Celestial Seasonings Tea and Tour

Celestial Seasonings Tour Center

Celestial Seasonings Tour Center

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.

Celestial Seasonings Tea Room Samples

Tea Room Samples

Celestial Seasonings Rooibos Madagascar Vanilla

My current favorite, and an award winner too * Celestial Seasonings Rooibos Madagascar Vanilla

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.

Celestial Seasonings original art department

Celestial Seasonings original art department

Celestial Seasonings origin story

Celestial Seasonings origin story

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.

Celestial Seasonings original art work

Celestial Seasonings original art work

You can pose with the Sleepy Time Bear, or nip in to the mythical scene from the original packaging.

Sleepy Time Tea Room

Yours truly in the Sleepy Time Tea Room

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.

Celestial Seasonings gift shop window

Celestial Seasonings gift shop window

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.

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29 thoughts on “Celestial Seasonings Tea and Tour

  1. Currently on the hot brown beverage shelf we have roasted beans, waiting to be ground and brewed, a rather elderly tin of rarely used instant coffee for the MIL who prefers it, a jar of organic ‘intense’ black tea (I like it strong with lots of flavour, and a dash of milk), a few random sachets of herbal this and that, and my indispensable Rooibos, which I drink black, brewed strong or medium, hot or cold. Not much of a fan of most herbal teas, which promise much on aroma and mostly disappoint on flavour. I do like lemongrass and ginger infusions when I have a cold, though…

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    • Kate, I loved reading the contents of your “brown beverage” shelf. You made me smile. I discovered Rooibos when our book club read one of the Alexander McCall Smith books many years ago. It’s been my favorite since. We have a fairly new tea shop one town over where I like to buy my loose tea. She has several Rooibos varieties. Yum! I too kept instant coffee in the house for my mom when she was alive. It was a beverage of their time.

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  2. Isn’t that the best tour ever… and then there is the gift shop!! My favorite tea is Sleepy Time. It really is nice, and also helps with asthma. One of my docs tells me to fill up on it at the first sign of trouble, and I do think it helps. 🙂

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  3. I don’t know this brand Alys, but am also a tea drinker, albeit mostly black (‘English’) tea with soya milk! I dry lemon verbena in summer and drink a cup of that every day too. But my first drink in the morning since living in Germany is definitely coffee! The Germans drink a lot of coffee, in the afternoons too. I am not keen on all the herbal teas, but occasionally I find one I like – in winter I have a favourite spicy fruit tea and I have recently discovered chai lattes! I enjoyed reading about this tea tour – it would be interesting to see how more of the food and drink we consume is made. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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  4. I’m not much of a tea drinker, we call ordinary tea ‘gumboot’ here – don’t ask me why, I drink it weak with milk when I do. But I drink herbal teas every day and am particularly fond of peppermint. I also drink something called a ‘Golden Yogini’ in the evening before bed, which is essentially hot milk (full milk, organic) with a teaspoon of turmeric powder and half a teaspoon of cinnamon mixed in. I like it and it is very good for the system as well 🙂 I also start the day with a coffee……. I don’t keep sugar in the house – I may have to get some in soon……. 🙂

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  5. I had to give up wine tours years ago (gives me migraines) but a tea tour would be right up my alley; I didn’t know one even existed!

    I’m a recent herbal tea convert but I do drink it the traditional way when I’m either at my Mom’s or at my MIL’s house. in my experience (family) true brits are loathe to change from black tea with milk and sugar 🙂 I loved the tour – I felt like I was right there with you 🙂

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    • Hi Karen, The boxes are wonderful. It’s what attracted me to their tea all those years ago. It was fun seeing some of the original art on the walls. I’m glad you enjoy tea in the winter. That is true for most people, making it a challenge for this kind of business during the off season. The same holds true, I suppose, for ski outfitters, Christmas tree growers and the like.

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  6. I’m quite happy to drink tea or coffee. My daughter took me to a darling local coffee farm on Oahu that I fell in love with but they had tea too so anyone could be happy there. It was a great place to while away some hours though we only stayed long enough to brew and browse then it was off to the beach because I mean HAWAII!!

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  7. I am actually more of a coffee drinker but especially since growing my own herbs, I’ve got more into tea – so much variety and more interesting than water, for sure!

    It’s great when places open their doors and you can have a nosy 😊

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  8. What a perfectly wonderful afternoon, Alys! There are several boxes of Celestial Seasonings tea in our pantry. I really enjoy herbal tea and also love to brew a cup from my herb garden. It’s lovely to invite a friend to step through the garden gate and pick a few leaves to create her own special blend of herbal tea. I just love to sip tea from an antique tea cup. It helps to slow down the pace of life a bit! I will think of you with fondness the next time I pour a cup of tea, dear Alys! 💗

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    • Dawn, I’m not the least bit surprised to read that you have Celestial Seasonings tea on your shelf. I hope you make it to Boulder one day. It’s a delightful place full of great shops and lovely restaurants and the beautiful Rockies on your doorstep. And tea of course! I love that you invite friends to make an herbal tea from your garden. I’m growing two kinds of mint and chamomile, but never think to experiment with it for tea. I must be more brave.

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  9. ‘Proper’ tea for me, rather than herbal infusions, although my favourites often combine a mix of the two as in Earl Grey. It has to be black, though, not necessarily with lemon. And no sugar. I am just as serious a coffee drinker, too. We have a ‘Bean-to-cup’ machine to get the freshest taste possible, ground and made to our own personal strength preferences. Black without sugar, of course:)

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    • I was a huge Earl Grey fan as well for years. It has the most wonderful aroma. My husband is a coffee guy. He bought a restaurant grade coffee machine from eBay in terrible condition, then refurbished it for home. He also grinds his own beans. I can smell coffee all day long, but I never acquired a taste for it.

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  10. !! This probably was like Tea Nirvana for you. I had no idea Celestial Tea came from Boulder CO. The artwork was always what drew me to the packaging. I used to always have it on hand because my Ex-mom-inlaw Betty, an English girl, loved her tea. Neither Jim or I drink tea, but I do keep a small canister of Tetley in the pantry for guests. I guess it’s English Breakfast by Twilings but I also enjoy Earl Grey and sometimes Ruby Red. Is that a real kitty in the Tea Room?
    As you know, it’s the coffee that I enjoy. Not all coffee is created equal. A lot of Canadians go for ‘Tim Hortons’. It’s a donut shop and apparently the coffee is coveted. But I think it’s horrid (be me smythed by a thousand maple leaves). It’s muddy tasting, and has a terrible after-taste. I think the reason Canadians like it, is because it’s cheap. That’s so you’ll come get a donut or muffin. But I’m on to their game, LOL. As you know, I’m a Starbucks girl. I like that they pay their employees well. So I’ll pay more. All this talk about coffee and I’m ready for another Cupa just now . How did I turn your wonderful post about tea into a chat about coffee? Toodles xo K

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    • Mike loves his coffee too, and only drinks tea if he’s sick. There are a couple of medicinal teas (Throat Coat is one) and they really taste good when you’re congested. I think the brand is Traditional Medicinals. I’ve observed that those of us that really love our tea (or coffee, or wine) are usually particular about the taste. Do you remember the scene in the movie “Elf” where Will Ferrell brings Zoe Daschenal to a coffee shop that says “Best Coffee in the World”. He has her close her eyes and she says “this tastes like a crappy cup of coffee,” and he says “No…open your eyes.” I love that silly movie.

      The orange kitty in the pic is not real, but very realistic in shape and size. Toodles

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      • Sorry hon, I actually never saw ‘Elf’. Unfortunately, I find Will Ferrell too manic to watch or listen too. He reminds me of Robin Williams. I couldn’t take too much of him either. He’s so out there or ‘on’ or something. I seem to like subtle humour. Maybe even stuff people don’t find funny at all. Like the mom on Downton. It was all in the look with her. But I think I’m in the minority and most people love that movie. I’m a weirdo. :/

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        • You are not a weirdo, or if you are, then I’m one too. Will Ferrell does a lot that I don’t like, but I’ve always loved the heart of the movie Elf. I watch it once a year at the holidays and it always makes me smile. Ed Asner is in it too as Santa and Bob Newhart plays an adopted dad. Do you have a favorite Christmas show or special from your childhood?

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          • There’s one with Bill Murray, Ground Hog Day. I don’t know if it’s Christmas themed really but it seems to play at Christmas. It’s that dry, emotionless humour he delivers that cracks me up. The premise was so original (at the time). I do love Bob Newhart too, for the exact same reason. Of course Bob Hope was the king. xo

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  11. I love tea, and I especially enjoy trying all the blends our local tea houses and vendors have created – so many creative, tasty ones! How fun for you to tour the Celestial Seasonings factory – if I ever get to Boulder, it’s on my list of must-sees!

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