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.