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Celestial Seasonings Tea Tour

Teresa Henley

With cold weather coming, maybe you or your parents will warm up with a nice cup of tea.  Chances are, that tea might come from the Celestial Seasonings factory right here in Colorado.   The factory is located in Boulder and they offer FREE tours everyday except for holidays.  I got a chance to tour the Celestial Seasonings factory and it was very interesting. 
Our guide was Ally Festa, and she was very nice and knew a lot about tea and the factory.  Before the tour begins you can try some free samples of tea.  My favorite was raspberry iced tea.  For the first part of the tour,  you'll watch an interesting video on how the tea is made and get see some of the farms around the world where Celestial Seasonings get their ingredients.  Before you enter the actual factory, you will have to put on a hair net!  And also, put your cameras away.  There are no pictures allowed in the factory. 
Then you'll get to go to the milling room where the tea is cut to the right size, then sent to the blendmaster to make the tea.   This room was very loud with the machinery running!
Next, you'll get to go to the tea room where the ingredients are stored.  We learned about some of the ingredients used and that Celestial Seasonings uses over 150 ingredients from over 35 countries.  Here's an interesting fact-- did you know that catnip is used as an ingredient in their Tension Tamer flavor? (Ally said it does not have the same effect on humans as it does on cats!)
This room smells delicious, but if you really want to smell something good, wait until you get to go the next room, which is the mint room.  The mint is kept in a separate room so the strong smell doesn't get mixed in with the other ingredients.  In fact, the smell is so strong some people had to leave the room to breathe!  Also it could sting your eyes, so Ally said DO NOT RUB THEM, it would only make them sting worse.  But the smell didn't bother me, and I thought it smelled great!  It was one of my favorite parts of the tour.  Ally suggested that the next time you make brownies, brew some mint tea, and use the tea as the water in your mix for some yummy mint brownies! 
Then you will get to go to the packaging area.  It is really interesting to see computerized machines doing work all on their own to package and sort the boxes of tea.  Our tour guide said that if all the equipment is going, in one 24 hour period as much as 10 million tea bags can be made.  They ship to over 35 countries in the world.   I learned that their most popular flavors are Sleepytime, Camomile, and Peppermint. 
The factory in Boulder is the only Celestial Seasonings factory in the world, and they serve 1.6 billion cups of tea around the world each year.  Besides water, tea is the most popular drink in the world.  So all in all, I think it is amazing that we have this tea factory right here in Colorado, and I got to go visit it and you should too!