Matcha Butterfly Pea Flower Lemonade

A color-changing layered matcha lemonade made with butterfly pea flower tea that turns blue to purple.

Matcha lemonade butterfly pea tea

Starbucks recently launched a layered cold brew drink that changes color BUT it’s only available in Asia.

The color-changing part of the drink is from butterfly pea flowers. The flowers are a vibrant deep blue when steeped in hot water but when lemon is added, it changes color to a jewel-tone purple.

Starbucks tops their drink with coffee but I topped off my drink with matcha, because of course I did.

RELATED: What is Matcha?

Butterfly pea flower tea photo

What is Butterfly Pea Tea?

Butterfly pea flower comes from a plant from Southeast Asia and it’s been used there for centuries to add a bright blue color to food like rice and noodles and for drinking as an infusion.

The above photo is what the butterfly pea flowers look like. The petals are dark blue with a tinge of purple.

To make butterfly pea tea, the flowers are steeped in hot water to create a vibrant blue color. Honey or sweeteners can be added and it can be prepared hot and cold.

Butterfly pea tea isn’t technically a tea, but an infusion. For something to be a true tea, the leaves must come from a different plant, the camellia sinensis. Only leaves from the camellia sinensis is real tea.

Instead, butterfly pea tea is tea in the loosest sense of the word in that it’s an infusion of flavors into water.

What Makes Butterfly Pea Tea Special?

The flavor of the butterfly pea tea does nothing for me. It really doesn’t taste like much but what makes it so special is its color changing abilities.

When an acid like lemon juice is added to butterfly pea tea, the color changes from blue to purple. It’s like a fun magic trick.

The more lemon juice is added, the more purple the tea will become.

Where to Buy Butterfly Pea Flower Tea

None of my go-to tea shops were selling it (probably because butterfly pea flower isn’t a tea) so I ended up purchasing it from Amazon.

I bought two different brands and they looked and tasted identical.

Be aware that most butterfly pea tea sold is mixed with lemongrass. I didn’t want the lemongrass flavor for this recipe so I made sure to buy just the butterfly pea flowers.

Check the ingredient list to make sure lemongrass isn’t included if you’re using it for this recipe.

RELATED: Iced Tea with Lemon Verbena Honey

Butterfly pea flower tea photo

What Does Butterfly Pea Tea Taste Like?

It tastes a bit earthy, almost woody. It’s not a really pleasant taste that makes me want to drink it on its own. This also explains why they sell butterfly pea tea with lemongrass to add a bit of a different flavor.

For this recipe, the matcha and the lemonade are the dominant flavors and masks the butterfly pea tea flavor.

Butterfly pea flower tea photo

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What I Used to Make Matcha Butterfly Pea Flower Lemonade

Butterfly pea flower tea photo

There are three parts to this drink (lemonade, butterfly tea, and matcha) and each is made separately then assembled to create the layered and color changing effect.

The Lemonade

The first part of the recipe is the lemonade, which will change the color of the tea from blue to purple.

It’s just making a simple syrup of sugar and water then adding in lemon juice. Since this part requires a stovetop, make this first since you want the lemonade to cool down a bit.

The lemonade can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.

How to Make Butterfly Pea Flower Tea

The second part of this recipe is to make the butterfly pea tea.

To make the tea, you just need to steep the butterfly pea flowers in hot water for about 5 minutes. The longer you steep, the darker the blue the tea will get.

I wanted a really deep blue color so I added 2 teaspoons of the butterfly pea flower to a cup of water.

The tea will be hot, so give it time for it to cool.

The butterfly pea tea can also be made ahead of time and stored and chilled in the refrigerator with the lemonade.

RELATED: Moroccan Mint Tea

Butterfly pea tea matcha photo

How to Make Matcha for Iced Drinks

When I first used to make iced matcha drinks, I used to use the traditional method of preparing matcha using a matcha bowl and bamboo whisk.

I WAS DOING IT WRONG.

I have a much easier and better method of making matcha for cold drinks that has been a game-changer.

Take a wide-mouth water bottle and pour in cold water, then matcha. Tighten the lid and give it a good 10 second shake. Done.

Really? Yes, really.

No clumps and you don’t need to wait for the matcha to cool.

RELATED: Matcha Lemonade

Matcha Lemonade Butterfly Pea Tea

How to Make Matcha Butterfly Pea Flower Lemonade

After the lemonade, butterfly pea tea and the matcha have been made, it’s time to build the drink!

I’m going for the layered effect with the butterfly pea tea at the bottom and the matcha sitting on top.

First, I pour in the butterfly pea flower tea in a cup with ice. It’s such a pretty blue. Fill the tea about a third of the cup.

RELATED: Barley Tea

Matcha Lemonade Butterfly Pea Tea

Butterfly pea flower tea lemonade matcha photo


Next, the lemonade goes in. You can see the color start to shift from blue to purple.

Add enough lemonade to fill 2/3 of the cup.

RELATED: Iced Matcha Watermelon

Butterfly pea flower tea lemonade matcha photo

Once the lemonade goes in, there’s hardly any blue left.

RELATED: How to Make the Best Iced Tea (Cold Brew It!)

Butterfly pea flower tea lemonade matcha photo

And finally, the matcha layer.

The jewel tones are gorgeous together.

Who knew purple and green would be such a pretty combo? Uhh, me, that’s who. Ha.

Matcha Butterfly Pea Flower Lemonade Tips

  • Sugar is the key in keeping the bottom layer and the top layer separate.
  • When ready to drink, make sure you mix the layers together so you can get the sweet and sourness from the lemonade with the matcha.
  • Don’t use boiling hot water for the flowers or the matcha. The water should be hot, but not full boil hot.
  • The lemonade and the butterfly pea tea can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator but don’t make the matcha ahead of time.

Matcha lemonade butterfly pea tea

Yield: Makes 2 servings

Matcha Butterfly Pea Flower Lemonade

A color-changing layered matcha lemonade made with butterfly pea flower tea that turns blue to purple.

Ingredients

BUTTERFLY PEA FLOWER INGREDIENTS

LEMONADE INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (1 lemon)

MATCHA INGREDIENTS

  • 2 teaspoons matcha
  • 1 cup cold water

Instructions

Start with the lemonade since that'll take the longest to make.

Make simple syrup by adding sugar and water into a saucepan and bringing it to a boil.

Lower heat to simmer until sugar has completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Take off heat and let cool. Stir in lemon juice.

There will be more lemonade than needed for the recipe so you can store the rest in the refrigerator.

Next, make the butterfly pea flower tea by steeping flowers in hot water for 5 minutes. The longer you steep the flowers, the darker the blue the tea will be. Discard flowers. Let cool.

Into a wide-mouth water bottle, pour in cold water then matcha. Close lid and shake for 10 seconds.

In two glass cups filled with ice. pour in the butterfly pea flower tea about a third of the way for each cup.

Pour in the lemonade until it reached 2/3 of the cup, then finally top each cup with matcha.

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2 Comments

  • Dilla
    7 months ago

    Hi there,
    Thanks for the recipe. I love matcha & I happen to grow butterfly pea flower in my garden. I’m definitely gonna try this. Thanks again 🙂

    • Jee
      7 months ago

      Hi Dilla, that sounds great!

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