Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

Giving Thanks For...

Every year on the blog, we step back and give thanks.  Thanks for our families.  Thanks for our friends.  Thanks for the air we breathe and the coffee we drink.  We step back and think about the hard times and the triumphant times.  The silly and the delicious.  We take a moment to take a moment, and hope that you do the same with us.  So, without further ado, our thanks:

Laura: I am thankful to work with smart, passionate colleagues who care deeply about their work and the impact we have on the world around us.

Mike: Easy…I am more grateful than I could ever express for the presence of our little boy Zeke – a miracle baby born March 5th, 2011.

John: I am thankful for so many things. I am thankful that my house did not experience any damage during Hurricane Irene, my heart goes out to the Vermonters that are still putting their lives back together. I am thankful for family and friends who offer their love and support.  I am thankful for my awesome job at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc.; it is great to work with so many smart people who love coffee. I am thankful for my two dogs; they are old, fit and happy and keep me active.

Marybeth: I am thankful for a great cup of coffee (Guatemalan Finca Dos Marias Rocks!) on a sunny fall morning while sitting on my front porch watching the sun light up the sky. I am thankful for being a part of a company that cares – cares about the people who work here, our consumers, and the environment. I am thankful that as our sales grow so does the 5% we donate to local and global causes.

Roger: Have you ever had one of those moments of wonder? The kinds when the whole world seems to slow down just long enough for you to appreciate it. And then for that instant, that single speck in time, nothing else matters – no stress, no worry, no frets. The other day when I was walking to work I had one of those moments. It was a beautiful morning and the sun was dancing on the autumnally punctuated mountains that surround us. The air was crisp but not cold. The colors of the sky, the clouds, and the hillsides were spot on. Even the birds’ songs seemed to lilt just a bit brighter, carrying on the breeze just a second longer than the physics of sound would normally allow. The moment literally stopped me in my tracks. I chuckled to myself while taking it all in. Those moments, those quick, personal mental group hugs with the universe, those simple distillations of time and purpose and place, that’s what I’m thankful for….

Mary Beth J.: I am new to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. this year and have found that I have a lot that I am thankful for:

  • Bringing my personal passion into work each day

  • New opportunities and experiences

  • A new appreciation for the coffee industry and an endless supply of caffeine

  • Having coworkers who patiently waited while I got back on my feet, literally, and cheered me on along the way after having only known me for a few weeks

Colleen: I am thankful that I trusted my heart and moved from New York City to Vermont!  Now I have a fiancé that I adore, a dream job at a company I admire, and a world of outdoor adventures at my doorstep!

Jen:  I am thankful for my awesome network of friends who never fail to support me and keep me going!  And that Donovan McNabb is no longer the starting quarterback for the Vikings! ;)

Derek: I am thankful for many things, but among them: I am thankful that great, interesting music is still being made today.  I’m thankful that the Flatlander Barbecue team didn’t fall flat on our face during our first year of competitive barbecue.  I’m thankful to work for a company with so many opportunities and to have the ability to work on such an amazing brand.  And I’m thankful that my wife and I get to live in the beautiful state of Vermont – more often than not, my morning commute is just breathtaking.

Kristen:  It’s been one of those years, folks.  You know: The kind of year that brings just as many challenges as it does rewards?  But man, are those rewards all the sweeter because of the hurdles it took to get them.  And those rewards are: Superior coworkers – the kind that will deal with you reverse trick-or-treating around campus in costume or frolicking down the halls of Cubeland; loving family – those that will pick you up at the airport after an event so late in the night it’s early in the morning; and hilarious, dedicated friends – the ones that roll their eyes when you tell them they’re all getting coffee for Christmas for year number three and then merrily chug every morsel of caffeinated goodness.

Tom:  My family lore has it that we're descended from the pilgrims John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley. Howland was swept off the deck of the Mayflower in a storm -- but saved by a rope thrown overboard. So I'm definitely thankful for that rescue. Otherwise I wouldn't even be here! (I am also secretly grateful for the cranberry sauce shaped just like the can it comes out of. With three kids, there's always some of that on our Thanksgiving table, alongside the more wholesome, natural whole-berry stuff.)

Doug: I'm thankful for wool socks, the heavy kind, all sheepy soft on the inside and thick enough to ward off evening chills. I'm thankful for autumn bonfires, and friends to share them with. Marshmallows, toasted just so. And I'm exceptionally thankful for a job with an amazing company that has in so many ways exceeded my expectations about what a group of committed people can do. I mean — it's a job, right? In this economy that's enough, and it affords me many of the other things I'm thankful for. But working here has enriched me as a human being, too. Who'd have expected that? So, thanks. And don't forget… wool socks: awesome.

What are you thankful for this year?


Caramel Gingerbread Cream Coffee Recipe

As with many of our flavored coffees, we took a down-home cook’s approach to crafting our Holiday Seasonal Fair Trade Gingerbread coffee. Combining flavors and roasts is very similar to working with your favorite recipes. And who doesn’t enjoy baking fresh, hot gingerbread?

After baking various recipes and experimenting with different flavors, our final result tastes almost like a proud, “mother’s favorite” type of gingerbread pastry.

But we’re not done yet.  How about adding a little caramel-goodness to your gingerbread?

Caramel Gingerbread Cream Recipe:


K-Cup® Caramel Gingerbread Cream Recipe:

Have you given this coffee recipe a spin?  What do you think?



Ask the Coffee Lab: Coffee Pairing

I always hear about pairing coffees with certain things.  Do some coffees taste better with certain foods?


I was at a lecture years ago with the great Ken Davids, coffee genius, and he said he thought that people sort of over-did the  whole idea of pairing coffee with food and they end up feeling locked in and not being creative and spontaneous. That said, he thought that heavy foods went better with heavier coffees (like Dark Magic® or any of the extra bold coffees) and lighter food should go with lighter coffees. That should give you some broad ranges to work in, right? According to Ken, coffee works best with desserts.

That same conference, I attended another lecture by Timothy James Castle, a foodie and writer. He thought that were two best ways to pair: Contrast and resonance. Here are some examples right from my notes:

  • Dark chocolate goes with acid-y coffees like Guatemalans

  • Milk chocolate goes with  Sumatrans or Konas

  • Chicken Curry goes with a light roast coffee

  • Ribeye steak goes with dark roast Sumatran

  • Fruit compote goes high acid coffees

My favorite coffee and food pairing is taking a fresh cider donut and dipped into a cappuccino. It’s not exactly fine dining, but try it.  What do you like to pair?  So go forth and be creative and tell us what you find!


Special Reserve, Guinea Pigs and Coffee Farmers

This post was written by Mary Beth Jenssen. Mary Beth works on our Supply-Chain Outreach Team.

Do you ever wonder what life is like for the farmer who works to produce the coffee you enjoy each morning? In our Supply Chain Outreach team, we focus on just that: supporting farmers and their families to meet their fundamental human needs.Cuy at La Preperidad

One year ago marked the start of a GMCR-supported project with CAC La Prosperidad coffee cooperative in northern Peru (which is currently our Special Reserve Coffee). The project focused on raising guinea pigs – yes those cute, furry rodents that we all know and love – for consumption to improve the diets and income of the cooperative members. The project, managed by the cooperative’s Women’s Committee, benefits many of the cooperatives 391 members. Year one of these efforts recently concluded and the Committee reported on how this project has changed food security in their community.

A Snapshot of Growth:

La Presperidad Cooperative Member holding Guinea Pig

Day One: 48 guinea pigs (40 female, 8 male)
Day 60: 70 guinea pigs (60 female, 10 male)
Day 365: 350 guinea pigs cared for by the cooperative and 10 individual coffee-farming families
Goal: 800 guinea pigs

As the number of guinea pigs (or Cuy as it is called in Peru) continues to grow, members are able to consume some of this meat every 15 days. Adding this small amount of guinea pig meat to their meals enables many to achieve and maintain a healthier, more balanced diet that counters nutritional deficiencies and diseases that result from poor nutrition.

Another benefit from these guinea pigs? It may be hard to believe, but the cooperative collects 33 pounds, 15 kilos, of guinea pig manure each day which is incorporated into their fertilizer production. Not only are the members able to use this fertilizer on their own land, but the cooperative is also able to sell the product to other community members and nearby organizations. The profit from this activity could sustain the guinea pig project into the future and may even to support other new activities.

In case you are concerned about the well-being of the guinea pig, I should mention that the members work to provide the upmost care by creating housing units using materials best suited for the safety and comfort of the guinea pigs. Additionally, each guinea pig unit has a caretaker charged with ensuring they are well-

Special Reserve Coffee La Presperidad

fed, hydrated, healthy and safe, which may even include visits to a veterinarian. As a result of this excellent care, members will be able to achieve improved diets and profitability fromthis project into the future.

Now, the next time you sit down to sip your Special Reserve La Prosperidad Peru you may end up thinking about the food best suited to pair with it. Perhaps it won’t be your morning bagel, but something a bit more unusual. Grilled guinea pig perhaps? I hear it tastes great when sprinkled with a bit of cumin.


Tis the Season for Spicy Eggnog and Gingerbread

Who's up for a sing-a-long?  That's the spirit!  Ahem:

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
In the lane, snow is glistening!
A beautiful sight,
We're happy tonight.
Sipping on our mug of Fair Trade Spicy Eggnog!

...I think that's how that song goes.  Doesn't that verse just remind you of  brewing up a batch of coffee that's got the cinnamon and nutmeg spice of the nog you know, with a creamy body all its own?  Add fresh (or whipped) cream, and brew up your very own holiday tradition!

Now, time for the second verse!

Gone away is the bluebird.
Here to stay is a new bird.
He sings a love song, as we go along,
Brewing up some Fair Trade Gingerbread!

Ah.  Don't you smell that fresh-baked gingerbread already?  Just like grandma made.

If we keep singing for much longer we'll start drifting away into memories of trees covered in a blankets of white, turkeys roasting in the oven, and drying your mitten by the fireplace after a long day of snowball fights.  And coffee.  Lots of coffee (until December 26 for these two flavors, that is). So, without further ado: Last verse, everyone!

When it snows, ain't it thrilling?
Though your nose gets a chilling.
We'll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Enjoying your Limited Edition Holiday Seasonals by Green Mountain Coffee!


Thankful for Waterbury

This past year has been challenging on many fronts, the most recent and impactful challenge was Mother Nature, in the form of Tropical Storm Irene.  I was affected both professionally, with our Visitor Center having to close due to flood damage during our busiest season, and personally, as my elderly mother’s house was also flooded along with many others in our community.  It would have been easy to get overwhelmed with negativity, however, the generous, supportive, spirit of our community did not make that an option.  Instead of dwelling on the tragic aspects of the situation I was able, like so many,  to look at the opportunities that  the flooding presented.

Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures in life that keep you going and being able to offer a cup of coffee and an understanding ear to a flood victim had many rewards for both myself and other members of the Visitor Center team.  We were able to keep a presence at the Visitor Center until the end of October, when the weather began to change.  We offered free coffee, information about the flood and local attractions, as well as directions.  We think of ourselves as the “Face of Green Mountain Coffee” and we were happy that we were able to continue to welcome those who stopped by the Visitor Center not realizing that the whole town was a virtual construction zone.  I’m thankful to be working for a company that holds many of the values that I hold personally; commitment to community, perseverance to go beyond what is expected, working together to make things happen to name a few.  Many of the things that we were able to do post-Irene could not have been done without the help of fellow Green Mountain Coffee employees, all of whom I am thankful for.

Personally, after the initial shock of my mother’s house being flooded, my sisters and I saw great opportunities to take care of things that have needed to be taken care of for years.  The carpet in the living room, the wiring throughout the house, the purging of items that accumulate after 40 years in a home were all addressed and taken care of without (for the most part) emotional attachment.  In the end, my mother will have a house that is updated and safer for her to live in.  I’m thankful for those things, but they are just things.  What this experience has really taught me and what I’m most thankful for is the sense of community; neighbor helping neighbor.  So many people extended themselves to victims of the flood, through donations of labor, food, supportive thoughts and so much more.  There were people helping us in the days that followed Irene that I had no clue who they were, many of which were Green Mountain Coffee employees; I’m thankful for all of them.

I’m generally thankful for friends, family, a great company, a supportive community, and proof that in this world where so much focus is put on the negative that we can find so much good to focus on during times of adversity.


Dry Socks, Full Belly, Fresh Coffee

It is difficult for those of us who have not served to understand what that act means. The Vincent Jones - 1945 Camp Lucky Strike Franceexperience is non-transferrable – something we can read about, hear stories, watch the news on, but only those who have been there can know.

Until recently, after his passing, I did not know how much being a Veteran meant to my 91-year-old Great Uncle Vinnie. He served in the U.S. Army Infantry 89th Division under General Patton. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was also part of the first wave of infantry men to liberate Dauchen, the first concentration camp to be entered by the Allied Forces. Until days before his passing, he served as Secretary and Treasurer of his local American Legion.

He was a jovial man – always laughing, dancing and loving life. If you really knew him though you knew he carried the memories of his service with him always – though he didn’t show the shock and trauma he had experienced outwardly. He appreciated the comforts of home – dry socks, a full belly, and a hot cup of coffee (he never refused a meal, even if he had just eaten, or a cup of freshly brewed coffee).

Knowing this about him and his time in the service, I’m proud to know our coffee and brewers areTroops at Holy Joe's Green Mountain Coffee Station providing that comfort to many of our service women and men.

While abroad, soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan can visit one of Holy Joe’s Cafes to sip fresh Green Mountain Coffee and relax with their fellow servicemen. So far, we’ve sent over 13,500 lbs of bagged coffee and over 9 million K-Cup Portion Packs.

And at their deployment and arrival home we work with Pease Greeters at the PortsmouthPease Greeters at Troop Deployment 10-26-11International Airport at Pease, NH to provide a warm farewell and welcome home. We provide coffee (around 1,000 cups per month!) and Keurig Single-Cup Brewers so that great coffee, freshly brewed is available to the troops as they pass through the airport. Food, gifts and ceremony are all part of the Pease Greeters send-offs and welcome-backs.

For those of you who have served, we thank you for your sacrifice both during and after your service. We wish all of you the comforts of home on this Veteran’s Day – warm socks, a full belly and certainly great coffee!


GMCR’S First Employee Origin Trip: 1992

In early winter 1992, eleven Green Mountain Coffee Roaster employees embarked on the “maiden voyage” of employee trips to origin.  This trip was headed to the La Minita estate in Costa Rica.  Travelers included Stacy Lang, Steve Sabol, Sandy Hormel (Julius), Deb Eckert, Russ Kramer, Cathy Baker, Todd Barrup, Jim Gilson, Dan Feeney, Dan Cox, and me.  The purpose of the trip was to learn about coffee and coffee processing, and to see part of this coffee producing country.

Our first few days were spent visiting the farm’s wet and dry mill on the outskirts of San Jose, and visiting the farm, which is where we stayed.  Most of us stayed in guest cottages, and we all had our meals in the main house.

Each morning we would gather on the veranda of the main house where we would enjoy cups of freshly roasted La Minita coffee as we took in the 50 mile view of the mountains above the Tarrazu River.  As we looked down, below us was a modest sized kidney-shaped swimming pool, surrounded by carefully manicured coffee plants.

The farm had a dental and medical clinic, and housing for its workers, and carefully applied agrochemicals to produce a very well regarded conventional coffee.  Over the few days on the farm, we learned a lot about coffee production, and the strides that the farm took to respect both the environment and its workers.

After days on the farm, we headed toward the Pacific coast, where we spent a day in the area of the Manuel Antonio National Park – a beautiful stretch of beach.  The jungle abutted the beach, and one morning as we sat on the sandy beach, a large family of white faced capuchin monkeys arrived looking for handouts.  About an hour after they left, the iguanas arrived.  These were no small iguanas, for some approached 3 feet in length.

The following day we visited the Monteverde cloud forest, where we hiked and visited the large butterfly farm there.  Gradually we worked our way back toward San Jose, where on our last day we went river rafting down the Reventazon River.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip.  Costa Rica is a country with spectacular natural beauty, and with very little of the poverty that is so evident in other countries in Central America.

When the team returned, we re-grouped to discuss what we had seen.  From this discussion emerged a program to recognize farms and cooperatives that demonstrate a respect for the environment and the workers.  This program was known as our Stewardship Program, and was our flagship coffee program between 1993 and 2000.

The entire team from this maiden voyage was very happy to see employee trips to origin institutionalized.  There is nothing like “being there” to understand coffee and the people who grow it.


Volunteering gets Employees into the Halloween Spirit!

Over the past couple weeks employees in our Vermont locations got into the Halloween spirit through volunteering! Carved Pumpkins for Haunted Forest

Our night shift employees at our Waterbury and Williston locations carved more than 60 pumpkins for The Haunted Forest. The Haunted Forest is a non-profit event dedicated to producing a fun and exciting community Halloween event. The Forest is an event that combines outdoor theater, special effects, the magic of the night forest and the “spirit” of Halloween. Guests are led by mysterious guides through a dark forest path lined with over 1,000 Jack-O-Lanterns and encounter characters performing Halloween-themed scenes.Employees "spider webbing" the forest.

The Essex Staffing Team also helped the Forest out. They “spider-webbed” the forest, put out the carved pumpkins along the trail and “roofed” the dark rooms!

The Haunted Forest is an important community event and we are excited to have been part of the fun!