In a week when I needed an extra little treat, I received a box of Bright Barley drinks to sample. With chocolate, salted caramel and coffee flavours, made with all natural ingredients, I was too tempted to say no.
These vegan drinks contain organic barley syrup, agave sugar and organic barley, grown on UK farms. The barley provides a low fat source of soluble fibre and all under 168 calories per 330ml serving. Each drink also contain 50% of the recommended daily intake, of calcium plus added vitamins D & B12.
Importantly they are also delicious! In particular I really liked the chocolate flavour, which was indulgent but not too sweet. The coffee one wasn’t perhaps as strong in flavour as I would usually go for and it was quite sweet. That said, it was pretty more-ish and I managed to guzzle it down, along with the 67mg of caffeine it contained (the equivalent to one cup of tea). The salted caramel was a bit too sweet for me – like drinking strong Horlicks with an extra spoon of syrup! They all had that lovely, thick indulgent texture, more like oat milk or cashew milk than rice or coconut milk.
About Bright Barley
Founder of Bright Barley, Jiali Jiang, grew up near the Tibetan Plateau. Here, barley, with its hardy ability to grow in extreme altitudes and climates, formed an important part of the diet. Jiali came to the UK to study Environmental Policy at Cambridge University. After graduating in 2014 she joined forces with a Master student from Oxford University to develop a food product that combined their interest in ancient grains and organic ingredients. Barley offered a healthy, high fibre, nutritious and delicious ingredient, entirely absent in the current UK alternative milk market, which can also be sourced locally from organic farmers.
Sustainability is important to Bright Barley. They boast no hidden land use, water or food mile excesses. And are packaged in recyclable, paperboard Tetra Pak cartons made from renewable FSC material.
All their barley flour comes from organic farms in the UK, which practice sustainable farming methods, including crop rotation to improve the biodiversity of the soil. The grain is ground in Shipton Mill in the Cotswolds. Barley is particularly suited for crop rotation, since it has a short growth period of between 60 days and four months. Barley also thrives in drought conditions, minimising water usage, unlike many other milk alternatives on the market.
Barley is one of the oldest cultivated grains. It is a nutritional dynamo, which, according to USFDA (2006), EU EFSA (2011), and Health Canada (2012), is linked to a reduced risk of developing coronary heart disease and an ability to reduce the rise in blood glucose after a meal. Barley helps lower cholesterol, provides slow release energy, so enhanced satiety, improves digestive health and is an excellent source of heart-healthy beta-glucans. Government guidelines recommend a daily intake of 30g of fibre, and barley is a powerful source of this essential food.
Bright Barley drinks are available in selected cafés and delis and online through Bright Barley, Yumbles, Holland & Barrett and The Food Market.