Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

The Science of K-Cups

Ever wonder how exactly our K-Cups deliver such a consistent, flavorful cup of coffee?  It ain't easy, lemme tell ya!  But never fear, Don Holly, our Director of Roasting & Quality, explains the science of k-cups in the handy dandy video below.  Enjoy!

(Special thanks to Amber Braman for editing Don's special K-Cup presentation!)

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A Brief Technical Note

Over the weekend we updated the security of the Green Mountain Coffee web site to be up-to-date with the latest PCI (Payment Card Industry) standards. In particular, our web servers will no longer accept SSL 2.0, or data encryption that uses less than 128-bit keys. If that’s Geek to you, that’s okay… what it *means* is that we’re making it so that it’s no longer possible to sign-in, or to check-out of our online store with old, weak security standards. We want to ensure that your personal data is safeguarded.

If you have a late-model web browser (e.g. Firefox 3, IE 6 or 7, Opera 3, Safari 2 or above) there's probably nothing you need to do. Folks with OLDER BROWSERS that don’t support updated security standards may need to upgrade... or at least review the settings in their browsers. You'll be able to shop our web site with any browser, but you won't be able to sign-in, or to check-out unless your browser meets current PCI standards.

Over the jump, I've included instructions on how to upgrade the most commonly used browsers on our web site. Again, you'll need to upgrade only if you're unable to sign in, or checkout of our online store.

Microsoft Internet Explorer

To set your browser encryption rate,


  1. Open Internet Explorer.

  2. Open the Help menu on the toolbar and click About Internet Explorer.

  3. Cipher strength (encryption rate) is listed in the About Internet Explorer window. If the cipher strength is less than 128 bit, update your browser at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/downloads/default.mspx.


To set your browser SSL version,

  1. Open Internet Explorer.

  2. Open the Tools menu on the toolbar and click Internet Options.

  3. Click the Advanced tab.

  4. Scroll to the bottom of the window.

  5. Select the following options:

    • Use SSL 3.0

    • Use TLS 1.0



  6. Click OK.


Netscape Navigator or Communicator (Versions before 8.0)

To set your browser encryption rate,


  1. Open Netscape Navigator or Communicator.

  2. Open the Help menu on the toolbar and click About Navigator (or About Communicator).

  3. In the window that is displayed, locate the RSA security section. If this section reads, "This version supports U.S. security," the browser supports 128-bit encryption. If the section indicates you have an export version, the browser supports only 40-bit encryption. (Further details are also available by clicking Security on the Navigator toolbar.)

  4. If your cipher strength (encryption rate) is less than 128 bit, update your browser at http://browser.netscape.com/.

  5. Please note that Netscape is no longer supported, and that Firefox would be a good upgrade path.


To set your browser SSL version,

  1. Open Netscape Navigator or Communicator.

  2. Open the Edit menu on the toolbar and click Preferences.

  3. Click Privacy & Security.

  4. Click SSL.

  5. Select the following options:

    • Use SSL 3.0

    • Use TLS 1.0



  6. Click Okay.


Also set browser encryption rates at the SSL screen as follows:

  1. Click the Edit Ciphers button on the upper-right side of the SSL screen.

  2. Select all options beginning with either 128-bit or 168-bit.


Netscape Version 8.0

Netscape Version 8.0 has 128-bit encryption. You do not need to update this setting.

To set your browser SSL version,


  1. Open Netscape.

  2. Open the Tools menu on the toolbar and click Options.

  3. Click Advanced.

  4. On the Advanced panel, scroll to the Security section. (If no subcategories are visible, click the plus sign Plus Signto expand the list.)

  5. Select the following options:

    • Use SSL 3.0

    • Use TLS 1.0



  6. Click OK.


Firefox

To set your browser encryption rate,


  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser.

  2. Open the Help menu on the toolbar and click About Mozilla Firefox.

  3. Verify that you have version 1.0 or later. If you have a version prior to 1.0, upgrade your browser athttp://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/?from=getfirefox.


To set your browser SSL version,

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox.

  2. Open the Tools menu on the toolbar and click Options.

  3. Click Advanced.

  4. On the Advanced panel, scroll to the Security section. (If no subcategories are visible, click the plus sign to expand the list.)

  5. Select the following options:

    • Use SSL 3.0

    • Use TLS 1.0



  6. 6. Click OK.


Opera

To set your browser encryption rate and SSL version,


  1. Open Opera.

  2. Open the Tools menu on the toolbar and click Preferences.

  3. Click the Advanced tab.

  4. Click Security on the left.

  5. Click the Security Protocols button on the right.

  6. Select the following options:

    • Use SSL 3.0

    • Use TLS 1.0




You can set your encryption rate (cipher strength) on the same screen in the Select ciphers to enable section.

  1. Select all options for SSL3/TLS 1 that include 168 bit, 128 bit, and 256 bit.

  2. Click OK.


You can download updates to Opera at http://www.opera.com/download.

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Juan Ramón from UCPCO in Northern Nicaragua is here for a week of Cupping

Stacy and Juan Ramon discuss our quality standards
Stacy Bocskor of Green Mountain Coffee and Juan Ramón discuss quality standards in the Coffee Lab


Juan Ramón Altamirano is the cupper (taste evaluator) for a coop based in San Juan Rio Coco, in Madriz, Nicaragua. He flew to Vermont yesterday to spend this week with us cupping in our Coffee Lab to get "calibrated". Getting "calibrated" means getting his taste buds on the same page as ours so that in the next year and beyond we can talk apples to apples when we're buying coffee from his Fair Trade Organic coop - UCPCO - Unión de Cooperativas Productores de Café. It's a great opportunity for us to learn more about UCPCO and a great opportunity for Juan and his coop to get to know Green Mountain Coffee, our business and the overall coffee market in the US. Go here to see where UCPCO is based.
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New packaging coming...

Exciting things are afoot here at Green Mountain…including a brand new look for all of our bagged coffees.  Thanks to the dedication of a large cross-section of employees, the first of the new designs rolled out the door last week, destined for your local store’s shelves very soon. 


 Dedicated readers, a sneak peek at things to come ... 


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 Bold new illustrations and vibrant bag colors for each line, new labels to communicate roast level and grind, clear markings for Fair Trade and Organic coffees … all of which ensure you get home with just the right fixings for that perfect cup.  (Rest assured that it's just the look that’s changed – the blends are still the ones that you know and love!)


 Over the next few months, you’ll start to see these new bags appear on your local store shelves.  Keep an eye out for them and come back here to let us know what you think!

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Helping VT flood victims

We've had an extremely wet summer here in Vermont.  The NECN cable channel recently covered some of our Green Mountain Coffee volunteers helping local flood victims.  Click below to see.

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Does coffee make you a better sailor?!

When an unseasonably sunny, balmy streak of weather came to VT in early May, summer fever struck in full force…and led to an impulsive purchase of a week of sailing lessons in Maine. Visions of coastal Maine, salty air, lobster and leisurely days of sailing danced in my head.

At orientation, the announcement came that breakfast started at 6:30 a.m. the following morning. Gulp. Those who know me know that I am not the earliest riser on the planet. While I am not quite a sleep-‘til-noon person, it’s safe to say that the “snooze” button on my alarm clock does get used! So, was 6:30 feasible? Sure. Would it be pretty? No…at least not without a mug of coffee to get the day rolling and bring my mental faculties into sharper focus. So, day 1, after a bleary-eyed bike ride to the dining hall, imagine my joy – big mugs and plenty of coffee. Even better? It’s Green Mountain Coffee!

Coffee proved to be but the first delight of a great week, and I raise my mug to the great staff and students of the Wooden Boat School in Brooklin, Maine. Thank you for a great time!

(For those interested in learning more about their boatbuilding, sailing or kayaking programs, check them out online @ www.thewoodenboatschool.com – and rest assured that you won’t forego fine coffee for the week!)

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Bankers in the forest, providing capital to the poorest...

A wonderful benefit of our commitment to social responsibility is the opportunity to meet, get to know, and work with some exceptionally talented, inspiring and visionary leaders and organizations beyond our four walls. 


Willy Foote and the folks at Root Capital are a great example of this benefit. Root Capital (www.rootcapital.orgis a nonprofit organization offering affordable credit and financial education to


Willy Foote and Jeronimo Bollen of Root Capital, speaking with Green Montain Coffee Roasters employees in 2006.

community-based businesses in environmentally-sensitive areas of the developing world; Root Capital helps keep many of our coffee-growing partners thriving and in business.


Root Capital has been named one of Fast Company magazine's Social Capitalist Award winners for three years in a row and CharityNavigator, America's largest independent evaluator of charities, deemed Root Capital "exceptional" in its ability to efficiently manage its finances and grow its capital.  Willy himself, besides being named an Ashoka Fellow and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, is an accomplished guitarist and singer.


Since 2000, Root Capital has provided $80 million in loans to cash-strapped farmers who otherwise would have been forced to sell their coffee at a fraction of market prices. Of that sum, $40.4 million has gone specifically to our suppliers — individuals or organizations that, in traditional financing, would be considered “unbankable.”


We recently contributed our final $55,000 installment to Root Capital in support of PorFin, their innovative program of financial and business training for the members and managers of rural producer cooperatives in the communities where Root Capital operates. At last count, 1,300 individuals had participated in the trainings, helping spread the benefits of the program across 24 cooperatives, representing over 20,000 members.


 Click here to learn more about Root Capital, the PorFin program, and listen to Willy play his guitar in this terrific video! 


Learn more about our history with Root Capital by clicking here.


 


 

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Grounds for Health Makes A Splash in Waterbury

This week, Green Mountain Coffee and Ben & Jerry's held the second annual free car wash to benefit Grounds for Health, an international non-profit organization -- and Waterbury neighbor -- that provides health care services to women in coffee-growing communities.  The event took place behind the Green Mountain Coffee Visitor Center and Cafe at the Waterbury Train Station.  Check out this video, edited by Jacqueline Bell, our own CSR intern:

The indefatigable and outrageously enthusiastic Mike Pelchar, backed up by Waterbury uber-ambassador Patty Meade, spearheaded a "Dream Team" of volunteers, clad in splashy orange and blue shirts.  This hardy crew hosed, soaped, brushed and hosed (again) each car in turn until it sparkled, while enforcing Green Mountain Coffee's no idling policy by pushing cars along the two lanes of traffic.

Local band The Growlers set just the right groove for the event, with much-more-than-amateur karaoke singers rocking out during breaks.  A raffle featured prizes from fine Waterbury establishments like the Tiny Acorn, Gigi's Cleaning & Detailing, Arvads and the Alchemist.  Ben & Jerry's scoopmobile doled out free ice cream as drivers waited for their cars.  And we were even treated to a special in person appearance by Ben and Jerry, who reportedly took a turn at washing cars as well!

Numbers are still being tallied but current estimates show the car wash raised $6,800 for Grounds for Health.  The funds will help to support the organization's mission to create sustainable and effective cancer prevention programs, with a focus on the early detection and treatment of cervical cancer -- a leading cause of death among women who lack access to healthcare in developing countries.  Grounds for Health was founded by members of the specialty coffee industry who discovered that women in Mexico and Central America have high rates of cervical cancer, which is preventable and treatable if caught early.

To support Grounds For Health and learn more about this organization, visit http://www.groundsforhealth.org/donate.html.

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A Cleaner Fleet

You may not have noticed, but the trucks delivering your GMCR coffee are making a slightly smaller impact on the environment. All of our diesel route trucks and facilities vehicles in Waterbury are now powered by B20, a blend of 20% bio-diesel and 80% traditional petroleum. This change allows us to reduce our greenhouse gas impact by 20%.  Using bio-diesel fuels is just one way we are trying to protect the environment.

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