But what does butterfly pea tea taste like? And how do you get those stunning colors you see all over social media and in your favorite cafe drinks?
We’ll answer everything below, with some tips on creating some unique drinks at the end of this post.
What is Butterfly Pea Flower Tea?
Butterfly pea flower tea is a herbal infusion that comes from butterfly pea flowers (Clitoria ternatea), commonly used as a natural food and beverage colorant in parts of Asia.
You’ve probably seen pictures on Instagram of this beautiful drink, which comes in hues of blue, purple, and magenta.
What Does Butterfly Pea Tea Taste Like?
Butterfly pea flowers don’t really have much of a taste. If anything, they’re much like a very light green tea and taste only slightly vegetal.
In general, butterfly pea flowers are added to different tea blends and citrus drinks and aren’t typically brewed on their own. When you brew them in a tea blend, they’re almost entirely unnoticeable, as even delicate teas can overpower what little flavor they have.
That’s part of the appeal of these flowers—they add lots of color without affecting the taste of your beverages. Throw them in smoothies, desserts, teas, lemonade, whatever else you want. You won’t taste much of a difference!
How to Make Butterfly Pea Tea
If you’re brewing butterfly pea tea with nothing else added, treat it just like green tea. Steep in water that’s almost reached boiling (208 degrees Fahrenheit/97 degrees Celsius, if you have a temperature control kettle) for about five minutes.
Don’t worry too much if you steep it longer! Unlike regular tea and some herbs, butterfly pea flowers don’t get bitter. So, if you forget about it and come back to it half an hour later, you can just reheat it and add whatever sweetener you’d like to it.
You can also add some lemon to it for a little color-changing fun!
Below, we’ll talk more about what makes it change color and what you can add to it for even more color and flavor combinations.
Why Does Butterfly Pea Tea Change Colors?
The flowers are naturally a deep blue but can change to purple and even more of a reddish color when you adjust the pH by adding something acidic, like lemon juice. (Kind of like how cabbage reacts to pH adjustments. But let’s be honest—no one wants cabbage juice to their tea.)
The anthocyanins present in both cabbage and butterfly pea flowers are responsible for these stunning color changes.
Things You Can Add for Color-Changing Magic
While lemon is the most common thing to use in butterfly pea tea to get it to change to the beautiful purple and magenta colors you’re used to seeing, there are some other things you can add to get some interesting gradients:
Just squeeze a little bit of juice from some oranges to get clear orange juice and fill about a third of your cup. Slowly pour in butterfly pea tea, using a spoon to slow it down. (You can also use regular orange juice from the store, but it usually has a lot of pulp and kind of muddies the colors.)
One of our local tea shops uses strawberries and hibiscus mash to get a vibrant red color, followed by a lighter pink hibiscus infusion, then blue butterfly pea tea, with a little bit of lemon juice to top it off.
Lavender produces a nice reddish purple brew when you boil it. Mix it with a butterfly pea tea infusion for a rich purple or magenta brew! This also works great for coloring simple syrups, like this one.
Lastly, I like to add a little bit of mineral water for some fizz (and it turns purple), along with sweetened lime juice.
You can get something like Rose's sweetened lime juice at your local liquor or grocery store. It has an almost yellow-green hue that, when dropped into a mixture of club soda and butterfly pea flower tea, gets some interesting colors. Think of a vibrant orange at the bottom of your glass that fades into a nice pink.
Where to Get Butterfly Pea Flowers
You can grab a package of butterfly pea flowers for use in your drinks here or get a tea blend with the flowers already in it.
Magical Butterfly Herbal Blend is a berry-and-vanilla blend with a little bit of citrus added. You can brew this on its own or add a little more lemon juice to get an even more vibrant brew.
Play around with your favorite combinations and see what tastes best! You can get some interesting flavors and stunning colors. We'd love to see what you come up with! Join us on social and share your photos.