For a fresh (and caffeine-free) tea to try on your homemade kombucha, you have to try this Butterfly Pea Flower Kombucha recipe! Floral, fun, and so colorful!
When you first start brewing kombucha, most of us start with black tea. And then we might venture out to green tea for a little change once we’ve mastered the basics.
But most long time brewers like to take it a step further and try out completely different tea bases for their first fermentation. And that’s where the flowers come in!
We did hibiscus kombucha, and now (after some encouragement from our Kickass Kombucha Brewers Facebook group), we’re using the unicorn of flowers. Butterfly pea flowers!
What are butterfly pea flowers
Butterfly pea flowers (or “Asian pigeon wings”) are a deep blue flower commonly found in Southeast Asian cuisine. When steeped in hot water, the flowers create a dark blue caffeine-free herbal tea.
One of the distinctive traits of this flower are its color-changing abilities! When a low pH (high acidic) substance is added – like kombucha or lemon juice – the color changes to bright purple (see the transformation!) This is simply due to the butterfly pea flowers containing anthocyanin, an antioxidant adding to the health benefits of kombucha.
You can make butterfly pea flower kombucha in one of two ways: in the first fermentation or the second fermentation. Let’s walk though each option!
Making butterfly pea flower kombucha in the first fermentation
Your first option is to make butterfly pea flower kombucha in the first fermentation. This is the fermentation where you actually make the kombucha by combining sweet tea, starter kombucha, and a SCOBY.
To use butterfly pea flowers here, simply replace the black tea bags with dried butterfly pea flower, steeping them in the hot water to extract all their delicious flavor! You can use 100% butterfly pea, or combine it with black (or green) tea.
Then simply run the first fermentation like you usually would, letting the kombucha brew for 6 to 10 days (or longer) until it reaches a flavor you like. From there, you can bottle the butterfly pea flower kombucha with your favorite flavors to create a flavorful, carbonated kombucha (or simply drink it straight from the first fermentation).
If, after many batches, you notice your butterfly pea flower kombucha starting to decline (taking longer to brew or not fermenting well), do one batch of black tea kombucha to reinvigorate the SCOBY and starter tea.
Note that if you use butterfly pea flowers in the first fermentation, it will eventually dye your SCOBY bright purple! If you don’t want to dye your precious SCOBY, try making butterfly pea flowers kombucha in the second fermentation instead.
MAKING BUTTERFLY PEA FLOWER KOMBUCHA IN THE second FERMENTATION
Another option for making butterfly pea flower kombucha is by adding the flowers in the second fermentation. This is the fermentation where you transfer your kombucha to airtight bottles in order to carbonate and flavor it.
To use butterfly pea flowers here, you’ll just add the dried flowers into your bottles of kombucha (along with any other flavors you might want to add). Then seal the bottles shut and let them ferment as usual, for 3 to 10 days, until it reaches a carbonation level that you like.
Butterfly pea flowers Kombucha Flavor Combinations
Butterfly pea flower kombucha works well with bright flavors, like pineapple, ginger, citrus, and florals. Here are a few of our favorite flavors for pairing with butterfly pea flowers:
- Pineapple: Tropical pineapple balances the earthy tones of butterfly pea flowers.
- Ginger Ale: A floral take on ginger ale!
- Zingy Raspberry: Blue raspberry anyone? This flavor is tart and floral.
- Grapefruit: Lightly citrus flavored and ultra refreshing!
- Elderflower: Floral and pear-like to offset the earthy butterfly pea flowers.
If using butterfly pea flowers in 1st fermentation
- 14 cups water
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 Tbsp dried butterfly pea flowers
- 2 cups unflavored kombucha
- 1 SCOBY
If using butterfly pea flowers in 2nd fermentation
- 4 cups kombucha from a first fermentation (can be black or green tea)
- 2 tsp dried butterfly pea flowers
- Optional extras (dash of sugar/honey, mashed fruit)
If using butterfly pea flowers in the 1st fermentation, please follow our 1st fermentation instructions here, simply substituting the black tea bags for dried butterfly pea flowers. Be sure to strain out the flowers before adding the SCOBY.
If using butterfly pea flowers in the 2nd fermentation, follow the instructions below:
- Bottle: Evenly distribute flowers into fermentation bottles, along with optional extras. Pour in kombucha, leaving 1 to 2 inches free at the top
- Ferment: For 3 to 10 days, until it reaches the carbonation level you like. This process will go faster in warmer climates, and slower in cooler climates.
- Enjoy: Chill in the fridge before serving, straining out the flowers before serving. Can be stored in the fridge, tightly sealed, for several weeks.