I had five hours to spend in Boulder, a city in the grand state of Colorado in the USA. What to do? I couldn’t give you a full-on review of a city I had not explored, nor had been there before. What I did know: it’s a city of just 103,000 residents (almost a third of whom are students at the University of Colorado at Boulder), it has a reputation for packing punch.
At 5,430 feet (1657 metres) and generally sunny, it’s a spectacularly beautiful destination that’s been smart (and pioneering) about growth and preserving open space, so it’s a magnet for athletes, bohemians, hipsters, scientists and outdoor enthusiasts of every ilk.
With a progressive dining and brewing scene, it’s a breeze to eat healthily and drink locally. Even outdoor music is better in the Front Range: you won’t regret splurging for a concert ticket at Red Rocks, just to the south.
I won’t go into the hiking, biking, climbing and all outdoorsy activities that are everyday jaunts for the Boulderites (Bouldonians?) as I don’t do outdoors very well. (See link at end of story for more local info.) As I was coming into town I had a total moment of excitement and knew what this Boulder post was to be about – TEA.
My preferred tea late at night cosied up in my bed in Sydney is a brew called Sleepytime Tea by Celestial Seasonings (this is not a sponsored post). We drove past a sign saying Celestial Seasoning – yippee.
Oh joy, the building/factory was open for tours – yes! And it was free. This is the home of my tea!
Celestial Seasonings is in the northeast of Boulder and looks like any other productive, immaculately clean factory – BUT – it smells so good. Just like a freshly opened box of Sleepytime Tea.
Our devoted tour group donned fetching blue hairnets and began the walk. We watched our fave teas being mixed, packed and boxed. (Apparently, and I concur, it takes three seconds for a machine to wrap a box and 10 minutes to get it off.) And when we walked into the Peppermint room, our eyes began to sting and our lungs began to sing with the sharp, pungent aroma of the precious peppermint oils exuding from the herbs. This room is mostly locked down as the oil could permeate the flavours of the other herbal and fruit teas produced here.
The company tries to be as sustainable as it can be and the tea bags no longer have strings and the actual bags that contain the tea are biodegradable and one of our guides said she packs her used bags around her garden plants to hold water and dissolve ethically.
A few tasting sips and a major purchase of boxes and away we went most happily. On the driveway out of the complex I saw my first Groundhogs . . . too cute.
There was a foodies market on in town so we meandered among the food and produce stalls. And in keeping with the tea theme we visited two tea shops (what is it Boulder, craft beer in competition with the humble cuppa?).
We saw the large tea/cafe emporium, Boulder Dushanbe Tea house that is most exotic but packed to the teapot brim on market day.
So into the main mall here for an elegant tea experience at Ku Cha House of Tea. We settled on an ethereal white tea that was delicate and totally tea-zen.
So, this busy bee little city with its outdoorsy attitude and athletic ambience can turn on the tea charm, and sit quietly and contemplate the Colorado big sky and the art of sipping a cheery brew.
Writer Bev Malzard has just finished her tea that she purchased in June. Damn! Best head back to Boulder, sooner than later.