PH Values and Colour Changing Tea!

Every once in a while we come across a science experiment that is fun and also beautiful! This one will not dissapoint!

Butterfly Pea Flower tea is native to southeast Asia. It’s not the nutritional benefits that make this tea so popular though, it’s the gorgeous dark blue hue that changes to shades of purple and pink as the ph level changes. It became popular in western culture as a fun cocktail mix, wowing restaurant go-ers by changing colour right before their eyes. For me though, I see the fun and educational possibilities of this awesome tea.

Here’s how we played with it:

We grabbed 4 mason jars and put 1 teaspoon of powder in each jar. We added 1 cup of cool water and mixed until the tea was dissolved. It is a deep blue colour.


We talked about ph levels and what they mean. Water is neutral. It has a ph of 7. The lower the number, the more acidic the substance is. The higher the number, the more alkaline it is.

Here’s a list of common kitchen items and their ph level:

  • Ketchup: 3.9
  • Lemon Juice: 2
  • Baking Soda: 9
  • Cream of Tartar: 5
  • Citric Acid: 3
  • Apple juice: (approx.) 3.5
  • Honey: 3.9
  • White vinegar: 2.4
  • Mild dish shop: (approx.) 7

So we took a look at the list of common items and found 4 that we had on hand and thought would give us the best results. We made predictions about what would happen when we added each item to the jars. This is a great opportunity to talk about what a hypothesis is!

Our science experiment all set up!

We started with the cream of tartar. We poured in about 1 tsp and gave it a stir. Here was the result:

It turned from dark blue, to a nice shade of violet. Very nice!…. but we could do better!

Next we added the lemon juice to the second jar. We squeezed the juice out of the lemon into a bowl first. Here’s the result:

Hmm. I thought we would get better results from the lemon juice, because of its high ph level. My guess… we needed more lemon juice. It did turn to a nice deep, dark purple though!

Next up was the milk. We added 3 tablespoons of 2% milk.

My hypothesis was way off on this one! I thought it would turn grey. As the milk mixed with the blue water, it made a gorgeous light blue colour. Although this has to do with adding a white liquid to a dark colour and not the ph changing. Hmm. We could still do better.

Now the next one, I thought would give the best, most spectacular result. Which is why I saved it till last! The citric acid. Here was the result:

Yay! We made pink! 2 tsps of citric acid and we got a nice pink colour. After the experiment was done, my kids kept adding more and it got lighter and lighter!

Here’s a lineup of our results:

All in all, I’d say the experiment was a success! The kids and I discussed what we may do differently, and came up with

  1. More lemon juice, maybe 1 whole lemon.
  2. No dairy. It just seemed to lighten the original colour, not change it.
  3. Divide the pack into 8 jars, for more scienceing! (my daughters term!)

Click HERE to get some of this colour changing powder and create your own science lab at home!

If you do give this a try, please tag us on social media so we can share! Use @inspiredtots or @inspiredtots and you may even win a prize pack!

-Mel

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