February 28, 2020

Lemon and Job's Tears Herbal Tea 檸檬薏米茶

飲, Lemon, Job's Tears, Herbal, Tea, drink, 檸檬, 薏米, 茶, chinese, recipe, health drink
By Published: 2020-02-28
Wow...what can I say?  It’s been a really really rough month and really rough almost year here in Hong Kong, as I’m sure you all either have experienced yourself or have followed through the news.  First the protests and now the virus.  Sigh...it’s been crazy here in HK and now the craziness is spreading out unfortunately.  

We were actually overseas on holiday when the recent viral craziness started.  As a result of the virus spreading the airlines started canceling flight after flight therefore resulting in us getting cancelled out of I don’t know how many flights and spending, literally, days on the phone trying to connect with airlines, to get on any gosh darn airplane, before, finally!, we snagged a plane home...only to face an eerie sea of masked Hong Kongers and sad empty supermarket shelves.  

Kinda frightening at first but I think it's calmer now, there's a new normal, one might say, and folks are getting back to business of living and loving and, very importantly, the grocery shelves are filling back up as folks stop panic buying.

In this time of health awareness I've decided to do some tea therapy, making herbal health teas for my family to drink every day, strengthening our bodies as well as calming our spirits.  Our first tea is a Lemon and Job's Tears Herbal Tea, a refreshingly floral and tangy drink that works as a diuretic, boosts immunity, flushes out body dampness and helps to prevent common cold.  An overall amazing kind of tea!!

飲, Lemon, Job's Tears, Herbal, Tea, drink, 檸檬, 薏米, 茶, chinese, recipe, health drink

It's a pleasing thing when something is easy to make and yet quite delicious and this definitely is one of those things.  You only need three ingredients: rock sugar, lemon, and Job’s tears.  Well, and water, of course.  

飲, Lemon, Job's Tears, Herbal, Tea, drink, 檸檬, 薏米, 茶, chinese, recipe, health drink

The herbal component of this tea is a grain know variously as Job’s tears, coixseed, tear grass, or Chinese pearl barley 薏米 (also known as 薏苡仁.)  These small white pearls with the distinctive brown groove can be easily found at your neighborhood Chinese pharmacy shop or Chinese grocery store.  

Do note that there are the raw Job's tears (see photo above) and the cooked Job's tears which look fluffy, a bit like popcorn.  We used raw Job's tears, known as 生薏米, but I think that the cooked version is okay to use as well, it's just a bit less potent than the raw ones.

Coix lacryma-jobi, from Japanese agricultural Encyclopedia Seiki Zusetsus 1804
- from collection of Leiden University Library
Did you know that these Job's tears cereal grains have been around providing sustenance for many cultures for hundreds of years already?  Apparently the curious name of 'Job's tears' comes from the fact that the unhulled grains are light grey tear shaped with many grains on each stalk as you can see from the beautiful illustration above.  Thus the reference to the biblical Job who had to lose everything he had (thus his many "tears") before his faith in God was proven true.

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The grains are soaked and then boiled until soft.  Rock sugar and lemon are added in after cooking.  And that's it!  Drink it hot and fragrant, ahhhh, or let it cool and pour into a pitcher and store in the fridge for a cool, soothing drink any time of the day.  

This Lemon and Job's Tears Herbal Tea is so easy, amirite?  And delicious and good for you.  What more could one ask for?  Stay safe and healthy everyone!

飲, Lemon, Job's Tears, Herbal, Tea, drink, 檸檬, 薏米, 茶, chinese, recipe, health drink
Lemon and Job's Tears Herbal Tea檸檬薏米茶
 (makes 1.5 liters) Prep: Cook time:



Soak the Job's tears in cool water for 1 hour.  

Add 6 cups water to a pot and bring to a boil.  Pour out soaking water and then add in Job's tears, turn down heat and let simmer covered for 35-40 mins until the tea turns cloudy and grains are fluffy and soft.   

Turn off heat, add in rock sugar and lemon and then put the lid back on.  The rock sugar should melt after a few minutes.  Give it a stir and check that the tea is sweetened to your satisfaction and you're all done.

Serve hot with (or without depending on your preference) a couple of spoonfuls of the nutty chewy Job's tears in each bowl.  Alternatively let cool, discard lemons and store covered in fridge for up to 3 days.  Enjoy!



  1. Hope your family stays healthy! Enjoying your blog as always :)

  2. Hey Sabrina - same back to you and yours and thanks for checking in!!♥️ellen

  3. Made this last night after a week of spicy food! Thanks for the idea, Ellen! Have tried a couple of your recipes. Love your blog so much! Thanks a mil!

    1. Hey Dino and Family - You're very welcome! Thanks for trying us out! 😜 ~ellen