Augusta Style Caffe d’orzo

Caffe d’orzo is a grain based coffee free hot drink that is as good as coffee… this comes from a real coffee lover. This version here is an old family recipe from Augusta, Sicily. It is a bit of work but worth the time and makes well over a pound.


barley grain                        6 ounces

anise seed                          couple of pinches

cinnamon                            half a small stick

chopped almonds             5 ounces

dried figs                            5 ounces

vanilla bean                      one whole bean

roasted carob granules                  5 ounces

roasted chicory granules               6 ounces

  1. Roast the barley: put in shallow pan in oven at 450 till they all turn golden brown and smell good. Remove and cool. Grind to medium in your coffee grinder with the anise seed and cinnamon. Set aside in a mixing bowl and add the almonds to the bowl.
  2.  Chop the figs and vanilla bean in small pieces and lay on the pan you have just used for the barley. Place this pan in the oven that is off but has been warmed from roasting the barley. Leave them in there till the oven cools down. This will further dry the figs and vanilla bean so they will be dryer and easier to mix and chop with the other ingredients later.
  3.  Remove figs and vanilla from oven, let it cool. They will become harder and dryer when they cool. Make sure they are fully dry. Add to mixing bowl.
  4. Take all the ingredients in the mixing bowl and run in a food processor or mini chopper so that it is granulated to be kind of like coarsely ground coffee.
  5.  Put it back in the mixing bowl and add the carob and chicory. Stir well. Store in a glass jar.

Now to make your drink. I use a moka pot, a small Italian stovetop pressure type coffee maker. I think this is the best way to make it but then I think this is the best way to make coffee too. You can also use a French press. Drip makers and percolators would not be suitable.  A little agave or almond milk in your drink is good. I like it unadorned.

This is suitable for plant based diets, vegetarian and vegan.

You might also like my other forms of alchemy…drop by my website at


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