“Please visit us on www.bluechai.com for brewing instructions.” Generally speaking, I experiment first and read the instructions later. When I received my free sample of Blue Chia: Organic Herbal Blue Tea, I was stymied. The yellow envelope came from Thailand. Inside was a plain brown envelope . . . and inside of that, a little more than a tablespoon of herb, ranging from blueish powder to green stems to very light green flower cradles. The first sniff was faintly vegetal. I started heating the tea kettle and looked at the Blue Chai website for brewing instructions. “Four or five flowers,” it said. What I had wasn’t flowers.
I divided the herb into two semi-equal mounds of about two teaspoons each. One mound was put into the infuser; the other saved for photo documentation. I prepared the tea cups and saucers. The kettle whistled. “. . . steep 4 to 8 minutes . . . ” the website said. I poured water through the infuser, and watched, entranced, as the herb rehydrated and the brew turned deep indigo blue within seconds. Some of the tisane remained dry at the top of the infuser. Instantly, I prepared a second cup. The herb swelled even more, and the color of the liquor in the cup was as blue as liquid blueing used in the 1950’s to whiten linens.
Total steep time for two cups: about 50 seconds. I was stunned: fifty seconds and I have two cups of the brew fit to dye levis with! People drink this stuff? I must digress here. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, my beloved childhood years, there was no blue consumable. No blue soda, no blue candy, no blue corn chips. There were dreadful imitation orange lollipops and imitation lime sodas, but nothing was blue. There weren’t naturally-occurring blue foods. Even blueberries are more purply pink than they are blue.
I don’t know when blue became acceptable.
Back to the two cups in front of me. I sipped one, and noted a grassy, legume-like air on the back of my palate. Makes sense, since the tisane is made 100% from butterfly pea flowers. I added a liberal pinch of honey, which did not blend with the flavor of the herb so much as add a sweet layer to the beginning of the tasting experience.
My verdict? I don’t think I have tasted the tea at its best. Brewing instructions didn’t quite match what I was experimenting with. I’m saving the other half to try again after I’ve learned a little more about it. Given the loads of healthful benefits this tea gives to the consumer, it is worth trying for yourself.
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Very odd indeed! I wonder what would happen if you brewed it the 4-8 minutes, rather than less than 1 minute? I know that with tisanes, you must steep for longer periods of time to extract to phytonutrients. We recently bought dark chia seeds by Organic traditions – used as an egg replacement or to “incorporate into soups, oatmeal and baked goods” and found an interesting blue color as well. We’ve also tried purple sticky rice and again a rich dark color. I know in the vegetable world, the darker the color, the more richly indued with nutrients. I’d say try it again with a longer steep and see how it tastes.
I’ve just updated the brewing instructions on http://bluechai.com/what-is-bluechai/#brewing a little
Instead of counting the dried butterfly pea flowers you can just use 1 teaspoon per cup (something between 1-2 gram/0.05-0.1 ounces)
A steep time of 50 seconds is indeed not enough time for the tea to develop it’s full flavor. For the phytonutrients and various antioxidants to be released you should steep BlueChai for around 4 minutes.