Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

Ask the Coffee Lab: Why do coffees from different countries taste different?

I’m not sure I get this: Why do coffees from different countries taste different?


It all comes down to what we call terroir.

Like wine, coffee expresses regional characteristics and exhibits the effects of its terroir, or "taste of place." Differences in soil, altitude, rainfall, processing techniques, and even social conditions affect what's in the cup.  One of the most important conditions is the areas own traditions and for handling and processing coffee.

Take Sumatran coffee, like our Fair Trade Sumatran Lake Tawar.

Beans from Sumatra have always been highly prized not only because of their full flavor, but also because of their distinct appearance. Sumatran coffee beans, when green, are often asymmetrical in shape and have a deep aquamarine tint.

The drying techniques employed by Sumatran coffee farmers also contribute to the coffee’s distinctiveness. These techniques involve an extended period of the coffee bean’s exposure to the pulp of the berry after the berry has been harvested—a process which is believed to produce deeper tones in the brewed coffee.

Compare that coffee from southeastern Mexico, along the Sierra Mountains, like our Fair Trade Organic Mexican Select.

Coffee farmers process their beans using their own local wet mills. This process results in a balanced acidity in the coffee, for the process of fermentation and drying are quite immediate to each other. While this organically grown coffee is cultivated in an environmentally friendly manner, its flavor is improved as well. Being shade grown, the coffee plants mature slowly, creating sweeter coffee beans.

Since our team gets the chance to go to these places, see the people, we also get to know their traditions, their culture.  While you may not be with us on the trip, you do get to experience these places through their coffee.  Guess you can say, you can tour the world through your coffee cup.


New Year’s Reflections from the CSR Department

During the past couple days, while email and phone calls have slowed down in the office, my coworkers and I started to reminisce about the past year at GMCR. It is a wonderful experience working at a growing company, but it was nice to slow down a bit this week and look back at some of the highpoints for us working in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department.  

For me, it’s all about the growth. As our business has grown, so has our 5% fund. We’ve expanded our reach exponentially since I started with the company 5 years ago. There are more resources to grant to deserving non-profits in coffee-growing communities and in new supply chains. We’ve started employee community grant programs at our Employee Sites throughout the U.S. Our department has also grown – welcoming 3 new members to the CSR this year. It is truly amazing to see the ongoing development of our CSR programs.

Liz Dohrman, Enterprise Volunteerism SpecialistChildren at Planting Hope's Coffee Camps

Working on the domestic team in our CSR department, I know a lot about our work in coffee growing communities but had never had the chance to see the projects we support in person. In December I had the opportunity to visit Nicaragua as part of this year’s employee source trip. In a little town called San Ramon, we met children attending Coffee Camp. Coffee Camps were started by a small, Vermont-based non-profit called Planting Hope. Parents who work in the fields to harvest coffee frequently leave their young children at home alone. Coffee Camps offer a safe place for kids to go during their school vacation. Instead of being left home alone in remote areas, they go to camp where snacks and a meal are provided and a school-like curriculum is presented, with a little fun thrown in, too. Meeting these kids was incredible. Many live in remote areas in meager conditions with few possessions. We had the opportunity to play with them and see how happy they are, despite the many challenges facing them. I’m very proud to work for a company that supports projects like Planting Hope’s Coffee Camps.

Eliza Dodd, Domestic Community OutreachEliza pulling a tire out of the Winooski River in Vermont

One of my 2011 highlights was participating in GMCR’s River Clean-Up week! It is a great opportunity for employees to get out and give back to our local communities. I had a blast digging tires out of the river, paddling down the Winooski, and meeting folks from other departments in the company.

Mary Beth Jenssen, Supply-Chain Outreach

When thinking back on my first year as a GMCR employee, the part that sticks out in my mind above the rest is the people. Stated many times, but all too often unproven, is the importance of great coworkers.  GMCR has a culture that values collaboration, open dialogue and growth that is proven through its employees. IGMCR Employees at Employee Appreciation Day have never met a coworker that I didn’t like and have been fortunate enough to have made many friends over the last 11 months and that is  a rare thing to find at work. Having wonderful coworkers can be a reason you come in to work each day, a reason you stay with the company rather than looking to move out, a reason you are able to accomplish a seemingly impossible project. 2011 at GMCR has been filled with wonderful coworkers that showed me what it means to work at a great place.

Thank you for following our work throughout the year.

And Happy New Year!


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Wishing you an inspirational Christmas from all of us at Green Mountain Coffee®.


Cards, Stockings and Warm Holiday Wishes for our Troops!

We’re happy to support our troops all year round with great tasting coffee. It is especially great to know that those comforts of home are also there during the holidays. Over the past month employees have also been volunteering their time to send some holiday cheer to our service men and woman.

In our Knoxville, Tennesee facility employees used their company sponsored volunteer time to make cards for the American Red Cross’ Holiday Mail for Heroes program. The cards, handcrafted by volunteers across the country, are sent to service men and women, their families and veterans all over the world. Employees crafted cards and messages of thanks. In total they made 515 cards!

Employees Decorating Cards for the Troops The cards employees decorated

At our Keurig facility in Reading, Massachusetts employees decorated 190 Christmas Stockings and put together 380 grab bags. Both the Keurig and Green Mountain Coffee brands have a strong relationship with the Pease Greeters Organizations through volunteer events like this and brewer and coffee donations.

This effort was particularly meaningful to the Reading, MA employees. The stockings and bags are being delivered to a Unit from Reading currently serving in Afghanistan.

Thank you to the American Red Cross and Pease Greeters for providing opportunities like these so that we can give back in a special way during the holidays!


Grand Reopening of the Visitor Center and Cafe!

This past Saturday we held the grand reopening of the Green Mountain Coffee® Visitors Center and Café - and what a great success it was!  All day long folks stopped by to check things out, see our revitalized space, and warm up (it was only 25-degrees out) with a steaming cup of coffee. Some lucky customers even walked away with great prizes including gift bags full of Green Mountain Coffee goodies (and even a Keurig® brewer or two).

We have to say: The Café staff did a spectacular job reopening the doors. Their friendly greetings and glowing faces really added to the enjoyment of the day. To say the least, we are so happy to see them back in action – particularly when they walked around with a selection of tasty treats was provided by Joan Grenier of Grenier’s Home Bakery.  Yum!

What’s a celebration without music?  Harwood Unions High School’s own a capella group, I Cantori, stopped by and captivated listeners with a selection of holiday favorites on the front porch. True professionals, the group sounded perfect - even in chilly temperatures!

Inspired by the occasion (and by the joyous music), Megan Smith, Vermont’s Commissioner of Tourism & Marketing, spoke about Waterbury and the importance of small towns in Vermont. Revitalizing Waterbury presented Ernie Pomerleau with a community services award for his work in Waterbury – thanks, Ernie!  Missy Gorham, the Café’s Manager, also got the chance to speak, sharing how very happy she is to be back in business after three months of hard work to get everything up and running again. Finally, the group raised their mugs in a toast to the Café staff, commemorating the reopening, the Visitor Center’s 5th year in business and Revitalizing Waterbury’s 20th year.

We are so fortunate to be part of a community that looks out for each other and rally when times get tough. We hope that the Café will continue to embody a sense of community spirit and that locals and visitors alike will come see us to enjoy a warm cup of coffee and the company of family and friends.

Thanks to all those who joined us on Saturday!  We hope to see you again soon. And for those of you who didn’t have the chance, come visit us any day of the week between 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. You’ll be glad you did.

By: Alexa Mucklow, PR Intern


The Visitor Center is Back in Business!

In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, our Visitor Center was left in rough shape. Flooding damaged some of the building's core systems and the Visitor Center team had no choice but to close shop and make repairs.

But now, after three months of hard work, we are excited to announce that the Green Mountain Coffee Visitor Center and Cafe is back in business!  Our doors are open once more!  While we were away, we made some enhancements to the building, such as additional indoor seating, and have a revamped menu that we think you’ll love. Our new hours will be 7 a.m.-5 p.m., 7 days a week!

Tomorrow, Saturday December 17th, you're invited to join us at the Visitor Center & Café located at the Historic Waterbury Train Station for our official reopening. We’ll be celebrating all day with live music, food, and community spirit.  At 3:15 p.m.(after Santa in the Park) there will be a toast to commemorate the Café’s 5th anniversary of business, as well as the 20th anniversary of Revitalizing Waterbury.

If you're in the area, make sure to  come on down and see us!  We'll welcome you with open arms, holiday spirit, and lots of coffee!

By: Alexa Mucklow, PR Intern


Media That Matters: A Film Festival that Inspires

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

Media That Matters Premiere Filmmaker Q&A

I made a film once when I was in high school. It was one of those classic group projects that loom over your head until three days before it’s due when the group finally decides it’s time to put aside their laziness and work together to pull it off. For one such project, I was fortunate enough to have some rather talented artists in my group. We decided to make a film. Six hours of footage and 48 hours of editing later our 7 minute film was presented to the class. This whole process completely changed the way I viewed film-making. It truly is a labor of love and a keen ability to visually craft a story that, for many filmmakers engages, inspires, and motivates its viewers.

Media That Matter Jury Award Winner '11

Media That Matters (MTM) is a program of Arts Engine, a nonprofit dedicated to driving change by connecting media, technology, and community. Each year they challenge filmmakers to create a film that engages, inspires and motivates. This October, two colleagues and I were fortunate enough to attend the 2011 Premiere as representatives of After the Harvest: Fighting Hunger in the Coffeelands, a film supported by GMCR. We live in a culture of sound bites. If the message is not delivered within 5 minutes (or 2 for some) we are checked out and that message falls on deaf ears. The challenge that MTM poses filmmakers is to choose an important topic – however you, the filmmaker, may define it – and then share that message through a short film in such a way that calls the viewers to take action. No easy feat I assure you.

The World Premiere was in NYC where 13 films were shown and each filmmaker received an award and recognition for their work. Filmmakers presented topics that mattered not only to them, but to the world – or should matter to the world – and wove in a message of hope or an example of a solution that allowed the viewer to

Isaac Haney-Owens Emerging Voice Award winner (photo by Madison Gouzie)

join a movement towards change.

Watching the films was powerful. The audience laughed and cried, moved in a new direction every  10 minutes. For me, the best part of the weekend event was the filmmaker brunch just prior to the premiere. I asked the filmmakers what motivated them, what inspired them. For some it was the love of film, for others, the injustice they saw in the world and a drive to make change. Whatever the reason, they were joined together by this passion for a medium that many of us enjoy watching, but few of us attempt to create ourselves. This drive to create and to be unique is something that is valued in our society, but not something that we are allowed the time or resources to pursue. It can be an expensive, time-consuming and agonizing experience. It is one that conjures up images of the classic “starving artist.” This was the topic at my table. Where is the money? Once you find the money, how to you get it? Once you get it, how do you produce to satisfy your own agenda and the donor’s agenda? The pressures that come with being a small filmmaker are ones that I do not envy, but I do respect.

MTM is an event that gives a voice to the less known filmmakers. These filmmakers have as much talent as any and you can hear their voice and feel their passion in just 10 minutes. I encourage you to check out all the MTM films and feel engaged, be inspired, and take action as I was that evening.


Spicy Eggnog Tiramisu Recipe

Snow's falling outside, the fireplace is roaring, and we have a large, comforting cup of Fair Trade Spicy Eggnog in our hands. What else could possible make this picture all the more picturesque? According to Amber of Bluebonnets & Brownies, we're in dire need of her Spicy Eggnog Tiramisu. And you know, after tasting her past delicious concoctions, we're inclined to agree.


While my family is not Italian, every year for Christmas Eve we have lasagna. I don't really know when this tradition started, but it's been going for as long as I can remember. Suddenly, it hit me: what could be more perfect than tiramisu for dessert after all that lasagna? Spicy Eggnog Tiramisu, of course.


Layers of creamy eggnog-spiced whipped cream cover ladyfingers dipped in rich Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Spicy Eggnog. The scent alone from this dessert is enough to make your guests request dessert first. Serve it in a festive red dish, and you have got the capstone to your holiday meal!

Tiramisu is not a hard dessert to make, but it does require care and methodical steps. I personally think it's a perfect holiday dessert because you can make it up to a day in advance, and it doesn't take up valuable real estate in the oven on the big day. You can simply pull it from the refrigerator, sprinkle it with cocoa powder, and impress your family with a fancy and fantastical dessert.

Happiest of holidays to each of you - may the new year bring you a Revelation in Every Cup™!

Spicy Eggnog Tiramisu

Serves 6-8
Ladyfingers are a traditional Italian cookie also known as Savoiardi. They are meant to be dunked or dipped, much like biscotti. They are also the traditional building blocks of Tiramisu. You can usually find ladyfingers at your local grocery store - I found mine at Trader Joe's. You can also buy them at, which I have linked to below.


2 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/8 cup of granulated sugar, divided
4 oz mascarpone cheese (roughly half the container)
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons eggnog
8 oz Fair Trade Green Mountain Coffee Spicy Eggnog, room temperature
2 tablespoons marsala wine (Kahlua may be substituted)
20 ladyfinger cookies
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
cacao nibs for garnish (optional)

This is a recipe where a hand mixer, rather than a stand mixer, is an asset. I highly recommend starting out with 3 medium bowls on your countertop, and your hand mixer at the ready. You will need to wash the hand mixer beaters after each step. You should also have your 9" x 7" serving dish ready to go.

Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks.

In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and egg yolks, beating on medium speed until thick and pale, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in mascarpone until combined - do not overmix. Set aside.

Wash, rinse, and dry mixer beaters. Add egg whites to a second medium bowl, along with a pinch of salt. Beat until the eggs just hold soft peaks. Add the remaining 1/8 cup of sugar a little at a time until it is fully incorporated, then continue to beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks.

In a third medium bowl, beat cream and eggnog with cleaned beaters. Beat until the mixture holds soft peaks.

Fold cream into the mascarpone mixture gently and thoroughly, then fold in the whites and make sure they are gently, but fully incorporated as well.

In a shallow bowl (I used a pie plate), mix cooled coffee and marsala wine (or Kahlua). Dip one ladyfinger at a time into the coffee mixture, for about 3 seconds - then flip over onto its other side and do the same. Transfer the ladyfinger directly to the serving dish. Layer 10 ladyfingers on the bottom of the serving dish. You should have approximately 6 from top to bottom of the dish, and 4 along the side to fill in the empty space.

Spread half the creamy mascarpone mixture on top of the ladyfingers, making sure to level the cream out evenly. Repeat a second layer of coffee-dipped ladyfingers, then cover the second layer with the rest of the mascarpone mixture, making sure the topping is smooth and even.

Chill covered lightly with plastic wrap for at least 6 hours, but no more than 24.

Just before serving, sprinkle with cocoa powder and cacao nibs (if you choose to). You may substitute semi-sweet chocolate chips for the cacoa nibs if you like.

Serve to friends and family on fancy china, surrounded by sparkling Christmas lights, Christmas carols, and love.


And the King of the Turkeys is...

A couple weeks ago our Vermont Facilities held their 2nd Annual Holiday TurkeyGMCR Employees with Turkey Donations Drive. To add to the excitement, the winner of this year’s drive received the impressive King of the Turkey Trophy!

Over a two-day period employees donated 113 turkeys and, with our company match, $2,848 dollars! Though many departments and individuals participated, there can only be one King of the Turkeys! Congratulations to our Vermont-based Public Relations department (Kristen and Sandy).

The PR team wins the King of Turkeys!

We’re happy this friendly interdepartmental competition helped our neighbors, local food shelves and the Vermont Foodbank.

How are your coworkers or workplace giving back this holiday season?


Holiday Gift Ideas from Green Mountain Coffee

When it comes to holiday gifts, there are two schools of thought. Some people love surprises while others take a “wish list” approach. Either way, you want to make sure your presents are perfect. And we’re here to help.

Our team’s pulled together a great online holiday shopping guides that we hope will help you find the right gift for everyone on your list – holiday gift baskets for far away friends, artisan chocolates for the teacher with a sweet tooth, and Keurig® Single Cup Coffee Makers for just about anyone! With our carefully curated collection of gift ideas and stocking stuffers, you’ll find everything you need in record time.  Here are some of our favorites:

For Him:

We’ll admit it: Shopping for men can be tricky. Sometimes you find the perfect gift, only to learn he has already bought it for himself! That is less likely to happen with our unique selection of coffee mugs, rugged gear and high-tech single-cup coffee makers. If he’s particularly adventurous, our Coffee Tours are a great way to discover a new favorite coffee, and make a wonderful gift for coffee lovers who like to try new things. If your young man is still in college, the popular Keurig® Mini Plus has free shipping and is a must for all-night study sessions and early-morning classes.

For Her:

Whether she’s your mom or daughter, sweetheart or friend, treat her to something special from our collection of Gift ideas for Her. Chocolate is always a hit, and several of our offerings will fit easily into her holiday stocking. Encourage her to take a moment for herself with a handcrafted mug, or give her a few extra minutes with the convenience of a Cuisinart® Keurig® Single Cup Coffee Maker. If she likes to entertain, make it easy with our Keurig® K-Cup Carousel or Hot Cocoa K-Cup® Pack Gift.

For the Office:

A gift from our office collection is a perfect way to say “thank you” to everyone who has shared in your business success throughout the year. Chocolate dipped shortbread and biscotti make coffee breaks even sweeter! Thermal mugs keep desk-top coffee warm all morning long. Of course, the best gifts are large enough to share with everyone in the office, so choose from our wide assortment of gift baskets with plenty to go around.

For Everyone:

If time is what you want to give, consider a membership to our Café EXPRESS Coffee Club. Create an account and we’ll send bagged coffee or K-Cup® packs automatically to the address of your choice. They’ll never run out again! Treat your loved one to a coffee and beverage service with the gift of club membership. Send four or more boxes of K-Cup® packs and the shipping will be FREE.

With these ideas by your side, we hope your holiday shopping will be easy as pie!


Transforming Business as Usual Along a Supply Chain

Colleen Bramhall, who works in our Supply-Chain Outreach department, wrote this blog post for a 4 part series called Business+ on 3BL Media.

Colleen Bramhall at Let's Talk Coffee

At Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, our purpose is to create the ultimate coffee experience in every life we touch, from tree to cup – transforming the way the world understands business.  We live this creed in every part of our business, and perhaps the most authentic demonstration of this commitment is in our supply chain outreach work.

Five percent of GMCR’s pre-tax earnings is channeled into social and environmental programs, and I am responsible for that portion allocated to coffee-producing communities.  We make targeted grants to non-profit organizations and coffee cooperatives in our supply chain for programs that reduce poverty and hunger, and support health and environmental sustainability.  Currently, we are funding over 85 projects in coffee growing communities with 45 grantee organizations in 15 countries – all with a common goal of improving the quality of life of coffee farmers and their families at the household level.  Based on the findings from some unsettling research in Central America, a key area of programming focus is improving food security during the “thin months” after the coffee harvest (for more information, visit

The first time I met the team at Sustainable Harvest, I recognized in them a kindred spirit in this “business +” community; and I was not alone: Sustainable Harvest has been a key partner

Drip Irrigation Project with Sustainable Harvest in Tanzania

of GMCR’s on both the commercial side of our business and the social responsibility side for several years.  Sustainable Harvest’s Relationship Coffee Model means they have an intimate understanding of the coffee producers in their network, and thus can provide critical insight into the needs and opportunities of producers within our shared supply chain.  Cooperatives that have received funding from GMCR for social programs have often benefited from Sustainable Harvest’s expertise in and passion for development initiatives. We have engaged Sustainable staff to support several of our suppliers with building organic fertilizer plants that incorporate waste from the coffee harvesting process into a nourishing compost that greatly increase yields for farmers in Peru, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Sustainable has also led an innovative drip irrigation project in Tanzania that serves thriving vegetable gardens, reinforcing food security in these remote communities.

Sustainable Harvest’s annual “Let’s Talk Coffee” conference provides a unique space for both GMCR’s coffee buyers and corporate social responsibility team to connect with our suppliers and is exemplary of putting the Relationship Model into practice. I attended Let’s Talk Coffee for the first time this year and felt that I had entered a business utopia – where all members of a supply chain had come together to do business in a spirit of mutual respect, shared advantage, and lasting friendship.  This meeting enabled me to connect with representatives from several social projects we are funding, and facilitated conversations with new contacts about opportunities for the future.  An air of excitement permeated the conference center as business partners collaborated to build a robust, inclusive, and prosperous relationship that goes beyond business-as-usual and on to creating a bright, interconnected future together.


Double Spicy Eggnog Coffee Recipe

For some, the Holidays Season just isn't complete without eggnog... whether theirs is the traditional, spirited milk and egg punch, or something with a little less nog.

We're all for holiday traditions, so we just couldn't help ourselves when this thought came up: How about twice the eggnog – our Limited Edition Spicy Eggnog® coffee plus real, sweet and creamy eggnog?  As quick as you could say, “Saint Nick,” the Double Spicy Eggnog recipe was born!

Double Spicy Eggnog Recipe:

  • Brew a pot of Fair Trade Certified™ Spicy Eggnog coffee.

  • Lightly steam or warm ½ cup of eggnog.

  • Fill a mug ¾ full with hot Spicy Eggnog coffee.

  • Add warmed eggnog.

  • Top with whipped cream and nutmeg finish it off!



K-Cup® Double Spicy Eggnog Recipe:

  • Brew a K-Cup pack of Fair Trade Certified™ Spicy Eggnog coffee for your Keurig® brewer into a large (16oz. recommended) mug.

  • Add lightly steamed or warmed eggnog.

  • Top with whipped cream and nutmeg for a festive touch.

Doesn’t that just sing of the holidays?  Can’t wait to hear what you think of it!