What is malt coffee?

Malt is a cereal derived from barley, and its presence in this article has to do with its use as a natural substitute for traditional coffee. The properties of barley coffee or malt coffee allow it to be drunk by many people or groups who, for health reasons or taste, cannot drink coffee.

If you are curious and want to encourage you to prepare malt coffee for your breakfasts, on this page, we will try to explain everything about this infusion. From the ingredients, you need to the steps to make it at home, how to prepare homemade malt coffee and how it is combined.

The barley coffee recipe is top-rated in some Latin American countries. Still, even so, its consumption is growing, especially in the communities of organic users, vegans and in general those who bet on a healthy lifestyle. Malt coffee is also sometimes mixed with chicory, a root that is more readily available in our country in various formats:

How is malt coffee made?

Malt or barley is a cereal, so the so-called malt coffee is made as an infusion. We say “badly named” because this is not coffee but a similar injection that replaces it. Another thing would be if you added a little bit of malt to your usual coffee brew to give it a different touch.

Now let’s see how to make barley coffee at home. You can do it in two ways: with or without a coffee maker.

The usual thing is to make malt coffee as if it were a normal one, and for that, you need the following:

How to make homemade malt coffee step by step

Time required: 6 minutes.

We will make the coffee with malt step by step, starting from the unground malt. If you buy a packet of ground malt, you can skip straight to step 3:

  1. Roast the malt. Like coffee, barley needs to be roasted before use to acquire its characteristic flavour. You can use a frying pan or the oven at home, as you prefer.
  2. We need ground malt. The malt must be ground, with an average thickness. So use only the amount you need (about a generous spoonful per cup) and grind it at home with your grinder.
  3. Preparing the coffee maker. If you buy the malt already ground, you can start the brewing here. Take a generous spoonful of ground malt (you can adjust the amount to your liking later) and put it in your coffee maker. You must use the amounts and do the process just like you would make a regular coffee, so the details depend on the type of coffee maker you are using. The most common is to use an Italian mocha, but you can use others.
  4. Turn on the coffee maker and brew usually. If it’s a mocha, you put it on the stove; if it’s a French press, you add hot water and wait before pressing; and if it’s an electric drip coffee maker, you turn it on. You do it like a regular coffee.
  5. Add milk, sugar or whatever you prefer. If you are making malt coffee for the first time at home, we advise you to drink it as it is so that you get used to its taste from the beginning. But, as with tea or any other infusion, you can add milk or whatever you like later.

On the other hand, if you prefer to make your barley coffee without a coffee maker, you need to have the barley roasted and ground at home and process it the same way you would do it with a pot of stew coffee, of all times (with a cloth filter).

If you use a coffee maker to make your coffee with malt, it’s a good idea to have two separate models so that you don’t mix aromas or residues from the coffee and malt brews alternately. As an alternative to traditional coffee makers, we recommend barley coffee makers, specific for this type of cereal infusion, which is very popular in Italy thanks to Bialetti and this peculiar mocha model: Bialetti Moka Orzo Express.

Benefits and contraindications of malt coffee

Here is a summary of the properties of malt coffee, in case you are thinking of trying it the first time.

  • First of all, you should know that barley (where malt comes from) is one of the healthiest and most complete cereals in existence. The problem is that it is very much associated with the production of beer, and its properties at a nutritional level are often forgotten.
    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.
  • The bad one is good for older people or patients with hypertension. In general, anyone who cannot drink caffeine for health reasons will find malt the right solution for their diet and daily routine.
    It contains a large number of antioxidants and is a natural cholesterol regulator (the malt “eats” the lousy cholesterol provided by other less healthy foods).
  • Can we give malt coffee to children? Yes, malt is cereal, and children can drink it at ease.

Does malt coffee have caffeine?

Not – it’s malt, not coffee. It will have caffeine if you make a traditional coffee and add some barley to the grind. That’s different. But the malt tea substitute for coffee doesn’t have caffeine.

Where can I buy malt coffee?

There aren’t many brands of malt coffee on the market. It’s easy to buy pre-ground malt at supermarkets or health food stores. This way, you can use it in other recipes too.

Ask your local herbalist or in the organic section of the supermarkets: they will almost certainly have different brands for this type of coffee. Another thing is that they have the packet of malt you are looking for. But you can always ask for it.

It is more difficult to find instant or soluble malt coffee, ready to drink simply by adding hot water. But, as you have seen, it is not very complicated to make your malt coffee at home in the traditional way.