Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

How We're Measuring Impact in Coffee Growing Communities

“Improving the quality of life of coffee farmers” – that is the goal of our coffee-community outreach at GMCR. We know the work of our NGO partners and coffeeOrganization participants during Reporting Collaborative cooperatives is making an impact, but how do we measure that impact?

About a year ago, we invited our partners to help develop a tool to monitor and evaluate GMCR funded projects in coffee-communities. We set out to develop a guide that would outline a standard methodology for collecting impact information to be useful to us for future funding decisions but also be useful to the organizations and cooperatives for their work on the ground.

Last week, a year later, we met again to review the Monitoring and Evaluation Guide. What was working? What could be improved upon?

During the two day working collaborative the 9 organizations who attended provided feedback on "field testing" the guide and shared stories about how best to gather the required quantitative metrics and the qualitative “Most Significant Change” stories.   This latter component allows beneficiaries, the farmers themselves, to participate in the project’s evaluation and allows us to understand the stories behind the metrics.

Working on this guide will help us to define success and compare the results of various impactful projects. We’ll also be able to share these successes with other organizations and farmer cooperatives to work together on solutions to improve the lives of those within our supply-chain.

Thank you to our partner attendees, listed below, for their passion and dedication during the collaborative!

Group photo from Reporting Collaborative

Catholic Relief Services
Coffee Kids
The Community Agroecology Network
Grounds for Health
Heifer International
Partners in Heath and EAPSEC
Planting Hope
Root Capital
The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth


Limited Edition: Special Reserve La Unión Mexico

While La Unión has all the distinctive characteristics that merit its inclusion in our line of Special Reserve coffees, it differs from the other coffees in one important way: it is not obscure, nor recently discovered on a remote hillside of some exotic land. La Unión is an extraordinary offering from one of our oldest friends.

We have been working with members of the Unión Regional de Pequenos Productores de Café cooperative for nearly 20 years. Originally, beans from this cooperative were used as a neutral base for our flavored coffees. As our relationship deepened with these farmers, they became more successful at coaxing out the unique qualities of their beans. Years of sharing knowledge and exchanging visits resulted in higher-quality coffee.

Now the cooperative has taken quality control to a new level, and their commitment is astoundingly evident in this year’s crop. A singular focus on training, cupping, and grading has resulted in a coffee that amplifies the best of a cup that was already deliciously satisfying. Bright citrus notes are now intensified. The warm tones and round body are now velvety smooth. It’s like listening to your favorite tune performed by a world-class symphony orchestra in an acoustically flawless concert hall.  To top it all off, this coffee is Fair Trade Certified™ and organic, two certifications that have enabled the cooperative to establish education facilities and health care centers for several villages.

As with all of our Special Reserves, supply is limited, as we only roast one batch.  This coffee will roast on June 30, 2011, so pick up your bag of Special Reserve La Unión Mexico today – or join the tour to be shipped our latest Reserve fresh from the roaster.


Ask the Coffee Lab: How Many Calories are in My Mug?

“How many calories are in my cup of Green Mountain Coffee?”

- From a slew of curious coffee lovers


Coffee is non-nutritive, meaning it has no nutritional value. Being a studious fellow, I looked on our own website and verified that a typical 6-oz. serving of black, drip coffee has 2 calories. Which I may have just burned off typing this last sentence. Our flavored coffees like Fair Trade Island Coconut®? Free of calories and carbs. Brilliant!

Just remember: I'm talking black coffee. If you put sugar or honey in there, they add calories. If you put Organic Valley Half and Half in your coffee like I do, you can see the results when you go to the beach for the first time in July. Time for the 2%.

Of course, coffee does offer a number of trace minerals (Thiamin, Niacin, Folate, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Manganese) and is a good source of Potassium, Pantothenic Acid and Riboflavin.  Some even say that you are more likely to be friendly to other people if you have a hot cup of coffee in your hands. (There are a lot of friendly folks around our office – just saying).

There's a good chart on our web site that explains the ins and outs of coffee nutritional information here:

So - the moral of this story? Time for another cup of coffee for me!


Island Coconut Chicken Curry Recipe

It's the first day of summer and you know what that means?  A new, mouthwatering recipe from the mind of Amber of Bluebonnets & Brownies.  She's brought us two scrumptious coffee-strewn desserts and now... now she helps us answer the age-old question: What's for dinner?


Last time, I went over the top sweet with Wild Mountain Blueberry® Coffee Pound Cake. Now, there's nothing in the world wrong with sweet, delicious baked goods - but when you're talking about Fair Trade Island Coconut® Coffee, a sweet dessert just seemed a little too obvious to me.

I decided I should challenge myself, and you, by turning Island Coconut into a savory dish. Island Coconut is such a fun coffee flavor. We enjoy it around here as the perfect finish to a meal, practically dessert in a coffee cup. So turning it into a dinner ingredient just upped the ante on one of my favorite Green Mountain Coffee flavors.

Folks, I like to think just maybe I hit this one out of the proverbial ballpark. Whether you've ever had Indian food before or not, I implore you to try making this dish. The majority of the ingredients will be familiar to you, and once you've added curry powder to your spice cabinet, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Island Coconut Chicken Curry is best served over Basmati or Long Grain white rice, with a side of Naan bread. Naan is a pillowy flat bread native to Indian cuisine. You can usually find it in your grocer's bakery area, but if you can't, feel free to substitute some freshly made tortillas. I certainly won't tell!

You can make this curry as directed in a dutch oven or large saute pan, or use a slow cooker for an incredibly easy weeknight dinner.

In the recipe below, I've linked to where you can find the two curry powders I used. You should also be able to find a variety of curry powders in your local spice store, and at least one variety is usually carried at major grocery chains. You're welcome to change up the style of curry powders if you like more heat.  The two I used are fairly mild, and work incredibly well with coconut, which, after all, is the star of this show.

Island Coconut Chicken Curry

Serves 4


1 medium onion (about 1/2 cup), diced
1 large red pepper (about 3/4 cup), diced
4-6 cloves of garlic
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
4 oz half and half or plain yogurt (I used half and half)
6 oz freshly brewed, hot Green Mountain Island Coconut coffee (I used the smallest setting on my Keurig)
1 tbsp maharajah curry powder
2 tbsp rogan josh curry powder
1/2 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp olive or canola oil
1 1/2 lbs. skinless chicken breast or thighs, diced into 1" cubes
1 cup frozen diced okra
fresh cilantro for garnish

Place onion, red pepper, garlic, tomato paste, coffee, cream or yogurt, both curry powders, chili flakes, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Pulse to combine until you have a semi-smooth sauce.

In a large frying pan or dutch oven, heat oil on high. Add chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to brown for 10-15 minutes, stirring often.

Add okra pieces to the pan, and cover with curry sauce. Allow to simmer, covered, on low to medium heat for 30-40 minutes, giving the flavors time to combine. Stir every 10 minutes or so.

If making in a slow cooker, cook on low for 6-8 hours or 4 hours on high.

Serve over rice, and garnish with fresh cilantro.



Green Mountain Coffee and Brew Over Ice are BBQ’ing in DC

You all know we have brewing down cold, but did you know the same can be said for barbequing?

A few months ago, as the Green Mountain Coffee and the Brew Over Ice teams were ironing out a schedule for our current sampling tour, it was decided that we couldn't pass up the opportunity for Brew Over Ice to sponsor the Safeway Barbeque Battle in Washington, D.C..  This is one of the top barbeque events of the summer, shutting down Pennsylvania Avenue with games, music, and lots and lots of barbeque.  Perfect for iced coffee and iced tea, right?  As excited discussion around the event ensued, it surfaced that Derek, Green Mountain Coffee brand manager, is a certified Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) competition judge.  It turns out that not only is he a judge, but at the time Derek was finalizing plans to enter a team in various BBQ competitions around New England.  We put two and two together, and decided to enter our own team for the D.C. event, and compete alongside some of the most decorated teams on the competitive BBQ circuit.

Now it’s time to put our BBQ where our mouth is.

So, at the end of this very week, members of the Brew Over Ice and Green Mountain Coffee teams are traveling to our nation’s capitol to take part in this exciting contest on June 25th and 26th.  Derek, who moved to Vermont from Rhode Island by way of Massachusetts several years ago, lovingly dubbed his team “Flatlander BBQ, playing off the word that Vermonters tend to call folks from outside of the Green Mountain state.

Technically, the Flatlander team consists of Derek and his wife Meghan, but for this weekend’s event, the team will temporarily expand to Extra Bold levels to include Kristen from Public Relations, Chris from Brew Over Ice, and Tyler and Roger from the Green Mountain Coffee team.  Together we're competing in all four competition categories – chicken, beef, pork ribs, and pork shoulder (for pulled pork).  We are also entering the “America’s Best Sauce Contest” to really put it over the top.

We hope to add to Flatlander’s recent success (Derek and Meghan took second place for pork and fifth place for chicken at the recent Cape Cod BBQ contest) by utilizing the special rubs and recipes that Derek concocted … oh, and did I mention that all of our entries will feature our bagged coffee and/or tea from Brew Over Ice K-Cup® portion packs? For additional authenticity, we will even be going so far as to use green coffee beans in the smokers, hopefully imparting the winning essence for all our entries.

So, as you’re doing your own backyard grilling this weekend, think of us as we attempt to smoke the competition (bad pun intended) at this national showdown!  Or if thinking seems like too little, follow our progress on Twitter (search for the #BBQBattle hashtag) and Facebook – or even come down to cheer us on (and try free Brew Over Ice samples in the Sampling Pavilion, too)!  Just remember, low and slow is the way to go, so let’s hear it for Flatlander BBQ!!!


Medicine, Stoves and Trees - Improving Health in Coffee-Communities

This is a guest post written by Mary Beth Jenssen. Mary Beth works in our Corporate Social Responsibility Department, supporting our Coffee Community Outreach programs.

Health is a key component to quality of life, which includes not only physical health but alsoCommunity health workersmental and environmental health. Partners In Health (PIH) is an international non-profit working to provide medical care and social services to some of the world’s most disadvantaged people. Through PIH, GMCR has been linked up with their partner organizations to support projects focused on improving the communities’ health and well-being through strengthening their existing infrastructure.

One such organization is El Equipo de Apoyo en Salud y Educación Comunitaria (EAPSEC, TheCommunity TrainingTeam for the Support of Community Health and Education). Currently, we are able to fund a project focused on Supporting Community Health in Chiapas, Mexico. Through this project, EAPSEC organizes groups of Community Health Promoters (CHP’s) and provides them with intensive training and support. It is through these CHP’s that the project is able to create the best connection between the medical clinic, the patients, and the community in a sustainable way. The trained CHP’s are a low-cost, medical resource for community members, enabling the following: the prevention of many long and expensive trips to seek medical attention, access to several essential medicines at no or low cost, and support and advocacy for those patients with more serious medical conditions.Stove health workers are looking to replace

Through another PIH partner organization, Equipo Technico de Educacion en Salud Comunitaria (ETESC, Technical Team for Education in Community Health), we are able to support an Environmental Health Initiative project in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. ETESC asked the community, “What are your greatest needs?” The community responded by explaining that they have many environmental resource concerns and needs. As a result, this project focuses on addressing those environmental stressors through the training of Environmental Health Promoters. These Promoters work with the community to plant more trees, create water reservoirs to sustain agriculture in the dry season, install latrines, compost coffee pulp, provide education about forest fire prevention, provide training for the creation and use of organic compost, and to construct improved stoves that will not only save wood but also lower the exposure of women to smoke. This project works to both improve the health of the families it touches and to decrease families’ level of environmental vulnerability through access to adequate water, fuel, and nutritious food through the rainy and dry season.

These two projects demonstrate how PIH works to form partnerships with organizations already working in the community in order to work together to enhance the existing infrastructure of the community instead of starting anew in each community. Here at GMCR, we are grateful to be able to support the work of these organizations that choose to focus on such a fundamental human need: health care.

Want to know how you can help? Visit the Partner In Health webpage to learn what you can do:


What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?  Often times the names of our coffees refer to the origin of the beans – Sumatran Lake Tawar, Mocha Java, Fair Trade Mexican Select.  But sometimes, its name has a little more to it – a story behind the label.  Here are some quick notes about three brews with stories that may surprise you:

Harvard Blend

A classic blend and an enduring favorite, this coffee screams of ivy, crimson, and intelligence, right?  While its complex flavors certainly invite studied contemplation, this blend was originally developed for the Harvard Club in New York City!

Nantucket Blend®

There aren't any beans from Nantucket in this blend. More than 20 years ago Nantucket Blend® was created at the request of a loyal customer who lived on Nantucket Island. The blend proved a winner, and the name stuck.

Lake & Lodge®

We developed this coffee many, many years ago for a cute shop in New York City called, “The Coffee Station.” Back then we originally called it “Tapestry Blend Dark.” But over time we decided this name didn’t properly reflect the rough and tumble aspects of this burly, dark roast. So we renamed it to its current moniker, Lake & Lodge. Enjoy it at a lodge (or office, or car, or porch) near you!


Music On the Porch at the Visitors Center

The calendar still says it’s spring, but the temperature yesterday, hitting 90 degrees, is feeling more like summer.  Summer brings free music to the Visitor Center with our 4th annual Music on the Porch series.  We have a great line-up of local Vermont musicians and I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening then listening to music while sipping on an iced cold Blueberry Maple Supreme.  Concerts begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday evenings throughout the summer and feature a variety of music genres.  You can see the full schedule here.

Our concept is really to keep it local, which is especially important to us as we celebrate the Visitor Center’s 5th anniversary (!!!) and our company’s 30th.  Music on the Porch also gives us an opportunity to help make a difference in our community, as we have a donation box available for people to share non-perishable items for our local food shelf.

Thinking of it, there’s a lot to do mid-week in Waterbury.  Not only do we have our music series, our local Rotary club also presents Music in the Park on Thursday evenings beginning at 6 p.m.  The park, which is located in front of our Visitor Center, is a great place to pack a picnic dinner and relax with even more great music.  If you don’t have time to pack a picnic, no worries, there’s great food at our Farmer’s Market, which precedes the concert in the park, beginning at 3 p.m.


Restoring and Enhancing Salmon Populations in Monterey Bay

On Wednesday May 18th , GMCR employees from our Castroville, CA location took part in theGMCR Employees helping to restore fish habitat annual Monterey Bay Salmon & Trout Project Kingfisher Hatchery Volunteer Training Day in beautiful Davenport, CA.  Founded in 1976, the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project (MBSTP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration and enhancement of the native salmon and steelhead populations of the greater Monterey Bay area.

Volunteer Training included "The Daily Routine"…gathering habitat information, such as rainfall amounts and river water and climate temperatures.   Additionally, hands-on Fish Care duties were performed to document seasonal  growth cycles and changes, to

GMCR Volunteer in the fishery

feed fish in various stages of life, check water levels and record data, and plenty of cleaning troughs and tanks!  During the year,new volunteers will be paired with experienced volunteers to reinforce initial orientation.

This was a great opportunity to support the restoration of declining local fishery resources and to enhance the unique races of silver

salmon,  steelhead trout and Chinook salmon native to the local Monterey Bay area.

If you live near the Monterey Bay Area, visit their website for more information on their work or send them an email to find out about volunteer opportunities!


Summer Catalog - It's Cool and Convenient!

Summer is upon us! We spend much of our time in anticipation of this time of year, only to watch it go by in an instant.

How would you describe the perfect summer day? Maybe you feel like James Dent, who said that the perfect summer day "is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken." Or maybe your perfect summer day involves friends, family, and a barbecue. Or perhaps you're the type that prefers to beat the heat by staying inside and chilling by the air conditioner.

Since summer tends to be so short, many of us like to keep our lives a bit simpler so we have time to enjoy it.  That's how we can help!  We're serving up the convenience of shopping from wherever you are and having your favorite coffees, teas, and beverages shipped directly to you.  Our summer catalog is just the tool to do this! It's lightweight, portable, and offers you plenty of choices.  Keep watching your mailbox for your copy!

Highlights from our summer issue:

If you forget to take your catalog with you, don't worry, you can view it digitally, page by page, right here.

If you are not currently on our mailing list and would like to be, please visit our catalog request page on our website:

From all of us at Green Mountain Coffee, have a happy, safe, and healthy summer.


How to Brew Over Ice

Have you heard about Brew Over Ice?  Watch and learn how to brew your own iced coffee or iced tea with your Keurig® brewer and Brew Over Ice K-Cup® portion packs.

Brewing over ice is simple:

1. Fill a tall (16-oz.) cup with ice and place under the brewer (No glass)

2. Shake the portion pack and place in brewer.

3. Choose the brew setting (6- or 8-oz.) and press "Brew."

4. Add additional ice (and cream and sugar for coffee) as needed and enjoy!

When we’re looking to sweeten up our iced coffee, we’re big fans of adding simple syrup because it dissolved instantly and it’s super easy to make:
1. In saucepan combine 1:1 ratio of sugar and water.

2. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.

3. Store in refrigerator and add to your favorite cold (or hot) beverage when you need it!

There you have it!  What’s your favorite iced coffee or tea to make in your brewer during the summer?


Happy National Donut Day

Have you treated yourself to a Chocolate Glazed Donut today?  An ooey, gooey Cinnamon Roll?  Or maybe even one (or a baker’s dozen) of each?  We say, “Go for it!”  After all, it’s is National Donut Day, so brewing up a few mugs of All Coffee. No Crumbs.™ donut treats is more than appropriate.  The Donut House Collection seems like the right choice for today.  Cheers!

Our Support of Food Security Projects Recognized by GBC!

The Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GBC) represents over 200 private sector companies leading the business fight for improved globalGBC Logohealth.  The GBC annually recognizes corporations that sponsor or implement programs addressing critical global health issues. Two weeks ago, they announced the winners of the 2011 Business Action on Health Awards. Among the winners, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters was commended for our work in “Disease Prevention & Beyond: Eradicating Root Causes of Poor Heath,” a brand new category for this year’s awards, for “demonstrating leadership in strengthening people’s economic empowerment, financial literacy, access to education and skills, and /or social equity.”  This recognition was based on GMCR’s work in food security, sustainable agriculture and nutrition programs for coffee farmers and their communities in parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

As you may already know, GMCR supports many projects focusing on these areas and works to improve the livelihoods of those working within our supply chain. A few of these projects are with our long-time partner, Save the Children, who nominated us for this recognition.

GMCR has partnered with Save the Children on several projects, including:

  • The Caranavi Municipality of Bolivia to improve food security, nutrition, and health, and to reduce infant mortality

  • Honduras to strengthen the communities capacity for food security through diversification and increased yields of basic grains

  • Sumatra, Indonesia to support crop diversification through home gardens for better nutrition

    Children in nutrition program

    and income generation as well as improved farming techniques to increase yields of both coffee and other agricultural products

  • The Penas Blancas area of Nicaragua focused on improving food security and seeking ways to generate income for farmers

We are proud to be a part of projects like these with Save the Children and grateful for the recognition of the GBC.

Click here for a list of the other companies recognized by the GBC.