Hello friends! Thank you for the sweet love on my 5 year blogging anniversary post yesterday. I so appreciate you supporting this blog and sharing in my adventures over the years. It wouldn’t have been nearly as fun without you. <3
I was especially excited to be invited on this trip because Matt and I are big fans of Celestial Seasonings and buy their tea all the time. I love their green tea, black tea, and seasonal varieties, and Matt drinks their Sleepytime tea almost every night before bed. 🙂
I arrived late on Wednesday night and the official festivities began on Thursday morning. When my fellow bloggers and I pulled up to Celestial Seasonings, we received what I can definitely say was the warmest, most kind welcome I’ve ever gotten on a blog trip. They had a huge group of employees outside cheering for us, even holding signs welcoming each of us by (blog) name! How cute is this?!
I found the woman holding my poster to thank her and get a picture. 🙂
That welcome was a great indicator of the company as a whole. I was super impressed with everyone we met – kind, enthusiastic, and passionate about tea, the planet, and good health.
Joining me on this fun trip were:
- Julie – Peanut Butter Fingers
- Gina – Running to the Kitchen
- Kath – Kath Eats Real Food
- Monica – Run Eat Repeat
- Caitlin – Healthy Tipping Point
- Amy – Mom Advice
- Jeanine – Love & Lemons
- Kristen – Dine & Dish
- Great group! Here we all are dressed in our awesome protective jumpsuits (sexy hairnets went on just after this photo) for the processing plant tour later that afternoon. Does this picture make the “Ghostbusters” theme song start playing in anyone else’s head? 😉
Celestial Seasonings makes more than 70 different varieties of teas, including herbal, green and wellness teas. Did you know that tea is the second most popular beverage in the world after water?
When we first arrived, we were treated to some tea, of course! Have you guys tried their seasonal Sweet Harvest Pumpkin? It’s amazing!
Julie and I discovered that Celestial Seasonings also makes kombucha – and it’s delicious! Apparently it’s sold at health food stores nationwide. I hope the Whole Foods near me has it!
I also got to meet the Sleepytime tea bear. 🙂 Matt, he says hello!
Once we were adequately hydrated and caffeinated, we had the pleasure of learning more about the tea ingredients, where they come from, and the history of the company behind it all.
Celestial Seasonings was founded in 1969 by a group of young entrepreneurs with the ambitious goal of making the world a better place by sharing their knowledge of the benefits of herbs.
Now, they are the largest specialty tea company in the U.S., but they still retain their focus on health, sustainability, and farmer friendly trading practices. They actually recently came out with a new line of organic and fair trade certified teas that are sold exclusively at Whole Foods, which I love.
Celestial Seasonings uses natural fiber, chlorine-free tea bags that are biodegradable and compostable, and their unique pillow-style tea bag doesn’t need a string, tag, staple or individual wrapper, which helps save 3.5 million pounds of waste from entering landfills every year. In addition, their tea boxes are 100% recycled paperboard, including 35% post-consumer waste, and can be recycled again when empty.
The ingredients in Celestial Seasonings teas come from all over the world, but the teas are blended in Boulder, Colorado.
Many of the ingredient suppliers have been part of the Celestial Seasonings family for more than 30 years. Each of the signature botanical ingredients is purchased directly from the farmers and communities that grow them.
If you’re interested, check out their website for more about their herbs, where they come from and the benefits they’ve historically been believed to provide.
Once we learned more about the history of the company and the ingredients, it was time to get down to business: a tea tasting and brewing lesson!
The tip of the day was do not overbrew your tea. It makes it very bitter! I’m usually guilty of this because I forget to take the teabag out of my cup. Determined not to do this anymore! It’s especially a problem with green tea.
Here is an awesome brewing guide they provided us with if you’d like to perfect your tea brewing skills at home. One of the main things I thought was super interesting was that for black or herb tea, you want boiling water, but for green tea, you want water that is JUST about to boil, but not quite.
Tips for Brewing the Best Cup of Tea
Use fresh water. Use freshly-drawn purified cold water; water that has been reheated gives tea a flat taste. If you’re unhappy with the taste of your tea, you may, in fact, dislike the taste of your water – especially if you’re using tap water. Try making a cup of tea with bottled water or water from a purifier and taste the difference.
Heat the water to the right temperature. Bring it to a rapid boil for black or herb tea (either in a kettle or microwave) to extract the full flavor. For green tea, the water should be hot, just to the point of boiling. Water temperature will drop rapidly, so bring your pot or cup to the stove and pour as quickly as possible.
Cover your cup. Whenever possible, if brewing tea by the cup, use the saucer to cover the cup and retain the heat. Some tea mugs on the market are designed with a built-in lid for added convenience and practicality.
Watch the clock, not the color. Never brew tea by color if you want the perfect cup. Some teas brew light, others dark. Always brew by the clock — Celestial Seasonings recommends three to five minutes for green and black teas, four to six minutes for herb teas and six minutes for wellness teas.
Squeeze the bag. Some people have debated — to squeeze or not to squeeze. Celestial Seasonings recommends squeezing the bag. Why? Tea leaves can absorb up to seven times their weight in water and compressing the bag enhances color and flavor. So, give a gentle squeeze to the tea bag before removing from the cup.
Hot Tea by the Cup: Place one tea bag in your favorite cup. Add boiling water and let steep 4 to 6 minutes before removing tea bag.
Iced Tea by the Pitcher: Pour 2 cups of boiling water over 4 tea bags. Steep 4 to 6 minutes, then remove the bags. If desired, stir in your favorite sweetener while the tea is hot. Add 2 cups of cold water and chill.
Hot Tea by the Cup: Place one tea bag in your cup and pour boiling water over it, cover and steep 3 to 5 minutes, depending on desired strength. Remove tea bag.
Iced Tea by the Pitcher: To make 2 quarts, pour 4 cups of boiling water over 8 tea bags. Steep 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the bags. Add sweetener and/or lemon if desired. Then add 4 more cups of cold water. Refrigerate and enjoy.
Green tea is brewed differently from black tea because its fresh green leaf makes a slightly astringent tea. With cooler water and shorter brewing time, you get more delicate flavor from the unfermented leaf.
Hot Tea by the Cup. Place one tea bag in your cup. Pour very hot (just at the brink of boiling) water over the tea bag. Cover and steep 3 minutes. Remove tea bag and add lemon and/or sweetener if desired.
Iced Tea by the Pitcher. Pour 2 cups of very hot water over 4 tea bags. Steep 3 minutes then remove the bags. If desired, stir in your favorite sweetener while the tea is hot. Add 2 cups of cold water and chill.
Hot Tea by the Cup: Place one tea bag in cup. Add boiling water and let steep for 6 minutes. We recommend that you use no more than 4 tea bags per day.
Iced Tea by the Pitcher: Pour 2 cups of boiling water over 4 tea bags. Steep 6 minutes, then remove the bags. If desired, stir in your favorite sweetener while the tea is hot. Add 2 cups of cold water and chill.
By the Cup: Place one tea bag in your favorite mug. Fill with 3/4 cup boiling water. Steep for 4 to 6 minutes. For authentic chai taste, remove tea bag and fill mug with 1/4 cup hot milk or dairy substitute. Sweeten to taste with sugar or honey.
By the Pot: Use one tea bag for each 8-ounce serving. Steep tea bags with 3/4 cup of boiling water per serving. Remove tea bags, add 1/4 cup of hot milk (or dairy substitute) per serving and sweeten.
Iced Chai: Place one tea bag in your favorite mug. Fill halfway with boiling water, steep for 4 to 6 minutes and sweeten. Fill mug with cold milk or dairy substitute. Pour over ice.
Fun fact: did you know that the leaves used for green tea are initially the same as those that make black and oolong teas? They are steamed right after being picked so that no oxidation occurs and they stay green. Black tea leaves, on the other hand, are allowed to oxidize as they are exposed to warm, dry air, which causes the leaves to darken and bring out a full-bodied tea flavor. White tea comes from the first few tender leaves and new buds of the tea bush and are simply dried for a delicate, slightly sweet tea. Cool! I always though it was a totally different plant!
After a delicious lunch – I had a big salad with salmon + some unpictured butternut squash soup and a roll – we got to see more of the facilities.
Their processing facility is very highly automated. It blows my mind that people dream up machines that do all this stuff. So efficient!
We also got to experience their magical Mint Room, where all the mint is sequestered so the entire plant doesn’t get mint-ified. It smelled AMAZING – cleared the sinuses right up!
If you guys are ever in Boulder, I highly recommend a tour of the Celestial Seasonings tea factory – they are open to the public!
After our tour, we got to meet with the creative team to hear more about all that goes into coming up with the names of the teas and the beautiful box artwork. I always love the Celestial Seasonings tea boxes – so pretty.
They commission artists to come up with the designs. Here was the original Sleepytime painting!
We capped off our day with a little tea-inspired happy hour (I know, my life is so hard). Tea infused cocktails? Don’t mind if I do!
My favorite was the Jammin’ Lemon Ginger Drop. Here’s the recipe! I especially loved the tea-infused simple syrup – what a good idea. Totally going to try this next time we have people over and want to get fancy. Love that you can do it with any kind of tea!
Jammin’ Lemon Ginger Drop
- 1.5 oz Bourbon
- 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 oz Jammin’ Lemon Ginger tea simple syrup (see instructions)
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain and serve in an old fashioned glass with a sugar rim.
Tea-Infused Simple Syrup
Combine 4 tea bags (6 tea bags for Chamomile), 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Using two spoons, remove tea bags and squeeze out excess liquid. Allow syrup to cool and use in your favorite cocktail.
And now, time for you guys to join in on the fun! Before leaving for the day, we were given the opportunity to hit up the Celestial Seasonings gift shop to pick up some goodies for ourselves and to build a fun goodie bag for one of our readers! I had a blast putting it together and I hope whoever wins loves it. Here’s what I picked out for my winner: a cute tea towel, 5 boxes of tea (an assortment of some of my faves), a “Teas with Altitude” shirt (size small – unfortunately the only option), a cute bird mug, and on the bottom left, those are bath tea bags! Cool idea, right? I choose a stress soother bath tea bag and a headache buster bath tea bag.
The winner will also receive this awesome Digital Electric Kettle.
To enter to win, please leave a comment with your favorite kind of Celestial Seasonings tea, and when you like to enjoy it! U.S. residents only, please. I’ll select a winner next week and notify them directly via email.
We capped off our trip last night with a wonderful tea-inspired dinner at The Kitchen, which was delicious. Highly recommend it if you are ever in Boulder – great ambiance and food! Sadly the lighting was too dim for good food photos. 🙂
I flew back to D.C. today – quick trip. I got home, dropped my bags, changed, and headed straight to CrossFit to catch the 4:30 class. It felt so good to move after a long day of sitting! Now, to finish up some work and begin the weekend. I hope you all have a good one!
Thank you to Celestial Seasonings for covering my expenses on this trip and for sponsoring this post!