Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

e-Taste Be Fair: Green Mountain Coffee Online Tasting

Ready to be a Green Mountain Coffee e-Taster?

On Thursday, May 6th at 6pm EST, sign-in to our Ustream channel to join Lindsey Bolger, our Director of Coffee Sourcing and Relationships, for a special virtual coffee tasting of our limited edition Spring Revival™ Blend.

Broadcasting live from the Green Mountain Coffee Visitor Center & Café in Waterbury, Vermont, Lindsey will walk our group of e-Tasters (that’s you!) through a guided tasting of Spring Revival Blend as she brews, tastes, and, of course, answers your questions as you sip along with us.

Yes, you’ll be tasting with us – all you need is:


  1. Your brewer (may it be French Press, drip, or Keurig),

  2. A bag or K-Cup of Spring Revival Blend*, and

  3. Your coffee questions and observations to share via Ustream’s Social Stream (log-in with your Twitter, Facebook, AOL AIM, or MySpace accounts) or the #etaste hashtag on Twitter alone.


Time answer the question: Ready to be a Green Mountain Coffee e-Taster? Save your spot at the e-Tasting table at http://etasteandbefairgmc.eventbrite.com/



Register for e-Taste & Be Fair: Green Mountain Coffee Tasting in Waterbury, VT  on Eventbrite


* Use Promo Code TRADE-WFTD to get a 10% discount on Spring Revival Blend and all other Fair Trade Certified™ coffees at www.GreenMountainCoffee.com.

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GMCR, Inc One of McDonald’s 2010 Global Best of Sustainable Supply

We are excited to be among the companies recognized in McDonald’s 2010 Global Best of Sustainable Supply for our efforts to fight poverty and hunger in our coffee supply chain.


The Best of Sustainable Supply recognizes best practices of companies that demonstrate leadership and innovation in sustainable supply.  McDonald’s first introduced Newman’s Own® Organics coffee (roasted by Green Mountain Coffee® and part of GMCR’s family of brands) to its restaurants in New England and Albany, NY in October 2005.


This recognition affirms the importance of our efforts to seek sustainable solutions to poverty and hunger in communities around the world that supply us with coffee.  We believe there is a direct link between the quality of coffee we purchase and the quality of life in the farming communities that grow this coffee – and, as such, we are focused on supporting projects that improve the quality of life.  Reducing food insecurity improves health, enhances children’s ability to learn, and provides families with new opportunities to begin lifting themselves out of poverty.  When farmers and their families are unable to maintain their normal diet, they are generally not able to invest in their coffee, so this work will also help improve the quality of coffee in the cup.

Click here to read more about our community food security efforts and McDonald’s 2010 Global Best of Sustainable Supply.

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A Guy, a Girl, and the Right Cup of Coffee: An Engagement Story

A few weeks ago, hearts collectively turned into mush in our office while reading the abridged story of one Green Mountain Coffee fan’s proposal to his then girlfriend.  Imagine: Graham and Kate, our happy couple, in the early, early, early morning and the - well, why don’t I let Graham take it from here:

A good marriage proposal is all about circumstance, lighting, and a bit of luck...

Finding the perfect setting for my wedding proposal to my, then girlfriend, Kate was simple enough--we were on our way to Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon.  The timing took a bit more thinking.  I thought about a romantic mid-day picnic proposal.  It sounded great, but crowds would be a problem.  Sunset sounded dramatic and the colors and shadows cast in the canyon have inspired artists for centuries, but could I really carry around the ring for the entire day?  Neither seemed to fit the moment quite like sunrise.  The symbolism just seemed right.  Here we were at a new beginning, the first light of day lifting over the seemingly-infinite wonder before us--full of excitement and promise.  Perfect!

Ah, but there's always a catch.  Staying in Flagstaff meant a two-hour drive to the Grand Canyon, and with a 6:20 am sunrise, that meant leaving the hotel around four in the morning!  With a promise of a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse at sunrise over the landmark, Kate--thankfully--agreed to wake up at 3 am--whew!  Nerves gripped me--and I, the steering wheel--as we traced along the dark and elk-trodden roads of northern Arizona.  When we finally arrived, we had just enough time to run to the rim and find our way to a secluded point.

Describing the very moment is impossible.  The famous artists of the Wild West have brought out the emotions of the Canyon at first light, but not even the most talented among them could capture the glow that swept across Kate's face as I dropped to one knee. The moment will forever be painted in the most brilliantly vivid colors on the canvas in my mind in all of its unrivaled beauty.

Freshly engaged and excited to soak in every once of the surroundings, we trekked along the Southern Rim.  We made it roughly an hour before the exhaustion sunk in. With a whole day ahead of us, we set out in search of a worthy pick-me-up.  Stopping first at a nearby cafeteria, I poured myself a large cup of what was labeled, "coffee."  To call it coffee is a bit generous, but I won't go into any further detail, suffices to say it found its way down the nearest drain.

Ever the supportive companion, Kate made it her mission to find me a better cup.  "There's a restaurant up ahead, let's try there," she would say, tracing her finger across the travel map.  The early hour meant that most places were not yet open and my quest for a decent cup began to seem futile.  Until, finally, "Is that what I think it is?" I blurted out suddenly.  Outside a distant lodge was a sign whose words neither of us could make out, but in the middle was a green logo.

"It looks a bit like the Green Mountain Coffee logo," I said, with a glimmer of hope.  Closer still the logo came into perfect view, as did the words, "We proudly brew Green Mountain Coffee!"  And just like that, all was right with the world!

Sure, finding a great cup of coffee on the same morning Kate and I got engaged may sound trivial, but let me assure you it is not!  To say that moment in life could have been any more perfect is now, officially impossible!! From racing to make it in time for the first light to trace the outline of her face at the perfect moment, right down to the quest for a great cup of Joe, they all had a touch of drama and uncertainty.  But in the end, both could not have worked out any better.

A happy ending to a very happy beginning!


Thank you for sharing your story, Graham and Kate!  We – and romantic coffee-lovers, alike – are sending you travel mug-sized “Congratulations” on your engagement!  May your life never be in need of cream or sugar, as each day will be sweet and smooth enough as long as you’re together.

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Localocracy in Massachusetts: A Revelation to Action Idea

Ahem. Drum roll, please.

323.


At the close of Revelation to Action’s idea submission period on April 21st, the entries from Maine, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Massachusetts reached 323!  Congratulations New England and New York – with so many Changemakers in our communities, we have a bright future ahead of us.

One of these 323 entries came from Localocracy, a Massachusetts based online platform for peer-to-peer local politics.  They provide an “online ‘town square’ where registered voters (using real names) can vote on local issues and candidates, ask questions, and rank the best opinions for supporting their side.”

Let’s hear from their founder, Conor, on the philosophy behind Localocracy:

“All politics is local. The local level is where one vote has the greatest power, and we believe that if you seek to change the world you must start in your own backyard. But local political issues are still incredibly difficult to learn about, and even harder to have an influence on … Many people don't have time to spend four or five hours at a town meeting just to speak for 30 seconds, but that doesn't mean they don't have something valuable to contribute.

We believe we can transform local politics.

Our hope is to make it painfully easy for anyone to find out what the issues are in their town and get their own ideas heard. We hope to encourage regular citizens to participate in local government, and hope that some users may even run for local office.

Through our media partnerships we hope to make political news an active activity, and not a passive consuming one.”


What do you think about Localocracy as an innovative, community improving idea?  Jump over to their entry to start the discussion.  The judges may be reviewing entries at the moment, but the real work starts now with in your comments, questions, and networking on the discussion board.

Bonus: With the Changemakes 2.5 upgrade, entrants could upload videos with their submissions.  Take a look at this presentation by Conor for Localocracy:

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Put a lid on it: Introducing the ecotainer® Hot Cup Lid

About 5.6 billion lids for paper hot cups are used every year, according to industry data. And where do they end up? The landfill.

But it doesn’t have to end like that – if you’re using a Green Mountain Coffee ecotainer® hot cup lid, that is.

Today, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. and International Paper have launched an eco-friendly lid to complement the eco-friendly cup – know as the ecotainer® - we jointly introduced to the world in 2006.

What makes this lid different than any other?

-          First, the ecotainer hot cup lid is made from polylactic acid, a renewable resource, as opposed to lids made from polystyrene, a non-renewable resource.

-          Second, the lid is certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) and meets the ASTM standard for compostability, which means it can be composted in municipal and industrial composting facilities – making it the only compostable hot cup lid manufactured in the U.S.

For every one million lids that we and others convert to the ecotainer hot cup lid, 4.1 tons less of non-renewable petrochemical materials would be used annually. Composting the lid, along with other ecotainer products and food waste, will also further reduce the amount of material going into landfills. For more info on the ecotainer, click here.

You may not know, but the first Earth Day was 40 years ago today – and it sparked real local change of which we can all be thankful. As we work on the global environmental challenges of our era, don’t forget the power that these few folks had in preserving and restoring the natural landscape and the power we all have to keep that effort alive.

Even if it’s just composting your compostable coffee cup – and now, lid.

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Coffee Break: Episode 9 - Revelation to Action Submission Closes

Today is April 21 - the last day to submit your innovative community ideas to our Revelation to Action competition, as well as the day of the release of the next episode in our Coffee Break saga!

This week, Amanda and I are filming from our 10,000 gallon Biodiesel tank on our Waterbury, Vermont campus.  Why?  Because it's Earth Day on April 22?  Because the biodiesel facility was an idea to improve our company and broader community, just like the hundreds of ideas submitted thus far to Revelation to Action?  Or maybe because it's such a lovely backdrop to film our ninth episode?

All of the above! Take a look for yourself:

Can’t see the embed?  See this week episode at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtn6ESXQooA

If you missed previous episodes of Coffee Break, take a peek at past episodes at our Coffee Break playlist. Next week, Coffee Break is back to Changemakers – don’t miss out!

Remember, coffee fans and changemakers: Today, April 21, at 5 PM EST is the last chance you have to submit your community changing idea for a chance to win $5,000 toward your cause.  Don't miss out: Submit here.

ETA:4/21/10

WOW - Due to overwhelming interest, Changemakers will continue accepting entries via email until Monday, April 26th at 5pm EST. The online entry form will close as scheduled today at 5pm. To submit an entry after the site closes, return the completed entry form to smintz@ashoka.org by Monday, April 26th at 5pm EST. Entry forms can be downloaded here or contact smintz@ashoka.org to request one via email.

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Employees take Travel Mug K-Cups for a test drive

When Travel Mug K-Cup® Portion Packs hit the scene in March, fans of fully caffeinated commutes lined up at their Keurig brewer to test these new K-Cups, travel mugs at the ready.

Not to be left out, our employees were among the throng.  So, being the inquisitive group we Green Mountain Café bloggers are, we asked a crack team of coffee loving travel mug-ers to share their take on these new Travel Mug K-Cups.  And share they did:

First, Donut House® Travel Mug K-Cups with B2B poet, Lesley:


Donut House Travel Mug K-Cup: Coffee just like before only I get more!  Fills my mug and fills me up!


Next, Green Mountain Coffee® French Roast Travel Mug K-Cups with a very un-morning person, Paula:


When mornings get tough, I turn to something a bit more bracingly bold.  So imagine my delight when I got a box of our new travel mug sized French Roast K-Cups.  Dark roast?  Check.  Bold blend?  Check.  Big size for barely-awake mornings?  Check.  My new go-to brew.


And last, but not least, Breakfast Blend Travel Mug K-Cups with HR multi-tasker Blythe:


At work I wear several different hats but no matter which one I’m wearing Travel Mug Breakfast Blend fits perfectly in my favorite travel mug.


Looks like the only thing better than your favorite cup of coffee is your favorite coffee in a bigger cup!  While this crack team hightails it to the Keurig for another mug-full, do you think our travel mug-gers hit the nail on the head, or as we say, the K-Cup on the lid?

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Traveling in Sumatra - a day in the life

A couple weeks ago, Rick Peyser, Director of Social Advocacy and Coffee-Community Outreach, along with members of our coffee

Waking up to Lake Tawar, Sumatra

purchasing team, traveled to Sumatra. While part of the visit was to visit coffee farms for purchasing purposes, Rick was also there to visit with the Save The Children team on the ground and view the work they are doing with coffee-farming families. We'll post more about the work we're supporting through Save The Children in a couple weeks. To read more about Save The Children in Indonesia click here.

Below is a "day in the life" of the coffee road warrior Rick Peyser:

"I slept pretty well last night until the morning call to prayers that started at 4:45 this morning (and lasted for about 45 minutes). Our hotel is just across the street from a small mosque, with a brightly painted blue and green spire. It is one of at least a dozen Muslim mosques in Takengon, a modest-sized mountain town.

We had a full day yesterday visiting the Permata Gayo cooperative, and had dinner in a small restaurant just across the street from the hotel (next to the mosque). It consisted of hot soup loaded with vegetables, a plate of hot and spicy noodles, a locally bottled tea, and coconut milk sipped through a straw right from the green coconut. It was a good and healthy end to a long day, and cost $14 for the four of us.

Dinner in Sumatra

When I got back to the hotel I had a message to call Win who works for Save the Children here in Takengon. He had received the short email I sent him to let him know that we had arrived and that I was looking forward to spending Thursday with him and his team. He said that he may stop by to meet us for a few minutes this morning before we head out to visit some of the communities that supply us with coffee at 9 a.m. He was very pleasant, and seems to be happy a out our visit to see the work he and his team are doing. I'm looking forward to it."

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Sustainable Design at Yestermorrow #Revelation2Action Idea

The structures that we build fill and alter the landscape around us. Sometimes, they enhance the landscape, while others detract. Yestermorrow, a sustainable design school based in Warren, VT, teaches hands-on sustainable design. They teach students to build structures that are beautiful, healthy and durable. And if you’ve seen some of their work, you’ll definitely agree that they enhance the landscape around us (click here to see pictures of their campus and work)Entrance of Yestermorrow Design Build School

Yestermorrow is one of the Vermont entrants in our Revelation to Action competition (read their entry here). To get to know their work better, we asked their Executive Director, Kate Stephenson, a few follow-up questions.

Q: It sounds as though there is a rich support system between Yestermorrow and your surrounding community. How did this relationship develop and evolve? Feel free to describe some of the most fulfilling community projects you have completed.

A: We work closely with many of the non-profits and community groups in the Mad River Valley and other corners of Vermont. With all the courses we offer, we have a ready supply of willing hands, so it's logical that we would use that student labor force to help build projects in the community. A few recent partnerships include: building a new ticket counter for the Savoy Theater in Montpelier [pictured below], a barn and workshop for the Center for Whole Communities in Fayston, a childrens' playhouse for the Open Hearth Community Center in Waitsfield, and a series of ongoing projects working with the Vermont Foodbank to help renovate the Kingsbury Farm in Warren.Cabinets built by Yestermorrow students for Savoy Theater

It's also been great to work with some of the same organizations year after year- we've partnered with the Central Vermont Community Land Trust on structures at a number of affordable housing projects in the Valley including the new Wheeler Brook Apartments, Evergreen Senior Center and the VerdMont Trailer Park. It's a great deal for our community partners because they can get high quality projects built at relatively low cost- they pay for the cost of materials but Yestermorrow provides the student and instructor labor at no charge.

Q: How do sustainable building and design support teamwork and community improvement?

A: I think one of the major tenets of sustainable design is to create healthy, durable and beautiful places for people to live and work. One of the things we focus on at Yestermorrow is how to make structures that improve the quality of the place where they are located as opposed to detracting from it. Through good design we can create welcoming, productive spaces which bring people together. Our project to build the bandstand on the Waitsfield town green is a great example of that- it creates a spot that encourages people can hang out, watch musicians perform during the farmer's market, and connect with other members of the local community.

Q: How can distant communities who are interested in sustainable design and build, adopt some of your techniques?Treehouse on Yestermorrow's campus

A: While we build all kinds of different types of projects from countertops to cabins to timber frame homes, our main technique is education. Yestermorrow's mission is to empower individuals to have input into the built environment, and that concept is something that can be adopted in communities across the country and the world. Another key component of what we do is skill-sharing. Any community can adopt that idea by bringing together people who have a skill and others who want to learn it, and provide an umbrella for that connection to occur.

How would you improve your community's landscape? Folks from New England and New York you can still enter your innovative ideas in the Revelation To Action on competition on Changemakers until April 21st, 2010.

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Ask the Coffee Lab: Extra Bold Light Roast?

Ready for a question the puzzles even the most die-hard coffee fan?


“How can you have an Extra Bold Light roast?”


--

Sometimes it’s a little confusing reading all the different names and styles of coffee we offer. In the best of all possible worlds, you could sit around with a little book and taste coffee all day and make notes, with elegant sketches of apricots and blueberries to remind of the fruit notes in that Ethiopian you liked.

But back to reality and the confusion…


The longer the coffee is in the roaster (basically a big oven that keeps the beans moving and hot), the darker the coffee gets. A lighter roast is in the roaster for less time than a darker roast. The darker the coffee gets, the more intense it gets, but it also gets less complex. Some people say the longer the better; some say not so much. To each his own – that’s why we offer more than 100 different coffees.


Now, let’s talk about the boldness of your coffee.  When you open up a bag of dark roast coffee, people say, “Whew, that’s strong coffee!”

That’s not an untrue statement, but when we say strong, we’re referring to the amount of coffee to the amount of water – we call that brew strength. When we say “bold”, we also referring to the amount of coffee to water – and in this case – the amount of coffee in the K-Cup. Extra bold K-Cups have more coffee in them (around 30% more coffee to be exact).

If you’re up for an Extra Bold light roast, try our Extra Bold Kenyan AA or Donut House Coffee.

That’s another month of Ask the Coffee Lab. If you have questions to ask our Coffee Team, leave a comment here, on Twitter (Follow us: @Coffee_Lab), or Facebook.

-Winston

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Café EXPRESS $2.50/box savings are here to stay!

You liked it when we introduced the limited Café EXPRESS discount in February.

You really liked it when we extended it to May.

And now we hope you’ll really, really like it when we make the savings of $2.50 off every K-Cup® portion pack permanent.

Yes: Permanent.

All Café EXPRESS members will now save $2.50 per K-Cup box instead of our old $2 discount.  That means the typical 4-box order will now save $10 plus receive FREE shipping.  And Platinum members will now always save $3 per K-Cup box.

That’s savings ($2.50-off per box; $1-off per bag), variety (over 50 varieties of your favorite brands), and convenience (change your order, adjust the delivery schedule, and check your current order status - all online!) in one club.  Plus, it’s the freshest direct-from-the-roaster taste you’ll find, delivered right to your door – now, that’s a coffee club worth joining.

So, let us know: Do you really, really like it?

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Coffee Break: Episode 7 – Revelation2Action Fashion

Time for another of our Revelation to Action Coffee Breaks.  This week, Amanda and I reveal the latest upgrade for competition entrants, as well as our own RT competition fashion addition.

Can't see the embed?  See this week episode at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWncoP-KLYI

Don't forget: April 21st is the last day to submit your innovative ideas to help your community at Changemakers.com/Revelation.  Already put your idea into the hat?  Tune in Friday on Twitter for another opportunity to win some of our revelation-ary coffee and limited edition shirt through Changemaker’s on Twitter.  Follow us @GreenMtnCoffee and @Changemakers and stay tuned on Friday for more details!

If you missed previous episodes of Coffee Break, take a peek at past episodes at our Coffee Break playlist. Next week, Coffee Break is back to Changemakers – don’t miss out!

-Kristen

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Spring Catalog, Coming to a Mailbox Near You!

The Spring Catalog is one of my favorite catalogs to work on.  In the middle of the winter when things are dark and cold, working on the Spring Catalog brings thoughts of flowers blooming, long sunny days and song birds singing.  For me, it is a true sign that spring has finally sprung when we begin mailing out our Spring Catalog.

And so, here we are, most signs of winter have melted away and my dreams of spring have come to fruition! The Spring Catalog has dropped, and will be appearing in a mailbox near you soon!

In the catalog look for featured products including Island Coconut coffee, New revv and revv Pulse K-Cup® portion packs and some beautiful spring inspired mugs.




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TheSpyMom.com calls us A Customer Service Gem

We're very proud of the hard working folks in our Call Centers.  They really, really, really want to help.

So we were particularly pleased when TheSpyMom.com decided to write about a great experience she had with us.  Customer Service Rep Lisa Saunders received the call from TheSpyMom's author, who also happens to be a Cafe EXPRESS member.  Apparently, the author was extremely happy with Lisa, stating:

"the woman who I was connected with was absolutely wonderful"

Thank you, TheSpyMom.com -- we too think Lisa is pretty wonderful.  They also wrote that we're a "Customer Service Gem" and "Green Mountain Coffee values their customers and takes pride in the qualify of their products." Click here to read TheSpyMom's full blog post.

If anyone is ever having any Customer Service issues or if we can help in any way, please call us at 888-879-4627.

Have you had a good experience with our service reps?  If so, please leave us a comment (see below) to tell us about it.  Thanks!

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Painting a Picture of Giving: PR Team Volunteers!

Last month, our fierce PR team (Kristen, Sandy, Maureen and the newest member, Intern Liz!) used just a few of their 52-hours of volunteer time. Read Liz's take on her first CAFE (Community Action For Employees) experience!

On a Friday morning when most people were schlepping through their last few hours before the weekend, Green Mountain Coffee’s PR team, equipped with paint brushes and blue tape, was on a mission.

We were heading to Grounds for Heath, a non-profit organization that focuses on providing cervical cancer screening services to women in coffee-growing countries. Having just rearranged their office in Waterbury, Vermont, the PR team volunteered to help paint their new front reception area as part of Green Mountain Coffee’s CAFE time. (CAFE time, for those who don’t know about it, is one of the great benefits that Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. offers its employees. It allows employees to go out and volunteer for a combined 52 hours per year, and is counted as paid time-off. How neat is that!?)

Once we arrived at Grounds for Health, we quickly got to work, laying down newspaper to protect the carpet in the room and taping the trim so that paint didn’t end up where it wasn’t welcome. The prep work went smoothly, and in under an hour, we were off with our paint brushes & rollers! It was exciting to see the walls transform from a stark white into a warm, alluring yellow. When we had finished, the space looked like a completely different room, and the freshly-applied color made it the perfect place to house a reception area!

As an intern with the company, I’m really happy that I had the opportunity to complete some CAFE time and volunteer while I’m here. I love the idea that a company like Green Mountain Coffee can be successful and volunteer its time towards worthy causes! Now that I’ve gotten my feet wet in the proverbial “CAFE Time Pond,” I have only one question: “What’s next!?”

-Liz Stewart


Does your company have a volunteer program? We'd love to hear how your organization is helping out in the community. Interested in starting a volunteer program at your company? Read David Jones' (University of Vermont) paper on Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee Volunteerism Programs.

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