Our plan was to spend the morning hiking, but the wind was too strong to make that comfortable. So we went to plan B. We drove to Boulder and toured the Celestial Seasonings factory.
We arrived a few minutes too late for the first tour, so we hung around for a half hour looking at tea pots and artwork and tasting tea samples. (My wife tasted samples. I don’t like tea. I’ve tried to acquire a taste for it, but it can’t be done.) The woman in the green T-shirt was our tour guide.
As with all factory tours, it was basically a commercial. But if there’s one place where I don’t mind commercials, it’s on a factory tour. It started with a video that gave the history of the company. Two young guys in the 60’s started picking local herbs and selling them in burlap bags. They called them “herbal infusions,” since they didn’t contain any actual tea. Business didn’t go well, so they changed the meaning of the word “tea” to include any herbs you dunk in hot water. Once they began selling their stuff as “herbal tea,” things took off. Today, 80% of Celestial Seasonings teas don’t include any tea.
It was a Saturday, so the factory wasn’t going. We all got hair nets as we entered the production area—I thought it was kinda funny that I had to wear one. We weren’t allowed to take photos in the factory.
The tour was mostly about smells. The peppermint room was particularly pungent. That “tea” has to be kept in a separate room or all their teas would be mint teas.
Our guide was informative, so even though the machines were off, we got a good idea of what goes on. The tour ended in the gift shop, of course. My wife bought several boxes of tea and a mug. I bought a stuffed prairie dog and walked around with it saying, “Allen! Allen! Al! Allen!” Which was fun.
This is how the cashier in the gift shop put Allen in our bag.