My sample is called “French Verveine” on its very elegant black and dark gold jacket, but in double checking my order detail and the web site it appears there is really only one Harney product called Verveine, so this must be it!

It’s hard to imagine how I have thus far managed to escape experiencing lemon verbena in the flesh, so to speak. But as far as I know or can remember, I have. I was expecting an alternative to other lemon flavored tisanes, but it soon became apparent that this is something entirely different.

The leaves are humongous, light green, and curl inward along their main vein/vertical axis, and apparently, they are weightless. I put the entire packet on the scale and only came out with enough for half a cup? (Perhaps I am going to regret this?)

Dry, they smell nothing at all like lemon; they smell like a savory spice of some kind. Dried thyme or dried sage, I think. Or maybe even dried basil. Or notes suggestive of all three.

Steeped, it’s a very dark yellow color, and the aroma still has nothing that is smelling to me like the lemon I expected to smell. There is a hint of lemon, but it is more along the lines of the juice from a roasted herbed lemon chicken. Savory and brothy.

And that is pretty much how it tastes as well. This doesn’t taste like a lemon tisane, it tastes like a savory spice tisane with a subtle lemon note to it. It’s tasty, but in the sense of the spicy taste of a very well-spiced poultry stuffing with some lemon squeezed into it.

I am wondering if the scale lied to me and I should not have used the full packet? I’m going to resteep with more water to see what that’s like. I am making this as a full cup (approx. 8 oz) this time instead of half of that.

Indeed, more water lessens the brothiness considerably, or perhaps it’s the second steep effect. It’s still a very savory taste, though.

Hmm. I’m not going to rate this as I’m not sure I prepared it correctly, and because I have nothing to compare it to. In reading about verbena on the web, it seems this is supposed to have a “bright lemon taste” which I’m not getting. Mine is definitely full-bodied, but the lemon is not the main flavor I’m getting, nor is it bright. I’d describe it as sultry.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became far less appealing to me. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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