Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

More than just compost

Last week we received the first update from the Asociación Chajulense Organic Coffee Project that we are supporting in Chajul , Guatemala. The purpose of this project is to provide technical assistance to groups of widely dispersed indigenous coffee farmers in the cooperative to help them increase the yields of their organic coffee.

Farmer members of Asociación Chajulense in Quiché, Guatemala

The goal is to increase yields and quality of organic coffee and thereby farmer livelihoods. As far as yields go, compost is certainly part of the story, but only a part - another big part is pruning, which many of these farmer never knew how to do properly. The other activities, pre-pulping, sorting, maintenance, clean drying patios, etc. focus more on quality aspects.

We'll post some pictures next time we get an update.

Try some of our coffee that has some of theirs in it.
Map of Asociación Chajulense.
The coop's website – in English and Spanish

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Summer Seasonal Coffees

Yet again, we find ourselves in the midst of the changing seasons. The days are growing longer and warmer. With the longer days come many care fee summer activities, such as chasing fireflies late into the evening, cool midday swims, and of course, enjoying a glass of iced coffee!

We are offering two, brand new seasonal coffees, Summer Safari™Blend and The Perfect Peach™. Whether you prefer a balanced medium blend coffee or a slightly sweet flavored cup of joe, they are both Fair Trade and are absolutely delightful when served hot or iced!

Find your favorite seasonal coffees here.

su09seasonals

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Visit some coffee farms and the farmers who supply us coffee.

Sometimes our customers call us and ask if they can visit some of our coffee suppliers. We've generally declined the requests since we're not really in the travel and tourism business. (Except when we bring employees to visit coffee farms; in my case, I get to bring employees to Mexico every January). But there are some farms and farmers you can visit in Nicaragua and Costa Rica and these are folks who sell us coffee. You can do all the arranging directly, have a nice vacation down south, drink some great coffee and learn a little more about the coffee business.

Recommendations:

1) Costa Rica . We buy coffee from a place called La Hilda Estate. It's north of San Jose, it's owned by our good friends the Vargas family, and they have delicious coffee. You can do a coffee tour and stay in a B and B on the sister farm called Doka Estate. Try some of our coffee that has some of their coffee in it. Info about their coffee tours.

GMCR employees meeting coffee farmer's kids. Photo Will Billings

2) Nicaragua . There's a tourism project called The Coffee Route where you can visit fair trade farmers near Matagalpa , Nicaragua . You can visit the following communities - La Pita, La Corona, La Reina, El Roblar - all of whom have farmers who belong to a 1 st level coop called UCA San Ramón, that makes up part of CECOCAFEN, who sells us some of the coffee we use in some of our Newman's Own Organics blends. Apparently you can even visit their dry mill, Solcafé, and their offices. While we travel quite a bit in this area, we haven't actually done this tour, but imagine it's a fascinating experience. I think this would be a better trip for perhaps a ‘young-at-heart' type traveler who can speak some Spanish. Learn more.
Here's where CECOCAFEN is - it's based in Matagalpa, but is a very large coop.

2) Nicaragua . Selva Negra is a famous coffee farm and estate just outside of Matagalpa. Beautiful, inspirational and very comfortable is how I would describe it.  Of these three places – this is the one place I've stayed and can highly recommend it. In addition, it's where our employees stay when they are on their Nicaragua source trip every winter. We haven't actually started selling their coffee yet – but it's in the works. One of the owners – Mausi – was just here in Waterbury cupping coffee with Lindsey. Here's where they are and here's their website.

Mausi Kuhl cupping with Lindsey Bolger in Waterbury

If you do any of these trips, please let us know how it went and send pictures!

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New! Caribou Blend 80 Count K-Cup Package.

We began offering Caribou K-Cups in February, so you may already be familar with their brand.  If you're a Caribou fan, here's a sure way to keep you coffee fix "fixing":  Introducing the new economy size  Caribou Blend 80 count K-caribou-80ct1Cup package.  Caribou Blend is a signature blend, balancing big body, syrupy taste and a snappy finish. It's delightful any time of day or night.

With 80 K-Cups, that’s almost 3.5 times more coffee than a regular 24 count K-Cup box. And more coffee means more savings per K-Cup.  If you do the math, you’ll pay $.55 cents per K-Cup compared to $.58 per K-Cup when you buy a 24 count box. You’ll also get free shipping with every order of the 80 count package.

The box will fit easily in your pantry or on your counter for easy access. Or store a few K-Cups in one of our three storage accessories like the K-Cup Carousel.

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Boston Wakes Up To Fair Trade

On Wednesday morning, Green Mountain Coffee, TransFair USA, Bruegger's and the MBTA gave out almost 25,000 coupons for Fair Trade CertifiedTM coffee to Boston-area commuters.

coupon_smOur volunteers were rock stars, spanning seven stations across greater Boston.  T riders couldn't resist the offer of free coffee, and Bruegger's bakeries had lines out the doors during the day with customers redeeming coupons for hot and iced Fair Trade coffee.

Click here for an article on the Boston Globe's web site on the event.

Click here for a slide show on Flikr.

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We’re studying so we can be better

kid_in_front_of_el_socorro1No not us. School kids in Costa Rica . It's the phrase painted on the wall outside of the El Socorro School. It's a very small school in Alajuela Province , Costa Rica (1 teacher, 1 room, 15 kids, 7 grades. They received $300 last year to buy books courtesy of Cup for Education.  CFE, as we call Cup for Education, is a small non-profit that raises money for school supplies, rebuilds damaged schools buildings and is working on funding an entire school in Nicaragua. Not only do we buy coffee from this region that goes into our Breakfast Blend, my cubicle mate here in Waterbury, Deb Crowther, who buys 70% of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' coffee, is the Vice President of CFE.

It's a very low-tech operation. If someone is visiting us from source, Deb will frequently load them up with a cheap duffle bag of pens, pencils, and note pads to bring to another small school. It's kind of a low tech school too apparently – mothers take turns on weekends cleaning the school and the parents do all the gardening and maintenance.

As a company we donate a modest amount to CFE, some employees donate, and the organization has plenty of other donors. YOU can donate too.

 

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TransFair USA, Green Mountain Coffee and Bruegger’s Tell Boston Commuters Their Choice Makes a Difference

ft_logo_look_sm1On the morning of Wednesday, May 13, an estimated 20,000 Boston MBTA riders will be rewarded for their environmentally-friendly decision to use public transportation. Volunteers from TransFair USA, the non-profit that certifies Fair Trade Certified™ products in the United States, will distribute free coupons to be redeemed for hot or iced Fair Trade Certified™ Green Mountain Coffee® at Bruegger’s Bakery-Cafés, plus a coupon worth $2.50 off a package of Green Mountain Coffee at local grocery stores.

Boston T riders can spot volunteers in bright orange t-shirts handing out coupons from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Wednesday at seven T stations including: South Station, Kenmore, Porter Square, Longwood, Downtown Crossing, Government Center and Back Bay. 

You too can make a difference in the lives of farmers in coffee-growing communities by choosing Fair Trade Certified™ coffees.

Click here to learn more about this Fair Trade event in Boston!

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May 9th is World Fair Trade Day

world-fair-trade-dayDid you know that the coffee you chose to enjoy in the morning can make a world of difference?  It can if you choose Fair Trade Certified coffee!  Fair Trade provides farmers a fair price for their harvest which means they can invest in their crops, their communities, and their future.

Join people from around the world and celebrate World Fair Trade Day on May 9th.  www.worldfairtradeday09.org.  Make sure you check out the messages from Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox and others.

Learn more about our Fair Trade efforts at www.GreenMountainCoffee.com/FT

 

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Colombian Fair Trade Select: Back in Stock.

colombian-bagA little over six weeks ago, our Colombian Fair Trade coffee supply was scarce and unable to support some of our existing Colombian products. As promised, Colombian Fair Trade Select is back in stock in both the 24 count K-Cup and 10-oz. bag products.  According to Ed Canty, one of our green bean buyers and coffee experts, "Our supply is going strong."

To add any of these products to your Cafe EXPRESS recurring order, contact Customer Care and speak to one of our Customer Care Reps at 888-350-KCUP (5287).  Or login to your account online, then click 'My Account' to manage your recurring orders.

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Tully's K-Cups Are Here!

09-k-cup-tullys-breakfast-blend-lgOne month after welcoming Tully's to the Green Mountain Coffee family, Tully's K-Cups are now available on our website and through Cafe Express.  We're offering ten K-Cup varieties, covering all three Tully's roast profiles: spirited, balanced and grand.  On a comparitive scale, Tully's coffees are darker than Green Mountain Coffee roasts due to their roasting style.

Tully's roasting style produces dark and full bodied coffees, typical to the Northwest coffees.  AJ Rendon, Tully's Roast Master speaks to their roasting style, "We roast our coffees slowly at low temperatures in order to pull our the most flavor and development. We think roasting longer and at a lower flame creates bold and piquant notes as well as more delicate citrus and floral flavors."

If you're not used to drinking dark roasts,  introduce yourself to the Tully's style with their version of a Breakfast Blend.  It's bright and vibrant in taste and has a smooth, buttery mouthful.  Perfect for sipping anytime of day.

You can also find Tully's at over 150 cafes  in the Northwest, California and Arizona. But now you can bring that coffeehouse flavor into you home with the convenience of a Keurig Brewer and Tully's K-Cups.

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We’re Getting Calibrated

Astrid is a cupper for FCC in Colombia

While there are a lot of objective ways to evaluate coffee: the size of the bean, the altitude where it's grown, the amount of moisture in the bean, the type of tree it came from, and so on, the subjective part – what it tastes like – is more complicated. Is that fruity taste a stone fruit or a pulpy fruit? When we ask the farmer groups we work with to look for a particular taste at a particular price within a certain range of scoring on the Specialty Coffee Association of America's cupping sheet, life can get complicated pretty quickly.

One of the quickest ways to make that process easier is to sit down with the cuppers from these coops – the ones who do the taste testing – and cup with them. We call this process calibration – our cuppers and their cuppers getting on the same page, drinking A LOT of coffee together. 2 weeks ago two cuppers from our supply chain – Astrid Licet Bonilla from Federación Campesina de Cauca, based in Popayan , Colombia (map here) and Eber Tocto Bermeo from CAC La Prosperidad de Chirinos, Peru (map here) – spent a week cupping and tasting coffee with our Coffee Department. It's an invaluable process for both sides because they learn more about what we're looking for and why and we learn more about how they work and cup and evaluate coffee.

It's also a terrific experience for them coming to the USA for the first time. It happened to be a nice week in Vermont (it didn't rain much), they ate at a lot of different types of restaurants with us, and got to stay in one of our nice local bed and breakfasts – The Old Stagecoach Inn – that serves great hot breakfasts and features as a greeter a dachshund named Max.

Eber is a cupper from CAC La Prosperidad de Chirinos

Many thanks to ACDI/VOCA in Colombia for supporting Astrid's trip up here and thanks to Sustainable Harvest, one of our importer partners, who was instrumental in helping us put the trip together. Eber and Astrid were accompanied by two staff members from Sustainable Harvest Adam McClellan from Oregon and Oscarin Gonzales from their Peru Office.
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See a slideshow of their visit.
Try some of our coffee that may have some of Astrid's coop's coffee.
Try some of our coffee that may have some of Eber's coop's coffee.

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It's a Wrap

Usually, the Consumer Direct office view looks out at GMC's Waterbury, VT distribution center. The distribution center is normally lined with Fed Ex trucks backed up to loading docks.  But today, our view was obstructed by a freshly wrapped Green Mountain Coffee truck!   Yes, the little things excite us marketing folks and prompt us to blog. But this was a big project, and an important piece in showing off our new "I Realized" campaign.

new-trucks-may-2009-back1New wrap

 Across the Northeast, keep your eyes peeled for dozens of these newly wrapped trucks. The graphics truly "pop" off the truck. The vibrant blue and bold green colors will undoubtedly catch your eye.  Give us a honk when you see us.

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