Color Me Chill: Butterfly Pea Tea Is Interactive Relaxation

Oscura cafe & Bar, Bradenton

Oscura cafe & Bar, Bradenton

Last November I was up in Lake County at the UF IFAS Extension office and got to see some of the research going in to Butterfly Pea plants. Butterfly Pea tea is made of blooms, flower petals or even whole flower of the Clitoria ternatea plant. Real talk, it got its name because the bloom looks like lady parts. Bright blue lady parts. Which could be a thing, I guess. This is a judgement free blog.

When the flowers are brewed up it becomes a dark blue indigo color, deep and rich. The flavor is a lot like, well, plants. It’s slightly reminiscent of edamame or snap peas. A little like drinking something that you know is good for you.

It’s popular in Asia for coloring foods and cosmetics but the real reason it’s used is as a Chinese and Ayurvedic herb is because of its touted effects as a memory-enhancer, brain-booster, and calming agent. Who wouldn’t want to reduce stress and increase brain power by drinking something that looks like it was made by unicorn magic?

Here’s the fun thing. When you change the PH of the tea by adding fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice, the color changes to a beautiful purple-y lavender.

UF Ifas Butterfly Pea Tea research

UF Ifas Butterfly Pea Tea research

Blush Coffee & Tea, St. Pete

Blush Coffee & Tea, St. Pete

Varietal Coffee at The Overton, Sarasota

Varietal Coffee at The Overton, Sarasota

I have to say that it’s tough to find Butterfly Pea tea with a side of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Most places will mix it with lemonade which has sugar and water, so the effect isn’t as dramatic or as healthy. Ask for straight lemon juice if you can. Here’s what happens:

Here is some fun research!

The color blue is essentially soothing. (Hence the chill of this tea being real.) Strong blues will stimulate clear thought and lighter, soft blues will calm the mind and aid concentration. Consequently it is serene and mentally calming. (Source)

It has possible adaptogenic qualities and has proven to possess moderate anxiolytic and anti-depressive effects. More research is happening but it’s definitely a stress-reducer. (Source)

Research on hearth health and hypertension are in progress but both are proving positive thus far.

Butterfly Pea has shown promise for its memory enhancing effects, with a wide spectrum of neurological benefits (anti-depression, anti-anxiety) although more research is needed. It actually increased memory in animal testing. (Source)

Not only can you play with your food but it’s actually good for you. So, drink up! Butterfly Pea Tea is going to be part of the next big craze…tea houses. Just you wait. After discovering Shaktea in Mexico City, there’s no doubt in my mind.