When I was a kid, not only did Mom use roasted barley but she had a roasted fig drink. I liked that! Found "Coffig" - it goes in the coffee maker with ground coffee about 2 coffee : 1 figs. Very good! The figs make the drink a little sweet but other than that, it tastes like coffee to me!
During the great depression & World War 2 there was a coffee shortage & people did not have much money. My grand parents & parents grew up making coffee from barley & figs. When I was in grade school 1958 grocery stores sold many things in bulk, sugar, flour, grain, beans, rice, etc. 2 lbs of barley was 5 cents. When grandmother was baking bread she had 2 large cast iron skillets in the oven with 1/4 cup barley roasting in each skillet. She put the roasted barley in an empty can, when grand father had free time he used a hand crank coffee grinder to grind up the barley then put it in another can. Grand mother put the ground roasted barley in the old peculator coffee pot ever morning to make coffee. This was my mothers side of the family. My other grand mother & my father both made fig coffee. I was in 1st grade I did not pay attention to how fig coffee was made. Several years later they both were drinking real coffee. When my father got old and did not want to drink caffeine he started making fig coffee again. When he was in his 90s he drank instant decaf coffee.
I have made coffee from barley that is already roasted you can buy it at the beer making store, it is called, crystal malt barley. L60 crystal malt is like light roast coffee, L90 is like medium roast coffee, L120 is like dark roast coffee, L150 is like extra dark roast coffee. 1 tablespoon per cup make good coffee. If you like strong coffee use 2 tablespoons per cup. If you don't live near a beer making supply store you can buy crystal malt on Ebay about 3 times more expensive.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS has good information about coffee.
There's no reason in the world to spend up to $5.00 a pound for ground roast coffee (or up to $10 a pound for instant) . . . when you can brew your own perfectly satisfying coffee substitute from inexpensive, readily available (not to mention wholesome and nutritious) cereal grains and vegetables. Yes, cereal grains and vegetables. Back in the 30's — when money (and coffee) was a good deal scarcer than it is now — many people couldn't afford to drink real coffee. Instead, they brewed a variety of mock javas from barley, rye, wheat, oats, flax and other common foodstuffs. And in some cases, the dark-brown beverages that resulted were said to have a significantly better flavor than real coffee.
Whether the mock Javas listed below are better — or worse — tasting than your favorite freeze-dried or ground roast coffee is something you'll have to decide for yourself. One thing is certain, however: Unless you do try one or more of the following concoctions, you'll never know bow satisfying coffee substitutes can be . . . and you'll never know how mach "coffee money" you might have been able to save!