Celestial Seasonings Factory Tour

The Celestial Seasonings factory near Boulder, CO, is a fairly ordinary business sight but the smells are sensational.  We passed pallets of ingredients and saw machinery with names like Robotic Palletizers while being told that this production facility creates half a million boxes of tea each day.

This tour is a very popular tourist activity.  There were 86 people on it with Ruth & me during that weekend afternoon, and most of them bought tea and trinkets in the gift shop where it ended.  This tea factory had already welcomed its millionth visitor by 2005.  Many on the tour bought Celestial Seasonings 2 new flavors, Peppermint Peak and Cinnamon Express.  Ruth, however, passed on Peppermint because she wanted to try Black Cherry Berry.

Moe Siegel, Celestial Seasonings founder, discovered wild herbs growing around Boulder and began packaging them in muslim bags to sell in a health food store.  He conceived the company name because he knew a girl whom he decided was Celestial.  By 1977 Celestial Seasonings had gone international.  Today 1.6 billion cups of its tea are drunk around the world each day.  Its best selling tea is called Sleepytime, and its corporate headquarters has moved from a barn to more traditional offices at 4600 Sleepytime Drive.  Its #2 best seller is chamomile and #3 is peppermint.  The scent in the peppermint room was so close to overpowering that some of the 86 skipped it.  Ruth’s best is Bengal Spice.

A lot of the pallets I saw on this tour were stacked high with packages from all over the world because 150 ingredients are used.  Celestial Seasonings uses blackberry flavoring from China to make some tea, the most popular beverage in the world.   More than 50 countries export tea including Burundi and Guatemala.  Our astute and entertaining host whose name was not Celestial told us that their teas have a relatively short shelf life.    After 2 years in your pantry, throw them out she suggested.

Visitors get to sample Celestial Seasonings teas before the tour.  They wander around with small cups in their hands taking photos, reading the clever quotes about the advantages of drinking tea and living right, and looking at the company’s art work, which has a decidedly high sugar content.  The 30 minute walking tour that followed had rules–no toy guns, no cell phones–as our host soberly explained the entire tea making process accompanied by those distracting smells.


ps  The Buffalo painting in the reception area and above is very Colorado and is called “Morning Thunder”.

About roads-rus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road is...today's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roads-rus

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