Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

Have a Happy Halloween!

Let's raise a mug of Spicy Dark Magic (1/2 Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice and 1/2 Dark Magic®) in honor of the occasion.  Here's to being greeted by glowing Jack-O-Lanterns, friendly ghosts, and scrumptious sweets tonight!  Have a brew-tiful Halloween, all!


My Favorite Fair Trade Certified Coffee: Kenyan Highland Cooperatives Single Origin

My favorite Fair Trade Certified™ coffee is our Single Origin Kenyan Highland Cooperatives.

I'm long a gobsmacked and loyal fan of the coffees of Kenya. Few origins offer the bright, zingy POW that's the hallmark of these East African coffees. Few have such stunning, and stunningly intense fragrances and flavors -- or such a decadent range of them! Few origins invariably cup as refreshingly clean, un-muddled by ferment or defect or under- or over-ripe fruit; qualities that result from exacting and uncompromising work at collective coffee mills. Our Highland Cooperatives is no exception, bursting with grapefruit-toned brightness, and lip-smacking flavors of tart blackberry and black tea, bergamot and burgundy.

It's grown by members of the Rumukia Farmers Cooperative Society, a group of smallholder farmers in Kenya's Nyeri district, a region with a remarkable microclimate — a temperate zone with regular, seasonal rainfall that's proven ideal for growing quality coffee in Eastern Kenya. Every bit as remarkable, the cooperative has a reputation for fair dealings with their member farmers, and for being excellent stewards of their land.

Only recently has it been possible to integrate Fair Trade practices into Kenya's traditional auction system, creating a thread of transparency between coffee farming cooperatives and mills, and international markets. It remains a tenuous line, at best. Political disarray in Kenya threatens the auction process, and farming cooperatives face tremendous pressure to increase yields over quality. While still a very young program, Fair Trade pricing and support for member communities in Kenya is working to bolster small-holder farmer cooperatives like Rumukia, and I hope to see still more excellent, Fair Trade Certified Kenya coffee producers.


Why I drink Fair Trade Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

I drink this coffee at home in the morning, just about every day. The bag is really pretty, the green is so classy looking and yet friendly. More importantly, the coffee is clean, bright, fruity, and sweet without being sugary. It's acidic without banging me over the head with it.

It goes without saying that I like fairness and social justice in my coffee and that I like to support the organic movement every chance I get. I've never been to Ethiopia, so I don't have an exotic or touching origin story to share with you. I have met one of the supplying coffee cooperative's General Manager, named Tadesse. He’s  sort of famous in the coffee world, partly because he was in Black Gold: A Film about Coffee Trade. [Every time I see him I have to reintroduce myself and in spite of that, he never seems to remember me. I don't hold that against the coffee.]

Ethiopian coffees are very popular for us cuppers, as well. When we have too many samples to cup in the lab, the joke to Brent, who organizes the cuppings, is something along the lines of "Brent, I'm too busy to cup, but if you put some Ethiopians on the table, I'll drop everything." Or "Brent, it's my birthday, can't we just cup Ethiopians today, please?"

So, make your birthday everyday and have some fine Fair Trade Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee.


2000: One of our First Fair Trade Coffees

We’re celebrating our 30th anniversary of being in the coffee business this year, so it only makes sense to take a look back at how we got here.  And since it is Fair Trade Month, why not look back at one of the first appearances of Fair Trade coffee in our catalog, all the way back in 2000?


Ask the Coffee Lab: All Fair Trade

Green Mountain Coffee loves Fair Trade, so why not make 100% of your coffees Fair Trade Certified™?


We do love Fair Trade. I love Fair Trade. I wish we could sell more of it. Luckily we still sell millions of pounds of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee every year, and if you don’t know what that does for small farmers around the world, you’ve been asleep or in Antarctica.

As much as writing 100% and Fair Trade in the same sentence makes my heart go pitter patter, we’re trying to strike a balance   We are committed to increasing our purchases of sustainably produced coffee, but we are also competing with many other companies who are not, so it’s a challenge.    But the more people ask for and choose Fair Trade products, the more demand we can build for the certification and the more momentum we can build to help more farms become certified.   More certified farms = more certified coffee = more opportunity to for you to have a wide selection of Fair Trade java from us to love.

In the end, remember: choosing Fair Trade coffees support the movement – get your friends and family to do the same.


USAID and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. Join Forces to Help Small-Scale Coffee Growers

Today, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Green MountainUSAID LogoCoffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding reinforcing a joint commitment to support Latin American and Caribbean coffee farmers at USAID’s Partnership Forum. We are excited about the potential of this alliance to drive positive social, environmental, and economic development within coffee-growing communities, today and in the future.

We’re already collaborating with USAID on two projects within coffee-growing communities. We are working together in the Sustainable Sourcing Partnership Project with Fair Trade USA, which promotes biodiversity, conservation and environmental education among Brazil’s coffee-growing communities.

Save the Children Nicaragua Project

Additionally, we are working with Save the Children, 4th Sector Health and selected communities within coffee-growing regions in Nicaragua and Honduras to improve food security, income generation potential, and health.

This public-private partnership has been and will continue to be an important part of our efforts to encourage ongoing health and prosperity for the coffee-farming families and communities in our supply chain.


Grace Potter Concert for Fair Trade Month on Facebook

Another big announcement!

Grace Potter

In celebration of Fair Trade Month, Grace Potter has teamed up with us to spread the word about the benefits of Fair Trade.  As you all know by now, with Fair Trade, coffee drinkers get a better quality cup of coffee and farmers get a better quality of life.

Potter is lending her voice to the issue to show fans everywhere that by making a small change like switching to Fair Trade coffee, they can help improve education, health and the environment within coffee-farming communities worldwide.

To support Fair Trade, Potter is performing live via webcast on Thursday, October 20th at 7pm PST/ 10am EST exclusively for Green Mountain Coffee Fans on Facebook.

Make sure to RSVP so you don't miss out!


Fair Trade Organic Special Reserve: La Prosperidad Peru

As copywriter for Green Mountain Coffee, one of my favorite assignments is writing the stories behind our Special Reserve coffees. These coffees are extremely rare and in very limited supply, so any time I get to write about them (and taste them!), it’s a special treat.

This month’s Special Reserve is also notable because it’s organic and Fair Trade Certified™. “La Prosperidad” is the combination of two microlots from the Cajamarca region in the northern highlands of Peru. It has lush, juicy fruit notes of apricot, lemon, cherry, and grapefruit. After a seductive, delicate aroma, the flavor leans toward buttery caramel and cocoa. Delicious!

The back story of this coffee is very down to earth — literally. In 2008, members of the Chirinos Prosperity Cooperative told us “tired soil” was one of their biggest problems, so we helped fund a certified organic compositing facility. Since then, production has almost doubled, new coffee plants are flowering earlier, and the plants are more resistant to disease. There’s also a noticeable difference in the cup — citrus notes are brighter, and the sweetness is more pronounced.

We’re pleased that an investment at ground level can have such wonderful, delicious results!  This limited batch roasts on October 18th!


Fair Trade Also Means Better Quality in the Workplace

“Every business transaction is a challenge to see that both parties come out fairly.”

–  Adam Smith, 1759

We can make a difference by taking our sense of taste and social responsibility to the office each morning.

Small businesses have substantial influence in their community, and when they adopt practices like supporting Fair Trade that advance the quality of life for their patrons, communities, and the environment, it makes a huge difference.

Here are a few suggestions for adding Fair Trade in your workplace, starting around the coffee station:

  • Ensure that your office coffee machine is brewing Fair Trade coffee. Also, encourage your employer to supply Fair Trade cocoa and tea, as well as Fair Trade chocolates as a snack during meetings or as an employee reward.

  • Post signs in the office break room or kitchen, preferably above the coffee maker, letting your coworkers know that the beverages they are drinking are supporting small-scale farmers.

  • Many organizations working on Fair Trade provide fact sheets and resources on their website. You can order informational materials or download them from organizations such as the Fair Trade Resource Network or Transfair USA. Several offer material you can print out and give to coworkers (maybe with a piece of Fair Trade chocolate as an incentive).

  • Use your company newsletter or blog to promote Fair Trade.

  • Ask for corporate donations to Fair Trade organizations.

  • Ask the businesses you support during the workweek to sell Fair Trade products. Don’t be intimidated; business owners really do value consumer feedback.

  • Let your local merchants know you value the Fair Trade items they sell, and ask them to stock any you’d like to purchase.

  • Encourage your business to advocate for making your town a “Fair Trade Town” — a community that makes a commitment to supporting Fair Trade. Lead the way!

  • Exchange Fair Trade gifts with coworkers during the holidays.

  • Give the gift of Fair Trade to clients: Global Exchange, for example, has a Corporate Gift Program allowing you to buy socially conscious Fair Trade gifts.

The Fair Trade Certified™ label helps your office make better choices, with the assurance that the merchandise purchased is socially and environmentally conscious. As we become more aware of opportunities to use our influence in the marketplace, Fair Trade provides a path for both individuals and businesses to vote with their dollars and become a real force for good.


Pink On Purpose

We’ve been talking a lot about October being Fair Trade Month. It also happens to be National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. Wholesale and our Business Coffee Express service are proud to support the “Pink on Purpose” campaign of the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).

The AICR was founded more than 25 years ago on a simple but radical idea: everyday choices can reduce our chances of getting cancer. They were the first organization to focus research on the link between diet and cancer, and to translate the results into practical information for the public.

AICR’s Pink on Purpose Campaign encourages workplaces to “get pink”: Employees dress in pink, trick out the office in pink decorations, and raise funds for breast cancer research. Once you sign up to host Pink on Purpose, you'll receive an event toolkit that contains pink decorations, promotional materials and breast cancer materials, as well as planning tools and fun ideas.

As prizes for the offices that raise the most money, our Digital team is  is donating Keurig® brewers, K-Cup®portion packs, and coffee gift baskets.

So, wherever you work, please consider getting Pink on Purpose this month. With your help, AICR can have a greater impact on emerging breast cancer research, treatment interventions and prevention programs in labs, clinics, and communities across the country.

Pink on Purpose > Get started



Why I drink Fair Trade Vermont Country Blend

It’s actually very simple:

I love Fair Trade Vermont Country Blend® for its clean full taste from the first sip to the last.  It is a perfect coffee to enjoy any day, any time.  And to me it represents Vermont – true and fresh.


Why I Drink Fair Trade Organic Sumatran Reserve K-Cup Portion Packs

I enjoy dark, bold and intense coffees and Green Mountain Coffee’s Fair Trade Organic Sumatran Reserve Extra Bold is just about as perfect as it gets.  No cream, no sugar.  Just the deep, natural Indonesian mountain treat in its purest format.

For me, when I drink Fair Trade Certified™ coffees,  I know our coffee partners and farmers are getting a fair price.  This is better for them and their families - and is simply the right thing to do.  I like knowing my choice as a consumer makes a direct impact.


Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cupcake Recipe

Amber of Bluebonnets & Brownies is back for her Fall coffee-inspired recipe!  And I only need four words to introduce her latest recipe: Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice!

This is the recipe I've been waiting all year to write. Recently, a promotional email from Green Mountain Coffee® went out. The subject line? "Pumpkin Spice is Here!". The text of the message? "Some people wait all year for this."

Yeah. I fully admit it. I'm pretty sure I inspired that marketing genius. Because I do. I wait all year. Or, actually, I try not to wait all year. I try to buy as many Pumpkin Spice K-Cup® portion packs as I can get my grubby little hands on, and then I hoard them, rationing myself to 2 (okay, 3) cups a day, praying that they'll last through to August.

It never works out. I just can't get enough of the Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice coffee.

Two years ago, my husband added fuel to the fire, buying me a Keurig Milk Frother for our anniversary. In November.

Autumn + Pumpkin Spice + Milk Frother = one jittery recipe writer full of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, my friends. I don't regret a single cup.

I knew we had to go sweet for this recipe. Our last recipe was savory, Island Coconut Chicken Curry, if you remember. But there's really only one direction you want to go when it comes to pumpkin and spice and everything nice - and that's straight down Sugar Lane.


The first recipe I ever had featured on Green Mountain Café was a chocolate mayonnaise cake. A recipe near and dear to my heart because it was my grandfather's. It relies heavily on strong coffee for its signature flavor, and so I wondered, how would a Spice Cake with a coffee and mayonnaise base be?

If the email I received from my husband's coworker this morning is anything to go by, not only does this cake work, the combination of the coffee-base and Pumpkin Spice coffee infused buttercream are, and I quote, "like manna from the Gods". (He often foists the extras of my creations off on his co-workers - it's actually made him quite popular!)

I hope that you enjoy Pumpkin Spice coffee, and Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes, as much as I have. They both embody everything I have come to love about the Fall: cozy comfort, inviting warmth, and enticing aromas.

Happy Autumn, everyone!

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cupcakes

makes 16-18


2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup packed Brown Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon All Spice

1 cup Mayonnaise - no substitutes!
1 cup (8 oz) Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice Coffee, cooled
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract


Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and all spice. Stir completely with a wire whisk - this will allow the ingredients to distribute evenly and also aerate.

In a smaller bowl, combine mayonnaise, coffee, and vanilla extract. Whisk as well, until ingredients are well mixed.

Stir wet ingredients into dry, mixing completely to make batter.

Line 12 count muffin tins with paper liners, or spray with cooking spray. Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop batter into each muffin well. You should end up with exactly 18 cupcakes if you use the 1/4 cup measure.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake removes cleanly. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Buttercream Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened to room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons cold Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice Coffee
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

In a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, cream butter until it is light and fluffy - 4-10 minutes at least. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add coffee one tablespoon at a time, mixing again after each addition, and then vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.

My kitchen was very warm, so my icing seemed a bit too soft at this point. I refrigerated it to stiffen it up, and then re-mixed it when I was ready to frost my cupcakes. If after refrigeration the frosting seems too stiff, add 1 tablespoon of half and half and mix well again with your mixer. Alternate between tablespoons of half and half and Pumpkin Spice Coffee until frosting reaches your desired consistency.

Cupcakes and frosting will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.




Why I drink Fair Trade Kenyan Highland Cooperative Coffee

When I first started working at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc., I, like all our employees, attended Coffee College.  Although I’d been drinking coffee for a few years, the only knowledge I had of it was that it contained caffeine and tasted delicious. Embarrassingly, I was one of many (I know you’re out there!) who thought that Green Mountain Coffee was actually grown in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Coffee College taught me that no, coffee cannot grow in Vermont but also taught me to appreciate the flavor of coffee.

The first coffee that I truly tasted was our Single Origin, Fair Trade Kenyan Highland Cooperative. Under instruction from our “Coffee Professor” Tina, I took the time to observe the way the beverage transformed from first sip to swallow. How when the Kenya first hits your taste buds it bursts with a light, berry-like flavor but then transforms to a sugary smooth wine-like taste by the time you’ve finished your sip. The complexity, yet still coffee-taste of the coffee is a remarkable thing to experience. It makes me understand the value of the soil, sun and farmers that made this coffee possible.


Michael Franti Concert on Green Mountain Coffee’s Facebook Community

Big news: Michael Franti is partnering with us for Fair Trade Month!

Michael has been bringing the world exceptionally powerful, deeply felt music under a variety of names and in a wide range of genres for twenty years. From the intense punk rock of the Beatnigs, to his joyful and meaningful modern soul music with Spearhead, and now as Michael Franti & Spearhead.  We’re so happy to have his voice and passion for education and the environment, two major tenants of Fair Trade, join the movement.

Michael Franti

To celebrate Fair Trade Month, on October 8, Michael Franti will be webcasting his concert live from Berkeley’s Greek Theater exclusively for Green Mountain Coffee® fans. Tune in at midnight Eastern and 9 p.m. Pacific to watch the show on the Green Mountain Coffee Facebook page at  And make sure to RSVP!

Up to join the fun?


Calculator: Your Purchase Matters

Your purchase matters. Every cup of Fair Trade coffee you drink helps to make a difference.

When you buy Fair Trade, you’re helping people in coffee-farming communities get access to healthcare and education, and you’re helping protect the environment and maintain the quality of coffee you drink. Making your daily cup of coffee Fair Trade is a simple, easy way to make sure you’re making a difference.

Now you can see that difference with our Fair Trade coffee calculator (AKA Your Purchase Matters tab) on Facebook.  Plug in the number of cups of coffee you drink a day and we do the rest. If those cups were Fair Trade Certified™ and all of our Facebook fans drank the same, you can see how many eco-friendly processing mills, schools, cupping labs, and healthcare facilities can be built because of choosing to drink Fair Trade.

Give it a try today and see the impact you can make on the quality of your coffee and the quality of life for farmers.


Fair Trade Quality: The Proof is in the Cup

Not so many years ago when Fair Trade programs were young and relatively untested, it was a less-than-certain proposition that if you paid a few cents more for what was arguably a just cup at a fair price, you'd in fact get a tasty cup of coffee as a result. The concepts of price floors and access to markets were, themselves, transparent and easy to grasp. Coffee quality? Well, that was another story... one which would depend quite a lot on how producer cooperatives might invest their new-won profits.

Today, we're pleased to say, the proof of Fair Trade quality is evident, and it's in your cup. While coffee -- like any crop -- varies from year to year, our Fair Trade Certified™ coffees consistently get high marks not only from our own consumer community, but also from professional reviewers like Coffee Review's Kenneth Davids.  Take a look below to see how we've fared:

Kenneth Davids of Coffee Review

Kenya Highland Cooperatives -- Coffee Review Score: 93

In the aroma orangy citrus, molasses, nut, black currant. In the cup richly tart acidity, lightly syrupy body, and shifting, complex flavor: pungent aromatic wood, black currant, blackberry, ripe citrus, molasses. All saturate the long, resonant finish with an exquisite dematerialized essence of flavor.

Newman's Own Organics Colombian Especial -- Coffee Review Score: 91
Aromatically deep, with richly round caramel, toast and milk chocolate notes. In the cup penetrating acidity and flavor. Intense fruit-toned chocolate gives way to layers of fruit (peach, orange, black currant?) that soften and grow in complexity as the cup cools. Pungent dark chocolate dominates in the finish.

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe -- Coffee Review Score: 90

Crisp, bittersweet: lemon, bergamot, dark chocolate, a hint of flowers. Brisk, dry acidity; silky mouthfeel. Flavors linger in the long, dry finish.

Fair Trade Organic Sumatran Reserve -- Coffee Review Score: 88
Richly sweet flavor and aroma combines earth and aromatic wood with distant suggestions of fruit and chocolate. Muted acidity and a heavy, rather rough mouthfeel that smoothes out in a sweet but simple finish.


It's Fair Trade Month

It’s our favorite time of year again: October.  The first month of autumn brings foliage, bonfires, and, of course, Fair Trade Month!

Fair Trade provides farmers a fair price for their harvest, which means they can invest in their crops, their communities, and their futures.  Fair Trade creates some of the best coffee in the world, because farmers can afford to invest in their farms to produce the finest coffee beans.

It’s simple: Fair Trade means better coffee for you and a better life for farmers.   Check out the infographic below to get the full picture.  (Click the image to see the details. )

In the upcoming month, we’re all about showcasing Fair Trade Certified™ coffees.  From sharing our favorite varieties to showing news ways of thinking about what Fair Trade purchases can do to sharing coupons to hearing from folks who support Fair Trade, there are a lot of great things in the line-up!