Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

Our 4 Most Terrifying Coffees


Oh, no, it looks like a vamp got a hold of this coffee already...

Oh, no, it looks like a vampire got a hold of this coffee already...

Did you hear that?  It may have been the wind.  It may have been a swaying door. Or it may be a monster trying to eat you for breakfast.  Either way, your best defense may just be to have an equally terrifying coffee at the ready to give you the courage to be the survivor in this made-for-TV horror flick.  Here are the top four blends we’re taking with us into the zombie apocalypse:

1. Green Mountain Coffee® Dark Magic® espresso blend: Spellbindingly complex and sure to send a little hocus-pocus to those lurking baddies.

2. Green Mountain Coffee® Lake & Lodge: Inspired by the very location that most slasher films take place – isolated, in the woods, with nothing but your handy brewer to protect you.

3. Coffee People Black Tiger: ROAR!!!!  Fight monsters with a fearsome beast – in your mug.

4. Caribou Coffee® Daybreak Morning Blend: What scares vampires more than daylight?  This coffee, of course!  Who needs garlic – we have a light and fruity brew. 

Of course, there is one thing that is more terrifying than all of these coffees… running out of them!  The horror!  (So: never worry about: Join Café EXPRESS and get 15% off on every order, every time)


Happy Halloween!


Welcome to Honduras - Honduran Coffee Coop Visit

Jose Danilo with a bunch of Lenca school kids, who are children of farmers

Jose Danilo with a bunch of Lenca school kids, who are children of farmers

You might think of Honduras as the country next to Nicaragua in Central America or where the great diving on Roatan Island is. But it is also the 8th largest grower of coffee in the world and grows more coffee than Guatemala. 

Honduras is one of our larger suppliers of Fair Trade Organic coffee and we were long overdue for a visit to see some of our suppliers down there. Last week we hosted 6 different coops for 2 days of cupping, meetings, plant tours, some tourism, and plenty of good food. 

One of the guests named Jose Danilo Mejia is the president of CARSBIL. His coop is based in the department of Intibuca, and the offices are in “The City of Hope” (Ciudad de la Esperanza). When I picked them up at the hotel, he and I hit it right off as he heard that I raise animals and do a lot of gardening. He was impressed, though he might be less impressed if he saw how non-profit my small farm in Vermont is. 

It turns out Jose Danilo is Lenca, a sub category of the Mayan races that populated (and still do) Mesoamerica. It’s amazing how many different indigenous groups there are who grow coffee that ends up in my cup of coffee. He shared a bunch of pictures from his community that I thought were very interesting:

He said that this school bus is actually run by the community for local transportation, where it’s mostly used by coffee farmers to get around. It was stuck in the mud… And in the second picture you can see why!


Last year they used their Fair Trade social premiums to build 14 kilometers of road to one of their remote communities. Here’s an example of an improved road in the third picture. 


Behind The Scenes with Grace Potter in Colombia

This past May, I had the pleasure of travelling to Colombia with Grace Potter, to shoot the recently launched fair trade campaign “Great Coffee, Good Vibes, Pass It On”. If you’ve seen the videos from this trip, you’ll know that while in Colombia Grace met with local coffee producers, visited several farms, helped harvest coffee and charmed the locals with a very special live acoustic performance.

The videos capture the energy and essence of our trip beautifully, with a mélange of shots piecing together our adventures. What you don’t see are the adventures that happened off-camera. A lot can happen in four days, so here’s a little behind-the-scenes story of our travels...

View of the Andes, from the farm that Grace did her acoustic performanceThe first day, we scouted El Porvenir – a small coffee farm located high in the hills of Popayan, owned by Flor Moreno – a lovely, soft-spoken lady who has been farming coffee her entire life. After trekking through hillsides covered in coffee trees, we settled into an evening dinner with officials from COSURCA – the area’s fair trade coffee cooperative. It was amazing to hear firsthand how fair trade has impacted their lives and their communities. They explained how coffee is the social fabric of Colombia and shared stories of family, politics, social economics, and visions for the future – plans for change, purpose and prosperity, not for some but for all.

The following day, Grace arrived in Colombia accompanied by her lovely mother, Peggy.  Upon meeting Grace, I was struck by two things: First, is that in-person Grace looks exactly like Heidi Klum. For some reason this isn’t as evident in photos, but in person it’s uncanny.  Second, I was struck by how genuinely nice Grace was. And it was genuine. Over our four-day shoot in Colombia, Grace wore a smile on and off-camera and provided constant comic relief to the crew, with a seemingly endless stream of witty one-liners.

In the days that followed we travelled to three different farms, met with dozens of coffee producers, their families and members of their communities.  On the final night, Grace performed an intimate, acoustic set for about 100 or so coffee producers and their families. People travelled for miles, some leaving their homes before dawn, to join us at a family-owned coffee farm. The farm seemed to be situated on top of the world and offered a 360 degree vista of breathtaking peaks and valleys, including the most northern reaches of the Andes.

As the sun set, Grace sat atop a massive tree stump under a small pavilion and began playing for a captivated audience. By the end of her fourth song, you could feel the energy, the good vibes, radiating from our small gathering. The family hosting the concert prepared an incredible traditional meal of roast pig, plantains and potatoes. After the performance, we made our way back to the monastery (our hotel), to begin packing for the following day’s trek home.

As I said, a lot can happen in four days. I didn’t tell you that our videographer broke his arm 10 minutes into shooting on our first day. Or that we had dinner with the Mayor. Another time perhaps!

I feel lucky that I have the opportunity to travel with my career, but even more lucky that I get to meet people from all over the world. People I would not have an opportunity to meet otherwise. There’s beauty in the unfamiliar, and travelling over the years has taught me to open my eyes and ears, and listen with my head and heart.


Traveling in Nicaragua: Most Significant Change


Recently, Rick and Mary Beth had the opportunity to visit three Supply Chain Outreach-supported projects focused on food security, potable water, and sanitation with coffee farmers in Nicaragua.


They spent two days in Matagalpa with members of the coffee cooperative CECOCAFEN conducting Most Significant Change interviews. As the name implies, they asked the project participants what was significantly different in their lives as a result of the food security project. Many they spoke with told them that ‘the thin months’ had changed: they not only had more food, but also more diverse food year-round or nearly year-round now – a big change from 4 years ago, before the project started, when most reported 3-4 months of extreme scarcity of food every year.


They also spent time with nonprofit Water for People in Jinotega learning about their progress towards providing year-round access to potable water and improved sanitation in homes and schools. In Estelí,  GMCR supports a project with CII-ASDENIC, a local Nicaraguan nonprofit, that brought potable water to people’s homes, allowing them to leave behind the chore of walking several hours each day up the mountain to get water for their family. The families also received vegetable seeds that allowed them to establish family gardens, providing another source of nutritious food throughout the year.


They spent their final day with our Nicaraguan project partners in a training focused on our guidelines for how projects should monitor and report their progress and impact to GMCR. It was a great conversation and we are eager to follow the projects’ progress and continue to share this exciting work with all of GMCR.


Free Live Michael Franti Concert on Facebook

We love you, we love you, we love you! And Michael Franti, too!

Michael’s free live in concert kicks off tomorrow night, October 24 at 10:30 PM EST, on Green Mountain Coffee’s Facebook page! We'll be brewing up Sumatran Reserve as we soak in the melodic tunes in the Great Coffee, Good Vibes Lounge – some of us in L.A. to see Michael in person and some of us virtually from home, relaxing in our pajamas.

Remember: If you’re in Los Angeles tomorrow, October 24, 2012 visit 7111 Melrose Avenue and enjoy a free cup of Green Mountain Coffee® Fair Trade brews.  You never know who you’ll meet when the great coffee is flowing and the good vibes are all around!




Putting The Pumpkin In Pumpkin Spice

With Halloween virtually around the corner I must admit that I’ve got pumpkins on the brain. In fact, I recently decided to get some friends together and put our creativity and love for Pumpkin Spice coffee together. Out of this gathering came some pretty cool pumpkin carving and a seasonal spin on our K-Cup® Carousel. Check them out and let us know what you think! 

Psst...Grab some Pumpkin Spice Coffee before it goes away 11/5!



Building Demand for Certified Coffees

Increasing demand for high-quality products that are sustainably produced is core to our business strategy. In fiscal 2011, we expanded our efforts to offer and promote products such as Fair Trade Certified™, Rainforest Alliance Certified™, and organic coffees, helping to widen adoption of socially and environmentally responsible business practices.

In fiscal 2011 we:
- increased the volume of sustainably certified coffees we sold from 25% to 28% - a significant gain considering that overall coffee sales increased by 52%
-continued to educate consumers, suppliers, and employees about the value and benefits of sustainable products, through the support of community outreach programs run by organizations such as Fair Trade USA

Certified Coffee Shipped Infographic

We also continued our commitment to our Farm Identified (Farm ID) program - a cornerstone of our sourcing strategy. Our Farm ID program is an alternative to conventional sourcing through the anonymous commodity market. It represents our overall commitment to working together with our supply-chain partners, and not simply buying from them. In fiscal 2011, 34% of the coffee we purchased was Farm Identified. A portion of this is also certified coffee; other Farm Identified suppliers are at the beginning of their journey to sustainable coffee production.


Let's Talk Coffee 2012

This past weekend was the 10th Annual Let’s Talk Coffee, an annual event hosted by our friends at Sustainable Harvest (a coffee importer based in Portland, OR).  Every year, Sustainable Harvest brings together its own farmers, exporters, roasters (like us!), banks, non-profits, and other interested people for four days of coffee talk -- presentations, panels, round tables, business meetings, lots of coffee, and field trips to coffee farms. We were excited to finally meet some of the Arhuaco Indians from northern Colombia who are part of ASOANEI, one of our Fair Trade Organic suppliers.


Pictured are (me), Aurora Maria Izquierdo, her son Jorge, and Lindsey Bolger. They were as excited as we were that we were buying their coffee as they didn’t initially know who their buyer was. As a gift, Aurora gave Lindsey and me “assurance” bracelets – two small white cloth wrist bands with a little bead in each one (one white and one black). They were made in their community and blessed by their shaman (for lack of a better word) to make sure that we didn’t forget them nor stop buying coffee from them. Rest assured, I won’t forget: it was the highlight of my visit.


Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice Coffee & Doughnuts Trifle Recipe


It's the most wonderful time of the year!  And yes, I am singing that line - because right now is Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice time. My favorite of all Green Mountain Coffee® blends, made even better because it is Fair Trade Certified™. I big puffy heart developing recipes around all the Green Mountain Coffees that I do, but anyone who's known me for a while knows that Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice is the end-all, be-all in my coffee world. Developing a recipe with this scrumptious coffee is a highlight for me every Fall.

Let's talk about classic combinations for a second. Peanut butter and jelly. Cookies and milk. Doughnuts and coffee. Just a few simple ingredients: pumpkin doughnuts from your favorite bakery, vanilla pudding with a Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice kick, and fresh, decadent whipped cream. Put them together and what have you got? Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice Coffee & Doughnuts Trifle! Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice coffee provides the perfect flavor profile for a decadent Autumnal dessert fancy enough for Thanksgiving, but also at home on a Tuesday. These trifles are make-ahead, and look adorable in mini trifle cups or Mason jars, which also means they'd be easy to transport to the next football tailgate too. Just a couple of Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice K-Cup® packs and you'll be on your way. Just make sure you get your K-Cup® packs ordered soon. They're known to sell out quickly!

Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice Coffee & Doughnuts Trifle

serves 8


4 Pumpkin doughnuts from your favorite bakery (Cake doughnuts with a sugar glaze work best.)
1 3 oz package Vanilla Cook & Serve Pudding
3 8 fl oz cups Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice coffee, divided
2 pints heavy whipping cream, divided
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons granulated sugar Pumpkin Pie Spice for garnish


Prepare the vanilla pudding mix. The cook and serve style calls for 2 cups of milk on the package. Instead, use 1 cup of heavy whipping cream (You will have 3 cups of heavy whipping cream left over) and brew one cup of Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice coffee. Add both to a small saucepan, and then add the pudding mix.

Stir constantly over medium heat until just reaching a bubbling boil. Remove from heat, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the pudding in the refrigerator - it will thicken as it cools.

After about an hour, the pudding should be the perfect consistency, and nicely chilled.

Slice each of the doughnuts in half, and then chop each halve into smaller pieces. Fit 1/2 a donut into each vessel, whether it be a mini trifle cup or an 8 oz mason jar.

Brew two 8 oz cups of Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice Coffee. Pour 2 oz (the size of a shot glass) over the pumpkin doughnut pieces in each vessel and set aside.

Spoon about 3-4 tablespoonfuls of pudding over the donuts in each serving glass. Distribute evenly among the glasses until all the pudding is used.

Add the remaining cream to a large bowl, along with the pure vanilla extract and granulated sugar. Whip on high speed in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until the cream has stiff peaks.

Spoon whipped cream over the pudding layer in each trifle, making sure each cup gets an equal amount until the cream is all gone.

Cover each trifle with plastic wrap (or screw on lids if you're using mason jars) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Just before serving, sprinkle each trifle lightly with pumpkin pie spice for garnish.

Trifles can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.


[Psst - if you go over to Bluebonnets & Brownies, there's a Pumpkin Spice giveaway going on, too!  Go on over and check-it out!]


Reducing Our Impact

We strive to understand our environmental footprint and work to reduce the impacts of both our operations and our products.

Our operational focus in fiscal 2011 remained on building robust management systems to help us

- meet our compliance responsibilities,
- minimize waste, and
- improve energy efficiency in our existing facilities and newly acquired sites.

With regard to product sustainability, we further reduced packaging and expanded programs that divert returned Keurig® brewers from retail and used K-Cup® packs in the office environment from the waste stream. These efforts not only protect the environment, but many also help us save money while better meeting our stakeholders’ expectations.

GMCR Facility Sumner, WA Waste Diversion Infographic

One of the big wins during fiscal 11 was the work our Sumner, WA facility did around waste diversion. In fiscal 11 Q4 alone, they composted 133 tons of waste! Knoxville also surpassed their waste diversion goal of -15% to -49%!

To read the full fiscal 2011 CSR Report, visit


$2 Off Fair Trade Coffee

Fair Trade means better coffee for you, and a better life for farmers. During Fair Trade month you can save $2 on any Fair Trade Certified™ coffee purchased through This offer is valid through 10/31. Learn more about this offer today. 



Get Up To $50 Back On a Keurig Brewer

There has never been a better time to save on a new Keurig® brewer. Through October 28th, anyone who purchases a Keurig Vue® or K-Cup® brewer on will get up to $50 off with a mail in rebate. This rebate can also be downloaded by customers who have recently purchased a brewer (online or in a retail store). Add Keurig Brewed® packs and accessories to your order for additional savings. (Café Express® 15% savings and benefits are eligible for purchase.)


Great Coffee, Good Vibes, Pass it on

October is Fair Trade Month!  For more than a decade, Green Mountain Coffee® has been a leader in the fair trade movement, providing a better cup of coffee to you and a better quality of life for coffee farmers.

This year, we’re celebrating with our “Great Coffee, Good Vibes, Pass It On” campaign – bringing Fair Trade Month to life with good vibes you can taste, hear, and feel!  Here are some ways you can take part in the fun:

To celebrate Fair Trade Month, both Grace Potter and Michael Franti will give exclusive performances streamed live on the Green Mountain Coffee Facebook page. You’re invited to RSVP for the events on our Facebook page and experience the good vibes firsthand:

  • - Oct. 9 at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST — Grace Potter will perform live from famed music venue Joe’s Pub in New York City. Potter’s set will feature unique acoustic versions of songs from her new album, The Lion The Beast The Beat. You can RSVP here!
  • - Oct. 24 at 11 p.m. EST/8 p.m. PST — Michael Franti will rev up Los Angeles from the first-ever Great Coffee, Good Vibes Lounge, brought to you by Green Mountain Coffee. Fans will be able to visit 7111 Melrose Avenue on October 24 and enjoy a free cup of Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade. Be sure to RSVP here so you don’t miss out!

Join us on the Green Mountain Coffee Facebook page to view photos and videos from Grace Potter and Michael Franti’s trips to fair trade coffee cooperatives in Colombia and Sumatra.  After watching these videos, you’ll have the chance to receive free fair trade coffee samples or coupons and enter for a chance to win a trip to one of our source countries: Costa Rica!

We're jamming a lot into 31 days so you can enjoy great coffee, listen to good tunes, and pass on the fair trade vibes!