Butterfly pea tea or blue tea is an herbal drink that is very popular in Thailand. It's lovely either hot or cold and you can add more flavor to it with a bit of honey and a squeeze of lime. The best part is you can make it under 10 minutes!
Why This Recipe Works
Blue butterfly pea tea or blue flower tea is one of the most common Thai herbal drinks. We call it nam anchan (น้ำอัญชัน) in Thai with "nam" meaning water and anchan meaning butterfly pea. Just like jasmine-infused water and hibiscus tea, this type of flower tea is great as an afternoon pick-me-up drink or something to have after a meal with Thai green beef curry, Thai basil chicken or even a snack like crispy fried butterfly pea flowers.
This drink is extremely easy to make as the only two ingredients you need are boiling water and blue pea flowers. Plus, it takes less than 10 minutes to make and come with various health benefits which you can read more about in the FAQS section below.
How to Enjoy This Drink
You can have your blue tea from these flowers either hot or cold. But given I live in Thailand, I usually have it cold. Blue iced tea for the win!
A more popular variation of butterfly pea tea is the one we call nam anchan manow (น้ำอัญชัญมะนาว) in Thai or butterfly pea lemonade (or limeade if you're using limes) in English. In this variation, we sweeten it with sugar or simple syrup or honey. And then we add a squeeze of lime or lemon to give it that pleasant sweet and sour taste. We usually have this version cold and/or with ice and I have to say it’s such an amazing refresher for us here.
Another way you can enjoy this drink is to have it as part of butterfly pea milk or butterfly pea latte. Check out my recipe for this and you'll know why I'm obsessed with this flower tea!
Here is a visual overview of the ingredients in the recipe. Yes, just water and butterfly pea flowers! Scroll down to the recipe at the bottom for quantities.
Butterfly Pea Flowers: To make blue tea, you can use either fresh or dried butterfly pea flowers. In my humble opinion, they don’t really provide much of a taste on their own and you can pretty much decide if you want to use just a few or a lot of flowers. If you want to get its benefits, then it’s better to use more. But if you're looking to achieve a lighter blue shade, then a few is enough.
- Ice - If you want to have it cold without ice, you can let the tea cool and chill it in the fridge for a few hours.
- Sugar, simple syrup or honey, to taste
- Lemon juice or lime juice, to taste
- Milk - Any kind you like. If you want the drink the be sweet, the easiest way it to use sweetened milk.
Watch the Video Tutorial
Quick Tip: If you want the color to be strong, let the flowers steep in hot water for a few minutes and use the back of a spoon to press the flowers against the cup to extract more color.
Step 2: Stir the flowers in the water with a spoon and use the back of the spoon to press the flowers against the cup to extract their color.
Step 3: Continue to press the flowers for a few minutes or the color of the tea is dark enough.
Step 4: Strain the tea with a mesh strainer and discard the flowers. Add sugar or syrup or honey and/or lemon or lime juice, if using.
Step 5: Fill two glasses with ice.
Step 6: Pour the blue pea tea into the glasses.
If you're making a large amount of the simple blue tea or the sweetened version, it will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. If you want to have or serve it with lemon or lime juice, just add that when ready to drink.
Yes, according to Wikipedia, butterfly pea is also known as clitoria ternatea, Asian pigeonwings, Aparajita, Vishnukanta, bluebellvine, blue pea, cordofan pea and Darwin pea.
- Butterfly pea flowers contain a lot of bioflavonoids, which help reduce hair fall, stimulate hair growth, and prevent your hair from greying.
- It’s a fact that butterfly pea flowers have a claiming effect on the human body. So it can reduce or help you cope with stress.
- Butterfly pea flowers are rich in antioxidants, which is amazing for health. These antioxidants protect you against free radicals which cause aging. Therefore, this drink promotes aging gracefully.
Its blue color! But guess what? The magic doesn't stop there. If you add lime or lemon juice to the blue tea, it becomes purple!
For this question, I can only speak from my experience. In Thailand, I've seen four colors which are lavender, royal blue, violet and white. But the most common ones are violet and royal blue. Apart from drinks, we use these edible flowers in savory dishes extract their color to use in desserts like this Thai sticky rice pudding with corn.
Butterfly Pea Tea | Blue Tea
Butterfly Pea Tea
- ¼ cup dried butterfly pea flowers
- 2 cups water
- 2 glasses ice
- sugar or simple syrup or honey to taste
- lime juice or lemon juice to taste
- Stir the flowers in the water with a spoon and use the back of the spoon to press the flowers against the cup to extract their color.
- Continue to press the flowers for a few minutes or the color of the tea is dark enough.
- Strain the tea with a mesh strainer and discard the flowers. Add sugar or syrup or honey and/or lemon or lime juice, if using.
- Fill two glasses with ice.
- Pour the blue pea tea into the glasses.
- To make blue tea, you can use either fresh or dried butterfly pea flowers.
- If you want the color to be strong, let the flowers steep in hot water for a few minutes and use the back of a spoon to press the flowers against the cup to extract more color.
- If you're making a large amount of the simple blue tea or the sweetened version, it will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. If you want to have or serve it with lemon or lime juice, just add that when ready to drink.