Posted by: Lauren | May 17, 2018

Butterfly Pea Flowers

Butterfly pea flowers. Butterfly pea what? Butterfly pea flowers, Clitoria ternatea, is a plant commonly grown in Southeast Asia. The flowers are often used in cooking or brewed into a tisane. But why talk about it?

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You may have recently seen a video of the drink going viral on Social Media. What’s so cool about it? It steeps blue, but when you add lemon or lime to it, it turns purple and pink (science!). This is caused by the change in acidity. Watch it happen here.

The flowers are popping up everywhere! DavidsTEA introduced a tea for Halloween called Magic Potion that takes advantage of the colour changing effect. “Want to see a magic trick? Add a squeeze of lemon to this juicy blue raspberry blend and watch it go from indigo to violet – no enchantments or pixie dust needed. The secret ingredient? Butterfly pea flower – a unique plant from Southeast Asia that turns tea blue naturally thanks to its bright azure petals. Spritz in some lemon and a drizzle of honey for the ultimate nightcap. Or serve it iced for a refreshing berry-packed tonic. With its fun colour-changing powers, it’s like a mood ring in your mug.”

Starbucks Singapore jumped on to the trend launching Butterfly Pea Lemonade Cold Brew.

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Tea blenders aren’t the only ones catching on to the trend… bartenders are as well. Who wouldn’t be mesmerized by a colouring changing alcoholic beverage? Take the Disco Sour for example, a drink offered at 492 in South Carolina. The pea flower extract is frozen into an ice cube and the drink is poured over to create a magical (scientific) colour change.

So what does it taste like? Well it doesn’t taste anything like you’d expect it to based on the bright blue colour. No, it does not taste like fruit punch. It’s similar to green tea and has a very grassy, earthy taste.

I recently had the pleasure of traveling to Thailand and was fortunate enough to pick up quite a few of the flowers to experiment with back at home. Currently, you can order them from places like Amazon, eBay and from Wild Hibiscus. You can also purchase extracts from Wild Hibiscus called b’lure, to make the bartending that much simpler, with the claim to contain the equivalent of 3 – 4 boxes of tea in each bottle purchased. Though this simplifies the process, it’s just as easy to make your own dye with the flowers.

Yes, you can dye food with it too. Oh, and it’s also great in Kombucha.

Health benefits? Yes, it has those too. The flower has long been a part of Thai traditional medicine. It’s full of antioxidants and is known to fight inflammation.


Adding Butterfly Pea dye to water


Gin and Tonic with Butterfly Pea Flowers, Cheers!

Happy purple steeping!

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