Purple Mountain Tsampa is made from very good quality hull-less barley, grown on the great high plains of North America. It is roasted to a ‘pop’ over a flame in small batches, and then stone-ground - made fresh to order.
There’s no need to cook it - it’s already roasted! Tsampa makes a convenient and quick breakfast, snack, lunch or dinner and it’s great on camping trips or while traveling.
Tsampa keeps best in a glass jar, with a tight lid, in the fridge or freezer. It will keep almost indefinitely this way.
About Hull-less Barley
There are two genera of barley. One grows with a big 'ole hull on it, which needs to be removed before human consumption. That means processing off the hull. This type is called "pearled" or “hulled" barley, and is mainly used for beer and animal feed. It is commonly hulled/pearled for human consumption. It is a processed food.
What Purple Mountain Tsampa uses is a different kind, called “hull-less” barley. I sell two varieties of this - white and purple. There are many different colored varieties, actually. This barley is called "hull-less" because it grows without a big hard hull. It originated in Tibet and has been selected and cultivated for human food for something like 10,000 years.
Since there is no processing involved, Purple Mountain Tsampa is a whole food, retaining all of the nutrients of the barley.
Nutritional Value of Hull-less Barley
Nutrition facts for hull-less barley (tsampa is even more concentrated):
Fat calories: 10
Amount per serving/ % Daily value
total fat: 1g/1%
sat fat: 0/0
trans fat: 0/0
total carbs: 32g/ 11%
fiber: 8g/ 32%
Barley also contains the minerals calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc, and provides the amino acids alanine, arginine, aspartate, cystine, glutamate, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine and valine.
- High Protein—Whole-grain barley has from about 12 to 15% protein.
- High Lysine—Lysine is an amino acid needed to produce complete proteins in the body. Lysine is the one most commonly deficient in cereal grains. Generally, hull-less barley has about 0.40% lysine compared to 0.25% in corn, and 0.37% in winter wheat.
- High Fiber—Barley contains the unique water-soluble fiber form, beta-glucan, which is reported to have serum cholesterol lowering properties. Hull-less barley has two times more beta-glucan soluble fiber than oats and other types of barley. More importantly, this fiber can produce 5-20 times more viscosity in the small intestine, which is believed to be the most important characteristic in cholesterol reduction. A 40 gram serving of Barley provides >3 grams of soluble fiber. Oatmeal and most other barley provides only 1.6 to 2 grams of soluble fiber per serving. Because of these qualities, hull-less barley is recommended for diabetics.
- Gluten Allergy—Barley has a different type of gluten than wheat. Persons who are allergic to wheat or sensitive to wheat gluten may or may not be able to tolerate barley. Anyone with wheat sensitivity should test small amounts of barley for reaction.
Clinical studies prove that the soluble fiber found in barley lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. In fact, the heart-healthy benefits of barley are so significant that the US Food and Drug Administration authorized a health claim that barley beta-glucan soluble fiber reduces the risk of heart disease.
The Story So Far
Purple Mountain Tsampa is a small owner-operated business with no employees – an attempt to support one would-be dharma practitioner’s life in relative solitude. I learned to make tsampa from my neighbor, who learned from a venerable Tibetan Khenpo. We would make it for our Rinpoches when they would come to visit. When someone suggested that I try to sell it, at first I did not take to the idea. But after some contemplation, I decided to give it a try - and have been making it since 2008.
Tsampa is a wonderful gift from the Tibetan culture, and I feel positive about helping to keep that bit of traditional food culture alive. Its been a joy to discover that many Westerners find it to be wholesome and delicious, too!