Jan 292002

The aroma of herbs and spices overwhelms the senses as you enter the Celestial Seasonings Tour of Tea. Celestial Seasonings is a world all its own, and the Boulder-based company takes the art of tea making to a level above Ad the ordinary.

Celestial Seasonings began in 1969 in Aspen, where Mo Siegel collected wild herbs by hand and made them into teas. In Boulder that same year, Siegel and his friend Wyck Hay found a bountiful supply of wild herbs that produced the first blend called MO’s 36 Herb tea.

Celestial Seasonings has since grown into the largest herb tea manufacturer in the United States. The company produces 70 different kinds of tea, and sells a total of 1.3 billion tea bags per year.

The company stretches far from its American roots. The ingredients used in Celestial Seasonings teas come from 40 different countries, and they ship the final product to 35 countries.

All Celestial Seasonings tea is produced at the one and only factory in Boulder, visited by over 80,000 tourists every year. Celestial Seasonings packages six million teabags per day and over 4,000 bags per minute. Three kinds of tea are packaged at a time.

“Comfort and health are the main things we try to portray here,” said Mica Kelley, a guest relations specialist at Celestial Seasonings.

The 45-minute tour takes you step-by-step through the process of how the incredible Celestial Seasonings tea is produced. You are able to see the milling process, the black tea room, the peppermint room, the robotic palletizer and the packaging line.

The Peppermint Room is definitely the highlight of the tour. If you need to clear up your sinuses, just enter the room filled with Washington and Oregon grown peppermint and spearmint, and you will be cured.

“The Peppermint Room will knock your socks off and can’t be missed,” Kelley said.

The packaging line shows the quick process of how all the teabags get into the decorated boxes. The art printed on each box of Celestial Seasonings tea is commissioned by the Creative Department. Artists outside the company design pictures for the various types of tea.

However, the picture actually printed on the box is only one-fourth of the whole piece of art. Many of the completed pieces are displayed in the factory’s art gallery.

To top off the tour experience, Celestial Seasonings guests are invited to taste one or many of the 50 varieties available in the tea shop.

One tea to taste is the famous Red Zinger tea, introduced to immediate success in 1972. Red Zinger became famous on the Tonight Show in 1978. It has a distinct taste that is blended to perfection and will never fail to satisfy the taste buds. It is still one of the best-selling Celestial teas.

Celestial Seasonings is a place that should not be missed, so visit and experience the amazing taste of the best tea in North America. n

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