Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

Happy Halloween!

Wishing you a spook-tacular Halloween filled with Dark Magic and Pumpkin Spice!

[Edit: The Green Mountain Coffee Jack-o-Lantern is courtesy of one of our crafty employees.]


The Most Requested K-Cup Variety Has Arrived—Hot Apple Cider from Green Mountain Naturals

Hot Apple Cider K-CupsWe asked for your help in determining what new variety you would like to see in a K-Cup® portion pack.  To our great pleasure, we received over 1,300 suggestions—our most popular blog to date!  And as we combed through all of your ideas, one resounding theme came through loud and clear:  "APPLE CIDER, PLEASE."

You want it...we got it!

Our dear friends at Green Mountain Naturals squeezed the fresh-picked goodness of sweet orchard apples into convenient K-Cups!  Simply made with real apples, a hint of brown sugar, and just a touch of cinnamon—no artificial flavors or ingredients.  You can use your Keurig® single-cup Brewer to create a warm and comforting mug of cider with a crisp, clean flavor.

Apple cider isn’t just another seasonal beverage, to many families it is a treasured tradition.  Discover a new way for the whole family to enjoy an old favorite with Green Mountain Naturals Hot Apple Cider, available in a 24-count box of K-Cups right now!

Shop now, and as a special introductory offer, you’ll save $3.00 on a 24-count box of Hot Apple Cider when you use keycode FRESH-FAVE at checkout.  Offer expires 11/30/10.

Hot Apple Cider K-Cups are only available until February 28th, so get them while they’re hot!

Hot Apple Cider K-Cups


Protecting Water and Land: Environmental Benefits of Fair Trade

This Fair Trade Month we've talked a lot about the benefits that go to farmers who are Fair Trade

Fair Trade Farmers gathering to receive bush cutter

Certified. Another aspect of Fair Trade though are the environmental criteria that cooperatives must adhere to in order to be certified. Farmer's must identify conservation areas, specifically around water bodies and key watershed areas to protect against erosion and water contamination. Any hazardous waste must be handled and disposed of in a sustainable way; they need to protect soil and water ways to preserve soil integrity, water quality and food safety.

Another important environmental benefit of Fair Trade is that it requires farmers to reduce their use of agrochemicals. They are only to use agrochemicals when absolutely necessary and cannot spray over conserved, residential or

Ceremony for Fair Trade Premium Purchase

water sources. There are also specific agrochemicals that are prohibited.

Because of these environmental standards, alternative methods are used to remove unwanted and or invasive plants within coffee farms. These photos are of farmers in Sumatra, Indonesia receiving brush cutters, purchased with fair trade premiums. These will help farmers keep  weeds at bay while using less agrochemicals.

Farmer Receiving Bush Cutter


Join us online for our Fair Trade-Out Coffee eTasting!

What’s better than an afternoon coffee break? An afternoon coffee break with us online!

We're hosting a live guided coffee tasting tomorrow online on Ustream of our newly converted Fair Trade Our Blend and Fair Trade Vermont Country Blend® with Lindsey Bolger, our Director of Coffee Sourcing and Relationships, from our cupping lab in Waterbury, Vermont.

We'll taste these newly "traded-out" coffees, chat with Fair Trade USA’s CEO Paul Rice and our special guest coffee farmers from Costa Rica, and take questions from our caffeinated audience (that's you).

-Date: October 26, 2010
-Time: 4:00 – 4:30 PM ET, 1-1:30 PM PT (Perfect time for an afternoon coffee break)
-Location: We’ll be live broadcasting on our Ustream channel,, from Waterbury, Vermont, and on Twitter at @GreenMtnCoffee using the hashtag #etaste. Powered by Ustream.


You and your friends can participate by following these steps:

1) Get a bag or box of Fair Trade Our Blend and Fair Trade Vermont Country Blend.

2) On October 26th, get your brewing set-ups ready so that you can brew and taste with us.

4) A little before 4 PM ET, log on to our Ustream channel and follow along with Lindsey as she brews and tastes these traded-out coffees.

5) Ask questions and share your own reactions and observations by 1) registering with Ustream and using the “Chat” tab, 2) commenting on Ustream’s “Social Stream” through your Facebook, Twitter, or other social media account, or 3) following us on Twitter via the hashtag #etaste.

So, are you ready to trade-out?

[Psst - wonder what our last eTaste was like?  Check out the recording of our virtual tasting of Spring Revival® Blend in May below.]


Early Childhood Nutrition in Sumatra, Indonesia

Last week we wrote about a Save the Children food-security project in Bolivia. Another project we’re working with

Child health assessment

Save the Children on is a food-security project in Sumatra, Indonesia.

This two-year grant is to help children and families in the coffee-growing communities improve their lives and future through Livelihoods and Improved Nutrition for Kids (LINK). Early childhood nutrition is essential to development both physically and mentally.

The project will touch around 5,500 households (mostly in Fair Trade Cooperatives) in the sub-district of Timang Gajah in Bener Meriah District.

So far, nutrition assessments for 2,230 children in 40 villages have been conducted as well as

  • 204 community representatives participated in the LINK Project Orientation meeting

  • 33 health providers trained to conduct nutrition assessments

  • 79 women trained in establishing home gardens

  • 145 women drafted plans for small business start-up.

Children in nutrition program

These meetings and trainings both educated mothers on nutrition, but also helped women draft business plans to generate supplemental income to help combat food-insecurity and malnutrition.

Nutrition education for mothers


Fair Trade Coffee Recipe: Our Sweet Blend

With Green Mountain Coffee Our Blend newly converted to be Fair Trade Certified™, it’s time to share a favorite recipe in honor of Fair Trade Month (and the dropping temperatures here in Vermont):

Our Sweet Blend

  • Brew a pot of Fair Trade Our Blend

  • Fill the mug ¾ with our hot coffee

  • Add a dollop of softened vanilla ice cream to the mug

  • Top with whipped cream and garnish with cinnamon

Our Sweet Blend – K-Cup pack

  • Into a large mug brew a K-Cup of Our Blend and a K-Cup of French Vanilla each brewed between 6- and 8-oz. (depending on your brewer model)

  • Add half & half and sugar to taste and stir

  • For a sweet treat top with whipped cream

Have another coffee recipe you want to share with our caffeinated crew?  Leave us a comment and we may share your recipe!



Happy (Fair) brewing!


Fair Trade-Out Ambush in a City Near You

What’s better than Fair Trade coffee? Fair Trade coffee that shows up when and where you need it most – on the way to work, in your office, and while touring around a new city.

And we’ve been doing just that!

Last week, our Green Mountain Coffee team started our first of many Fair Trade-Out ambushes. We headed into our first city – the beautiful city of Boston - armed with jet packs full of Fair Trade coffee. We were prepared to give Bostonians just what they needed - Fair Trade coffee pick-me-ups!

From Post Office Square to Faneuil Hall and up and down the Freedom Trail, we passed out hundreds of cups of fresh Fair Trade coffee to passers-by with the message that choosing to drink Fair Trade is not only an easy way to do good for the world, but the coffee tastes great, too! Check out our adventures in the videos below:

Now, we’re off again! With a movement so full of life, we’re making the rounds to places where you asked to see us!  Or, more specifically, we’re on tour in:

-          Philadelphia: October 19th and 20th

-          Baltimore: October 22nd

-          Washington, DC: October 25th and 26th

Want us to trade-out your office or store in Philly, Baltimore, or DC? Comment below or tweet at @GreenMtnCoffee with the hashtag #TradeMeOut and we may show up at your door like we did with Urban AdvenTours, City Sports, and Custom Made.


Food Security Projects in Bolivia

Our grantmaking work in coffee-growing communities centers around food-security. We work with a variety of organizations that help us work with farmers to develop solutions to “los meses flacos” or the thin months. We know that each coffee-growing community has unique challenges as well as unique ideas on how to address those challenges. Save the Children is a partner of ours in many of the food-security projects we are involved around the world.

We recently received an update from one project in Caranavi municipality in Bolivia. The project is just in the beginning stages but covers three different areas that affect food-security; Income Generation, Natural Resource Management and Health and Nutrition. The first steps in this project are to conduct baseline studies within the communities. Some of the results from the various studies were that  97% of the 910 families experience some degree of food-insecurity, 88% of families farm exclusively for their income generation, 58% practice forestation, and 39% of families practice safe water consumption. From these results, Save the Children can start working with the communities to develop solutions and trainings to address these health, income, and conservation challenges.


Café EXPRESS - So Easy!

Plenty of us coffee fans are celebrating Fair Trade Month to the fullest and the last thing we want to happen is to (dare we say it?) run out of our favorite Fair Trade Green Mountain Coffees.  Thankfully, that won't be happening anytime soon if you're a member of our coffee program.

If you haven't heard of our Café EXPRESS® coffee program, consider this a crash-course!  Café EXPRESS is a flexible coffee program that gives you better prices on all your favorite coffees, delivered Fresh from the Roaster™.  Whether it’s K-Cup® portion packs or bags, we deliver your coffee on an adjustable schedule that works for you. By enrolling in Café EXPRESS, you’ll save on every bag or K-Cup® box, which allows you (our members) to indulge a little more often.

You’ll also get discounts on non-coffee items including everyone's favorite coffee maker, the Keurig® Single-Cup brewer, coffee accessories, food items, and gift baskets.  Need a little more information?  Be sure to check out our new video highlighting all the great benefits this program has to offer!


A Fair Recipe: Pumpkin Mocha Supreme At Home

People tell us they can’t wait for fall…and then they stock up on Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice like little squirrels. The cinnamon and nutmeg flavors are even better when you add a touch of hot chocolate.  Try this yummy Fair Trade recipe:


Pumpkin Mocha Supreme

Have another coffee recipe you want to share with our caffeinated crew?  Leave us a comment and we may share your recipe!


Happy (Fair) brewing!


Ask the Coffee Lab: Fair Trade Prices

Ask the Coffee Lab is back and ready to answer your caffeinated questions.  If you haven’t heard, October is Fair Trade Month!

With the Fair Trade theme in mind, the Coffee Lab decided to tackle a question asked by Tom on another Fair Trade entry:

“Do you sometimes pay above the Fair Trade prices for exceptional coffee?”


We often get this question and realize that in our enthusiasm for explaining all the benefits to farmers, we sometimes forget to explain some of the mechanics of the trade part of Fair Trade. So, here we go:

Basically: Yes, we do all the time! When we have a cooperative consistently meets their quality targets, delivery times, and amount of coffee delivered, they often ask for more money because they know they deserve it and we usually agree with them.

But the full answer is a little more detailed.

First, the Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO) is the standards and certification body for the worldwide Fair Trade movement. One of the things they do is establish the Fair Trade minimum prices (prices that a buyer is not allowed to go below). The minimum price per pound for unroasted (green) conventional Fair Trade is $1.35 (1.25 base plus the .10 social premium). If it's certified Organic coffee, there's a .20 cent premium per pound on top of that (for a total of $1.55).

Then it’s our turn.  We write contracts with our farmer partners that say we will pay $x.xx above the FLO minimum OR the "C" price - which is the daily price for exchange-grade green coffee traded on the Intercontinental Exchange. The industry uses that “C” price as the basis for pricing all other coffees. The amount we will pay above either minimum price we call a differential. Sometimes the minimums are called floors - meaning the starting point for negotiating prices. Just about all of our certified Fair Trade and Organic coffee is bought using differentials.

Let's take a real life example. There are some Fair Trade Organic coffees we buy at a differential of .40 cents per pound. That contract will say - we agree to pay .40 cents above either the FLO minimum OR the "C" Price, and the buyers fix (fixing means deciding on a price for the sale of the coffee.). One of the rules of Fair Trade is that the producer group gets to "fix." Generally, most coffee outside of Fair Trade is bought at "Sellers' Fix" - meaning the buyer gets to decide when we want to price the coffee.

In Fair Trade, it's up to the producer group when they fix, which is good for them. They watch the commodities market (the "C" price), and try to figure out the best time and price to get the best deal for their coffee. Yesterday the C price was $1.75, which is way above the FLO minimums. If that group with the .40 cent differential decided to fix at $1.75, they would get $1.75 plus .40 cents for a total of $2.15, which is way above $1.25 or $1.55.

That's just one scenario. When demand for the good coffee exceeds supply, the price goes up. We find that pricing in Colombia can change often because of lower harvests yields and difficulties from climate change. That includes Fair Trade coffees from Colombia.

Lastly, some of the nicest coffees we carry, like Fair Trade Organic Ethiopian Yirgachaffe, command a higher price because they are just so delicious.  Don't you think?


Hurricane Matthew hits Coffee-Growing Regions in Mexico

View Before Hurricane Matthew

As we all know, this year’s hurricane season has been particularly active and caused much destruction. Natural disasters are always difficult to learn about, but it is especially difficult when we have connections to the affected areas. This wet season has impacted many of our COOPS in Mexico, but particularly hard hit has been CESMACH.

Last week, Hurricane Matthew hit Mexico. In its wake it left tremendous damage in the coffee communities of CESMACH in the El Triunfo area of Chiapas, Mexico. CESMACH (Campsinos Ecológicos de la Sierra Madre de Chiapas) is a Fair Trade coffee cooperative we work closely with to source Fair Trade coffee blends, such as our Fair Trade Organic Mexican Select.

The inhabitants of the Nueva Colombia community, one of the communities within CESMACH, have been evacuated due to the landslides and immense property and road damage. This particular community has been severely affected. They lost 2 community members and are now in need of food for those who have been displaced. Coffee plants, along with processing and irrigation equipment have also been damaged (see photos).

One of their Farmers and quality control technicians, Calixto Guillen,  lost just about all of his coffee trees, including his "ranchito" - the house where he stays in the mountains when he is working and picking coffee.He also lost his pulper and his fermentation tank. Just about everything was wiped out. He's always there when Winston leads the employee trip to

Mexico and he has the sweetest smile and is the kindest man.

Just two weeks ago, Rick Peyser, Director of Social Advocacy and Coffee Community Outreach, Laura Peterson, and a film crew spent a day and night in Nueva Colombia working on a project to address “los meses flacos” (the thin months). Whenthey arrived near dusk, they had no provisions, and no place to stay, but the cooperative helped arrange things for them. One family fed the five of them and another family gave them a place to spend the night in their homes.

View After Hurricane Matthew

It is this type of generosity and kindness that we find throughout our coffee supply-chain. Knowing and working closely with coffee-farmers, particularly Fair Trade farmers, allows us the opportunity to connect directly to communities like Nueva

Colombia and to help in times of need. We’ve approved funding from GMCR’s disaster relief fund to help with immediate food needs as well as funds to help rebuild homes and coffee processing equipment and facilities.

The Mexican Red Cross is assisting the government with emergency relief and The American Red Cross has donated $200,000 to the Mexican Red Cross to further assist those affected. There is need throughout the world right now for disaster relief assistance. You can donate to the American Red Cross to aid in that relief here.

Destruction from Hurricane Matthew in central area

Destruction of coffee parcels

More views of landslides from Hurricane Matthew


Brewing A Better World with Fair Trade

Fair Trade is not only an important business focus for Green Mountain Coffee, but it’s also a topic of which many of our employees and coffee fans are passionate.  May it be at home, at the grocery store, or in the office, Fair Trade is never far from our minds. But we know that not everyone is as aware of the Fair Trade movement as we are, so we wanted to give you an idea of what choosing Fair Trade coffee means – for the farmer and yourself.

Like oil or cotton, coffee is a commodity... and world prices fluctuate wildly. Coffee farmers never know how much they'll be paid for their beans. Sometimes they don't even get enough to pay for the cost of growing them.

Fair Trade certification provides farmers a fair price for their beans with a guaranteed minimum, which means they can invest in their crops, their communities, and their future.

But let’s not forget: Fair Trade also creates some of the best coffee in the world.  With Fair Trade premiums in hand, farmers can afford to follow time-honored traditions to produce the finest beans, which allows you to enjoy one of the finest cups of coffee available.

We’re passionate about Fair Trade coffee not only for the reasons above, but also because of how simple it is to have an impact by choosing to purchase Fair Trade.  As you may have heard us say before, we realized that good coffee could be good for the world – and we hope you will, too.


They Could Call it World Moving Day

Monday, October 4 -- the first Monday in October -- is World Habitat Day.

I've had quite a lot of my calendar blocked off the latter part of September. The occasion? I'm moving house. For weeks I've navigated narrow aisles between boxes, packing up the accumulated bits of my life of these last half-dozen years, readying for the move. And now I'm on the other side: a scant half-mile away as the crow flies from old home to new, but what a distance just the same. A new home, with wide open spaces just aching to collect new memories... and of course, more stuff. :)

Moving house. It's a phrase packed full of meaning -- daunting or fulfilling, a sign of progress, sometimes of loss. Moving house is an event. For most anyone moving house is a major milestone. For some it's life-altering. And for others, sadly, it remains little but a dream.

Everybody should have someplace to call home. That's long been the premise of Habitat for Humanity: to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness; and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience, and action. And today, on World Habitat Day, we join our friends at Habitat for Humanity in raising our voices and advocate for change for those around the world who do not have a decent place to live.

I'm a big fan of Habitat for Humanity for any number of reasons. Because housing improves health. And the lives of children. And communities. I'm also a fan because every summer -- working alongside other employees from Green Mountain Coffee --  I get the tremendous opportunity to help people in my own community by volunteering to help build a home. (Let's face it... it's not just any charitable organization that provides you opportunity to swing a hammer.)

You can help, too. If you're not great with a hammer, maybe you can lend your voice and be an advocate. Or maybe you can help raise some funds. 'Cause everybody should know what it means to move house. And everybody should have a place to call home.


Celebrate Fair Trade Month with a Fair Trade-Out

Today marks the first day of Fair Trade Month and the beginning of Green Mountain Coffee’s Fair Trade-Out campaign.  During the month of October, we’re encouraging coffee drinkers around the country to “trade-out” their daily cup of conventional coffee for a Fair Trade variety.

To celebrate the trade-out of two of our most popular blends – Our Blend and Vermont Country Blend® – to be Fair Trade Certified™, we’re giving away 2,500 samples a week of these Fair Trade coffees so you start to trade-out, too. Join us on our Facebook page and sign-up to receive a free sample of one of these delicious coffees (and some extra goodies, too).

Then we’re coming to you! Green Mountain Coffee’s guerrilla sampling team is trading out conventional coffee for Fair Trade in offices, on the street, and in a variety of locations in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston and Washington, DC. Coffee lovers in these cities can campaign to get traded out via Green Mountain Coffee’s Twitter account by using the hashtag #TradeMeOut.

To top it all off, we’re also hosting our second e-Tasting! Join us on October 26 at 4 PM ET via UStream for a virtual guided tasting of Fair Trade Our Blend and Vermont Country Blend.  With your free sample in hand, taste along with Lindsey Bolger, our Director of Coffee Sourcing and Relationships, and some of the Costa Rican farmers who are behind these coffees.  Follow us on Twitter or the #etaste hashtag for the latest e-taste news.

So, are you ready for the Fair Trade-Out?