After discovering a menu item called “Butterfly Pea Tea” on a recent jaunt to Chi Vit Dee, we became obsessed with discovering just what this unique drink was. As sweet as it was colorful, the purple concoction was an irresistible treat that no one had tasted anything like before. Just what is Butterfly Pea and how do you make tea out of it?
“Butterfly Pea” is a common name for the clitoria ternatea flower, also know by other names like “Asian pigeonwings”, “bluebellvine”, and “Darwin pea”. The colorful flower originated in Southeast Asia where it is used in a number of different edible applications, from coloring rice to herbal medicinal remedies. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about this plant and what is garnering it worldwide fame is that its brilliant color is dependent on acidity; add a bit of citrus and you’ll see the juice turn from deep blue to bright purple right before your eyes!
The icy cold drink we fell in love with is known as nam dok anchan in Thailand and consists of a tea made from Butterfly Pea flowers with lemon juice, sugar, and honey. There are many different ways to prepare this drink, including substituting lemon for lime juice or adding lemongrass to the brew, but here is our favorite recipe that produces the perfect mix of sour and sweet!
Iced Butterfly Pea Tea Lemonade
Yields 6x 8 oz. servings
6 Cups Water
60 Dried Butterfly Pea Flowers (about 4 heaping tablespoons)
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tbsp. Honey
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
Wondering where to get Butterfly Pea flowers? We got our dried Butterfly Pea flowers on Amazon and found both the quality and price to be excellent!
1. Measure out 6 cups of water and add to tea kettle. Heat to a rolling boil
2. Add Butterfly Pea flowers to a sufficiently sized french press and pour in the 6 cups of boiling water
3. Let flowers steep for about 2 minutes before adding in 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tbsp. honey, and 2 tbsp. lemon juice. Stir until completely mixed
4. Place carafe into refrigerator (do not press down top) and let sit overnight
5.Once cold, press down top and serve over ice
OPTIONAL: Refrain from adding in the lemon juice in step 3. Instead include a lemon slice or wedge with each glass when serving so you and your guests can watch the colors change from blue to purple!