Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

Recovering from Hurricane Irene

Vermont has experienced significant and widespread damage as a result of Hurricane Irene.   Our own backyard of Waterbury has been impacted in ways we couldn’t imagine – flooded homes, mud-caked streets, ponds where parks once stood.  It’s hard to see our home like this, but we know that it will recover stronger than ever because we are a community that comes together and overcomes.

In an effort to bring just a little bit of comfort to our neighbors recovering in Waterbury, tomorrow Wednesday, August 31, 2011 [UPDATE: We're still giving out coffee - at least for the rest of the work week], the Green Mountain Coffee Visitor Center & Factory Outlet (40 Foundry Street) will be giving out free small coffees at both locations to anyone who stops by and sees us.  As the Visitor Center is still cleaning-up, you’ll find our team at a table near the park, ready to welcome our hometown friends and out-of-town visitors alike.

If you’re looking for a way to help support Vermont recovery, there are several organizations in Vermont that you can choose to support, such as:

  • Text FOODNOW to 52000 to donate $10 to Vermont Foodbank. The Foodbank will turn each donation into $60 for families in need.

  • The MRV Community Fund has been reestablished to help Mad River Valley farmers who saw devastating crop losses due to the flooding.

  • The Vermont and New Hampshire Valley Red Cross.

Thank you all.


5th Annual Grounds for Health Carwash gets Special Visitors!

Last week we held the 5th annual Grounds for Health Car Wash at the Visitor’s Center Parking Lot at the Waterbury, VT Train Station.Cars being washed at Grounds for Health Carwash

This year, Grounds for Health is celebrating their 15th Anniversary.  Grounds for Health is a non-profit organization with a mission of bringing healthcare to women in coffee growing regions. Grounds for Health focuses on training, screening and treating cervical cancer.  Cervical Cancer is the number one cancer in women living in developing countries, a disease that is both preventable and treatable. It’s an organization that GMCR has been involved with since the beginning and continues to support in various ways.

Serving Ice Cream at Grounds for Health Carwash

CEO Larry Blanford, Gov. Shumlin and August Burns of GFH

With a perfect August day to work with, the carwash had more than 50 people volunteer and raised over $3,000 in just four hours! Ben & Jerry, Alan Newman, (the founder of Magic Hat Brewery), and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin all stopped by for a visit (and even pushed some cars through our “no idle” carwash!).

Thank you to all the GMCR and Grounds for Health employees who worked hard in the hot sun and to the supporting business whose help made this event possible!

Gigi’s Cleaning & Detailing
Aurum Organics / Barry T. Chouinard
Ben & Jerry’s
And for keeping us rocking out through the whole carwash, The Growlers!

GMCR is proud to help Grounds for Health continue their important work in coffee growing communities. To learn more about Grounds for Health please visit


Farm 2 School: Iron Chef Style

When I was in school I never went near the food being served in our cafeteria. VT Jr Iron Chef ConstestentsThe rows of fried food and unrecognizable slop made me feel pretty satisfied about my Peanut Butter and Jelly brown bag lunch. But, I was not the norm – every lunch period there would be 15 minute long lines of my peers lined up to buy the fried and carbonated offerings.

Many of the cafeterias in our schools are still like this, but organization like Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT FEED) and Burlington School Food Project are working to change that. They are working to connect farmers, students and school in an effort to support locals farmers while improving student nutrition and nutritional education.Food plates in the competition

One of the ways they get students excited about these Farm To  School programs is through the Jr. Iron Chef Competition. Teams of High School and Middle School students compete by preparing and cooking nutritious farm-fresh foods. As a supporter of VT FEED and Burlington Food to School Project, GMCR was invited to be a judge for this year’s chef-off. Karen Yacos, our Director of Domestic Community Outreach, tasted the Middle School teams’ creations looking for the Jr. Iron Chef. The decision was tough but the Best in Show winners were Team Murdock from Twin Valley with their Dried Cherry Root Vegetable Chili with Potato Pancakes (click here for the recipe).

What are they serving up in your local schools? To learn more about Farm To School programs around the country visit


Ask the Coffee Lab: Coffee Acidity

Is there a type/brand of coffee that is easy on the digestion? I miss my cup of coffee!

- From @Bluesky107


I always feel like this is a complicated question to answer because there are so many variables to how any one person’s system works - and then there’s always some subjectivity involved, too.

Let’s start with the basics: The pH scale measures the acidic or basic properties a substance. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral. A pH less than 7 is acidic. A pH greater than 7 is basic.

On the pH scale, most coffee is just below neural at 5. Remarkably, orange juice and beer are considered more acidic than coffee.

So, coffee is acidic, but not that acidic. Acidity can get mixed up in people's heads with other factors  - between the sweetness and brightness of fine, high-grown coffee properly roasted and brewed and acid/alkaline balance and how their stomachs feel about and react to coffee, it can be hard to determine what exact is the culprit for that digestion issue.

For people who want that lower acid coffee - and there really is no such thing naturally (save for those gimmicky, chemically-altered coffees targeting a certain niche market), we usually recommend Indonesian coffees, like Fair Trade Organic Sumatran Reserve, and darker roasted coffees.  The former tends to be gentler on the stomach due to the drying process, according to fans like you, and the latter are less acidic due to the longer roasting process.

Here are some of my own personal observations about acidity:

  1. Cheaper, lower-quality coffee will be more acidic and bitter

  2. Dry process coffees, or "naturals", tend to be less acidic (like some African and Indonesian coffees)

  3. High grown, washed Arabica beans from Central and South America tend to be brighter and more acidic (in a tangy way, not in the pH sense)

  4. The lighter the roast, the more acidic it will appear to be (though on the pH scale its not significant)

  5. Darker roasts are naturally less acidic (but not by much). This runs counter to what people think about dark roasts.

  6. The longer the coffee sits after brewing, the more acidic it gets (literally). This is a good reason to use a Keurig® brewer or brew with a French Press.

Everyone's sensitivities and preferences are different. Our other recommendation would be to try decaffeinated coffee. Some customers report that they were sensitive to the caffeine content, not the acidity as they had originally suspected. Of course, as always, your doctor knows best.


A Musical Weekend of Sampling

Water views, great music, worthy causes, a full moon, beautiful sunrises, and spectacular sunsets – just some of the things you would have encountered if you were in Nantucket, Burlington, or Stowe this past weekend.  Green Mountain Coffee® was involved in events at all three locales, and all were equally awe-inspiring and successful.

On Nantucket, the Boston Pops, featuring special guest Carly Simon, headlined a fundraising concert for the Nantucket Cottage Hospital.  In addition to sponsoring the event, a team of Green Mountain Coffee brand ambassadors was on hand giving away cups of Keurig® brewed hot and Brew Over Ice favorites to eager attendees, as the music washed over beautiful Jetties Beach.  Naturally, Nantucket Blend® was one of the varieties of K-Cup® portion packs that were featured.

In Burlington, the 4-day Lake Champlain Maritime Festival took place, drawing thousands to the idyllic Waterfront Park and multiple other venues along the shores of the lake.  As part of the larger festival, Vermont’s own Grace Potter and the Nocturnals headlined their own mini-festival called Grand Point North.  There was nothing mini about the caliber of invited talent however, as amazing acts like Fitz and the Tantrums and the incomparable Taj Mahal took turns electrifying the huge crowds.  Country music star Kenny Chesney even joined the Grace on stage to close out the festival’s last set for an ecstatic throng of fans.  Green Mountain Coffee sponsored both festivals, and provided complimentary sampling stations in the artist hospitality tent and the VIP tent, as well as multiple bags of coffee for the artists' welcome bags.  Just think, Taj Mahal and Kenny Chesney could be enjoying some Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Organic House Blend on their tour buses right now

The beautiful setting of the von Trapp Family Lodge was the starting point for the 100 on 100 Heart of Vermont Relay.  Beginning in the beguiling hills above Stowe and winding its way along 100 miles of Route 100 all the way to Okemo Resort, this relay is a local and regional favorite.  Nearly 150 teams consisting of 6 runners each compete for top billing and bragging rights, while raising money for the Long Trail Association and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Vermont.

Those are just a few examples of the ways we've  been joining local events and getting the chance to chat with you all, face to face.  Hope to see you at an event real soon!


Irrigation for Food Gardens in Tanzania

Drip Tech Systems in Kibwigwa Village

This is a guest post by Mary Beth Jenssen. Mary Beth works on our Supply-Chain Outreach Team.

It’s hard to imagine the need for water when much of the United States experienced significant rain and flooding this spring and summer, but in many parts of the world the issue is just the opposite: drought threatens communities’ crops, livestock, and survival. Not only can drought be an issue, but access to water can be just as challenging for some communities.

GMCR has worked with Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers for several years now. Sustainable Harvest is a coffee importer, as the name says, but they also offer “Relationship Coffee” services. What does that mean? They work to connect growers to markets through direct relationships while investing in training, technology and management systems to improve farmers’ ability to create a better quality of product and thrive in the specialty coffee market.

Water Tank in Mkabogo

In 2010, GMCR supported a project with Sustainable Harvest in Tanzania focused on food security. The main project component was planting family gardens. Shortly into the start of the project, it was realized that the garden could not thrive, let alone survive, without a water irrigation system. In 2011, GMCR agreed to support a drip irrigation component added on to the family garden project. While the drip irrigation system does allow for easier access to clean drinking water, it also allows for easy access to water for participants’ food gardens, allowing the original goal to be achieved: food security for coffee farmers and the community.

In May of this year, community members in Mkabogo worked hard to install the water system in time to be used during a period of little to no rain. With the support of experienced technicians, the participants carefully chose locations for the water tanks, considering both security and fertilizers in the area.

Kibwiga Village Community Water Facility

In July, two months later, work moved along as the 35 Driptech systems were installed in Kibwigwa Village. The Driptech system is sturdy, efficient, and has the added benefit of being able to water laterals at different times – not only alleviating the issues of slope, but also allowing for crops with different water requirements to be planted on the same plot.

In the coming months, Sustainable Harvest will support crop planting, monitoring and evaluating the drip irrigation system functionality, conducting a market survey for the sale of excess crops and continued research and training on the best practices in vegetable production. Check out an update on the project from Sustainable Harvest themselves:


Look Who’s Back Early – Pumpkin Spice!

Pssst.  Want to know a secret?  Let’s see if you can guess it!  Here are some hints:

  • It’s full of warm, spicy notes.

  • It’s the essence of autumn.

  • You’ve been asking for it since it went away for the season last year.

Got it?  Okay, enough guessing:

Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice is back for fall a week early – right now, just for you online! You can start looking for this fall favorite at your local grocery or retail shops after August 15, 2011, but (for those who can't wait a moment longer), you can find it right now exclusively on the web.

Brew up a cup of this Limited Edition Fall Seasonal coffee and prepare to indulge yourself in the fragrance and flavors of the season.  For anyone who’s learned to love this flavor, Pumpkin Spice offers the experience of fresh-baked pumpkin pie —warm spice notes and creamy body — and fills the room with a mouthwatering aroma.  Not to mention it's Fair Trade Certified™.  No wonder it’s our most popular Seasonal flavor!

Pumpkin Spice will be around for the season in bags and K-Cup® portion packs for your Keurig® brewer until November 11, 2011, or until supplies last.

So: Are you excited about this spicy coffee's return to your coffee mug?


Green Mountain Coffee spotted at the Empire Grill

Shortly after we discovered the literary debut of our French Vanilla in Tick Tock, it was revealed by our studio audience that Green Mountain Coffee has made appearances at the printing press before.

This, ladies and gentleman, equally flabbergasted and excited our team.

Take, for example, Empire Falls, the story of a small town in Maine fighting the loss of industry that had once made it boom.  The story is told by Miles Roby, the manager of the Empire Grill, as he struggles not only with the town’s deteriorating condition, but the condition of his own, broken family.  Now, turn to page 28…

“You know what you need in here, Big Boy?” Walt called from down at his end of the counter.  …

“What’s that, Walt?”  Miles signed, filling salt shakers at mid-counter.

“You need to stop with this swill and start serving Green Mountain Coffee.”


“I bet you couldn’t pass a blind taste test,” said Horace, who usually took Mile’s part in these disputes, especially since Miles appeared reluctant to defend himself against the relentless assaults on his personal philosophy.

“You kidding?  Green Mountain Coffee?  Night-and-day difference,” Walt said.

Okay, so Walt doesn’t exactly come across as the coolest dude here, but to make it into the pages of a Richard Russo novel that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (and was adapted into a series that won a  Golden Globe for best mini-series) certainly falls under our  “coolest” category.

Have you seen Green Mountain Coffee crop up in your favorite novel?  We’d love to know!

Content and cover copyright of James Richard Russo and Random House, Inc.


It's River Cleanup Week

This week marks our 7th annual River Cleanup, and in my opinion it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Living in Vermont, you grow used to the Spring Thaw, the inevitable “mud season” and roaring brooks that go along with the snow melt (and it always is a lot of snow that is melting). This year’s Spring Thaw turned into Spring floods though, and devastated many parts of our state. Not only were people’s everyday lives affected by these events, but our fragile ecosystem was as well. From dumpsters disappearing in Barre, to entire docks floating into the depths of Lake Champlain, our waterways have become more polluted than ever.

All this week, Green Mountain Coffee Roaster’s employees will be helping to clean parts of the Winooski River as a sponsor and participate in American River’s National River Cleanup™, a nationwide effort to help keep America’s waterways clean. For the last seven years, employees have dedicated a portion of their work week through our CAFE Time volunteer program to clean up our local waterways, pulling things such as bikes and loveseats out of the Winooski.

Today’s efforts have already seen six shopping carts and a newspaper stand pulled out of a section of the river running past Montpelier High School. While it’s sad to see all the trash accumulating in our waterways, by flood or by littering, it’s refreshing knowing that people are truly dedicated to fixing this – in fact, river cleanup is one of our most popular volunteer efforts. Last year alone over 150 people helped to clean up.

River Cleanup isn’t just an issue of how many tires are pulled out of the river in a week (though employees managed to remove over 130 last year) – clean water is an important resource for everyone. It’s essential to life, good health, and to the quality cups of coffee many of us rely on in the mornings. For 20 years now, American River’s has dedicated time and resources to connecting people with their local rivers and streams, and encouraged river cleanup efforts such as this one. In fact, since National River Cleanup’s launch in 1991, more than 960,000 volunteers have participated in these programs. Volunteers have removed more than 10 million pounds of litter and debris from rivers and streams, like our local Winooski.

Over the course of the week, we will continue cleaning along the river, in the places that need it most. We know we can’t reverse this spring flooding’s effects in a week alone, or change America’s river littering habits overnight, but participating in the River Cleanup event continues to inspire us, and hopefully our community too, to care for our waterways, and to strive to keep them clean.

-Molly (PR intern extraordinaire - according to Kristen :))


Mocha Coconut Coffee Recipe

With Fair Trade Island Coconut® now officially our new summer seasonal flavor, it seems like a good time to share our recipe for a tropical treat.  Three words: Chocolate and coconut.  Yes, please!


Mocha Coconut: Bagged


Mocha Coconut: K-Cup® portion pack


  • Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings (optional).

Simple and oh-so delicious on a chilly summer night … or day.  Really, we’ll sip on this drink any day of the week! If you make this at home, remember to take a picture and share it on our Facebook page!