The year 2019 brings tea trends including visually stunning teas that are as beautiful as they are tasty. The tea-drinking experience is more than just exquisite flavor, it also has to include a beautiful preparation.
Butterfly pea flower tea is the new tea trend that has set the tea world afire. This herbal tea offers color-changing properties that make each cup a visual treat. Changes in the tea’s pH level results in fire red hues or rich purples. Find out more about butterfly pea flower tea including how to brew it right here.
Want to brew your own cup of color-chaning tea? Check out our delicious Butterfly Pea Flower Tea right here.
Butterfly pea flower tea is made from the deep blue flower petals of the butterfly pea plant known by the botanical name Clitoria ternatea. This herbal tisane is also known as Asian pigeonwings, blue tea, and blue pea. The tea has long been brewed in Southeast Asia but is just now finding its way to European shores and the United States. The tea is naturally caffeine-free and vegan-friendly.
What makes this tea so special is its flavor profile and color-changing vibrant hue. When the petals are infused in hot water, the plant imparts a stunning, rich blue color. However, the blue tea liquid changes color to a bright red or fuchsia when other ingredients such as lemon juice are added. It's almost like having a mood ring in a cup of tea.
The reason the tea changes color is because of the effect of new ingredients on the pH level. Lemon slices cause the tea to become more acidic, resulting in a purplish hue. Adding hibiscus leaves turns the mixture a bright red in just a few seconds. The color-changing properties of the tea make it a stunning addition to an afternoon tea spread or tea party.
The color-changing tea drink features a flavor that is earthy and woody. It has similar notes found in fine green teas and a slightly sweet aroma. The tea is commonly blended with honey, lemon, chamomile, and lemongrass. In Thailand, the Thai preparation of the drink — known as Nam Dok Anchan — includes blending the blue petals with honey, cinnamon, mint, and passion fruit.
The petals of the butterfly pea flower plant have long been used in Asian traditional medicine and culinary dishes. The vibrant blue hue of the petals is also used in the making of food coloring and other dyes.
While butterfly pea tea has long been used in herbal tinctures, modern medicine has spent little time researching the health benefits of this plant. The main benefit of drinking this tea is the enjoyment of the vibrant colors and watching the tea steep.
Some medical research has shown potential benefits of butterfly pea flower on heart, diabetic conditions, and stress. An animal study published in the Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science found that butterfly pea flower petals contain antioxidants and boast anti-diabetic properties. The researchers found that regular use of butterfly pea flower petals by mice resulted in lower blood glucose levels (1).
Other studies show that drinking this herbal tea may help to lower stress levels. The simple act of sipping a cup of tea can allow one to unwind and focus on the important things. It's a moment for relaxation and reflection, which itself can help to decrease stress. An animal study published in Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior examined the effects of Clitoria ternatea on the central nervous system. Researchers found that the plant worked directly on chemicals and neurotransmitters to induce relaxation and reduce stress signals in mice (2).
Animal studies also show the plant may offer beneficial effects for the immune system. One such study published in Phytomedicine showed that doses of 200 to 400 milligrams of butterfly pea flower extract helped to reduce fever in mice (3). The tea also boasts polyphenols, anthocyanins, and flavonoids that may benefit human health (4).
It's important to note that all of the existing research on butterfly pea flower tea benefits has been conducted in lab tests or on animals. There are few human studies and more research is needed to establish these potential benefits as facts.
There are few side effects associated with butterfly pea flower tea consumption. The main side effects include upset stomach and nausea as well as allergic reactions.
As with most herbal teas, butterfly pea flower tea may interact with certain medications. Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner before consuming the tea is you have a medical condition or are taking any medications.
Butterfly pea flower tea can be brewed as a hot drink or iced tea. Its stunning hue makes it perfect for serving in glass teapots and its earthy flavor is the perfect backdrop for flavored teas and herbal blends.