Today I want to introduce you to butterfly pea flower tea. A trendy tisane that’s been making waves. What’s so special about it, you ask? Well…. it ch-ch-ch-ch-chaaaanges. This is a tea David Bowie could get behind. In fact, here’s a Bowie-centric Spotify playlist so you can get in the mood. David Bowie, chocolate, Easter, tea…. It’s a natural pairing.
Okay, now that we’re all in the same head space, let’s settle in for some cool tea science.
“Bella Luna Blue” Tea from Adagio Teas
This tea literally only comes around every once in a blue moon. During days of the blue moon only, Adagio Teas sells this rare tea on their website—for one day only. We’re due for a blue moon this Saturday, March 31st, so that’s the one day you’ll be able to buy some from Adagio Teas’ website.
A blue moon happens when there are two full moons in one month. The second one is a ‘blue moon’. Well it might not actually be blue, you know what is? … this tea!
This is a caffeine-free, herbal tisane made from an infusion of nose-tingling lemongrass, the sweet flavour of blueberries, and the butterfly pea flower. The blend brews a deep navy blue that looks almost cartoon-coloured it’s so rich.
That colour all comes from the butterfly pea flower, the featured ingredient with a natural navy pigment that’s used as a natural food colouring throughout Southeast Asia, where it’s common. You can spot it in dishes like ‘nasi kerabu,’ from Malaysia, or ‘khao yam,’ from Thailand. Both have blue rice!
This tea has a very light and sweet taste. Definitely if you add a lot of lemon to extract a more noticeable colour change then the tartness becomes the primary taste, followed up a strong nose-smell of blueberries, a bit of woodiness and refreshing zing of lemongrass. See my recommendation for iced lemonade below.
To prepare it, use one heaping tablespoon of tea per mug, and steep for 5-10 minutes with 100˚ boiling water. This tea is pretty forgiving—if you accidentally forget about it and steep it too long, no worries.
The Science Behind Butterfly Pea Flower Tea
In the case of this colour-changing tea, all the ‘magic’ (science!) is located in its deep blue petals. Once steeped, the liquor changes colour based on the pH level. So adding an acid like lemon juice is what causes it to turn bright purple, or violet.
Do you know the flower, hydrangea? They do the same thing as butterfly pea flowers—they change hue depending on the pH of the soil they’re planted in. Try experimenting with what’s in your kitchen and see what colours you get. (Please share if you find any cool combinations!)
Colour-Changing Blue Iced Tea Lemonade
Okay, any kid worth their weight in Easter chocolate should be delighted by the colour changing science behind this tea. All natural, no sugar, and if you add a squeeze of lemon, it turns bright violet! I can see the science lesson already…
I recommend getting some extra lemons, sugar (or honey!), and crushed ice, then making a big ol’ jar of colour-changing lemonade to go with your Easter dinner. Gather your children, squeeze some lemons, have a good time, yeah?
Try adding some ginger and honey in for more sweetness and zip.