Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

Delivery Just in Time for Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day when Americans pay tribute to those who have died in service and those that serve today. As we enjoy the day today, I know I will also be thinking about those men and women who are not with us.

Here at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters we too honor our soldiers. As I’m sure many of you have heard from service men and women is the importance of coffee while in the field; especially good coffee. It is a comfort from home and a small luxury while on duty.

As we’ve talking about before, we work with a great organization called Holy Joe’s Café. They provide coffee in a café setting at bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers can go to the cafés for spiritual guidance from the Chaplains, listen to music on open mic nights, or just enjoy a great cup of Green Mountain Coffee.

And we’re happy to report that the troops in Afghanistan are fully stocked just in time for this Memorial Day! Thanks to FedEX over 40 pallets (that’s 17,500 lbs) of Green Mountain Coffee were flown for free to Kandahar Airfield. We’re excited that FedEx could take on this delivery to let the troops know we're thinking about them over the holiday weekend.

Below is a video of the coffee arriving. The footage shows – that is a lot of coffee!!


Another Unique Benefit at GMCR: Employee Source Trips

You've heard us talk about what it's like to work at GMCR - and why its such a great place to work. In fact, we made Vermont's 2011 list of "Best Places to Work". Among other awesome benefits, we also take employees on source trips to coffee-growing communities. In 1991 we began sending employees on “source trips” to coffee-growing communities in Latin America as a way to help employees learn more about coffee. Since then, source trips have become a way for us to reward employees for their tenure or outstanding performance, to build teamwork, and to provide employees with the opportunity to directly experience coffee from “tree-to-cup."

We currently send 5 groups of employees to Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico and Nicaragua each year. Below, the employees that traveled to source this past winter share their experiences and the impact the trips have made on them.


The Story Behind Tanzanian Gombe Reserve

Chimpanzees and coffee have more in common than you might think.

The spring-like temperatures and predictable rainfall of Tanzania's greater Gombe region provide ideal habitat for both chimpanzees and world-class coffee. Its lush mix of grassland, open woodland, and deep green forests is one of the few places on earth where coffee farmers and chimpanzees live side-by-side.

Because it thrives under the shade of a forest canopy, this extraordinary coffee grows in harmony with chimps in one of their last, remaining habitats. It provides farmers an incentive to preserve the forest, a chance at economic stability, and a uniquely memorable taste profile.

To help protect the habitat of Gombe’s wild chimpanzees, we and the the Jane Goodall Institute teamed up in 2007 to work with a group of small-scale farmers near the border of Gombe National Park to create Tanzanian Gombe Reserve coffee.  Because chimps don’t eat coffee, the crops act as a natural buffer between chimpanzees and humans.  Because of this, this coffee was the first product to receive Jane Goodall’s “Good for All” seal, signifying that it promotes better pay and appreciation for farmers and helps protect the environment and the planet’s wildlife.

The taste of Tanzanian Gombe Reserve includes floral top notes and vibrant hints of tropical fruit.  In August 2008, Kenneth Davids, editor of the independent Coffee Review awarded an outstanding and rare score of 91 to Gombe Reserve.  In August 2009, Davids again gave it a fantastic a score of 90.


Announcing America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2011

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has a passion for rivers. Our office headquarters in Vermont are located less than a mile from the beautiful Winooski River. Each summer employees at sites in Vermont, Tennessee and Massachusetts take to the rivers to remove trash from the waters and surrounding banks. Contributing to clean rivers and waterways has been a long-time passion for GMCR employees. And for more than five years we've sponsored American Rivers’ National River CleanupTM program, which helps people across the country locate and participate in local river cleanups. American Rivers, founded in 1973, is dedicated to protecting and restoring the nation’s rivers.

Each year, they release the list of America’s Most Endangered RiversTM. The list isn’t about the “worst” or most polluted rivers, but it highlights rivers whose overall health faces an urgent threat. The ten rivers named as America’s Most Endangered RiversTM of 2011 focus on an issue of concern to all Americans: clean water.

We wanted to share the list with you so you can see what these rivers are up against. We hope that the power of America’s Most Endangered RiversTM report will spur many successes.

Read more about the rivers at on the America’s Most Endangered RiversTM webpage as well as all of American Rivers' work.  Green Mountain is proud to be a long-time partner with American Rivers in the fight to save our nation’s greatest assets.


Green Mountain Coffee Summer Tour

Cocoa Beach? Check!  Miami? Check! Atlanta? Check!  Where to next?

This summer, our Green Mountain Coffee and Brew Over Ice tour is rolling into a city near you.  We’ve hit the road with our 9-foot tall Revelation Booth, giving out hot and iced coffee at fairs, festivals, malls, grocery stores, and on the street.  This year, we’re visiting more cities in more states than ever before: Georgia, Texas, Florida, New York, Maryland, and more.  Are we coming to your town?

- 20-22: Wildflower Art and Music Festival, Richardson, TX

- 27-29: Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Jacksonville, FL

- 3-5: Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA

- 11-12: Great Grapes Wine and Music Festival, Baltimore, MD

- 18-19: South Street Seaport Mall, New York City, NY

- 25-26: Safeway BBQ Battle, Washington, DC (Psst - we’re entering the battle!  More details to come!)

- 1-4: Boston Harborfest, Boston, MA

- 9-10: Taste of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

- 15-17: Greater Jazz Festival, Hartford, CT

- 20-21: Burlington Mall, Boston, MA

- 23: Washington Square Summer Fair, New York City, NY

- 24: 52nd Street Jazz Festival, New York City, NY


Our Latest Perfect Cup Sweepstakes Winner

Each year, we here at Green Mountain Coffee® provide the opportunity for one lucky fan to win a new Keurig® Single-Cup Brewer along with a lifetime supply of K-Cup® portion packs!  The contest is called The Perfect Cup Sweepstakes and it's been growing in popularity since it was introduced.

I am happy to introduce you all to Raymond of Fall River, MA, who is this year's big winner!  Raymond was recently awarded with his new Keurig Platinum Brewer along with a lifetime supply of coffee.  Way to go, Raymond!

Raymond entered our sweepstakes as many days as he could, saying he might have only missed "a day or two" (Persistence is key!).  He was really surprised to learn he was the big winner, but says since receiving the brewer, he now drinks a lot more coffee due to the convenience of putting in a portion pack rather than brewing an entire pot of coffee and tossing most it.  Breakfast Blend is Raymond's favorite, but he's been known to drink a stronger blend on occasion.  In Raymond's words, "I would recommend this contest to anyone who likes good coffee."

Congrats again, Raymond!  Happy brewing!

So what does it take to be like Raymond?  Simply The Perfect K-Cup Sweepstakes , 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 2012.  Enter early, enter often!


Headscarves in Sumatra, notes from a trip to Indonesia

When I worked in the Factory Outlet 18 years ago, we were taught to think of Sumatran coffee as if it were a Sumo Wrestler: "Think big, strong, heavy body and no sharp edges (no brightness)".   With that description in mind, when a customer asked what it tasted like, you could recall that image and describe it as if it were your daily cup of coffee.

And that’s about all anyone really knew about Sumatra.  Oh, and something about tigers and elephants.  Of course, the 2006 earthquake and tsunami changes all of that.

Recently, I had the great pleasure and treat of going to Sumatra with Rick Peyser from Corporate Social Responsibility and Ed Canty from the Coffee Department. None of us had ever been to Sumatra so it was definitely a new experience for us.  When we were getting ready, aside from lining up the coffee itinerary – visits, places, and people, etc. - , the travel guides and Al, our host,  gave us two quick tips on etiquette, as Sumatra is a Muslim country: Don’t touch anyone with your left hand and only shake a woman’s hand if she extends it first.

So, of course, the first time we meet a Sumatran woman, I’m completely terrified of making a mistake and doing something wrong.  Turned we got worked up for nothing (surprise, surprise) and our first meeting went fine.   The woman's name was Evi and since she is Muslim, she wore a headscarf.  Sumatrans call them a Jilbab while the Arabic word is Hijab.  I had personally never met a woman wearing one and, of course, I was fascinated.  After a day or two of marveling at all the headscarves, the different colors and styles and sizes, I stopped noticing them as much.    The female coffee farmers we met also wore jilbabs, even as they picked coffee.  After a few farm visits, I didn’t even notice anymore and they started seeming normal to me.  Then I saw a woman without one, and I was really surprised how much that woman suddenly stood out to me.

Now that I have a baby daughter, I’ve been trying to buy children’s books in the language of the country I visit. After spending an hour in the Sumatran version of a chain book store, I found a real gem – something you’d be hard pressed to find here – I Look Pretty in my Jilbab, an illustrated children's book about wearing jilbabs. My daughter can’t understand it now, (she just tried to gum the hard edge of the cover), but I hope someday she’ll be just as fascinated as I am in the diverse and interesting world we live in.


New Video: Sustainable Development in Guatemala

During Guatemala's civil war from 1960 - 1996, the country experienced great instability and loss. The indigenous populations of Guatemala were particularly affected. The Ixil population in particular lost about half of their total population. The war had lasting effects, with around 87% of the Ixil Triangle Region still in poverty.

Fundacion Ixil is a Guatemalan non-profit "...that focuses on education, training and skill-building in the areas of health, culture, improved family income, and the development of the local economy." We are proud to support their work to improve the quality of life for coffee farmers and their families within our supply-chain.

The video below discusses the difficulties within the region and highlights the work the Fundacion and Ixil people are doing to address these difficulties.


Brew Over Ice Hits the Waves!

Well, hello there, Green Mountain Coffee French Vanilla Iced Coffee.  Nice to see you and your Brew Over Ice friends making an appearance in Keurig’s latest commercial – and on prime time, too :)

Now that's one brew-tifully n’ice commercial!  What do you think?


Abuzz about the Coffee Industry

This is a guest post written by Colleen Bramhall. Colleen works in our Corporate Social Responsibility Department, managing our Supply Chain Community Outreach programs.

Houston was abuzz last week, in a caffeinated craze for the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Annual Conference.  Coffee roasters, baristas, importers,

Brewing coffee using the Chemex method

exporters, coffee farmers, gadget manufacturers, and anyone else even tangentially related to the coffee industry converged on a city typically associated with the other black gold to discover the newest trends, make business connections, taste coffees from various origins, and collaborate on issues impacting the industry.

It was my first time attending the SCAA and it was obvious since I was the only one in a hall of 5000+ people looking for milk and sugar to add to my coffee (a true faux-pas when you are tasting brews of the highest quality!).  Fear not, drinkers of Green Mountain Coffee, I’m not a buyer!  I was there to connect with GMCR’s partners and cooperatives that are grantees of our Supply Chain Outreach program.  When your supply chain wraps around the world from Sumatra to Kenya to Colombia and many places in between, this event is a terrific opportunity to meet just about everyone you need to in the same place at the same time.

The conference kicked off with our friends and neighbors from Grounds for Health winning the 2011 Sustainability Award for their

Merling Preza and Michael Sheridan presenting at SCAA (photo by Bryan Clifton, Heifer)

programs to treat and prevent cervical cancer in the coffeelands – an incredible honor in an industry with so many worthy projects focusing on the long term social, economic, and environmental viability of coffee  production.  And there was much excitement to do even more, with the premiere of After the Harvest, a film underwritten by GMCR, which described the problem of seasonal hunger and featured the work we are funding with Save the Children and Heifer International to improve food security for coffee farmers.  We overheard enthusiastic conversations between our Nicaraguan suppliers about getting together to share ideas on confronting the “thin months” within their communities.

Producer cooperatives shared with us their new ideas for projects that will improve quality of life for farmers, such as building co-op management capacity in Honduras and hosting medical missions to Ethiopia.  I sat in on a meeting organized by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to introduce new cooperatives to our GMCR coffee buyer team, the first step in opening new markets and opportunities for them.  We met with Coffee Lifeline which provides agronomy and social radio programming targeting coffee farmers in Rwanda and we learned more about the ambitious plans of Coffee Kids, Food for Farmers, Pueblo a Pueblo, Café Femenino, and many others.

I left on a high – not just because of all the extraordinary java I had consumed – but also because I am part of such a fantastic industry where there is so much potential and interest in collaborating for sustainability.

Coffee Lifeline Radio


Donate your Tweets to Fair Trade

We love Ben & Jerry’s and it really shouldn’t be surprising why:

  1. They’re our neighbors in Waterbury! (Hi, folks!)

  2. They make the best ice cream we’ve ever tasted. (If you’ve never bellied up to a pint of  Coffee HEATH® Bar Crunch, you have not lived.)

  3. They’re on a mission, committed to sourcing every possible ingredient from Fair Trade producers by the end of 2013!

    So, with that in mind, we’re really excited to share something they’ve been working on: Fair Tweets!

    Today, May 3, Ben & Jerry's is launching a "Fair Tweets" campaign to rally awareness of Fair Trade and World Fair Trade Day (May 14) on Twitter.  By tweeting via, Twitter users will be able to attach messages about Fair Trade to the tweets they're already sending.

    How does this work? It’s easy:

    As you know, a tweet can be up to 140 characters long.  However, most tweets are actually only 40 characters, on average.  Fair Tweets will put the "unused" characters in those tweets to good use, committing them to Fair Trade awareness.

    After joining, you’ll simply write a tweet as usual, but will see a new message about Fair Trade added in the leftover space at the end.  If only a few characters are available, this may be a short, simple message such as “support #Fairtrade”; if more characters are available, this could include a more detailed message and a link to a Fair Trade-related webpage.

    For example, a tweet such as “I'm going to walk the dog” has only 25 characters. When posted by a Fair Tweets participant, the leftover characters would automatically become a message about Fair Trade, so that the full tweet might say, “I'm going to drink some coffee | #Fairtrade products pay producers fair wages for their work.  World Fair Trade Day is May 14:”

    What say, you our favorite, caffeinated crew?  Will you to help get the word out about Fair Trade by making every tweet count?


    An Employee’s Perspective: What’s it REALLY Like at Green Mountain Coffee?

    When I joined Green Mountain Coffee at the beginning of January as an intern in the Public Relations (PR) department, I had no idea what the next few months would bring. I came into the company with only a vague idea about the type of PR work I would be involved with. Now, a few months later, not only have my expectations for Green Mountain Coffee been met and exceeded, but I have developed a passion for the company that goes far beyond my PR role.

    Growing up in Vermont, I’ve always known Green Mountain Coffee. As a Vermonter, not being familiar with this company would be like not knowing what real maple syrup tastes like or failing to own a pair of winter boots. After being employed at Green Mountain Coffee for about three months, I’ve discovered that it’s much bigger and much better than I thought. Here are some general things that I’ve learned:

    • I have yet to meet one unfriendly Green Mountain Coffee employee.

    • There’s so much more to the company than producing and distributing coffee.

    • The time and energy that employees put into volunteer work and corporate responsibility is truly impressive and in my mind, very unique.

    • At Green Mountain Coffee, it’s about more than just making money. It’s about spearheading industry-wide campaigns and solving challenges in the coffee world.

    • The company really cares about each individual customer and does whatever it can to make everyone happy.

    • There are so many different balls being juggled that, some times,  it’s a real challenge to keep up with everything.

    • Having an endless supply of coffee is very helpful for getting through an eight-hour work day.

    • There are so many company buildings dispersed throughout Waterbury that I sometimes think GMCR is the town.

    • An iced Wild Mountain Blueberry® Maple Supreme (a drink made at our own Green Mountain Coffee Factory Outlet in town) is my new favorite afternoon sweet.

    • The interactive presentation at the Visitor Center and Café makes me think of The Lion King.

    • Watching the machine-operated K-Cup production line in the manufacturing plant is mesmerizing.

    For someone like me with a big heart and an open mind, it’s easy to become passionate about a company quickly. However, I never imagined that I would learn to love Green Mountain Coffee as much as I do. It’s truly a great company that cares about its customers, the planet, and its employees. As a previous outsider, I saw the company’s dedication to social responsibility and the awards it was receiving, but I never knew the whole story behind this publicity. Now, after being on the inside, I can confidently say that the positive press surrounding Green Mountain Coffee is true— all of it.

    By: Arianna Bolotin, beloved PR intern