Putting The Red Zinger Back Into Celestial

At Celestial Seasonings Inc., tampering with Almond Sunset is almost like resetting the crown jewels. This, after all, is the brew Nancy Reagan used to soothe a ruffled Raisa Gorbachev at the 1985 Geneva summit; Celestial employees have called it "summit tea" ever since. But that doesn't bother Morris J. "Mo" Siegel, Celestial's iconoclastic 41-year-old founder. Drawing a sip through his teeth and noisily slurping it in, he pronounces his verdict: "It's a little boring." Maybe blending in another flavor will help. "Did you look in a cookbook?" he asks his half-dozen assistants. "What does Betty Crocker put with almond?" They barely have time to answer before Siegel butts in. "Let's get radical," he says with a grin. "Vanilla, coconut, chocolate . . . Who says we can't use chocolate?"

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