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Barley water is a traditional herbal tea in various parts of the world. Drinking boiled grain in water, strained or not, is an ancient practice.
- Kykeon (Gr. κυκεών, from κυκάω, "to stir, to mix") was an ancient Greek drink made mainly of water, barley and naturally occurring substances. It was used at the climax of the Eleusinian Mysteries to break a sacred fast, but it was also a favourite drink of Greek peasants.
- The British version is made by boiling washed pearl barley, straining, then pouring the hot water over the rind and/or pulp of a lemon, and adding fruit juice and sugar to taste. The rind may also be boiled with the barley.
- East and Southeast Asian versions are typically not strained and may be drunk hot or cold, with or without lime. Hot barley water is often served with a spoon and cold barley water with a straw so that the soft boiled grains can be eaten.
- Roasted barley tea is also a popular East Asian drink, but the taste and texture are very different from barley water.
- It is also a popular drink among Punjabi peasants. It is called 'sattu' in Punjabi.
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