Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

Harvest time in Guatemala!

In July, we posted an update from Pueblo a Pueblo in Santiago Atitalan, Guatemala, a recipiant of one of our County of Origin grants. As a company we give 5% of pre-tax profits to social and environmental causes. About half of that money goes to support projects in the coffee-growing regions we source our coffee. Through this support, we work with coffee-farmers and their families to find solution to food insecurity.

Pueblo a Pueblo started 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)! This two year pilot project grant, Pueblo a Pueblo "...seeks to teach 500 children in the Escuela Mixta Rural de Panabaj about organic gardening and basic nutrition. [They] will help the school community increase food supplies through education and diversification of crops to include foods with higher nutritional values."

We recently got a picture update and the garden is producing some yummy radishes! Below are some pictures of the bounty!

Girl with Radishes from school garden in Guatemala

School children with produce from school garden in Guatemala

Children preparing food from organic school garden


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The Rain Stayed Away, so the Hoses could Spray (at Grounds for Health Carwash)!

Last Thursday, the GMCR parking lot transformed into a lean mean car-dog-detailing station to benefit Grounds for Health. This Waterbury based non-profit has been screening women in coffee-growing regions for cervical cancer since 1996.

For the 4th annual Grounds for Health Carwash, we teamed up again with Gigi’s Cleaning & Detailing, but added dog washing and creemees with the help of Muddy Paw! With the rain at bay, 56 GMCR employees washed, detailed and groomed to raise over $2,000! Thanks also go out to to Aurum Organics who donated those beautifully soft, bright, organic t-shirts.

Now for the pictures!

Pelch arrives with the volunteer shirts

Employees scrubbing cars at carwash

Employees push cars at Carwash

Employee cleans inside of car for carwash

Employee holding sign for dog wash

GMCR employees wash dog

GMCR employees dance

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UPDATE: More Paper, Less Plastic – A New K-Cup Portion Pack

UPDATE:
A brief update…the Celestial Seasonings® Honey Lemon Ginseng Green Tea in the paper-based K-Cup will be discontinued and no longer available for purchase as of 1/31/11.

In keeping with our “pilot” philosophy of new product introductions, the product was launched exclusively in our consumer direct channel. This allowed us to collect feedback from consumers on the K-Cup.

Those consumers who tried the tea were very pleased with its taste attributes.  But we have determined that when manufactured at mass-produced levels, the current packaging design is not performing up to our standards.

The current design of the paper-based K-Cup was developed in concert with our ongoing efforts to develop more sustainable alternatives to our product packaging. We continue to identify new suppliers who may be able to help us source packaging materials that will meet our standards.  We believe we are making meaningful progress and look forward to sharing new innovations.  Please visit our Brewing A Better World web site for updates.

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We’re super excited about today’s announcement and introduction of our new Honey Lemon Ginseng Tea by Celestial Seasonings®.  Of course, we think all our products are special, but this one is extra-special as it is packaged in our new paper-based K-Cup® portion pack.

We’ve been researching more environmentally-friendly alternatives to our current plastic-based K-Cups® for a while – bringing this product to you is a big milestone for us!



This new portion-pack is 90% paper.  The rest of the portion-pack is polyethylene, which is necessary to both protect the tea and help the package withstand the intense heat that is applied during the brewing process – currently, no biopolymers (including polylactic acid or PLA) can live up to the demands of our brewing system.  Unfortunately, the added polyethylene means the K-Cup is not yet recyclable or compostable but we believe it is still a big step forward.

Why?

Because it reduces our reliance on non-renewable plastics and will help us learn as we continue to research more environmentally-friendly alternatives to our current portion-pack.

All companies have sustainability challenges, a tension between where they are at today and where they want to be with respect to sustainability issues. We’re no different than other companies in that respect and as a consumer-products company, packaging is a big focus for us.  What we believe makes us different is how we address that challenge – by embracing it, by running towards it, and using that tension to drive us towards new solutions.

And we will keep driving towards more and more reduced environmental footprint with our K-Cup packaging.

Stay tuned for more developments in 2011!

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Caution: Haute Couture Coffee Design

Last Saturday, the runway was buzzing at South End Art Hop’s STRUT V Fashion Show in Burlington, Vermont.

Designer Tom Baginski re-imagined a slew of our flavored Green Mountain Coffee bags – from Mocha Nut Fudge to Chocolate Raspberry Truffle to Wild Mountain Blueberry™ – into high fashion ensembles fit for any Parisian runway.  We donated the materials, Tom designed and crafted the dresses, and his lovely models made their outfits come alive with a bit of caffeinated flair.

Time to see these outfits up close!  Meet Tom next to Rachael, draped in a Mocha Nut Fudge, Wild Mountain Blueberry, and Chocolate Raspberry Truffle gown and topped off with a Green Mountain Coffee ecotainer® headpiece.


Then we have Jenna in a fringed Wild Mountain Blueberry Flapper dress – perfection!


Check out www.seaba.com for more information on the South End Art Hop.

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The Best Coffee Maker for your Small Office! Keurig B155

I am excited to finally have the wonderful new Keurig B155 office coffee maker back in stock!

The B155 brewer provides small and medium-sized offices the ability to deliver fresh, gourmet coffee with ease. This is Keurig's most technologically advanced brewer featuring a full-color interactive touch screen menu with step-by-step instructions in English, French, or Spanish, making it easy for even new Keurig users to Best Office Coffee Maker - Keurig B155enjoy.

Features include: Quiet Brew Technology, 4 brew sizes, and a large 90 oz water reservoir. Comes with a 12ct. box of Green Mountain Coffee Breakfast Blend K-Cups®.

Impress your clients and make your office happy and productive with the latest brewer in our lineup!

If you have an office of 1-20 then this is the brewer for you!


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Compost Happens…at GMCR

Loading Burlap to be compostedBack, back in the day, when we roasted and sold our coffee out of a small coffee shop in Waitsfield, VT, we began composting. Back in 1983, this was not a large amount of composting, but it started a tradition that would continue to this day.

I remember growing up that my great-grandmother (an avid gardener) would have us save our coffee grinds for her garden. So, when I started working at Green Mountain Coffee, it was not a big surprise to hear that we composted much of the materials associated with coffee.

In our facilities, we compost the burlap bags that green coffee (not roasted) is transported in, the chaff (which is the thin skin surround the bean – similar to the skin of a peanut) and coffee grinds themselves. Year to date we’ve composted almost 450 tons of these items. That’s 450 tons of waste not going to landfill contributing to the creation of nutrient-rich soil.

So what makes coffee such a good player in the compost team? In addition to most of us having a dailyBurlap in Compost (sometimes constant) supply of the grounds, it is also high in nitrogen. For compost to develop properly there must be the right carbon to nitrogen ration. Coffee provides that boost of nitrogen, especially in the winter time when materials high in nitrogen (also known as the “greens”) are scarce.

You can find out more about composting with coffee, along with other composting and gardening tips from our friends at Gardener’s Supply here. You can learn about more ways we're working to reduce our environmental impact by visiting our Brewing a Better World website here.

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$3.00 off Brew Over Ice End of Season Sale!

We have some great news about our popular iced teas and coffees; our End of Summer sale is here!  Until October 4th, 2010 receive $3.00 off all Brew Over Ice K-Cups.

From French Vanilla to Sweet Berry Lime Green Tea, all iced K-cups are now $3.00 off .

k-cup sale green mountain coffee


For our small business customers looking for coffee for your office, please K-Cup Sale - Small Business Office Coffee click below for $3.00 off BusinessCoffeeExpress.com!

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MyCoffeeRevelation.com Most Inspiring Text Winner

Sometimes, the most basic thing can be revelation-ary.  That’s something that Lisa from Connecticut realized and shared with us on MyCoffeeRevelation.com.


What’s the story behind this statement?  Let’s hear from Lisa:
“My revelation was very personal and true. I have a yellow labrador retriever (I rescued and adopted as a 5-week old pup) now 10-years old, named Hannah that has hiked with me since she was 8-weeks old. She and I BOTH love your coffee (she does in fact love coffee)! Some of my most peaceful memories are those with just her and I hiking in the Green and White Mountains together, no worries and no words needed between us. There is nothing in the universe more peaceful than a nice hike with a loyal lab and I mean it. I would be happy to send you a picture of the 2 of us both in our packs on a summit!”

With over 1,000 votes, Lisa was declared to have the Most Inspirational text revelation and took home a Keurig® Special Edition Single-Cup Brewer and a 6-month K-Cup® Portion Pack Coffee Tour so more inspirational revelations can come her way.  To share your revelations (and maybe win the Most Relatable category), visit MyCoffeeRevealtion.com to submit online or find out if your Coffee Revelation Station will be visiting an event near you!

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Grounds for Health Carwash: Dirty Cars, Dogs and Creemees!

On September 16th, 2010 from 11AM – 3PM Green Mountain Coffee will hold it’s fourth annual free car wash to benefit Grounds for Green Mountain Coffee Employees Volunteering at 2009 Grounds for Health CarwashHealth, an international non-profit organization — and Waterbury neighbor — that provides health care services to women in coffee-growing communities.  The event will take place in the parking lot next to 152 South Main Street, down Demeritt Place in Waterbury, VT.

As they’ve done in years past, GMCR employees will wash cars (or motorcycles or bikes) for free. A new addition to this year’s wash will be a dog washing station manned by the good folks at Muddy Paw. Bring your pooch to be shampooed and dried down for free (donations suggested and recommended).

Also returning for this year’s wash will be Gigi’s Cleaning & Detailing. For a recommended donation of $25, Gigi’s will express detail your car. Last year I had my Subaru detailed by them and trust me they got a work out! Between the beach and my Boxer pup, the $25 was well worth it!

Everyone who donates will also receive a free Creemee (soft-serve ice cream for non-New Englanders) from Muddy Paw’s Kids with Bikes come through 2009 Grounds for Health CarwashWaterbury location, in the Sunoco on the corner of Main and Demeritt Place.

Bring your dirty dogs, cars and wallet to help out the great work of Grounds for Health!! Or to support Grounds For Health and learn more about this organization now, visit http://www.groundsforhealth.org/donate.html.

Below is a video from 2008’s carwash – it was cloudy but nothing dampened the GMCR spirits or willingness to sing Karaoke!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMU2giYKdYw

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When training spreads beyond the classroom

Much of our Fair Trade Organic coffee comes from a coffee importer called Sustainable Harvest, based in Portland, Oregon.  We all do a lot of quality training with our supply chain and the results are higher quality coffees. That’s great for producer groups because they can charge more for their coffee and it’s great for us because, well, we like great coffee.

Claudia from Sustainable Harvest sent us an update on how the cupping training program we’re helping to support is growing and involving more and more producers in Peru:

Last year [Sustainable Harvest] started the cupping training program supported by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. Through this program, Sustainable Harvest has trained more than 150 Peruvian cuppers from 25 producer organizations. These trainings have been very vigorous and now, in its second year, we are seeing the measurable impact the program has had. We see the results not only in the number of cuppers who we have trained, but also, and more importantly, in the numbers of farmers who have been trained by the cuppers taught in our Center of Excellence -- a peer-to-peer exchange among producers.

One of the richest experiences we have had is with the Chirinos cupping team, formed by Eber, Miguel and Isela (all of them trained at the Center of Excellence).  These young producers and cuppers are responsible for the quality control area which, led by Eber, started a program to educate and train each committee in applying the methodology developed by Oscar in the Center of Excellence. They renamed the methodology "learn by doing," because it is experiential, allowing the producers to use their sensory skills to taste and smell the different aromas and flavors of the fruits and spices of the zone, as well as having them drink coffees of differing qualities.

These exercises have been widely accepted by producers, with an attendance rate of 80%. In the beginning, Eber says, the producers were reluctant to believe in cupping and its importance for producing high quality coffee, but this experience has helped and motivated them not only to be more careful when harvesting and processing, but, something more incredible, it has encouraged them to do research to determine the best material and most optimal time to ferment their coffee. The producers have done different exercises, arriving to the cupping lab with their samples and requesting that these young Chirinos cuppers evaluate the samples and the different processes, and indicate, which is the process that best helps intensify the attributes of the cup. This work has required a lot of dedication, but thanks to these exercises, we’ve seen an improvement in the quality of the coffees that have arrived since the beginning of the harvest, reducing the green taste and peanut flavor founded in last year's crop.

Another great benefit the Chirinos cooperative has seen with this training program is a decrease in rejections of the lots that producers deliver to the collection warehouse, which has allowed them to collect more coffee from their members, with exciting scores from the beginning of the harvest. The training that these young people have provided to 370 producers has been one of their most successful workshops, with positive and tangible results. Producers now go to their cooperative asking about the cupping evaluation of their coffees, and they are working very hard to get closer to achieving the expected 85 points.

This is just one example of how all the training efforts are extending beyond the classroom and reaching producers directly through word of mouth.


Text and images courtesy of Sustainable Harvest.  Thanks, Claudia!

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Ask the Coffee Lab: How Should I Drink My Coffee?

Welcome to another revelation-ary edition of Ask the Coffee Lab.  This week, our crack Coffee Lab tackles a question wondering about proper coffee etiquette:

"Be honest with me, is drinking coffee with sugar and cream the wrong way to drink coffee?"


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The National Coffee Association does an annual drinking trends survey of coffee drinkers. The 2010 version says that 63 percent of surveyed coffee drinkers put some kind of milk or milk substitute in their coffee and 48 percent put some kind of sweetener in their coffee. Only 31 percent didn't put anything in their coffee.

If you are doing something wrong, (don't worry - you're not), you have plenty of company.  We used to have a customer brochure that said "the best cup of coffee is the one you like best." We don't have that brochure anymore, but we still believe in the saying. It's your coffee, you paid for it, you enjoy it the way you see fit.

Me, personally? Organic Valley Half and Half and local, raw, whipped honey, every single day at my house before work.

There's a reason sugar and cream are popular. Cream (milk, half and half, non-dairy creamers) all add body to your coffee, cool it off (!), and the fat in higher fat creamers coats your tongue and actually suspends some of the flavors in your mouth longer. Milk also cuts some of the bitter in any coffee.  Sugar? Sugar makes most things taste better.

Lastly, I will add some caveats: Lighter roasted single-origin coffees with very delicate, clean tastes tend to have their subtleties lost a bit with cream and or sugar. Darker roasts and dark roast blends take cream and sugar a little better. And when we say better, we mean the coffee stands up to the additives and still has some "say" in the end result. If you want to experiment, Fair Trade Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is a great coffee to drink straight (no additives). Fair Trade Organic Espresso Blend in a French Press or drip coffee pot goes great with cream and sugar.

Do you have other suggestions, let us know!

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Second Harvest's Food for Kids in East Tennessee

We talk a lot about food-security on the blog. Most of this is about the work we're doing with coffee-growing communities at source. As we all know though, hunger exists inSecond Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee logo our domestic communities as well.

As part of our Domestic Outreach, we make grants in our employees communities. In June, the employees at our Knoxville, TN facility approved a grant for $25,000 over three years to the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee.

The grant will support the Food for Kids program in three schools. The program provides backpacks with nutritious, non-perishable food for school children to eat after-school or on weekends. The food is delivered to the schools on a regular basis. Inadequate nutrition contributes to behavioral problems, overall health and future likelihood of poverty. This program helps provide nutrition so kids can perform at school and prevent future health problems.

You can find Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee on Facebook to receive updates on their programs and services.

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