Lemon Verbena, 1st Infusion in Gaiwan

In Albums:tea herbs

A gaiwan, a Chinese lidded bowl, open, filled with wet lemon verbena leaves, and a cup with a pale greenish-yellow liquid in it, the infusion of the lemon verbena

Aug 10th, 2011, by Alex Zorach

This photo shows the first infusion of lemon verbena in a gaiwan, a small Chinese lidded bowl traditionally used to brew tea. I wrote about this experience in my blog post, Lemon Verbena: Multiple Infusions in a Gaiwan.

This infusion was the palest in color, probably because the leaves were not yet fully moistened and thus did not infuse for the full time of steeping, which was 30 seconds. Traditionally, in the Chinese tea ceremony, when tea is brewed in a gaiwan, the leaves are "rinsed" with a brief infusion of water which is discarded. This rinse serves many purposes, but among them, it moistens the leaves so that they infuse more fully for each subsequent infusion. I suspect that if I had made a rinse, this infusion may have come out stronger and darker in color.

I tend to like brewing tea and herbal teas without a rinse, however: this infusion was plenty strong as-is. For the "before", check out the photo of the dry leaves in the gaiwan, and for the "after", see the photo of the second infusion, which is surprisingly darker in color.