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How to Make Butterfly Pea Tea

Learn how to make Butterfly Pea Tea from this vibrant flower that’s native to South East Asia! This healthy drink boasts some awesome benefits as well. A must-try if you’re a tea lover!

Three ways to use blue butterfly pea flower tea: hot, iced, or latte!

In recent years you’ve probably seen more and more blue butterfly pea recipes popping up around the internet on social media, as well as in drinks at restaurants or local tea shops.

And it’s not difficult to see why it’s risen in popularity: the color is so vibrant, and…it actually has color-changing properties!

Today I’m going to go over where this amazing ingredient comes from, its nutritional benefits, and share 3 ways to prepare it!

 

Here’s a video tutorial in case you learn better that way! The written tutorial is below:

A mug of hot butterfly pea tea.

How to Make Hot Butterfly Pea Tea:

First I’ll show you how to make the hot version of blue butterfly flower tea, then I’ll get into the iced and latte versions. 

All of the ingredients needed to make hot butterfly pea tea laid out on a counter.

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Ingredients:

Let’s go over the ingredients needed to make regular tea:

  • 4-8 Dried Butterfly Pea Flowers: The size of the flowers can vary depending on the brand you use. Aim for about 2 teaspoons of the dried flowers. It may be difficult to find the butterfly pea flowers at a typical grocery store. I purchased mine from Rishi tea. Here’s another organic option that’s grown in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 
  • 1 cup Boiling Water: If your water is treated with chlorine, please use filtered water instead of tap water. Water quality can affect the flavor of the final drink!
  • Lemon Juice or Lime Juice to taste: This is what changes the color of the tea! It also adds some extra flavor. Lemon juice boosts the Vitamin C content of the drink as well.

Brewing the hot butterfly pea tea in a mug with a plate on top.

Brewing the Tea:

Place the dried flowers into a tea strainer or reusable tea bags. You could also just put them loose into the cup, then strain them out or drink around them.

Next, put the tea strainer into your mug. I highly recommend using a clear glass mug if you have one so you can see the color better!

Pour 1 cup of hot water on top of the tea in the strainer. Put a plate on top of the mug. This helps to trap the heat in the mug.

 

A mug of hot blue butterfly pea flower tea.

 

Steep Time:

Steep the butterfly pea tea for 5-10 minutes. Of course steeping the tea longer will extract more color and flavor, but it isn’t necessary.

Remove the tea strainer. 

Look at that deep blue color! I mean, this is one of the prettiest tea I’ve ever made.

A lime on a cutting board with a lemon next to it cut in half and a serrated knife behind it.

Changing the Color of the Butterfly Pea Tea:

Now at this point you can add either lemon juice or lime juice if you like.

When you add acidic ingredients to the blue butterfly pea tea, it changes the pH level of the drink, which is what affects the color change.

Adding lemon to a mug of blue butterfly pea flower tea to change the color to purple.

It starts out as blue, but it can change to purple, or even a purplish-pink color if you add enough lemon juice!

The lemon or lime also adds a nice flavor.

Now if you’d like to change the color without adding an acidic ingredient, you could try mixing hibiscus tea and butterfly pea tea, or even beet powder to make a purple tea.

NOTE: This makes a small cup of tea. If you’d like a larger cup, increase the flowers to 1 tablespoon, and the water to 12 ounces. 

A photo of almond extract with butterfly pea tea in the background along with maple syrup.

How to Make Butterfly Pea Tea Taste Good:

Here’s where you can get creative with the flavor!

First, you can add some sweetness, which will obviously boost the flavor of the tea.

You could use sugar, maple syrup, or honey for a neutral flavor profile. Or, if you’d like to add extra flavor, you could use vanilla syrup, lavender simple syrup, etc.

I like to add a few drops of almond extract. It goes really well with the flavor of the butterfly pea tea. 

Make sure to take into consideration whether or not the flavors you add with pair well with either lemon or lime if you’re using those.

A 12 ounce glass of iced blue tea on a white countertop.

 

How to Make Iced Butterfly Pea Tea:

Now if you prefer an iced drink over hot tea, no worries! I’ve got you covered! It’s really, really simple to make blue butterfly tea iced, sometimes called Nam Dok Anchan.

 

All of the ingredients needed to make an iced butterfly pea tea drink!

Ingredients:

The ingredients for the iced version are the same as the hot version, except for the ice cubes!

  • Dried Blue Pea Flowers
  • Boiling Water
  • Cold Water
  • Ice Cubes
  • Lemon Juice or Lime Juice

All of the steps needed to make an iced butterfly pea tea drink.

 

Brewing the Iced Tea:

Place the butterfly pea tea leaves into a tea strainer and place that into a heat-proof glass measuring cup. Again, you can just brew the blue tea leaves loose in the water if you don’t own a tea strainer, and then strain the butterfly pea flowers out afterwards using a fine mesh sieve. 

Pour 1/2 cup of boiling water over the tea in the measuring cup. Cover with a plate and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes.  

Adding the Cold Water and Ice:

Remove the tea strainer from the hot tea in the measuring cup.

Pour 1/2 cup of cold water over some ice in a glass. By using half cold water instead of all boiling water, it helps to cool the drink down and melt less of the ice.

Pouring the brewed tea over the water and ice in the glass.

Pour the hot blue tea over the ice and water in the glass.

Ah, such a lovely bright blue tea! What a magical color.

Adding lime juice to the iced butterfly pea flower tea.

You can enjoy as-is, or add lemon juice, lime juice, sweetener, or flavorings!

You could also experiment with herbal infusions such as mint, basil, or lavender to add extra flavor.

A mug of blue butterfly pea flower latte with latte art.

 

How to Make a Blue Latte with Butterfly Pea Tea:

Finally we have the butterfly pea tea latte, also known as a blue latte or blue matcha!

All of the ingredients needed to make a butterfly pea flower latte (AKA blue matcha latte)

Ingredients:

  • Butterfly Pea Powder: You can also purchase butterfly pea tea in powder form. This is sometimes referred to as blue matcha, and you can see why! I purchased an organic powder from Rishi Tea. Here’s another organic butterfly pea powder that’s a little more affordable. You could also use a really strongly brewed tea instead of the powder if you don’t want to purchase both. It won’t be quite the same strength or as dark blue as the powder, of course!
  • Hot Water: You’ll only need a tablespoon this time.
  • Sweetener of Choice: Again, you could opt for a neutral sweetener, or go for an infused simple syrup.
  • Almond Extract: I personally like to flavor my blue pea latte with almond extract, but you could substitute vanilla if you prefer.
  • Milk of Choice: I like to use whole milk, but feel free to substitute your favorite latte milk!

Whisking the blue butterfly pea flower powder with water in a mug to make a latte.

Making the Tea:

Place 1 teaspoon of the blue tea powder in a mug. Add the water and whisk with either a regular whisk (here’s one made in the USA) or matcha whisk (here’s one made in Japan) until completely smooth.

Add sweetener to taste and any flavorings.

Frothing milk to make a latte

Frothing the Milk:

If you own an espresso machine you can heat and froth the milk that way. 

Or you can heat the milk over the stove and froth with a handheld milk frother (this is the one I own). Make sure to check out my video with 8 ways to froth milk without a machine!

 

A mug of blue butterfly pea flower latte with latte art.

Now pour that over the tea in the mug, and enjoy!

FAQ

Okay, now that I’ve shown you how to use butterfly pea tea, let’s go over some frequently asked questions!

A jar of dried blue butterfly pea flowers.

What is Butterfly Pea Tea?

Blue butterfly pea tea comes from the edible flowers of the Clitoria ternatea plant. It’s also known as blue tea, blue butterfly pea flower tea, Asian pigeonwings, or Cordofan pea, and it’s part of the pea or legume family.

The butterfly pea plant is native to countries in Southeast Asia where it’s been used for quite some time. But it’s only gained popularity in the United States and other western countries in the last few years.

This is a caffeine-free herbal tea that can be enjoyed at any time of the day!

What Does Blue Butterfly Pea Tea Taste Like?

The simple answer is that it tastes kind of like green peas! 

Some people have described it as similar to the earthy flavor of green tea. I personally don’t find that true, but I can kind of see where they’re coming from.

The woodsy flavor of blue flower tea isn’t super strong, so that’s why it’s a good idea to add extra flavors from other ingredients.

Butterfly Pea Tea Benefits:

Not only is this tea such a fun color from the bright blue petals, it also boasts some pretty cool health benefits as well. It’s rich in antioxidants, including an anthocyanin known as ternatin, which is what gives it that bright color. It contains other antioxidants, including EGCG, which is also found in green tea.

Antioxidants have many health benefits, including alleviating oxidative stress on our bodies by combatting free radicals.

Because of the antioxidant properties, butterfly pea tea could also help guard against cancer, support your immune system, reduce inflammation, stabilize blood sugar levels, and more!

One benefit that’s really fascinating to me is the nootropic effect it can impart. Nootropics are substances that improve cognitive function including memory and attention. Some say you may experience vivid dreams after consuming blue butterfly pea tea.

It has also been used in ayurvedic medicine for a long while, so it has tradition to back it up as well!

Here’s an article with more information about blue butterfly pea.

Side Effects:

There haven’t been studies done on the side effects of butterfly pea tea, but there have been reports of indigestion or nausea. You can always start with just a little bit of the tea and work your way up from there.

Other Ways to Use Blue Pea Flower Tea:

  • Nasi Kerabu: In Malaysian cuisine they have a rice dish known as Nasi Kerabu, which contains blue rice colored with butterfly pea flowers! 
  • Lavender Lemonade: Recipe coming soon!
  • Iced Latte: Recipe coming soon!
  • Natural Food Dye: Since blue butterfly pea flowers are such a vibrant blue color, you can use them as a natural food coloring. You could either use the powder form to add to cakes and frostings, or use really strongly brewed tea.

A mug of hot butterfly pea tea flower tea with added lemon to change the color.

So that’s how to make a cup of butterfly pea flower tea at home! If you make and enjoy this recipe, please make sure to come back and give it a 5 star rating! Thank you!

More Tea Recipes:

Recipe Card

Yield: 1 serving

How to Make Butterfly Pea Tea

Three ways to use blue butterfly pea flower tea: hot, iced, or latte!

Learn 3 different ways to make butterfly pea tea at home!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

For the Hot Tea:

  • 4-8 dried butterfly pea flowers (2 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Lemon or Lime Juice (optional)
  • Maple syrup, honey, or simple syrup (optional)

For the Iced Tea:

  • 2 teaspoons dried butterfly pea flowers
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon or Lime Juice (optional)
  • Maple syrup, honey, or simple syrup (optional)

For the Latte:

  • 1 teaspoons butterfly pea flower powder
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1-2 teaspoons sweetener of choice
  • a few drops almond extract (optional)
  • 1 cup whole milk

Instructions

For the Hot Tea:

  1. Place the dried flowers in a tea strainer. Place in a 10-12 ounce mug. Pour the boiling water on top. Place a heat-proof plate on top of the mug to trap the heat.
  2. Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes. Remove the tea strainer.
  3. Add lemon or lime juice and sweetener to taste if you like.


For the Iced Tea:

  1. Place the dried flowers in a tea strainer. Place in a 10-12 ounce mug. Pour the boiling water on top. Place a heat-proof plate on top of the mug to trap the heat.
  2. Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes. Remove the tea strainer.
  3. Place ice cubes in a 12 ounce cup. Add the cold water on top. Pour the brewed tea on top and stir.
  4. Add lemon or lime juice and sweetener to taste if you like.

For the Latte:

  1. Place the butterfly pea powder and hot water in a 12 ounce mug. Whisk until completely smooth.
  2. Add almond extract and sweetener if desired.
  3. Heat and froth the milk and pour over the butterfly pea tea in the mug. Enjoy!


Notes

Calories calculated from the latte made with whole milk and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup. The calories in the brewed tea will vary depending on if you add sweetener and/or lemon juice.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

1

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 175

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Oralia

Sunday 12th of May 2024

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