What does Butterfly pea tea taste like?

Butterfly pea tea has a mild floral taste and aroma. The tea is made from the dried butterfly pea flower (Clitoria ternatea). When brewed, the vibrant blue tea has a subtle sweetness reminiscent of honey. The flavor is often described as refreshing, delicate, and reminiscent of chamomile tea. Here’s an overview of what to expect when drinking butterfly pea tea for the first time.


Butterfly pea tea brews a brilliant cobalt blue color. This is due to the anthocyanin pigments in the flower petals. The tea maintains its blue hue when served cold but turns purple when acid like lemon or lime juice is added. The changing colors are part of the appeal of the tea. Just be prepared for bluish purple lips, mouth, and tongue after drinking it!

Floral, Herbal Taste

Butterfly pea flowers are harvested when fully bloomed, then dried whole to preserve the flavor. While drying mutes some of the floral notes, the tea still maintains a light, sweet taste. There is a subtle herbaceous quality with grassy vegetal undertones. Some compare it to flavors of jasmine green tea or mild chamomile. The floral components give it a perfume-like aroma. It tends to be more mildly flavored compared to full bodied black or green teas.


Butterfly pea tea has a natural sweetness to it, reminiscent of wildflower honey. Even without added sweetener, it has a pleasant, delicate sugary taste. The mild sweetness makes it enjoyable both hot and iced. You can enhance the sweetness by adding a bit of honey, but the natural flavors are nicely balanced on their own.

Astringent Aftertaste

While butterfly pea tea is not bitter per se, it does have mild astringency. The flavor is smooth while drinking, but leaves a slightly dry, pucker-y aftertaste. This drying quality is common in many herbal teas. The astringency comes from tannins in the plant. It tends to be more pronounced in stronger brews.

Slight Vegetal Quality

In addition to the floral taste, butterfly pea tea has very subtle vegetal notes. There are undertones reminiscent of spinach, artichoke, or grass. They add an extra layer of flavor while still being delicate enough to let the sweet floral aroma shine through. Some describe it as similar to very mild seaweed taste.

Soothing, Relaxing Effect

Butterfly pea flower tea has a soothing, calming effect associated with many herbal teas. It may help you relax and unwind after a long day. Part of the soothing quality may come from rituals around preparing and sipping the tea. Taking time to appreciate the striking color and floral aroma is a nice way to transition out of a busy day.

Nutty, Grainy Texture

Since butterfly pea flowers are dried whole, the tea contains the full flower pieces. This gives it a nutty, grainy texture when drinking. You may notice a slightly gritty feeling on the tongue. It’s not a smooth drink like steeped tea leaves. The texture adds earthy depth that complements the flavor. Just be sure to use a strainer if you don’t like drinking the particles.


Butterfly pea tea is naturally caffeine-free since it does not come from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. The flowers come from the Clitoria ternatea vine in the legume family. You can drink it any time of day without worrying about caffeine jitters or sleep disruption. It’s a good calming nighttime tea.

Subtle Umami

In low amounts, butterfly pea tea has a subtle umami or savory taste. Umami flavor comes from glutamates in foods, giving a brothy, meaty quality. The umami is very delicate in butterfly pea tea. It rounds out the flavor, adding a hint of savoriness to balance the floral sweetness. The umami may be more noticeable if you’ve tasted other ingredients with this taste.

Fruity Finish

The final notes of butterfly pea tea have a light fruity taste. It’s not prominent and may be difficult to pinpoint. There are faint berry, citrus, or melon undertones. They linger after the floral aroma fades, leaving a hint of fruitiness at the finish.


In addition to the flavors, butterfly pea tea has a light mineral taste. Subtle minerality comes through due to the dried whole flowers. It provides a round mouthfeel and sense of richness. The mineral component is more noticeable in pure butterfly pea tea. Adding lemon obscures it since the acidity is very tart and sour.

How to Bring Out the Best Flavors

Here are some tips for making butterfly pea tea to highlight its natural taste:

Use Fresh Ingredients

Choose high quality, recently dried butterfly pea flowers for optimal flavor. Older flowers may lose aroma and taste dull. Purchase from a reputable source and check the expiration date.

Adjust Brewing Time

The longer you brew butterfly pea flowers, the more intense and bitter the tea. Shorter steeps bring out the sweetness and floral notes. Try starting with a quick 30 second to 1 minute steeping if you’re new to the tea.

Control Water Temperature

Cooler water around 175°F (80°C) helps extract the delicate flavors. Boiling water makes a stronger, more astringent tea. Brew with filtered water for the cleanest taste.

Avoid Oversteeping

Butterfly pea tea can become quite bitter if oversteeped. Follow the package directions to prevent releasing too much tannins. The tea is usually best with the first 1-2 infusions.

Add a Dash of Citrus

A squeeze of lemon or lime brings out the purple pigments and adds zesty brightness. Don’t use too much or it will overwhelm the floral notes. Start with a few drops and add more to suit your taste.

Sweeten Gently

A touch of honey enhances the natural sweetness without being overpowering. Agave or maple syrup also complement the flavor nicely.

Try Combining with Herbs

Butterfly pea flowers pair well with mint, basil, lavender, and lemongrass. Use fresh herbs to lightly flavor the tea. You can also mix dried butterfly pea with herbal blends.

Make Iced Tea

Butterfly pea iced tea retains the lovely blue color. Brew double strength tea, then pour over ice. The chilled tea has refreshing floral and honey notes.

Add Fruit Juice for Layered Flavor

For a tropical twist, mix in a splash of pineapple, mango, passionfruit or orange juice. The fruitiness complements the floral nectar taste.

Try as a Tea Latte

Butterfly pea tea lattes are a fun way to enjoy the tea. Brew strong concentrate, then pour over ice and milk in your favorite latte ratio. The milk tames the astringency.

The Takeaway

Butterfly pea tea offers a unique drinking experience. The striking blue brew has a mild floral sweetness rounded out by herbal, grassy notes. Its relaxing properties and lack of caffeine make it a nice evening tea. Take care not to overbrew to prevent bitter flavors. Part of the fun is watching the purple transformation when adding lemon or lime juice. While subtle in taste, the color changing properties and health benefits make butterfly pea tea worth trying.

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