Blue Butterfly Pea Flower Tea

Imagine tea the color of lapis lazuli and sapphires. The intense hue of butterfly-pea blossoms is the subject of my recent FT column, The Allure of Blue Flower Tea. I describe a traditional potion popular throughout South East Asia and give several suggestions on sampling these flowers.

“Would you like to try butterfly pea flower tea?” asked a friend, as we were getting ready to order drinks at a small restaurant in George Town. After several days eating and drinking my way through this charming town on the Malaysian island of Penang, I knew that I had to say yes. George Town’s legacy as a trading entrepôt is its blend of cultures — Malay, Chinese, Indian —that results in a diverse and vibrant cuisine. A standard hotel map will organise the town’s sightseeing locations by the different delicacies one can taste around its neighbourhoods, from noodle soups and seafood curries to coconut-scented cakes and dim sum. Of course, I had to try the butterfly pea flower tea. To continue reading, please click here.

Previously I also wrote about another blue-tinted tisane, this time from Estonia: Blue Mallow Tea.

The tea in my photo is brewed from Thai butterfly pea flowers. The image is in no way retouched–that’s really how vibrant the color is!

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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35 Comments

  • Liz: That color!! Just stunning. February 27, 2017 at 8:31am Reply

    • Sara K: Victoria, what do you think will happen if I add it to your Shalimar tea mix? February 27, 2017 at 9:09am Reply

      • Sara K: oops, wrong place! February 27, 2017 at 9:10am Reply

      • Victoria: I’m sure you’ll get a hint of blue, but since the Shalimar tea blend is based on black tea, it won’t be a clear azure tint. February 27, 2017 at 1:52pm Reply

        • McRuggles: Victoria, is your shalimar tea mentioned elsewhere on this blog? I used the search tool and just got ads for off-blog vendors but don’t know if you’re referring to something else. I truly love this blog! Although it makes me hungry and envious of others’ scent collections. Speaking of scents, I just finished reading Tilar Mazzeo’s history of Chanel No. 5 and realized that I didn’t know what an aldehyde is. (Alas, the sciences were not my academic strong suit, to my current regret.) February 28, 2017 at 1:58am Reply

    • Victoria: Isn’t it! If you add lemon, it turns violet. February 27, 2017 at 1:49pm Reply

  • Nick: I remember my nanny used to pick one flower from the vine, crushed it, and applied on our eyebrows. According to her, it is supposed to darken out thin eyebrows if applied regularly — it did not work 😀 February 27, 2017 at 9:05am Reply

    • Marie: When my mom wanted me and my sis to eat something, she said that it would make us more beautiful. 😉 Everything had beautifying powers according to her. February 27, 2017 at 11:18am Reply

      • Nick: And taller — but that did not convince us either at the time. February 28, 2017 at 3:22am Reply

    • Victoria: Have you ever tried this tea? February 27, 2017 at 1:51pm Reply

      • Nick: Not this blend, but if you mean the tisane, yes, I have had them as a cold beverage on occasions. It is sweet and refreshing. February 28, 2017 at 3:28am Reply

        • Victoria: Since then whenever I saw it, I ordered it. Might make a batch of lemonade with butterfly flowers tonight. February 28, 2017 at 9:50am Reply

  • Sara K: Does Blue Chai ship to the US? I need to try this tea. February 27, 2017 at 9:08am Reply

    • Victoria: They are based in Thailand and they ship worldwide. My package arrived within a week or so. February 27, 2017 at 1:51pm Reply

  • Connie: Beautiful, Stunning color! I need to get this and add it to a soap! yes. February 27, 2017 at 10:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, it would be beautiful in a bar of soap. February 27, 2017 at 1:54pm Reply

      • Connie: going to try it ..ordered it today. Will let you know how and if it works out. Sometimes experiments work out and sometimes they don’t. 🙂 got to see how well it behaves in soap base. coming from Thailand February 27, 2017 at 3:00pm Reply

        • Victoria: Do try the flowers in a lemonade though. They don’t have a strong taste, but they give a great color, and it all supposed to be good for you. February 27, 2017 at 5:05pm Reply

  • Gina: I bought some on Amazon! February 27, 2017 at 10:54am Reply

  • Marie: Very happy to read about my hometown. I hope that you’d sampled my favourite sweet that uses these blue flowers, pulut tai tai. It’s a steamed rice cake served with yummy coconut jam. February 27, 2017 at 11:16am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m getting hungry thinking of all of those delicious cakes and snacks in Georgetown. Yes, I tried pulut tai tai, mostly because I was curious about the color. Definitely among my own favorites. February 27, 2017 at 1:56pm Reply

  • Nancy A.: Never judge a book by its outward appearance, I say. The winter months always bring me towards trying new tea so why not investigate cobalt blue tea. Victoria, you always manage to touch on interesting & exotic brews to try. I’ve had chrysanthemum tea so why not another flower based tea. Thanks for the suggestion! February 27, 2017 at 12:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like chrysanthemum tea. It’s one of my favorite tisanes in the evening. I mix it with rose petals. February 27, 2017 at 2:02pm Reply

  • Liliane Oyen: Wow this is great. Thank you for dealing this article.
    It’s amazing!
    Can you also teach us/me how to buy this? February 27, 2017 at 5:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: Please click on the link in the article! February 28, 2017 at 2:13am Reply

  • Ardis: I love tea and color blue but the two together? No thanks! 🙁 February 27, 2017 at 6:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, a little unusual for some of us, but in Asia, especially Malaysia, it’s a traditional and much loved ingredient. February 28, 2017 at 2:19am Reply

  • Karen A: So beautiful! Will be ordering some, a cup of blue tea sounds wonderful! And what a fun summer drink idea. February 28, 2017 at 6:46am Reply

    • Victoria: I also like to add orange blossom water to it to make a version of café blanc. Of course, in this case, it’s a café bleu! February 28, 2017 at 9:52am Reply

  • Doreen: Amazing! This would make an exquisite mothers day gift. Don’t you think? So rare and special! March 18, 2017 at 7:35pm Reply

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