As a cup of tea was steeping one morning in my sun-filled kitchen, I noticed the colorful patterns shown here.
Sunlight scattered through the steamy mist just above the surface of the hot tea, produced an iridescent mix. The similarly sized lipids (perhaps 0.01 mm in diameter) on the surface of the tea deflect sunlight in such a way to produce the pastel colors.
Color intensity results from minuscule variations in the size of the droplets. Photo taken on April 1, 2012. — Photographer: Hans Juergen Heyen // Summary Authors: Hans Juergen Heyen; Jim Foster