We toured the Celestial Seasonings factory in Boulder on our recent visit. The tour is free and includes the opportunity to sample several hot and iced teas. It was raining the entire time we were there, making it all the more delicious. There is nothing quite like hot tea on a rainy day, especially when there’s a fun tour in the mix as well.
I grew up drinking black tea, mostly Red Rose Tea, a Canadian brand dating back more than a century. My dad drank tea, so of course my sister and I wanted to drink tea, too. Mom on the other hand drank black, instant coffee. [Shudder].
Over the years I switched from black tea with milk and sugar to tea with just sugar. Then Celestial Seasonings came along in the seventies, and I was an herbal convert.
The tour guide pointed out that 80% of what they produce is not actually tea, but an herbal infusion. It’s all “tea” to me, and I’m happy to consume green, Jasmine, Rooibos, also know as redbush, and vanilla flavored herbals.
As factories go, Celestial Seasonings is small. They have a simple assembly line, along with pallets of herbs and spices stacked floor to ceiling. I also loved the fact that the equipment used for packaging the tea dates back to the forties. They essentially recycled an assembly line once used for packing cereal. There is one special room set aside for peppermint and spearmint. The mint is quite potent, and would quickly infuse all the other ingredients if stored together. The moment you walk into the room your eyes water and your sinuses open. It was quite an experience. It’s no wonder mint tea is so good when you have a cold.
One of the things I liked when the teas first hit the market, were the pretty designs on the package along with an inspiring quote. Sleepy Time was the first of two herbal blends, and remains the most popular around the world.
The “ticket” for the tour is a twin package of tea bags. There are several urns of brewed tea in the tea room. You’re issued a small ceramic mug when you walk in the door, and you’re free to sample as many and as often as you like. The tea room is also an art gallery, featuring several of the artists who’ve designed the clever packages over the years.
You can pose with the Sleepy Time Bear, or nip in to the mythical scene from the original packaging.
Like any self-respecting enterprise, the factory tour exits via the gift shop. You’ll get no complaints from me, though. They sell art, greeting cards, tea of course, herbal lotions, and postcards.
It was a perfectly wonderful afternoon in every way.
From their website: Celestial Seasonings was founded more than 40 years ago with one goal: to provide delicious, high quality teas that are good for our customers and good for the world.
We think it’s important to share with you the steps we take to ensure that our teas are of the highest quality, deliver the great taste you expect and are produced in a way that protects the Earth’s natural resources. Celestial Seasonings and our parent company, Hain Celestial, stands up as leaders on important topics such as GMO labeling, sodium and sugar intake and animal welfare. We want to offer the best products and help our consumers make the best choices for themselves and their families.
We call our sustainability story “Blended With Care: From Seed to Sip”, and we’d like to take you through it in eight steps – from the farmers’ fields to your teacup. You can read more on their website.
So are you a tea drinker? Please let me know via the poll below.