Factory tours offer a glimpse into the way that our food and other items are made. If there is a factory tour near us, we have to visit. Denver has so many different factory tours -beer, candy, and more – within an hour or two. This summer, we visited Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory. We had heard great things about the factory and were told that we must go and see if we could survive the Mint Room.
The Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory has been producing tea in Boulder, Colorado for over forty years. They started by harvesting herbs from the Colorado Rockies and have expanded to collect over 100 different ingredients from more than 35 countries. I was very interested in hearing what the tour guide had to say about their relationships with different growers in the many countries. If a natural disaster or other farming issue keeps the grower from being able to produce that year’s crop, they will find another grower but will still maintain the relationship to circle back around when they can. I felt like this really spoke volumes about their values and social responsibility.
Another thing that we learned was that the Celestial Seasonings tea bags do not have strings and tags because they are unnecessary. By doing that, they have eliminated 3.5 million pounds of waste from entering landfills every year. 3.5 million pounds a year!
The Factory Tour
The factory tour begins in the tasting room. You can taste pretty much every tea that Celestial Seasonings produces. When your tour is called, you will watch a brief movie about the history or the company. From there, you get to enter the factory. This factory is one of the few that still offers tours on the actual factory floor. There are no windows or walls that keep the factory behind closed doors.
The Mint Room
One of the most fun parts of the tour was visiting the Mint Room. The mint used in the teas has to be stored in its own room. If the mint was stored with the rest of the tea ingredients, it would permeate the teas and every tea would taste like mint. The tour guide opens the mint room door and you are allowed to go in. As soon as I stepped in, my eyes started watering and my sinuses cleared up.
Things to Know Before You Go
Parking is free and so is the tour. The tours leave on the hour and are about 45 minutes long. Tours do book up so you might have to wait for awhile.
You can carry your purse but photography isn’t allowed in the factory. You can take pictures in the tasting room and the store, but you cannot take pictures inside the factory.
Sample the free tea! You can sample just about any tea that Celestial Seasonings produces. Some teas are in containers and ready made. Other teas have to be requested at the bar.
You will have to wear a hairnet. Prepare your children because you will have to wear a hairnet (and one for your beard if you need it) before you can go into the factory. Some children on our tour were not happy about it.
Children under five can visit Celestial Seasonings but they can’t go on the factory portion of the tour.
Tours are given on Saturday and Sunday but the factory is not in production. You can still tour but if you want to see the factory in action, try to visit on a weekday (though they do say that sometimes production shuts down during the week).
You can buy the holiday teas in the gift shop even if it isn’t the holidays. That means if you can pick up your beloved Candy Cane Lane or Sweet Harvest Pumpkin almost anytime.