Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Health Benefits and How to Brew Properly

4.59 from 31 votes

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Butterfly pea flower tea is an herbal tea, or a tisane drink, that naturally turns blue when steeped in water. See how to make this fun drink and how to make it change color.

Iced butterfly pea flower tea

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Butterfly Pea Flower Tea

  • Butterfly pea flower tea is an herbal, caffeine-free drink made from dried butterfly pea flowers steeped in water.
  • Comes from a plant called clitoria ternatea that’s native to Southeast Asia.
  • The flowers are deep blue in color with a tinge of purple that colors and flavors the water.
  • The color goes from blue to purple when the pH level changes. Adding something acidic like lemon juice changes the color. It’s like magic!

RELATED: Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Latte

4 Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Health Benefits

1. High Levels of Antioxidants

Butterfly pea flower tea gets its pretty color from anthocyanins. These are natural pigments that give some plants, like blueberries, a purplish-blue color. Anthocyanins are antioxidants, meaning they protect your cells and reduce oxidative stress.

Over time, oxidative stress can lead to chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer. But consuming plenty of antioxidant-rich foods (like butterfly pea flower tea) may help reduce the risk.

2. Reduces High Blood Sugar

The anthocyanins in butterfly pea flower help manage high blood sugar. This is important because high blood sugar increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

3. Protects the Heart

Anthocyanins can also reduce high blood pressure, a major risk factor of heart disease. Having healthy blood pressure is essential for proper blood flow to the heart.

4. Supports Healthy Skin

Another butterfly pea flower tea benefit involves the skin. For starters, the beverage contains vitamin C, which is important for wound healing. 

The antioxidant properties of anthocyanins also protect the skin from oxidative stress. This is worth noting because oxidative stress can contribute to the signs of skin aging.

Side Effects of Butterfly Pea Flower Tea

Currently, there’s no research on the side effects of butterfly pea flower tea. Some people report having diarrhea, stomach cramps, or nausea after drinking the tea but this might depend on how much you consume. 

If you are new to butterfly pea flower tea or have a history of digestive issues, start with a small amount and see how you feel. Stop drinking the tea if you experience digestive problems.

RELATED: Butterfly Pea Flower Bubble Tea

Ingredient Notes

Butterfly pea flower tea photo

TO MAKE HOT BUTTERFLY PEA FLOWER TEA

TO MAKE COLD BREW BUTTERFLY PEA FLOWER TEA

How to Make Hot Butterfly pea flower Tea properly

Butterfly pea flower tea photo

STEP 1: Boil water.

Water quality is important with tea. The better the water, the better the cup of tea. Use filtered water if possible. 

If you’re using an electric kettle with temperature setting like I do, set it to 208°F, otherwise you can just use boiling hot water.

Boil extra water so that you can use it to warm up the teapot.

STEP 2: Warm up teapot.

Pour some hot water into the teapot and swirl it around a bit to warm it up. Discard water.

When the teapot is warm, the tea won’t cool down as fast while it’s brewing.

STEP 3: Put butterfly pea flower tea into teapot and add hot water.

STEP 4: Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.

The minimum steep time for herbal tea is 5 minutes. You can steep for longer without the tea getting bitter unlike green tea.

STEP 5: Strain butterfly pea flowers and pour hot tea into a teacup.

You can add lemon slices into your drink and watch the color change from blue to purple.

How to Make Iced Butterfly pea flower tea

My favorite way to make butterfly pea flower tea is iced with a lemon. And the best way to make it iced tea is to cold brew it! 

STEP 1: Put butterfly pea flower tea and cool or room temperature water in a pitcher or glass container.

Tea Sommelier’s Tip: If you make cold brew often, get a cold brew pitcher which comes with an infuser. It makes it super easy to make iced tea.

STEP 2: Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 6 hours.

You can steep in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

STEP 3: Strain out butterfly pea flowers and pour tea into a cup.

Ice is optional with cold brew tea. 

To make your butterfly pea flower sweetened, use simple syrup since it’s the easiest to incorporate into your cold tea since it’s a liquid.

Simple syrup is really easy to make at home. Just mix equal parts sugar and hot water until sugar dissolves.

RELATED: 30 Refreshing Iced Tea Recipes

Once you’ve made the tea, add some lemon juice or lemon slices to see it change color.

It turns from a blue to a purple!

BUTTERFLY PEA FLOWER TEA TIPS

  • Butterfly pea flower tea isn’t as tricky to make as black or green tea in that it doesn’t get bitter if you brew it for too long. 
  • Butterfly pea flower tea on its own doesn’t taste too great so be sure to add lemon or honey to change the flavor.
  • Use butterfly pea flower and lemonade to make a pretty and great-tasting drink.

QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE

What does it taste like?

I don’t love the taste of butterfly pea flower tea. It tastes earthy and woody. It’s definitely pretty to look at but it tastes bleh. I never drink it on its own.

Is there caffeine?

Nope, there’s no caffeine in butterfly pea flower tea.

What’s the difference between loose tea, tea sachets, and tea bags?

Loose butterfly pea flowers are the best quality. Tea sachets are good to OK quality and tea bags are the lowest in quality.

Is butterfly pea flower tea a real tea?

Butterfly pea flower tea is made from the clitoria ternatea plant, not the camellia sinensis so it’s not a real tea. All herbal teas aren’t real teas. Real tea is tea made from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. Black, oolong, green, and white tea are all real or true tea.

4.59 from 31 votes

Butterfly Pea Flower Tea

By: Jee Choe
Butterfly pea flower tea is an herbal tea that naturally turns blue when steeped in water. 
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Servings: 1 serving

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Boil water.
    If using an electric kettle with temperature setting, set it to 208°F. Boil a little more water than needed so that it can be used to warm up the teapot. Filtered water is best.
  • Warm up teapot.
    Pour some hot water into a teapot and swirl it around a bit. Discard the water.
  • Put butterfly pea flowers into teapot and add hot water. Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.
  • Strain butterfly pea flowers and pour hot tea into a teacup.

Notes

TO MAKE COLD BREW BUTTERFLY PEA FLOWER TEA
1. Put butterfly pea flowers and cold or room temperature water in a pitcher or glass container. 
Filtered water is best for a better tasting iced tea.
2. Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 6 hours.
3. Strain out butterfly pea flowers and pour tea into a cup. 
Ice is optional since the tea is already cold.

Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Brewing Guide

TO MAKE HOT BUTTERFLY PEA FLOWER TEA
TEA:
1.5 teaspoons loose butterfly pea flowers or 1 tea bag
WATER:
1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
WATER TEMPERATURE:
208°F
STEEP TIME:
5 minutes
TO MAKE COLD BREW BUTTERFLY PEA FLOWER TEA
TEA:
1.5 teaspoons loose butterfly pea flowers or 1 tea bag
WATER:
1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
WATER TEMPERATURE:
Cold water
STEEP TIME:
12 hours

TO SWEETEN ICED BUTTERFLY PEA FLOWER TEA
To sweeten, use simple syrup. You can easily make simple syrup at home by mixing equal parts sugar (or honey, date syrup, or brown sugar) and hot water until sugar dissolves.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Drinks
Tried this recipe?Mention @ohhowcivilized or tag #ohhowcivilized!

About Jee Choe

Welcome! I'm a certified Tea Sommelier and a self-proclaimed bubble tea and iced tea master. I'm all about making tea EASY and DELICIOUS.

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32 Comments

  1. I have a home grown ( garden ) butterfly pea plant, should i use the petals from there directly? it wouldn’t be dangerous or poisonous would it be ?

    1. Hi beginner_at_tea, I can’t say if it’s safe to use. I’ve only used food-grade butterfly pea flower petals.

    1. Hi Amfi, check to make sure the tea you have is pure butterfly pea flower and doesn’t have anything else mixed into it.

  2. 4 stars
    Hey! Really loved your insights on how to use this beautiful flower. I’m considering buying some, but I’m confused about whether to buy dried or fresh butterfly pea flowers. What would you suggest, considering I’m a newbie to this?

    1. Hi Helee, get food-grade dried butterfly pea flowers. Food-grade, meaning it’s safe to make tea with.

  3. Hello my name is Carmen hope all is well and yes I bought the powder My son purchased it for me and I like to know if I can drink it with my coffee and how much of it would it be the same Amount If you were drinking it with tea Do I use a teaspoon

    1. Hi Carmella, I would start with half a teaspoon but I don’t think you’ll taste much of it even if you use a lot since the coffee is much stronger in taste.