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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Bio

I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and 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’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to 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. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

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

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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