Mint Tea with Lemon Verbena

A while ago I ordered some herbal tea at the Chez Panisse CafĂ© in Berkeley. The tea arrived in a large, clear, glass teapot, filled with green leaves and hot water. The tea was lovely – light, lemony, minty. After we finished it, my curiosity got the best of me and I started fishing out the leaves from the pot, wondering what was in this tea anyway? Our server noticed this odd behavior and quickly came to the table offering to provide us with fresh leaves. “These leaves here are mint, but what are these long green ones?” I asked. “Lemon verbena,” was the answer and she happily addressed my battery of questions about this herb. Lemon verbena is a bushy shrub that grows quite well in Northern California. It originally comes from South America, but has been cultivated in Europe since the 1600s. It has a strong lemon scent and is used to add a lemon flavor to many dishes. In anticipation of making my own verbena mint tea, I planted some this spring. True to expectations, the not-yet-a-bush plant is thriving. Here’s the method for making simple mint tea with lemon verbena:

Mint Tea with Lemon Verbena Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 2 cups.


Lemon verbena

  • 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves (not the stems, they're bitter), rinsed, lightly packed (about 20 leaves)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh lemon verbena leaves, rinsed, lightly packed (about 10-15 leaves)
  • 2 cups of water


Bring a pot of fresh water almost, but not quite to a boil. Put the mint and verbena leaves in a teapot. Pour the hot water over the leaves. Let sit for 3-5 minutes. Strain into tea cups.

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Showing 4 of 13 Comments

  • Ellie

    A friend of mine has this plant absolutely growing like crazy in her backyard – needless to say that going over to her place for a cup of tea is always a treat, and I make sure to bring back a few handfuls of leaves with me!

  • Rhiannon

    Would lemon balm work in place of the lemon verbena? Because I have a bunch of that and a bunch of mint that is just dying to be used!

  • Alanna

    I have a cookbook from a local Herb Society and it’s FULL of recipes using lemon verbena. Maybe in the spring, you can post something reminding us WHY to plant certain things!

  • Dani Spies

    You know, I saw that mint not too long ago, and although I recognized that it smelled like some type of mint, I had no idea what kind. Thanks for the info!

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