Here at Hackberry Tea, some of our teas have vibrant and bright colors. How do they get that way? For example, our Hibiscus Purple Papaya is a bright and beautiful purple, and our Calm Mango Beach is a deep and vibrant blue. One of the ingredients in both teas that makes the color so vibrant is the Butterfly Pea Flower. It's a natural colorant and, when mixed with certain ingredients, it changes color. This unique trait makes it a fun and ideal way to add a pop of color to tea blends.
The butterfly pea flower ingredient comes from the blue petals from the butterfly pea plant with the genus name of Clitoria ternatea. It's also known as Asian pigeonwings, blue tea, or blue pea. Its origin is from South East Asia but is now making its way through Europe and the U.S. The reason it's called butterfly pea flower is that the plant is in the pea family. Research on this flower picked up steam because of the demand for natural colorants. True natural blues are rare because they are sensitive to processing and storage. The butterfly pea flower has a longer shelf-life, is highly tolerant to droughts, grows easily, is easily maintained, and blooms year-round. These qualities make it a perfect flower to use as a natural colorant. It is also commonly used in Asia for medicinal purposes. Depending on what ingredients you add, the color can change from red to green, purple, blue, and even yellow.
When you mix the butterfly pea flower tea in hot water, you get a deep blue color, but when you add different ingredients like lemon or hibiscus, it can change the presentation to other bright colors like fuchsia or a bright red. The change occurs because of the change in PH levels. At its normal pH level, butterfly pea flower ranges from 6.0-8.0. By adding ingredients like hibiscus or lemon, the flower will go outside of its normal pH level, causing the color to change. Butterfly pea is often added to herbals and tisanes and since they are often used for health benefits, make sure you check with a medical practitioner before drinking them.