Mint Tea with Lemon Verbena

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Refreshing herbal tea made with fresh lemon verbena and mint leaves.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

A while ago I ordered some herbal tea at the Chez Panisse Café 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

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  • Yield: Makes 2 cups.

Ingredients

lemon-verbena.jpg
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

Method

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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Links:
Lavender and Lemon Verbena Limeade from A Fridge Full of Food
Lemon Verbena Curd Tart with Blackberries - Serendipitous Chef
Lemon Verbena Sorbet - Splendid Table
Lemon Verbena Spotlight - from Slashfood
Berry and Lemon Verbena Jelly - a creation of Maki from I Was Just Really Very Hungry

Showing 4 of 9 Comments

  • Mason

    I’m a diabetic type 1 and I for years in the winter moths had a cold or even flu which seem to last for weeks and if not months some years, with diabetes you ave a much lower immune system where you catch a cold and alike just by looking at someone who sneezes. my diabetic nurse suggested trying Lemon Verbena Tea as there had been many studies into the health benefits of this tea and how Lemon Verbena boosts your immune system, I get my tea from The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company – https://www.tea-and-coffee.com/lemon-verbena-tea

  • Peter

    We have a lovely smelling Verbena bush and plenty of Mint.
    Just brewed my first pot of tea, it has a light green colour, pleasant odour.
    Nice taste, not to strong but good.

  • 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!

  • shuna fish lydon

    Verbena is actually something unto its own. “Lemon Verbena” is a convenient name because Americans needed something to pin it to.

    When I worked with a Japanese cake maker a few years ago she tasted my verbena ice cream and said it tasted like ginger to her.

    I’m glad to hear your plant is doing well. They can be quite fickle and don’t always proliferate. Locally I buy my verbena from Knoll Farms. But something to note: if you are taking it home from the store/market and are not going to use it right away it rots quickly.

    I lay the stems on a parchment lined cookie sheet as far apart as I can manage, and keep them in a warm dry spot until they all dry out.

    Infsuing with dried leaves produces a slightly different flavour, but it remains light and delicious. The dried leaves can also be bought in bulk from Rainbow Grocery in SF or from certain Tea shops.

  • Braedaan

    I love your recipes. I drink mint tea for nausea. It works better than most medicine. I didn’t realize the stems cause bitterness. That’s a great tip because I’ve made “light” mint and water that ended up sort of bitter.

    I wonder if the lemon verbena has any medicinal properties to it. Thanks for the recipe, will be a nice change to have lemon flavor naturally in it :)

    Braedaan

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Mint Tea with Lemon Verbena