshly roasted grains. This aroma can be appealing to coffee lovers.
I recommend trying different brands and experimenting with various preparation techniques to discover your preferred flavours.
Benefits of malt coffee
Here is a summary of the properties of malt coffee, in case you are considering trying it the first time.
- First, you should know that barley (where malt comes from) is one of the healthiest and most complete cereals.
Malt has no caffeine, so malt coffee for pregnant women is an excellent solution to complete breakfasts.
- Malt coffee is also recommended for people with diabetes because it helps reduce the presence of glucose.
- It contains a large number of antioxidants and is a natural cholesterol regulator.
- Can we give malt coffee to children? Yes, malt is cereal, and children can drink it at ease.
Does malt coffee have caffeine?
No, malted coffee does not contain caffeine naturally. Caffeine is a substance found in traditional coffee beans, but in malted coffee made from roasted malt grains, caffeine is not present.
This makes malted coffee a popular choice for those who want to enjoy a coffee-like beverage without experiencing the stimulating effects of caffeine
Where can I buy malt coffee?
Buying ground malt is easy, as it can be readily found in supermarkets and specialized stores selling natural and organic products. Additionally, you also have the option to purchase malt coffee from online stores.
If you find it difficult to find instant or soluble malted coffee that can be prepared by simply adding hot water, you can always follow the steps I explained earlier to make it at home.