Butterfly Pea Tea & How to Make It

Butterfly Pea Flower Tea or simply Butterfly Tea, is a simple drink that is common across Thailand where we call it Nahm Dok Anchan.

Southeast Asia is renowned for the use of natural medicines, some of the dubious effect and others now used worldwide. Ginseng and ginger, for instance, have been used for centuries across Asia to improve health and wellbeing that are now commonly used worldwide.

Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Mocktail
Beautiful Healthy Butterfly Pea Tea.

Video of Making Butterfly Pea Tea

How to Make Butterfly Pea Tea - (Tasty Thai Cool Drink for 2019)

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What is the Formal Name of the Butterfly Pea?

The Butterfly Pea plant comes under many names. The formal name of the plant is Clitoria Ternatea. It is also commonly known as Blue Pea and Asian Pigeonwings and is a very common health drink in South East Asia.

Butterfly Pea Flower growing naturally
Butterfly Pea Tea Plant Growing Naturally

It is a climbing plant that grows readily in South East Asia and particularly Thailand and Vietnam where it is used for drinks and as a food coloring. It is from the blue pea flowers that blue flower tea is made.

The flowers are also dried and readily available in most countries. You can use either dried Butterfly Pea Flowers (available here) or fresh flowers to make the tea.

If you look at the individual flowers, which are beautiful, you will understand the feminity of the first part of its formal name – but let's not go into that.

Photo of blue ternatea or butterfly pea flower
Clitoria Ternatea – A Beautiful Blue Pea Flower used to make Blue Tea

What is Butterfly Pea Tea?

Butterfly Pea Tea is a drink made by infusing the flowers of the Butterfly Pea plant in hot water, much as regular tea is infused to make tea. it can be drunk either hot or cold and is regularly served in Thai hotels and upmarket massage outlets. 

If using fresh flowers you should remove the green stem and leaves since if left on they will turn the tea a little bitter in taste.

If using dried flowers then you can omit this step.

Beautiful Blue Tea Concentrate
Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Concentrate – Mix with Water, Soda or Lemonade and Lots of Ice

How to Make Butterfly Tea?

This blue tea is easy to make as you can see from the recipe below or follow along with our video in the recipe.

Just follow along and be amazed but be sure not to steep the flowers too long otherwise the taste will become strong and less pleasant – just as regular tea gets strong if left in the pot too long!

Add Lime for Color Changing Butterfly Pea Tea
What's Your mood – Feeling Blue or Deeply Luscious Red? Just Add Lime to Change Color!

How Does Butterfly Pea Tea Change Color?

You will find children and adults alike amazed at the way the tea changes color when you add lime juice or some other ingredients.

When you make the tea you essentially have a concentrate to dilute which produces a deep blue color that is really quite beautiful and mesmerizing where the ice cubes float.

Adding lime juice or roselle changes the PH of the drink which causes the color to change from deep blue to purple or even red.

If you are into making cocktails it is an easy thing to make some ice with diluted lime juice and the drink will gradually change color as you drink it and making a ring of color that cocktail makers call a mood ring.

It’s a bit of fun for the kids and quite unusual for a drink. Try it!

What are the benefits of Butterfly Pea Tea?

Blue Tea has many health benefits the most well known of which are the anti-oxidants as well as balance to calm the digestive system.

Many people find blue tea increases your energy levels a little and add to alertness and for me, I find it best drunk cold with ice but perhaps that is because Thailand, at least where I live in Central Thailand, is very hot!

The flowers contain catechins which are believed to speed up the metabolism and help burn fat because of the increased calorie burn rate.

Apart from the beautifully exciting blue color of the drink, many people find it helps improve your mood too.

Like green and regular tea, the drink is a mild diuretic which helps your urinary system get rid of excess water and may help reduce anxiety and regulate blood sugar levels but there is not much scientific evidence to back it up yet.

Blue Tea Turns Red when Lime Juice is added
Blue Tea Turned Red with Lime Juice

How Many Cups of Butterfly Pea Tea Can You Drink A Day?

Butterfly Pea Tea does not contain caffeine and so avoids the issue that regular tea and, even worse, coffee have and so is a better alternative.

However, like anything, it should be drunk in moderation. I drink 3-5 glasses a day as part of my water intake because drinking plain water all day is quite boring.

In Thailand, you will find the drink served in receptions at hotels, in spas and massage rooms, served after meals and added to various dishes. So you will see it is commonly used.

I stress that I am neither a doctor nor have any medical background but can tell you that the general consensus is that 3-5 glasses a day or less is fine.

Anyway, variety is the spice of life right?

Butterfly Pea Tea Recipe

Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Mocktail

ฺButterfly Pea Tea Recipe

Pin Recipe
COURSE :Drinks
CUISINE :Thai
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Calories: 58kcal
Author: Phasinee Doddeo
Butterfly Pea Flower tea is simple to make and changes color when you add lime juice for an interesting effect and talking point over dinner. It's a great digestive aid and has numerous health benefits.
Adjust Number of Servings Required :6 glasses
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Instructions

Making The Concentrate

  • Boil the water in a saucepan.
  • If using fresh flowers then while waiting for the water to boil, prepare the Butterfly Pea Flowers by cutting the green bottoms off. If using dried flowers you can use as they come.
  • When the water has boiled turn off the gas and tip in the flowers and put the lid on the saucepan. Allow to sit for 5 minutes without further heating (if you carry on boiling water a bitter taste will develop).
  • When your 5 minutes is up strain the tea concentrate into a jug. 
  • Whilst still warm add the honey and brown sugar and stir to dissolve (you can adjust sweetness by adding more or less to your taste).

Making a Beautiful & Magical Drink

  • Pour about 1/4 to 1/3rd of the tea concentrate into a glass with ice and add 2 teaspoons of lime juice and the blue color will turn to purple like magic. 
  • Top up with soda, sprite or 7-up or just plain water. You can also drink like hot tea with some snacks.
    Enjoy your healthy drink!

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
ฺButterfly Pea Tea Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 58 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 33mg1%
Potassium 32mg1%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 120IU2%
Vitamin C 8mg10%
Calcium 22mg2%
Iron 0.2mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Recipe Keywords:Thai Drink

What is the Butterfly Pea Plant Used For?

The plant has medicinal uses in holistic medicine where the leaves are applied as a poultice to reduce swelling and the root is ground up and juiced as a treatment to disperse catarrh and to treat asthma.

But for me, I use it to make tea, though I know others use it as a dye especially to color ice cream and rice desserts.

Are There Any Side Effects to Butterfly Pea Tea?

I have never had any negative side effects in drinking this drink and as I have mentioned above it is a common drink across Thailand.

If you are pregnant then perhaps you should consult your doctor if you intend drinking it on a regular basis.

I have no experience of using the plant for medicinal use and if you are thinking about that then please ask your doctor or alternative health specialist before using it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Butterfly Tea or Blue Flower tea

Does Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Contain Caffeine?

No. There is no caffeine in Butterfly Pea Flower Tea (or Blue Tea as it is commonly known). Butterfly Pea Tea is herbal based and contains anti-oxidants that has a number of health benefits including being a digestive aid.

Is Butterfly Pea Tea Safe?

Butterfly Pea Tea is safe to drink but like everything, in moderation. The tea contains several vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and even more vitamin C if you add lemon or lime and honey to it. It also has antioxidants which make it quite healthy.

It is widely drunk in Thailand without any reported ill effects so it can be assumed to be safe in normal quantities. However, if you are pregnant then you should seek medical advice before drinking it, just in case.

How long should Butterfly Pea Tea Steep?

Butterfly Pea Tea should steep for about 5 minutes for the best results. After 5 minutes remove the flowers and drink either hot or cold with ice cubes as a cooler. Add in lime or lemon and honey and also try adding soda as a spritzer. It's a great summer drink and fun for the kids.

Other Recipes You Might Enjoy:

Thai Matcha Green Tea Latte Iced Bubble Milk Tea Recipe
Thai Milk Tea (Cha Yen) & Thai Milk Tea with Boba
Lychee & Blue Tea Italian Soda Mocktail Recipe

Sources:
Wikipedia – Clitoria Ternatea
Dr. Mercola at Mercola.com