Welcome back for another teatime! Today is the finale of the May Flowers tea theme here on Teatime Tuesday, as well as the premier of our next theme, a Rainbow of Tea, in honor of June Pride Month! Because poor June only has four Tuesdays and May has five, it has to steal one from May in order to get the whole rainbow of colors in! Now, you may be thinking to yourself… does June even need five Tuesdays? Surely the whole rainbow doesn’t need to be represented in tea form… Tea only comes in so many colors, right? That’s what I thought, too! And then I did a little research, and found myself shocked and amazed, so allow me to share this beautiful color-changing tea with you this week!
This tea is popular in southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam and comes from the dried blooms of the butterfly pea flower. When I was looking for this tea I found it is hard to find in the United States, as it typically ships from Thailand, making the cost of the tea in shipping costs rather spendy, but for those looking for a state-side alternative that is quite affordable, check out Zenobia’s Garden on Etsy, where I ordered this bag filled with 1.5 cups of dried butterfly pea flowers for just $4.65, they shipped within the United States, and their shipping was lightning fast! They also have a website located at Zenobia’s Garden where they sell other home grown herbs, tea blends, and even kombucha starters. These guys like their natural teas!
Unlike most tea blends, these flowers are not the fragrant sort! When I opened the bag I actually pulled it away, hahaha! They smell very earthy and vegetative… to me, a bit like brocolli! But worry not, the scent of the dried flowers has no effect on the brewed tea!
A bag of these dried flowers will last for quite a while, as it doesn’t take very many dried blossoms to brew a cup of tea. As you can see, they are very blue, and have been used as a dye for centuries! Brewing these flowers into a tea create a vivid blue cup of tea… and if you need something to make a natural blue food coloring, these are an excellent choice!
Just starting to steep the cup of tea, my water was already turning blue! I allowed one teaspoon of the dried flowers to steep for five minutes in boiling water, and then cool off just a bit.
Finished steeping, you can see that the tea turns a very deep, vivid shade of blue! Isn’t it striking?
I had read that the novelty of this tea was all in the color and not in the taste, so I was honestly expecting it to taste pretty nasty. To be honest, it was not as bad as I was led to believe by what I had read. No, it wasn’t very flavorful, but it certainly didn’t have a “brocolli” sort of taste like the raw flowers smelt from the bag! It is a little hard to describe… I’d say it was a bit of a plain taste, a bit earthy, and slightly sweet. Honestly, I was fine drinking it. It wasn’t exactly exciting, and one might wonder why anyone would drink it at all with more exciting tea options out there, other than the color novelty, but this tea is a high source of anthocyanin antioxidants!
Now, one way to give it a bit more flavor is to prepare the tea in the traditional Thai welcoming drink, which is to add honey and lemon. I came prepared!
What is interesting to note about butterfly pea flower tea is that if you add anything acidic to it, thus changing the pH level, it actually changes color! So this tea is not only a blue tea, but also a purple tea!
Insto-presto-chango, violet tea!
Just look at that glass of purple tea!
After adding lemon juice and honey, it tasted very strongly of the lemon flavor. I could still make out a little bit of an earthy aftertaste from the flowers, but found it surprisingly enjoyable! I honestly was not expecting to actually like the actual taste of the tea as much as I did! Once the tea cooled off and I was drinking it as a cool drink, I found it very refreshing, and think that it makes a great cool or iced drink!
I have heard that butterfly peaflower tea is a great ingredient in punches and cocktails; it has such a weak flavor on its own but is really healthy so it makes a good mixer. One site I was reading suggested that if you wanted a more flavorful tea to mix the butterfly peaflower tea with a hibiscus tea, so if you want those healthy antioxidents but need a more flavorful cup, and don’t care so much about the “color” novelty, try this out!
This is one of the few boxed teas I enjoy, Tazo brand Passion, an herbal tea that includes hibiscus flowers, natural tropical flavors, citric acid, licorice root, orange peel, cinnamon, rose hips, lemongrass, and fruit juice extract. It’s a fairly easy brand to find in the States in grocery stores and is fairly inexpensive for a box of twenty teabags.
I steeped a bag of Tazo Passion along with a teaspoon of butterfly peaflowers for five minutes. You don’t get the cool color effects when you do this…
But the finished tea is very flavorful, since Tazo Passion has a very strong flavor! It is a very sweet infusion that tastes strongly of hibiscus, with a bit of a tangy fruit aftertaste. So if you want a really strong flavorful infusion to drink up those healthy butterfly peaflower antioxidents, this is one way of doing it! Since the peaflower has such a weak taste, it doesn’t really effect the Tazo Passion at all!
And there you have it… Two colors of the rainbow in a single tea! To be fair, I didn’t even think blue or purple tea even existed before this… did you?
I hope you enjoyed this last month of exploring floral flavors of tea! Next week the Rainbow of Tea continues with… Green! (And no, it isn’t green tea!) See you then!