Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

Alliance to Help Guatemalan Farmers Earn More and Improve Nutrition

Many of our efforts to promote and advance sustainability demonstrate our belief that individuals, companies, communities, and organizations can achieve more working together than apart. This belief demonstrates itself through our working environment, volunteerism program as well as our grantmaking programs. In a recent press release, USAID and Mercy Corps announced our involvment in the public-private alliance to work together to improve the lives of small-scale farmers and thier families in Guatemala. Below is an exceprt from the press release put out by USAID and Mercy Corps: 

 
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the global humanitarian agency Mercy Corps are pleased to announce  the addition of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) and Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) in an alliance to improve the lives of small-scale farmers and their families in Guatemala. The alliance, known as the Inclusive Market Alliance for Rural Entrepreneurs (IMARE), is part of the U.S. Government's Feed the Future Presidential Initiative that supports Guatemala's "Zero Hunger Pact" to significantly reduce the high rates of poverty and chronic malnutrition that characterize the Western Highland region of the country.

The public-private alliance supports community-based interventions that allow rural agriculture producers to overcome barriers and access larger commercial markets. Evidence demonstrates that this support enables small scale farmers to increase their household food and nutritional security.

"We have seen the power of this alliance create tremendous opportunities for small-scale farmers to become productive and prosperous entrepreneurs," said Peter Loach, Mercy Corps Country Director for Guatemala. "We are thrilled to be able to expand this project to now meet the needs of vulnerable coffee producers and their families in the region."

According to a United Nations World Food Program study, Guatemala has the highest rate of chronic malnutrition in Latin America and the fourth highest in the world. Rural small-scale farmers in Guatemala face multiple obstacles to access profitable markets for their products and often lack the tools and knowledge to improve their family's nutrition. This alliance uses a multi-pronged approach that not only tackles rural poverty but also raises community awareness around the importance of a diversified diet and good nutrition practices.

"GMCR is a believer in the power of public-private partnerships and their ability to enlist needed resources to overcome some of the developing world's greatest challenges. We are pleased to join USAID in supporting this Mercy Corps project in Guatemala that seeks to provide small-scale coffee farmers with better market access as they attempt to diversify their sources of income," said Rick Peyser, GMCR's Director of Social Advocacy and Supply Chain Community Outreach.

The three-year grant from GMCR will expand the alliance to work with 500 coffee farming families to improve nutrition as well as agricultural production and business management techniques. Farmers will participate in tailored educational sessions on safe handling of pesticides, use of new varieties, seed spacing, water and social conservation, and best practices for storage and handling. They will also receive training and technical assistance in nutrition, climate change and gender balance as a best practice.

GMCR's financial support also helps leverage matching funds from USAID's Global Development Alliance for public-private partnerships. According to Mark Visocky, Director of the Office of Economic Growth at USAID Guatemala, "the alliance with GMCR brings substantial resources to bear in Guatemala for the Feed the Future Initiative and brings us all closer to the goal of reducing chronic malnutrition and poverty in the Western Highlands. USAID Guatemala welcomes and encourages new alliances with the private sector to assist the people of the Western Highlands escape the cycle of poverty and malnutrition that has plagued the region for decades."

 

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A Bit of Holiday Spirit for Our Troops!

We’re happy to support the 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.                     

This year, our involvment in the Holiday Mail for Heroes program grew - with four of our sites participating.  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.

At our Keurig facility in Reading, Massachusetts employees decorated Christmas Stockings and put together 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.

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!

 

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Merry Christmas from the Visitors Center

Christmas at our Visitors Center

Merry Christmas, from the hosts at our Visitors Center, to the visitors in yours!

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Last Minute Holiday Tips from Our K-Cup Ambassadors

With only a few days until Christmas, how’s the last minute planning and gift shopping going?  Are all the gifts wrapped and under the tree, or are you a bit frazzled and still trying to pull together menus, not to mention still struggling to figure out what to get that mother-in-law of yours? (Trust me: We're all there!)

Homemade salsa from Amber of Bluebonnets & Brownies

 

To help out, we tapped into some of our K-Cup® Ambassadors to provide a few tips to help you check off some of those final tasks. 

  • Take a break.  Kelby of Type-A Parent says, “It is so easy to get caught up in your endless to-do list for the holidays (and unfortunately, holidays are on the calendar and come with a definite deadline). Take a break to do something holiday-related just for the sheer fun of it. Almost every town or city has some sort of holiday displays, events, festivals or even just holiday lights driving through neighborhoods. Take one day to just enjoy the holidays. Believe me, all the other stuff can wait one day (unless, perhaps, you are reading this on Christmas Eve). 
  • Do-ahead appetizers.  When planning appetizers, Amber of Bluebonnets & Brownies says to always include a few dips that can be made ahead of time, and quickly too, like this homemade salsa recipe. Throw some tortilla chips in a bowl, and you're ready to go. It's my mother's recipe, and I serve it at every party we host, no matter the time of year. It's always a hit, and it comes together in the food processor in about 3 minutes flat. Add to that, it can be made up to 3 days ahead of time, and the flavors only get better the longer it sits."
  • Hostess Gifts.  Julie from The Little Kitchen loves to give little gift baskets with coffee and cookies in them - or even a cute coffee mug with a little baggie with a sampling of your favorite K-Cup® packs and some homemade biscotti or cookies.
  • Take a “Me Moment”.  Kristen of Dine & Dish carves out a bit of “me” time each day. “I do that by sitting down to a cup of coffee. There is a reason coffee is hot… it’s meant to be sipped and savored, not rushed.  I use that 15 minutes in my day to get a grip on the day and it truly does work.”
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Fair Trade Gingerbread Whoopie Pie Recipe

Happiness comes from lots of things in life; a smile from a stranger, an email from a friend, or your favorite seasonal Green Mountain Coffee® flavors - like Fair Trade Gingerbread and Fair Trade Spicy Eggnog - coming back into rotation.

I'd never made whoopie pies before, but I had my heart set on creating them using Fair Trade Gingerbread coffee since the moment we decided that would be this month's flavor. Can I tell you a secret? Whoopie Pies are now a full on obsession!

They're way easier than I ever imagined. You'll be able to bake up a dozen saucer-sized whoopie pies with tangy, creamy filling in no time at all. They'll make a fabulous impression beside all the sugar cookies and shortbread that make an appearance this time of year.

Imagine the oohs and ahs you'll garner when you present a tray of these festive Gingerbread Coffee Whoopie pies with Gingerbread Cream Cheese filling decorated with red, white, and green sprinkles!

Fair Trade Gingerbread Coffee Whoopie Pies with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Filling

Makes 12 saucer-sized pies

 

 

Ingredients

For the Pies

  • 1/4 cup Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Gingerbread Coffee
  • 1/4 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (also known as graham flour)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup full flavor molasses
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

For the Filling

  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons Fair Trade Gingerbread Coffee
  • Holiday Sprinkles (optional)

Directions

 

For the Pies

Brew one 4 oz cup of Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Gingerbread Coffee and set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, add vegetable shortening and softened butter, and mix on medium speed until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times. Add brown sugar and beat again until well mixed, then do the same with the egg.

In a separate medium mixing bowl, combine whole wheat pastry flour, kosher salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Stir with a whisk for one minute (this aerates the flour so there is no need to sift), then set aside.

Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture in the large mixing bowl and mix on low speed to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl often. When fully incorporated, add molasses to the mixture and mix on low speed again until fully combined.

Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix on low again. Scrape the sides of the bowl and make sure all the flour is mixed in. When this is done, add the buttermilk and cooled coffee and mix on low speed until these last two ingredients are well mixed-in.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then, using a large cookie scoop or an ice cream scoop, spoon 6 portions of batter onto the sheet, well spaced apart as they will spread.

Remove cream cheese for the filling from the refrigerator at this time and leave it on the counter. It will soften while you bake off the pies. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove immediately.

Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a moment, then carefully peel the parchment paper away from each pie half. Place the cookie on a cooling rack to continue cooling, and continue baking the rest of the pies.

 

For the Filling

Once all the pies are baked and are cooling, begin to make the filling. In a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whip cream cheese on high for about a minute.

One cup at a time, sift the powdered sugar and add it to the cream cheese, mixing on low at first, then on high to fully incorporate and whip.

When all the powdered sugar is mixed in, add vanilla extract and Fair Trade Gingerbread Coffee to the mixture. Whip on medium speed until the filling reaches the consistency you'd like.

If you find the filling too thick for your liking, add half and half or whipping cream one tablespoon at a time, mixing after each tablespoon, until you reach your desired consistency.

Spoon filling onto one half of a whoopie pie and spread with the back of the spoon in a circular motion towards the outside of the cookie. Top with a second cookie and press slightly so that the filling is visible from the edges.

If you would like, hold the pie over a baking tray and lightly coat the filling with holiday sprinkles. The tray will catch any sprinkles that don't stick to the filling and make for easy clean up.

Refrigerate the pies until ready to serve, up to two days.

 

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

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A real coffee cake in the office

Sometimes, a picture speaks a thousand words. 

Green Mountain Coffee French Roast Cake

Behold: Green Mountain Coffee® French Roast – as a cake!  This delicious beauty appeared in the office yesterday as a congratulatory gesture for work done between our IST and Digital teams.  Vanilla cake with mocha frosting – delish!

Which kind of "coffee cake" would you like to try?  I think Spicy Eggnog® coffee would be a treat - a new holiday tradition!

 

(Thanks to Jacques' Fine European Pastries!)

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Helping Homeowners in Our Own Backyard

Home ownership is something that most of us dream to accomplish. Ownership evokes a feeling pride and success.  Financial or physical issues that prevent proper maintenance can sometimes threaten this dream. That’s where Operation Backyard steps in.

Operation Backyard GMCR Grantee

Operation Backyard is a Knoxville Leadership Foundation program that works to improve the homes of those who cannot afford to do it themselves. These small renovations and fixes enable homeowners to stay in their houses and help maintain the value of the home and neighborhood. This program works to build healthier communities, one house at a time. The Operation Backyard program is a grantee from our Knoxville, TN Employee Community Grant Program for the past two years.

GMCR Grantee Operation Backyard Ramp Build  GMCR Grantee Operation Backyard Ramp Build  

On Wednesday, November 7th, a group of 5 Knoxville employees, using their company sponsored volunteer time, built an 18’ handicap ramp at the home of Geraldine. Geraldine is a hemodialysis patient who must use a wheelchair/stretcher to get in and out of her house. The ramp was built attached to her front porch to make the process of coming and going for treatments a little easier. The group expressed that they had a great time and look forward to doing more projects with Operation Backyard.

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Green Mountain Coffee Goes Country at the CMAs

Green Mountain Coffee at the CMAs

Life is always interesting in the event marketing world, and you never know where the opportunities may take you or who you may be rubbing elbows with. From both a professional and personal standpoint, you can mark down the Green Mountain Coffee® sponsorship of the 46th Annual Country Music Association (known as the CMAs to us fans) Awards in Nashville in the time-well-spent column.

In October, the Green Mountain Coffee brand sponsored a massive 2-day marathon of remote radio broadcasts preceding the Country Music Association Awards (CMA) Show in Nashville, TN. Personnel from 50 Country stations from around the U.S. were there, all part of the Clear Channel Premiere Radio Network. Naturally, all those radio personalities need people to interview, so also in attendance were over 100 of the biggest names in Country music today. Artists and bands like Faith Hill, Luke Bryan, Little Big Town and Kelly Clarkson were there, along with Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Miranda Lambert, Darius Rucker, Zac Brown Band, Eric Church, Lady Antebellum, Jason Aldean, Taylor Swift, and many more. Many of them enjoyed the unlimited access to our Keurig® sampling array and tasty lattes and cappuccinos served up by a talented local barista that we partnered with.  To say the least, it was an elbow rubbing time.

(My strictly un-scientific poll revealed that the Green Mountain Coffee Caramel Vanilla Cream K-Cup® packs were the belle of the ball, and seemed to be the variety of choice for many country fans.)

 

We also served free samples of great K-Cup® pack varieties like Fair Trade Organic Sumatran Reserve and Fair Trade Vermont Country Blend® to all the fans lined up in front of the hotel, waiting patiently for photos and autographs from some of their favorite Country stars. 

Another part of our sponsorship entailed working with a great new band called The Henningsens. The band is currently in the midst of a ten-city promotional tour, and are criss-crossing the country in a beautifully wrapped Green Mountain Coffee bus. Let us know if you happen to spy the bus in your area!

Hope to rub elbows with you at an event sometime soon…

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