Known for their brilliant blue hue, earthy flavour, and health benefits, butterfly pea flowers are commonly used to brew a herbal tea called blue pea tea. So, today, we want to show you how to make this soothing drink from scratch in just a few minutes!
Also known as blue pea or Asian pigeonwings, butterfly pea is native to South and Southeast Asia, where it's praised for its health benefits in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.
Butterfly pea flowers are traditionally used to brew a delicate blue tea and as a natural food colourant for rice dishes and desserts.
The wonderful flowers have a striking blue colour because of the high concentration of blue-violet pigments called anthocyanins — just like the ones that make blueberries blue!
These blue pigments are powerful antioxidants responsible for the many health benefits of these exotic flowers: aid in weight loss, better blood sugar control, and healthier skin and hair.
Brewing a nice cup of blue pea tea is a great way to reap these health benefits. And it's also so nice to sip such a colourful tea!
To make blue tea from scratch, you'll need just water and culinary butterfly pea flowers, usually sold as dried flowers at Asian food stores. But if you can't find them there, then you can easily get them online!
When you steep the flowers in hot water, the blue pigments dissolve in the water, giving you a vibrant blue tea.
And how does the tea taste? Lightly floral, sweet, and fresh, with subtle earthy notes. So, unique!
The more flowers you use or the longer you leave them to infuse, the darker and stronger the blue pea tea will be.
So, the cool thing about making butterfly pea tea is that you can give it a different shade of blue every time!
In the steps below, we'll give you two options: one to brew a light blue tea and one for a dark blue tea.
These two options also come handy when you want to use butterfly pea tea in recipes, not just for sipping.
The dark blue tea option works great as an all-natural colourant for blue drinks, bakes, and desserts.
Okay, time to put the kettle on and make this wonderful blue pea tea together!
Option 1 Light Blue Tea
- Butterfly Pea Flowers (dried)
Option 1 Dark Blue Tea
- Butterfly Pea Flowers (dried)
Depending on the amount of butterfly pea flowers you use to brew this drink, the tea will have different shades of blue.
Here, we'll give you two options:
Light Blue Option
Use 1/2 teaspoon of flowers per cup (about 5 dried flowers) to make a light blue tea that's great for sipping; it tastes delicate and mellow;
Dark Blue Option
Use 1 teaspoon of dried flowers per cup (about 10 dried flowers) to make a dark blue tea that's great for sipping and recipes; it tastes earthier and more floral.
We recommend using the dark brew option whenever a recipe calls for blue pea tea, as the colour of tea will get toned down by other ingredients.
We'll give you some recipe examples in the steps below.
To make the tea, add the chosen amount of dried butterfly pea flowers to a cup and pour over boiling water.
Give a stir and let the flowers steep for 5 minutes.
As time passes, you'll see the flowers release their blue pigments in hot water.
The pictures below show the difference between the two brewing options: light blue (picture 1) and dark blue (picture 2).
Although the dark one is more suited for recipes in general, the light one also works well when you want a gentler colour. For example, we used a lighter version as a base for recipes like this blue syrup or galaxy butterfly pea lemonade.
Once ready, filter out the flowers and discard them.
Serve the tea warm, sweetened to taste with raw honey, maple syrup, or a sugar-free sweetener like erythritol.
If you're using this butterfly pea tea for a recipe instead, let it cool down completely first.
If you like a squeeze of lemon in your tea, watch out: the acidic lemon juice will change the colour of blue pea tea from blue to purple! See it happen in this colour-changing lemonade.