Blue Tea: How to Turn It Purple and Steps to Make It

Jill Caren

Maybe you’ve seen someone sipping a hot beverage with brilliant blue color and wondered what it might be. It’s butterfly pea flower tea, often known …

Categories Herbal Tea

Maybe you’ve seen someone sipping a hot beverage with brilliant blue color and wondered what it might be. It’s butterfly pea flower tea, often known as blue tea.

This is a unique herbal tea, naturally caffeine-free with a brilliant blue color that you can change if you want. Yes, you can change its color. It’s very simple and I will show you why and how.

If you’re interested in learning more about the unique characteristics of blue tea, its health benefits, and how to change its blue color into purple or pink, continue reading.

What is Blue Tea?

Blue tea, also known as butterfly pea flower tea or blue ternate tea, is an herbal infusion made from the purple flower petals of Clitoria ternatea L., commonly known as butterfly pea.

The butterfly pea flower grows predominantly in Southeast Asia, and this beverage is quite popular in Thailand, Bali, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Today, it is also becoming popular in the West due to its benefits and unique color.

Butterfly pea flower
Butterfly pea flower (Clitoria ternatea)

This is a naturally caffeine-free tea with a unique characteristic of changing its color when acidic or basic elements are added to the mix. 

Why Does Blue Tea Change Color?

When the acidity of blue tea changes, the color changes too. When the leaves are infused in hot water, they infuse a liquid with a rich blue color. This blue hue is linked to anthocyanins, antioxidant pigments in various blue and purple fruits and veggies.

When the pH is lowered, generally by adding a weak acid like lemon or lime juice, the deep blue hue turns into a vibrant purple. The lemon changes the pH level of the tea, resulting in the color change. As you add more acidity, the liquid changes color to magenta and pink.

When the pH is raised through the addition of the spice saffron, due to its alkalinity, the color turns green. Additionally, when you steep blue pea flower tea with hibiscus petals, it turns into a brilliant fuchsia hue.

By adding lemon juice, you change the color of blue tea into purple
Squeeze a little lemon juice into blue tea to turn it purple

Butterfly pea flowers’ color-changing properties make them a favorite addition among mixologists for creative cocktails. So, the next time you see a color-changing drink on the menu at your favorite bar, there’s a good chance it’s made with butterfly pea flower leaves or powder.

Evidence-Based Benefits of Blue Tea

Blue tea is popular not just for its magnificent color, but it is also beneficial to your health.

Here are some of the potential benefits of drinking blue tea.

Rich in antioxidants

As I mentioned before, butterfly pea flowers are rich in anthocyanins, which are a group of antioxidants. As you may already know, antioxidants protect your cells from free radicals, which can promote the onset of certain diseases.

May support balanced blood sugar levels

According to some research, the anthocyanins in blue tea may help regulate blood sugar levels.

According to research, the antioxidants in butterfly pea extract may inhibit carbohydrate-digesting enzymes. By inhibiting these enzymes, the extract delays the digestion and absorption of sugars. In return, this results in reduced blood sugar and insulin levels.

However, more research is needed to claim the butterfly pea flower’s long-term blood sugar effects.

Reduces stress and anxiety

Butterfly pea is an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens help your body adapt to physical, chemical, or biological stress. Sipping a cup of tea may also potentially reduce anxiety and help the mind relax and focus.

Aids in weight loss

Blue tea is rich in catechins. They are natural phenols and antioxidants.

EGCG is a catechin found largely in green tea, and green tea has the highest catechin content. According to certain analyses, butterfly pea tea has higher EGCG than other herbal teas.

Catechins aid in the speeding of metabolism and the raising of body temperature. This tells the digestive system to turn fat storage into energy as soon as possible. Catechins in tea increase fat burning by stimulating neurotransmitters and chemical processes.

Note: There is a lack of human studies on the benefits of drinking butterfly pea flower tea. The majority of the research focuses on antioxidants rather than brewed tea. While tea is obviously healthy, additional human studies need to be done to fully understand its benefits.

How to Make Blue Tea from Dried Flowers

Making blue tea at home from dried flowers is super easy. It’s just like making any other herbal tea.


  • 1.5 teaspoons of butterfly pea flower loose tea (dried flowers) or about 5-7 dried flowers
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/240 ml) water
  • honey, lemon juice, or lemon slice (optional)


Step 1: Boil water

To get the right flavor and unique qualities of any tea, always use high-quality water. Use spring water if possible.

For brewing blue tea, it is best to use water at 208 °F (98 °C).

Step 2: Put the dry butterfly pea flowers into a teapot and add hot water.

If you make butterfly pea tea from dried flowers for the first time, use 1.5 teaspoons of dried flowers or about 5-7 dried flowers per cup of water. If the taste is too strong or too weak, you can adjust the amount of loose tea next time.

Step 3: Cover the teapot and steep for 5 minutes

Steep the butterfly pea flowers for about 5 minutes. If you over-steep this tea, it won’t become bitter, but the taste may become intense and less pleasant. 

Step 4: Strain the flowers and pour the tea into your teacup

When you make it for the first time, try it without adding sweetener or other ingredients to see if you like the taste.

Note: If you don’t like the earthy and woody taste of blue tea add honey or lemon to change it.

Tip: Add a few drops of lemon juice to change the color of your freshly brewed blue tea. You’ll get an intense purple color. Start with a few drops and add more until you get the desired color.

Closing Points on Butterfly Pea Flower Tea

I think that I’ve presented enough data about the basics of blue tea. Great tea with brilliant blue color, but I personally don’t like its taste too much. I always add lemon and honey, and that’s how I drink butterfly pea tea.

People often like to take a photo of their butterfly pea tea and post it on social media, mainly because of its beautiful blue color. Others like to play with the color and change it by adding some drops of lemon juice.

The vibrant blue color is characteristic of butterfly pea flower tea, but it also offers an array of benefits for your health. If you’re here learning the basics of blue tea, then I suppose you haven’t made one yet. Try to make it.

I’m sure that you’ll like the color, and for the taste, I recommend adding a little lemon and honey.