I discovered that Celestial Seasonings was located about a quarter mile from my hotel. Of course, I ate in the company cafeteria ( free tea refills ), went on the company tour, and enjoyed their extensive gift shop.
Their building in Boulder is their sole building, being both their headquarters and their factory. All they do there is clean, blend, and package the ingredients they ship in from around the world ( 40 ingredients overall, 10 from the U.S. ). The factory is almost completely mechanized.
The most interesting part of the tour for me was their little history wall. I saw a picture of the founder from the 60s, looking like a member of the band The Doobie Brothers. He started the company by climbing up in the Rockies to pick herbs and selling them in big muslin bags. I so wanted to visit THAT Celestial Seasonings circa 1960s Boulder. The tour guide told us that Celestial Seasonings is responsible for the misnomer term "herbal tea". The early company discovered that they could just not sell "herbal infusion" mixes, so they relabeled their products as "herbal tea" to good financial results.
I saw a giant room where all of the real tea was kept, to prevent it from absorbing the odors from their other ingredients, stored in giant bins in their main room. Likewise all of their mint leaves had their own room too for the opposite reason. The fumes from the mint leaves were so strong a number of people couldn't tolerate standing in that mint room. Now I understand why mice are repelled by mint.
Once in the gift shop after the tour I was told by a clerk that Celestial Seasonings had discontinued their Emperor's Choice blend, but had brought back blends before as a result of popular demand. I ( and a disappointed crowd ) were told to use the contact form at celestialseasonings.com to do this.
The clerk also told us that the few remaining boxes could be ordered from here
http://www.celestialseasonings.com/prod ... herbal-tea
When I got home I ordered a box out of nostalgia. When I was 14 I made a lot of changes in my life that have lasted until today. One of things I started experimenting with was herbal tea and Emperor's Choice from the supermarket was one of the first non SAD(Standard American Diet) foods I tried.
Interestingly, their "Emperor's Choice" was listed under "new products" on the site, so maybe it has already been brought back.
However I remembered it being in a blue box and the new box was yellow.
Sleuthing around I found a few comments stating that Celestial Seasonings had altered the blend.
Sleuthing further I don't think it was changed by that much. I did a Google image search and followed an image for a blue box version of the blend back to a shopping site ( http://www.shopwell.com/celestial-seaso ... 7073400017) that listed the ingredients as
However the modern yellow boxed blend has these ingredients:Cinnamon, Blackberry Leaves, Eleuthero Ginsesng Root, Roasted Chicory Root, Orange Peel, Rosehips, Ginger Root, Lovage Root, Natural Flavors, Licorice Root, and Panax Ginseng.
The difference is that the new blend has been improved by removing the "Natural Flavors" ( some blends use only real ingredients, other blends use artificial ingredients. Caveat Emptor ). Also 1 of 3 types of ginseng and lovage root were removed from the reincarnated blend.Cinnamon, Blackberry Leaves, Eleuthero, Orange Peel, Roasted Chicory, Rosehips, Ginger, Licorice Root, and Ginseng
I'm not a super taster ( my career as a tea industry professional will have to wait for my next life ) so all I could taste in the new blend was the cinnamon.
I think most people who aren't super tasters who could not get Emperor's Blend would be almost as happy just getting one of the many cinnamon teas or cinnamon infusions out there.
Anyway, that was my unexpected visit to Celestial Seasonings in Boulder Colorado and my reacquaintance with a nostalgic drink from my teen years.