Celestial Seasonings Tea: Aliens, Racism, and Cults With Every Cup

Many foods and drinks have pretty interesting histories, and Celestial Seasonings tea is no exception. Known primarily for their Sleepytime Tea herbal tea bags, Celestial Seasonings produces a variety of teas with flavors like black tea, fruit tea sampler, lemon zinger, rosebud, and even matcha. If you regularly drink a cup of tea from Celestial Seasonings, you may be surprised to hear about the tea company's history.

When Was Celestial Seasonings Tea Founded?

Mo Siegel, John Hay, Peggy Clute, and other founders began gathering herbs and flowers in the mountains around Boulder, Colorado in 1969 and sold them to health food retailers. In 1972, the Red Zinger and Sleepytime teas were made, according to the company's website. They now make green tea, chai tea, rooibos tea, wellness tea, Cool Brew iced tea, Sleepytime extra, and more. They even come in k-cups!

What is Sleepytime Tea?

"Sleepytime is the bestselling specialty tea of all time," the Celestial Seasonings tea company website notes. It's a caffeine-free blend made with chamomile, cool spearmint, and fresh lemongrass. It's so easy to pull out a tea box of Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime herbal tea and brew a high-quality cup of hot tea before bed. Its pre-bedtime accessibility makes it an easy way to relax before bed, and North America has been calming down with this tea for years.

What Are Their Other Teas?

Sleepytime might be one of Celestial Seasonings' best sellers, but they've got a lot of other teas to choose from too. I also like Country Peach Passion, Honey Vanilla Chamomile, and their peppermint herbal tea.

There's a Religion Behind It?

Okay, this is where things get weird. According to Food and Wine, Siegel was very into a "new-age bible" called The Urantia Book that was inspired by the Seventh-Day Adventist movement, with one interesting difference: "It was supposedly communicated to an unknown man possessed and put into a trance by aliens," the outlet reports. You read that correctly.

The religion is a little complicated but comes down to a belief that there were six races on this planet many years ago, and that there is a "racial superiority order" with fair-skinned aliens coming along to "purify" the world. Yikes.

sleepy time tea
Amazon

Siegel discovered the book the same year he founded Celestial Seasonings, which is some pretty awkward timing. "He admitted that the book's ideas 'were the inspiration for the uplifting quotes we print on the side of our tea boxes and on our teabag tags,'" Food and Wine says.

If you're a big fan of these teas, never fear; Celestial Seasonings is now part of the Hain Celestial Group, and Siegel retired years ago. So fortunately there should be no lingering racism or aliens in your cup of Sleepytime tea.

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