I have found something very exciting – Butterfly Pea Flower Tea – a tea that changes colour. I first came across it at a street market a few month’s ago – there was a herbal tea stand there and so, in the interests of professionalism I went for a looksy. I was expecting to see the normal 50 Shades of Matcha but boy was I surprised.
The stand was from a company called T Totaler who have a shop in Newtown. For those who don’t know Sydney, Newtown is kind of like Camden in London. A bit grungy, full of people wearing black and chock full of more veggie/vegan eateries, herbal shops and other alternative whoogiwhatsits than you could shake a talking stick at. It’s brilliant for pottering around for the afternoon. I got talking to Amber, the stall owner ,and she pointed out their Blue Water product which she then referred to as blue tea.
‘Erm, what do you mean blue?’……I asked. ‘It’s coloured blue,” she said, as if this was a normal occurrence in the tea world – and then she threw in. ‘And it goes purple if you add lemon to it.’ Pop, whizz, bang – that was the sound of my mind being blown. This I needed to see.
They didn’t have what they needed there to make the magic happen but, she told me to pop along to the shop and we’d have a play. So I did.
The shop itself is super cute. It looks like an old pharmacy with lots of intriguing drawers and chemistry set bottles everywhere. ‘I’ve come to see the blue tea,’ I announced. Considering this sounds like something people say in spy novels so I was wondering if some secret door would open and I’d never be seen again, but instead, a packet of leaves was produced, hot water was poured upon them and behold, a cup of blue stuff appeared.
The main ingredient of blue tea is a Thai plant called butterfly pea flower. Despite the fact that I’ve been to Thailand about 10 times I’ve never come across this but apparently it’s really common over there and traditionally used as a food colouring turn desserts blue or purple.
As a tea ingredient it doesn’t really add much tastewise, it’s pretty neutral, maybe a bit earthy but when it comes to colour it’s genius – add water and it turns a really deep blue. At T-Total, they’ve mixed with with lemon myrtle and lemongrass which produces a very light lemony drink that they call Blue Water but I wasn’t here to taste it, I was here to watch it change colour. Because it seems that if you change the PH of butterfly pea flower magic chemistry like things happen – and add something acidic and it turns purple. Look…….if you want to see it actually happen, pop over to instagram, where there’s video. www.instagram.com/bemoreunicorn
I was very excited. Apparently, you can also turn Butterfly Pea Flower tea red if you add hibiscus flower. If this wasn’t exciting enough, it’s also claimed to have some health benefits US company Blue Chai, who also offer a version of the tea, say that, as with most blue/purple foods the flowers are packed with antioxidants, it’s also been traditionally used to boost memory, support eye health, improve mood and decrease stress. If you want to try it yourself, you’ll find the T-Totaler product in their store or online, the link above takes you directly to the right page. Blue Chai (see the link above) ship it round the world, or, you can also buy it in the UK from Tea Scout or on amazon via the link here