DIY Coloring Changing Lemonade with the Frostonians!
What would make a tall glass of lemonade even sweeter? How about some color-changing science with the help of a special ingredient?
Turns out there’s a blue tea widely available on the market that when combined with an acid like lemonade, can change the color of food and drink. Butterfly pea flower is a vividly blue tea, often served in countries in Southeast Asia.
About Butterfly Pea Tea
Butterfly pea flowers contain a super bright blue pigment called anthocyanin. The flowers have a very earthy, woody smell in their natural state, but really don’t taste like much in the tea. The anthocyanin in the tea acts as a base indicator, which means it will change color as the pH level changes. Lemonade is a drink high with acid. When the tea combines with the lemony drink, it will transition its color from blue, basic pH, into a purple-then-pink highly acidic pH. The indicator has changed!
*Please note: this experiment is not for those with a pollen or flower allergy.
But it’s more fun to see a scientific principle in action. Grab your Frostonians and let’s get started!
With assistance from the color-changing Frostonians of the Beaker Creatures Series 2 Reactor Pods, we experimented with this seemingly magic concoction, delighting in the instantaneous change!
- 5 cups of filtered water, divided
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- ½ cup of dried butterfly pea tea flowers
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (depending on the lemons, around 4-10)
How to Make Color-Changing Lemonade
In a saucepan, heat up three cups of the filtered water and one cup of sugar.
Stir in the ½ cup of butterfly pea tea flowers. Bring to a simmer. Observe how quickly the sugar water turns blue!
Remove the mixture from the heat, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes.
As your tea steeps, squeeze out one cup of lemons. If the kids aren’t fans of it, strain out the pulp.
After the butterfly pea tea is done steeping, strain the tea flowers through a mesh sieve. You don’t want any solids. Then set aside to cool.
As our tea cooled, we played a bit with our Color-Changing Frostonian Beaker Creatures. Based on their name and the way they were dressed, all here deduced that these guys like it cold.
Let’s see what happens when we get the Beaker Creatures in some ice water.
Cubey was warm and blue before taking his plunge.
In the ice-cold water he goes! Brrrr!
Cubey changed almost immediately to a great purple hue. What a blast to see the change!
Cubey and Blizzerk compare shades!
But now our Color-Changing Frostonians wanted to know what was happening with our tea and lemonade…
The next step is to transfer the cooled tea to a pitcher. Check out that pigment of blue! Feels so rare to find an organic material from Earth that is this blue!
Line up glasses. Fill the tea half way up the glass.
Slowly add the lemonade on top of the blue tea. Magic!
The color has changed because the pH of the tea (base) has changed. Blue to purple – just like our Beaker Creatures!
So knowing what we know about acids and bases, we though we’d have a little fun with some baking soda with the leftover tea.
Adding a spoonful of baking soda made for a great reaction, and turned our tea back to blue!
Enjoy this awesome and yummy experiment over and over! Save it for later!