Butterfly pea tea has been stirring up attention on social media recently due to its colour-changing capabilities. Native to Southeast Asia, it’s been around for centuries but is now courting attention globally. Not only is it mesmerising to look at, but it also tastes sublime and it’s good for you! Here’s all you need to know about the hottest brew around and where to try it.
It may have already caught your eye as the latest Instagram food trend, but butterfly pea tea has been used for centuries in its native Southeast Asia, both as a caffeine-free herbal beverage (served hot or cold) and as a plant-based food and clothing dye.
Made from the leaves of the Clitoria ternatea plant that is native to most Southeast Asian countries, it’s been making an international splash recently due to its colour-changing properties. When the pH balance of the tea changes, the tea itself changes colour. For example, the bright blue tea will turn purple with the addition of lemon juice, turning a deeper shade of purple the more lemon juice is added.
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In addition to its chameleon-like qualities, the tea has a number of health benefits, too. Just like green tea, it is full of potent antioxidants that help your body lower risk of infections, and is great for your heart health. There are also studies showing that the tea can protect your skin from premature ageing and fight internal inflammation – such as breakout or rashes. In addition, the flower is said to help aid brain health and increase overall vitality. So there you have it, finally, a brew that looks good, tastes good, and is even good for your health.
Where to try it
Starbucks fans in Asia are in for a treat as the coffee giant has just launched its own Butterfly Pea Lemonade Cold Brew across its stores in Asia. Just in time for spring, the refreshing iced drink has three layers in different colours. The base layer is butterfly pea tea, followed by a layer of lemonade, and is topped off with cold brew coffee. Before drinking, you’ll want to watch the magic occur as the tea reacts with the lemonade to create swirls in different shades of purple. The showstopping drink is available for a limited time only (while supplies last).
If you happen to be in Hong Kong, try out Cafe Bauhinia in Sheung Wan. This unique concept is a flower and coffee shop combined. They offer a tea set-inspired menu and signatures drinks including a Blue Vanilla Butterfly Pea Milkshake. This blue-hued drink is made of herbal tea, butterfly pea flowers and milk. What’s more, they offer Hong Kong’s first ever s’mores buffet bar – what could possibly be better than fire-roasted marshmallows and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of cracker, washed down with a butterfly pea milkshake?
Cafe Bauhinia, 23 New Market Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong + 852 2368 9339
Buy butterfly pea tea
You can also buy butterfly pea tea leaves online and make your own brew at home. As with all dried teas, it’s best to buy organic and non-GMO. A brand like Premium Thai Herb Organic Dried Butterfly Pea Flowers is a good choice.