Traditional tea is made by steeping the leaves harvested from the Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub native to Asia, in hot water for a precise amount of time. The drink has been popular for centuries and is the second-most consumed beverage worldwide.
Unlike authentic caffeinated teas derived from preserved tea leaves, herbal teas are made from various edible plant parts and often contain little or no caffeine. Although these beverages are not technically a “tea” since they are not made from the leaves of the same plant as “true teas,” they are still commonly referred to as such. There are many different types of herbal infusions available, each with its own flavor, appearance, and aroma. One such beauty that should be explored is the Butterfly Pea Flower tea, also referred to as ‘blue tea.’
The “Deets” of Herbal Tea
Herbal tea, also referred to as herbal infusions and tisanes, is created when herbs, spices, fruit, bark, flowers, and roots are infused in hot water. Originating back to the Sumerians over 5000 years ago, this practice is widely popular all over the world today.
Since herbal tea is made from such a vast assortment of plant parts and different blends of ingredients, there is no exact harvest season. Rather, harvesting is specific to each type of tisane being produced. While many herbal ingredients are dried in the sun to remove excess moisture after being gathered, some are also dried in factory ovens.
Regardless of the method used, drying is an important step when preparing the ingredients for herbal tea. Drying preserves the ingredients that will later be used to make a tisane. It also concentrates the flavor. This step is crucial in order to get the best-tasting herbal infusion later on.
Origins & Appearance
Butterfly Pea Flower tea is created when the Clitoria ternatea petals, or the whole flower in some cases, are infused with hot water. Clitoria ternatea is a beautiful and vibrant flowing plant that is also referred to as Asian pigeonwings, blue pea, and butterfly pea. The flowers this plant produces are deep purplish-blue with yellow centers.
The plant, which is native to Southeast Asia, has been used for centuries to make herbal tea. Another fascinating fact about Butterfly Pea Flower tea is that, depending on what is added to the brewed tea, the color changes.
If something acidic like lemon juice is added to the tea for more flavor, the brew will turn a vibrant purple. Normally, this herbal tea has a pH level somewhere between 6.0 and 8.0. When something is added to the tisane for more flavor, like lemon or hibiscus, the pH is altered and a color change results.
Harvesting & Preparation
Whether you are growing your own plant or purchasing the herbal tea to brew at home, the flowers are still harvested the same way. The flowers are gently plucked after they are bloomed and started to shrivel on the vine. In order to not damage the flower, the base is pinched and pulled off. If done correctly, no damage is done to the plant and a pod will start to grow in the flower’s place.
Once plucked, the flowers need to be fully dried before storing away. If you are growing and harvesting the flowers at home, it is recommended to dry the flowers for two weeks.
Whether enjoying this beverage hot or cold, it is easy to brew. All you will need is a kettle or pot to boil some water, a teapot for steeping, cups to enjoy the tisane from, and a strainer to catch the wet flowers. For this recipe, it is recommended to use 1 ½ teaspoons of dried flowers for every 8 oz of water.
- Bring some water to a boil. For the besting tasting results, it is recommended to use spring water. Once the water comes to a boil, let it cool slightly to 208°F. (Put a little more water than what is required for the tea so that you have hot water to preheat the teapot and cups.)
- While the water is cooling slightly, use a small amount of the heated water to preheat the teapot and cups. Swirl the water around to evenly warm up the vessel and then discard.
- Place the measured-out dried flowers into the teapot and pour the hot water on top of them. Place the lid on the teapot and allow the flowers to steep for 5 minutes.
- When the time is up, strain out the flowers while pouring the tisane into the cups.
In order to enjoy this brew cold, simply place the correct ratio of water and flowers in a pitcher, cover it, and place the pitcher in the refrigerator. Allow the flowers to infuse for a minimum of 6 hours before pouring your first cup of cold tea. You can drink it straight from the refrigerator (straining out the flowers), or pour a glass and add some ice.
Aroma & Flavor
Butterfly Pea Flower tea has an earthy and woody smell before being brewed. Once brewed, it has been described as smelling similar to hibiscus tea. This tisane is said to have a floral and slightly sweet taste, similar to that of chamomile tea. Some people also mix additives with the tea to enhance the flavor. Some of these additives include:
- Passion Fruit
This caffeine-free herbal tea has less than five calories per serving and there are no carbs, proteins, fats, or sugars. These numbers may be affected, however, if additives are utilized.
Butterfly Pea Flower Tea
This herbal tisane, which was originally enjoyed by people in select locations of Asia, has spread in popularity due to the internet and globalization. Best known for its vivid blue color, this caffeine-free beverage offers a mild and pleasant taste similar to that of chamomile tea. Its beautiful appearance makes it fun to enjoy. If you are new to herbal tea or love experimenting with new drinks, this aromatic and tasty tisane is for you!