Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

Brewing For a Cause

This time of year is one of the busiest for our Corporate Social Responsibility programs. The nice weather inspires our employees to volunteer for non-profits using their 52 hours of company sponsored time-off (we call this program CAFE).

Another program that gets a lot attention during the summer months is our product donations. Product donations are a great way to supplement events - whether for brewing or for auction items. We think it's a great way to have folks sample our coffees while supporting communities throughout the country. Fair Trade Organic Coffee The coffee we donate is Fair Trade Organic - so folks can feel good about it at their events.

For more information on product donations visit http://www.gmcr.com/productdonations

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Employees Chill Out with our Brew Over Ice Coffees

As the summer goes on, it’s clear that the most valued employee on our Waterbury campus is our ice maker.  Since Brew Over Ice K-Cup® portion packs appeared in the break room during one of the hottest weeks this summer, that glorious device of frozen delight has been working overtime.

And for good reason: We need our iced coffee. When mid-afternoon rolls around (or even when it hits 10 a.m.), we jump at the thought of a chilly-drink that’s bold, fresh, and “ahh”-inspiring.  It’s just too good to turn down when it’s so simple to brew and tastes so good, just ask two enthusiastic members of our newly dubbed Green Mountain Coffee Tasters Guild:

First, French Vanilla Iced Coffee K-Cups® with a newly-energized, ready to “chilax” Caitlin from marketing.



Yes, we have ice! Afternoon energy lull be gone! With a tumbler full of French Vanilla Iced Coffee, I have the perfect exotic afternoon pick-me-up to get me through the rest of my day.



And what about Nantucket Blend® Iced Coffee K-Cups®? Lesley from B2B, our resident poet, thinks it’s totally tubular – like hanging ten in the office!


An Iced Nantucket in the middle of the day turns work into a getaway!



Now those are two brews you can get behind and brew directly over ice!  I sense a trip to the ice maker coming on…

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Organic School Garden in Guatemala

Every quarter a group of Green Mountain Coffee employees meet to discuss our Coffee-Growing Community Outreach

Groundbreaking of organic garden (photo from Pueblo a Pueblo  blog)

grants. It is a great way to learn about the different organizations and regions our company touches. At a recent meeting I got to learn about a project we supported in partnership with Pueblo a Pueblo in Santiago Atitalan, Guatemala to start an organic garden at Escuela Mixta Rural de Panabaj  school.  They broke ground in early February and were sowing the first seeds by the end of the month (read about it on their blog)!

Pueblo a Pueblo, an organization that helps to improve the lives of indigenous Guatemalans, describes the project below:

"The area surrounding Santiago Atitalan is among one of the the poorest regions in Guatemala. In a region where many households live on less than a dollar per day and do not own livestock, families face severe seasonal food shortages, known as "los Meses Flacos" (the thin months).

Pueblo a Pueblo has worked in this region since 2005 and has been involved in school nutrition and providing healthy

Planting in school garden (photo from Pueblo a Pueblo blog)

meals to needy children. Our new partnership with Green Mountain Coffee only adds to this effort bringing life-changing aid to child nutrition and families who need our help the most. Our shared goal is to improve nutrition and strengthen

food security.

Through a two year pilot project grant, we seek to teach 500 children in the Escuela Mixta Rural de Panabaj about organic gardening and basic nutrition. We will help the school community increase food supplies through education and diversification of crops to include foods with higher nutritional values.

Garden after Tropical Storm Agatha (photo from Pueblo a Pueblo blog)

Their food security efforts teach children and their families ways to avoid food shortages and increase nutrition, while our development projects also support educational opportunities and improve family health."

Although the garden and the area were affected by Tropical Storm Agatha in May (read about the storm and damage), repairs continue and the garden is recovering.

Read more about our Coffee-Community Outreach on our Corporate Social Responsibility website, http://www.brewingabetterworld.com.

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Chill Out With Two New Perfect Iced Teas

Finances keeping you from taking a vacation this summer?  Then it's time to create your own affordable backyard alternative: bring out your lawn chairs, kiddie pool, sunscreen, plastic flamingos, and let your taste buds whisk you away to exotic places with the latest Brew Over Ice K-Cup® portion packs for your Keurig® brewer.

We are introducing two new varieties of Brew Over Ice Perfect Iced Teas from Celestial Seasonings® to help you choose your destination. First is Sweet Berry Lime Iced Green Tea—a sweet and citrusy fusion of smooth green tea and juicy berry flavor with a splash of lime.

Second is Sweet Tropical Breeze Iced White Tea—a refreshing fusion of delicate white tea and the tempting tropical flavors of passion fruit and papaya.

If you want to go for something a bit less tropical, then our Perfect Iced Tea Variety Pack might just be the ticket. This pack lets you try our four classic iced teas: lemon, raspberry, peach, and unsweetened black tea, all in one place. Sample them all and find the one you love!

Whichever one you choose, you will find a paradise of flavor, right in your glass. And with our limited time price discount, you can afford to travel to both places, as long as you remember to enter the keycode BREW-ICED in your shopping cart when booking your iced getaway.

This just in: we are extending our discount for $1.00 on ALL boxes of Brew Over Ice K-Cups through 10/4/10! Stock up and save!

Remember, Brew Over Ice is simple: Fill a tall (16 oz.) cup (do not use glass) with ice and place under brewer. Shake K-Cup and place in brewer. Choose your brew size (6 or 8 oz.) and press "brew." Add additional ice as needed. To see how easy it is to brew these coolly refreshing beverages, click here:


Our Perfect Iced Teas are a convenient way to serve up the quintessential summertime beverage—one cup at a time. Click below to see our entire selection of Brew Over Ice products.

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Up in the Air at the Stoweflake Balloon Festival

I was greeted by a family of skunks, rooting around in the grass near the big event tent.  It was 5:15am on a foggy Friday morning in a quiet field in Stowe, Vermont, just me and five little hungry critters welcoming the day.  Keeping a wide arc, I busied myself with setting up a coffee station for the pilots and crews that would be assembling soon.  This was the first morning launch of the 2010 Stoweflake Balloon Festival, and I was on hand to provide coffee for the early risers (pun intended).  People started to arrive and sleepily approach the tent.  Skunks don’t like people much, so as one furry black and white cluster, they ambled off into the tall grass as the human activity began increasing.

Thousands of hot air balloon enthusiasts congregate in Stowe each July for this festival.  Organized by the Stoweflake Resort & Spa, and held on their vast grounds, the fun includes three early morning and two evening launches.  The morning launches are more for the pilots; it’s their play time.  Spectators are welcome, but only the most intrepid are there for the early flights.  At 4:00pm on Friday and Saturday, the gates open for the evening launches, which usually take place around 6:30pm, and that’s when the crowds start pouring in.  Green Mountain Coffee has sponsored the festival for several years, and this year our sampling set-up featured our new Brew Over Ice K-Cups.  In the middle of a fortnight of unusually high temperatures, attendees were thrilled to try the iced coffees and teas, and were delighted to learn that their Keurig brewers could open up this new dimension for them.  While the French Vanilla iced coffee was probably the most popular choice, the delicious Southern Sweet tea was also a big hit.  And everybody who tried it instantly fell in love with the iced Half and Half – our K-Cup version of an Arnold Palmer, half tea and half lemonade.  So nice on a summer afternoon…trust me, I had plenty of them.

The whoosh of propane bursts filled the air, as the fanned heat began filling the balloons.  It’s magical to watch yards of colorful fabric come to life as the heat slowly swells them into bulbous airships.  A few eager people hop into the basket, and sail up into uncertainty.  By managing short blasts of intense concentrated flames pilots can control the altitude, but when it comes to direction, there is no way to steer a hot air balloon.  Those smiling people are at the mercy of the wind, destination unknown.

My destinations, alas, are a bit more scripted. After a fabulous weekend of watching imaginations soar, it’s off to events in Boston, New York City, Rockland, Maine, and beyond.  It’s a tough job, sharing the splendors of Green Mountain Coffee beverages, but someone’s got to do it.  I’m glad that someone is me.

Hope to see you at an event sometime soon.  You’ll know me by the smile and hyper-activity.  Or by the family of skunks….

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Steppin' Out In Style—the Keurig Mini Gets a Makeover

You’ve heard the old adage “good things come in small packages.” We think this is aptly describes the K-Cup® portion pack, the little wonder that fills your cup to the brim with hot or cold refreshment. However, there is another small wonder, the driving force behind the K-Cup that also fits the bill: the Keurig® Mini Plus brewer.

This little guy is the next generation personal brewer. The Keurig Mini you once knew has been overhauled and made-over into a more technologically advanced unit that gives you more bells and whistles, while still creating the perfect cup of coffee.

So what are some of these improvements? For starters, the Mini Plus lets you choose between three brew sizes: 6, 8, or 10 ounces. It heats and brews in under two minutes; it has a removable and easy-to-clean drip tray; it can take a mug up to 5 inches in height when the drip tray is removed; and it has in-unit cord storage! It comes in three snazzy colors to boot: black, red, and platinum. And if you are new to the Keurig revolution and aren’t familiar with the broad selection of K-Cups that are available, we even throw in a 22-count variety pack of coffees and teas for you to try!

If you are looking for a Keurig brewer that’s compact, easy to use, and travels well, then this is the one for you!


Never used the Mini Plus?  Here's how it works: Step 1: Turn it on!  Step 2: The Add Water indicator will flash blue--lift the Cold Water Reservoir Lid to open.  Step 3: Fill the water reservoir to the desired fill level and close the reservoir lid.  Step 4: Place mug on the drip tray.  Step 5: Lift the Brewer Handle to open--water will exit the reservoir and enter the brewer.  Step 6: Place selected K-Cup into the K-Cup Assembly.  Step 7: Lower the Brewer Handle completely and firmly to close.  Handy Operating Hint: before you lower the brewer handle to begin the brew cycle, make sure that all of the water has left the reservoir and drained into the brewer (you’ll be able to hear it draining). If you lower the brewer handle before the water has drained into the brewer, it will think it doesn’t have enough water in it, and will prompt you to add more. That will cause your cup to overflow and create quite a mess! (You’ll thank me later for this tip—trust me, I’m speaking from experience.  It even gives these instructions in the operator’s manual, which obviously I didn’t read.  That’ll teach me…).  Step 8: The Brew button will flash blue--press it; it will then flash red while the water is heating.   Step 9: The water will reach the correct temperature in approx. 2 minutes; the Brew Button will turn solid red and your beverage will start to dispense.  Step 10: Enjoy!

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And the Revelation to Action Winners are.....

Panelists at Revelation to Action eventYesterday a big group of Green Mountain Coffee folks road-tripped down to Boston for the Revelation to Action celebration event. It was a great time - with all the finalists in attendance at Cyclorama (Boston Center for the Arts). The day included a keynote speech by Judy Wicks and a panel discussion with Willy Foote, Harry Gold, Lorne Adrian and Janet Wu. The evening concluded with the announcement of the competition winners. We were grateful to have all the finalists there, who are all Changemakers and helped to make this whole endeavor a success. Thank you!

And the winners are....

Wordle at Revelation to Action eventThe three overall competition winners are as follows:


  • Semester in Sustainable Design/Build, Warren, VT: Yestermorrow Design/Build School provides college students with the opportunity for a semester of study and hands-on experience in sustainable design principles and processes.



  • Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT FEED), Shelburne, VT: VT FEED works with schools and communities to raise awareness about healthy food, the role of farms and farmers, and good nutrition, and is a catalyst for rebuilding healthy food systems and cultivating links between classrooms, cafeterias, local farms, and communities.



  • Still Growing Senior Community Rooftop Garden, Bangor, ME: The Hammond Street Senior Center is transforming its rooftop into a downtown urban garden. Seniors who can no longer manage a garden on their own or have downsized into apartments or retirement communities can use this garden to grow vegetables, exercise, and make new friends.


The seven state winners are as follows:

  • Free Primary Health Care for the Uninsured of Greater Hartford, Hartford, CT: Through the use of a mobile medical clinic, this program provides free, high quality primary health care services to an underserved population that has no other means of accessing the health care system.



  • Red Tomato, Canton, MA: Red Tomato coordinates marketing, logistics, and sales to create market opportunities for a regional farm network. By offering supermarkets one-stop access to season-long, farm-identified local food, Red Tomato increases consumer access to local produce and solidifies farm sustainability by ensuring that small and mid-size farmers can compete in today’s wholesale market.Revelation to Action winners



  • Common Ground Country Fair, Unity, ME: The Common Ground Country Fair is a gathering, in the spirit of a harvest festival, which serves to encourage the revival of agriculturally-based rural communities.



  • Recipe for Success Culinary Job Training Program, Manchester, NH: This program helps unemployed/underemployed people gain the skills and experience to seek employment in the food service industry, rescue quality food from entering the waste stream, and provide prepared meals to thousands of needy people in NH.



  • Project Enterprise – Small Loans and Big Connections, New York, NY: This project creates a “Center of Entrepreneurship” where traditionally under-resourced entrepreneurs can receive small loans and a suite of other services that will assist them in building businesses and assets for themselves and their families.



  • DoubleGreen™ Credit Builder Loan Program, The Capital Good Fund, Providence, RI: This program makes $200 loans to Rhode Islanders with no or poor credit history to purchase and install programmable thermostats that lower their energy costs by $180 annually. Borrowers build credit through repayments of the loan and reduce their energy consumption, thereby reducing carbon emissions.



  • Jr. Iron Chef VT, Shelburne, VT: This statewide competition gives students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience preparing and cooking nutritious, farm-fresh foods. The program highlights local agriculture and encourages students to make healthy eating choices and understand more about nutrition and school food systems.

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Meet the Perfect K-Cup Sweepstakes Winner!

If you haven't heard already, The Perfect K-Cup Sweepstakes is an amazing opportunity for YOU to have the chance to win a new Keurig® Single-Cup Brewer along with a lifetime supply of K-Cup® portion packs!

That's right, a lifetime supply.  We're not kidding -- Just ask our inagural winner, Bonnie G. of Muskegon, MI.  Bonnie was recently awarded a new Keurig Platinum Brewer along with her lifetime supply of coffee!

Bonnie is an avid sweepstakes player who loves finding prizes, both large and small.  She tells us, "Winning is all about persistence."  Her brother is also a Keurig owner and raves about the product, so when Bonnie found out she won the sweepstakes, she was more than thrilled!  She prefers to enjoy a "regular" cup of Green Mountain Coffee, but on occasion will have a cup of hazelnut as one of her flavored favorites.  Congrats again, Bonnie!

So what does it take to be like Bonnie?  Simply visit The Perfect K-Cup Sweepstakes homepage, fill out the information - and you're set!  There are daily prize giveaways with the chance at our Grand Prize which will be awarded in early 2011.  Enter early, enter often!  If you own a Brewer, this sweepstakes is just for YOU.

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Revelation to Action's Finalist Stories

It's been a long, revelation-ary road and we're almost there: Only one day to go until the winners of the Revelation to Action competition are announced!  The best innovators from our 15 finalists will be awarded prizes totaling $50,000 at our Revelation to Action celebration event tomorrow, July 14.  We're going to live-tweet as the announcement is made on @GreenMtnCoffee, so follow the #Revelation2Action hashtag to hear the news as it happens.

Knowing that this competition is almost over, we wanted to show you the kind of impact you've had on our finalists by taking the time to read their entries, get them votes, and share the overall dedication, innovation, and community spirit of each organization. Ashoka's Changemakers wrote a great entry last week with a few "mini-impact stories" from the finalists and they let us repost those stories here for you:

From You are a Changemaker, Hollaback!:

"As a direct result of the Revelation to Action competition, thousands of people have learned about our work and we were featured in two of the largest feminist blogs in the nation:
Feministing and BUST. As a start-up, it can be difficult for funders to be ‘the first.’ Being a finalist has helped us attract two new foundations within the past month. No small feat for this economy."

From Prison Entrepreneurship Education:

"Being selected as a Revelation to Action competition finalist has reaffirmed the support of the greater community for Entrepreneurship 101's mission and services. We have received inquiries about our prisoner entrepreneurship programming from as far away as Pakistan! We also had the opportunity to learn from Bradford K. Smith that we should identify donors with a venture capitalist approach to philanthropy and to find ways to make our nonprofit self-sustaining."

From Transforming Schools and Communities:

"The Revelation to Action Competition was a great way for Peace First to tell our story to a new audience: over 1200 people read about our work on the Changemakers site. The campaign was also a fun opportunity for our current supporters to show their passion for Peace First by voting and sharing the campaign with others via email, Twitter, and Facebook."

From "Still Growing" Senior Community Rooftop Garden:

"Since securing news coverage from all three local broadcast network affiliates and the largest (and only daily) newspaper in Eastern and Northern Maine, people have been stopping in off the street asking to see the garden. Not only have people heard about our organization, they are being challenged to rethink what being 'a senior' means and examine the value our community places upon our elders. Plus, an anonymous donor has come forward with an offer to match dollar for dollar whatever we make directly from garden harvest sales."


From Semester in Sustainable Design/Build:

"We have received dozens of emails from supporters (both people within the Yestermorrow community and people we’ve never met before) who wrote to say how excited they were about the semester program, and wishing us good luck in getting it off the ground. One person wrote to say how much they wished they had been able to participate in a program like ours when they were in college."

From Homelessness Prevention:

"The competition has helped us increase our followers on both Twitter and Facebook and the news about COTS as a finalist was retweeted numerous times by other followers. We also received local press at a time when we typically are not in the news, and the opportunity to be recognized in the national media which is rare for a Vermont nonprofit."

From Red Tomato:

"Red Tomato is in the process of expanding our marketing and logistics connections into NYC. Over the course of the Revelation to Action competition, we've make several new partnerships with orgs and individuals in the area who are using the contest as a way to promote Red Tomato to their networks. This serves the purpose of getting a concise description of our work out to brand new audiences that are directly within a new target population."

From Common Ground Country Fair:

"As more and more conversations, functions (such as e-commerce), and resources have moved online, we have seen new opportunities surface that our present platform doesn't fully embrace. The Revelation to Action competition has helped illuminate some of these opportunities, particularly around our capacity to engage our community with organization updates and news. We are in the midst of organization-wide process to re-evaluate our existing web and digital architecture, and the insights from our Changemakers experience are very timely."

From Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT FEED):

"The competition was a catalyst for us to become more active in social networking. Spreading the word about the voting process helped us to think out of the box for building the network of partners in the farm to school movement.  We of course identified potential collaborators on the competition website and look forward to connecting to them in the future!"

From DoubleGreen Credit Builder Loan Program:

"Being a finalist in the Revelation to Action competition has helped Capital Good Fund tell the story of what we do while also connecting us to an amazing community of people and organizations doing incredible work."

From Project Enterprise - Small Loans and Big Connections:

"Many Project Enterprise donors, friends, and members are new to all of the different online applications that exist. We have been trying to galvanize our stakeholders to use online media in different ways and through this competition, they have been educated and empowered to use the internet to express and extend their support. We hope to continue to leverage their use of the internet in the different platforms that Project Enterprise has and will soon begin to implement."

From Jr. Iron Chef VT:

"Because of the Revelation to Action Competition we are rethinking our Jr. Iron Chef Vermont sponsorship initiatives beyond our local community to incorporate national and regional partners."

From Dads United for Parenting (D-UP):

"The Changemakers competition provided a powerful forum to spread the good news of Midtown Community Court's nurturing fatherhood program. As a result of the competition, word of our program has reached distant relatives, friends of friends, and locations which span the globe due to social networking tools. Many friends have mentioned that their relatives and extended network of friends were impressed by the scope of services offered by Dads United for Parenting, and that there should be more programs that provide support for those who often go unrecognized, namely: fathers."


To learn more about the other finalists and entrants in the Revelation to Action competition, visit changemakers.com/revelation.

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GMCR Sales Meeting Plus Good Dose of Volunteering in Durham

At our National Sales Meetings the sales force from Green Mountain Coffee (as well as the other brands in our Specialty Coffee Business Unit) and Keurig convene for one GMCR Employees cleaning up trash at Ellerbewhole week. During the meeting there are the expected inspirational speeches about the future of the company and how our sales team has been instrumental in our success (thank you!!). What else happens though is some serious volunteering. Sales, Marketing, PR and Corporate Social Responsibility employees all roll-up their sleeves (literally) to do some hard work.

At this year's meeting in May, the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association (ECWA) and Keep Durham Beautiful (KDB) welcomed over 100 of us to Durham, NC to clean-up the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association’s Beaver Marsh, a multi-acre urban nature preserve in one of Durham’s most highly developed areas.

Building signs for Ellerbe Creek Beaver Reserve

Some of the days activities included trail building, invasive removal, sign painting, constructing an informational kiosk and trash removal. Assisting in the event were the wonderful Ellerbe Creek Watershed staff, Board members and volunteers as well as goats (who apparently love poison ivy)!

Many thanks to all who helped make the day fun, safe and productive!

Check out Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association on Facebook or visit their website to learn more about their work!

Goats eating poison ivy

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Crazy Day with Amy - Brew Over Ice K-Cup Video

You’ve seen the Flash demo.  You’ve brewed the K-Cups.  And now, you’re ready for a little bit more…

Presenting Amy and her crazy, crazy day:

Can’t see the embed?  View “Crazy Day with Amy” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmbZyTNN49A

Amy's day looked a little like your normal day?

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Ask the Coffee Lab: How To Make Good Iced Coffee

The sun is shining, the lawn mowers are roaring, and we in the United States have a 3-day weekend ahead of us to celebrate Independence Day with family, BBQs,  and icy cold beverages.

Like iced coffee.  (What?  You thought we meant something else?)

In the spirit of this weekend, our Coffee Lab tackles a question asked by many, many coffee fans via Twitter, our Facebook page, and to our Customer Care team:

“How do you make iced coffee? Mine tastes horrible!”


--

I know I'm stating the obvious, but it's hot in the summer (in most places). It's probably hot where you are right now, too? But, even when it’s 99-degrees, you need coffee everyday (I know I do). So, why not have your cake and eat it too and drink coffee that is cold on purpose.

I can still recall when I made some amazing iced coffee one hot, sticky summer when I was building my house and falling behind schedule. One morning when I made a French press of something Fair Trade Organic and dark roasted, I made two servings in two separate mugs, added half and half, and some raw, whipped honey - yum. I drank one and put the other mug, hot coffee and all, in the fridge, for later. Lunch time came around, and I had heaven in a chilly coffee mug. I got a lot done that summer, needless to say.

Of course, that's an alternate way to make iced coffee – there is an official answer. When customers call and say that their iced coffee is horrible, it's because they are usually using someone else's coffee. Just kidding. Truth is, what usually happens when people hate their iced coffee is that the coffee brewed regularly and then got watered down with iced cubes when they melted, resulting in a watery, cold coffee as opposed to the refreshing iced variety. The way to make really good ice coffee is to make it bold.

Here's what we do in 3 easy steps -

1) Double brew a pot of your favorite Green Mountain Coffee - (Usual amount of water, twice the amount of coffee.)

2) Ice it - pour hot coffee into a pitcher of ice (Tip: If you like, make ice cubes a head of time out of coffee for an extra blast of flavor) and chill until the ice melts. (Remember: Brew in smaller batches to keep it fresh.)

3) Add more ice, cream, and sugar to taste.


Toddy Brewers are also the classic way to make iced coffee. You make a concentrate with an overnight cold brewing method and then add water and ice. It's great for camping: make a batch of concentrate, then bring it with you with your mug and you don't even need to bring a brewer or the coffee.

Lastly, another ways to get great iced coffee is to use Green Mountain Coffee’s Brew Over Ice K-Cups®  for iced coffee and use your Keurig® to brew right into a cup of ice. A few seconds later you walk away with a great cup of iced coffee with minimal effort.

And like that, horrible iced coffee is gone forever!

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