During my visit to Oklahoma ten days ago, my niece Ashley gifted me with a package of organic dried flower petals. She explained that the flowers, when brewed, create a dark blue tea.
This afternoon, preparing for afternoon tea, I decided to open the package and try “blue tea”. As the water came to a boil, I did my research. The buds come from the Butterfly Pea Flower, and they are commonly used to create unique, and colorful, drinks including Thai Welcome Tea.
Butterfly Pea Flowers
This flowering plant is native to tropical Thailand and Malaysia, but has been introduced to Africa, Australia and America. The butterfly pea is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows as a vine or creeper in damp, neutral soil. The most striking feature about this plant is the color of its flowers, which are a deep vibrant blue with light yellow markings.
In Southeast Asia, the flower is used as a natural food colouring. In Malaysia, it’s customary to add a few buds of this flower to a pot of white rice, which tints the rice a bluish color. In Thailand, a syrupy blue drink is made called nam dok anchan. It’s sometimes consumed with a drop of lime juice to increase acidity and turn the juice purple.
Butterfly pea flower tea is made from the flowers and can include dried lemongrass. The tea changes color depending on what else is added to the liquid. Lemon or lime juice turns the liquid purple. Adding honey and lemon juice to the tea, which can be served hot or iced, is called Welcome Tea in Thailand.
Thai Welcome Tea
Reading about the Welcome Tea, I was intrigued by the reported color change when lemon or lime juice is added, and decided to try it. This is Try This Tuesday, after all!
I poured boiling water over two teaspoons of dried butterfly pea flowers and covered the mug so it could steep. The water immediately began to turn blue. The longer the tea steeped, the darker the color became.
From Blue to Purple
I removed the flowers from the tea after about 10 minutes. My butterfly pea flower tea was a rich cobalt blue. Before I added honey and lemon juice, I cautiously sipped the hot tea. I wasn’t sure what to expect, from a dark blue tea, however the flavor was light and subtly earthy, similar to a high quality green tea.
Now the fun part. I stirred in a tablespoon of raw organic honey to the tea, without any change in color. As soon as I squeezed half a freshly cut lemon into the dark liquid, the color shifted from deep blue to a rich purple with a pinkish cast. I smiled with delight.
Welcoming an Afternoon Break
Thai Welcome Tea was fun to create, and provided a welcomed break in my afternoon. The tea can be chilled and served over ice, or used as a base for cocktails. I chose to sip on hot tea, and savor the blend of exotic flowers, sweet honey and the citrusy tang of lemon juice.
Butterfly pea flowers infuse the tea with potent antioxidants that help protect the skin against premature aging. Studies show that the tea fights against internal inflammation and can treat pain, reduce inflammation, treat common eye issues such as conjunctivitis, combat certain types of cancers, support brain health, and increase vitality.
Thank you Ashley, for these delightful flowers! I enjoyed my Welcome Tea, and welcome more opportunities to savor its goodness.
Order dried butterfly pea flowers below.
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