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365 Challenge > Day 23 - Thai Blue Butterfly Pea Tea

This is my first post about herbal teas. Taking advantage of being in Bangkok, I have tried both teas and non-teas that are grown in Thailand. I have come across this ‘popular’ blue tea on social media, which to be honest did not appeal to me at all. I approach any drink/food item that looks a bit unusual with caution and an assumption that ‘unnatural’. But I was wrong. Blue per flower or with its scientific name ‘clitoria ternatea’ is a plant originating in Asia but can be grown in many warm countries. It has been used as a food colouring or drink in Thailand and Vietnam but also across Asia. In India, blue pea flower is used as Ayurvedic medicine.

In Thailand, this tea is served called with some honey and lime/lemon juice which changes the colour of the liquor to purple from dark blue. In this view, blue butterfly pea tea can be named as a natural acid indicator (similar to red cabbage). We all love some visual drama, but what about the rest?

Well, I cannot say that it tastes much. In different countries, it is combined with different herbal teas such as lemongrass. Alone, it has a light starchy and very slight vegetal taste. So, I can without hesitation say that people do not drink it for its taste. In Thai herbal medicine, this tea is known for its many health benefits which include treatment of hair loss, anti-ageing properties, improving vision and enhancing immune system and memory. But I am in no position to argue for those. However, I did find a scientific article [1] concluding that this tea has various neuropharmacological benefits such as anti-depressant and anti-stress. I can see that the consumption of this tea will continue to increase.

And yes, if you drink Blue Butterfly Pea Tea too much, be careful as you might turn into a smurf!


Tea Profile:

Type: Herbal

Origin: Northern Thailand

Harvest time: 2019

Leave colour: Purple flowers with a green and yellow colour stem

Liquor colour: Vibrant blue

Tea aroma: Starch

Tea taste: Subtle rice and vegetal tones

Steeping/brewing: For about two tablespoons of flowers, you can use around 300ml water at 80-90°C and wait for 3 minutes for infusion in Western-style. No need for gongfu method as for this tea, the aroma and the taste are secondary to vision. You can brew the leaves up to three many times. To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.

Shelf life: Up to 1 year (the freshest the better)

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