Green Mountain Coffee Family of Brands Blog

Brewing the "Millennium Challenge Macchiato"

Below is a Guest Post by Jonathan Bloom from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). On April 29th, MCC awarded GMCR with its 2013 Corporate Award. 

"At the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), we work with partners across the world. By the time I arrive at the office, there are often emails from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America that need a quick response.

That’s why the coffee pot is my first stop each morning. And that’s why a coffee addict like me was thrilled to hear that we are honoring Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) with our Corporate Award for its sustainability work to improve the lives of the world’s vulnerable populations.

The award got me thinking on a recipe for a great new drink using the products of both Green Mountain Coffee and MCC’s beneficiaries from across the world. So prepare to treat your taste buds with the Millennium Challenge Macchiato.

Millennium Challenge Macchiato

1)      Start with Green Mountain's Sumatran Lake Tawar whole-bean coffee from Indonesia and grind as fine as possible. As you brew the perfect shot of espresso, take delight in knowing that one of the suppliers of this dark roast, the Gayo Organic Farmers Association, has started a project to bring safe drinking water to more than 1,500 people. The cooperative has also saved funds to help farmers with the reconstruction of their homes, many of which were destroyed in recent fighting, and to aid in the construction of two new schools.

2)      Steam milk sold by dairy farmers in El Salvador’s Northern Zone. As the steam rises, take a moment to read how many dairy farmers are now enjoying a higher income because MCC helped about 17,500 people by providing training, seeds, equipment, and technical assistance. The agency also built or rehabilitated more than 220 kilometers of road and 23 bridges as part of a five-year, $461 million compact.

3)      Pour the milk into the espresso and top with foam.

4)      Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon from the legendary spice island of Zanzibar on top to give it a pleasing kick. As you enjoy that first sip, read a bit about how MCC is strengthening the island’s electrical grid with the aim of increasing investment and reducing poverty.  Or if you have a sweet tooth, add a bit of cocoa from Ghanaian farmers who are more effectively receiving payment on their harvest, thanks to the computerization of rural banks as part of MCC’s five-year, $547 million compact."

Jonathan Bloom is the acting vice president for compact operations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. On April 29, GMCR CEO Brian Kelley accepted the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Corporate Award—recognition for the work that GMCR does to create a sustainable future for its farmer partners.


Students Leaders and Energy Literacy in Tennessee

Grants from the Employee Community Grant program support projects and solutions that take a whole-systems approach, are multidisciplinary in planning and execution, and are designed to solve problems and not just respond to them. One of our Knoxville facility's focus areas for their Employee Community Grant Program is Energy Use and Efficiency.

This year, Knoxville awarded a financial grant to Focus the Nation to fund a Green Revolving Fund on the University of Tennessee Knoxville Campus. This support will develop two new student leaders and support those leaders to build a team to implement the Green Revolving Fund. This grant will promote energy literacy and leadership development skills of the students involved. 

We are proud to support programs like this that focus on developing leaders in environmental stewardship. 

This Earth Week, how are you developing your energy efficiency knowledge and leadership?


Tully's: Calling All Artists!

Does your art put works from Picasso and Monet to shame? Didn’t think so, but Tully’s® and the Pomegranate Center want to see what you’ve got!  Now through May 3, 2013, artists of all abilities can submit a piece of original artwork to the Gathering Grounds contest on Tully’s® Facebook page, along with a short explanation of what community means to them. A panel of judges will help select two winners; one from a national pool of applicants and the other from Vermont.  Both will win a $1,000 cash prize, $2,000 in building materials, and an invitation to help bring a permanent art installation of their work to life at the Waterbury build site in June.  You can check out some of the art from past community builds on our Vimeo page here.

How will the winners be selected? The judges will evaluate entries based on the artist’s passion for enhancing the community through art, their value of spirit of collaboration, their willingness to roll up their sleeves and take part in a community building project, along with creativity, originality and thought put into the piece of artwork.

So what are you waiting for, painter/sculptor/welder/?  Help us shape our community space - Submit today!


The Cafe Goes to The Specialty Coffee Association of America

Tom Berry learning to cup!
Thomas Amelott cupping at the Guatemala country booth!

By Kiley - our famous latte arist at the Visitors Center!

The Special Coffee Association of America threw a fantastic gathering and exposition this year – and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) was the sponsor! Our little Café was lucky to be able to have five of our employees go to bring experiences and stories home in addition to the over 200 GMCR team members that made the journey to the exposition.

The educational lectures brought up points concerning every angle of the coffee business and family from roasting and the science behind it to customer service to the new generation of social media. Our speakers were experienced and deeply involved and embedded in their specific specialties. We were able to see the reach of the business and family. It was incredible!

The people we were able to meet were amazing too. I met people from Kenya, Guatemala, El Salvador, Italy, Mexico, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia and, of course, from all across the United States. It was quite the experience to meet our large and expansive coffee family. 

We also had the chance to watch the Barista Competitions and the skills shown there were phenomenal. Not only were they producing beautiful latte art but listening to them explain their coffee roasts and blends really brought you into their cup of coffee. The passion seen there was inspiring.

Even working the GMCR booth was fantastic. So many people came up to our booth and so many walked away with a smile. The interest in our coffee left our team with a good feeling too. Having the opportunity to meet and talk with our suppliers, producers, and happy customers really enforced the strong feeling of family and the relationships we so cherish. 

This year has left us with so many memories, new found skills, and inspiration. I hope we will have the chance to meet back up with our Coffee Family and friends again next year!  Back to our Café and Visitor Center we go.  


Sustainability in Our Operations and Products

We believe that our products can be sourced, designed, and manufactured in ways that are good for people and good for the environment. We strive for balance in the way we engineer our 

products. We engage with players throughout our value chain to understand the social and environmental impacts of our business and our industry.  In addition, as a leader in beverages with a positive social impact — particularly Fair Trade coffee — we can encourage consumers to use their purchasing power to support more sustainable products across the entire beverage industry.

During fiscal 2012, we worked to reduce waste and and energy. We continued to make progress toward our reduction targets for energy use and waste to landfill, even as our business growth has challenged those efforts. We have coupled our support of coffee from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms with consumer education campaigns that demonstrate the benefits for farmers and for the environment using a model that generates consumer demand for certified coffees. 

As our business grows, we hold fast to our belief that our responsibility is to create sustainable products that help us to brew a better world.

Some other key accomplishments include:

  • More than tripling the amount of waste chaff, burlap, coffee, powder, and tea that we composted, and increased recycling of corrugated boxes, boxboard, paper, and plastics by 50% in its facilities, compared to the previous year.
  • Being ranked the largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee in the world for the second year running by Fair Trade USA (2010, 2011)
  • Selling 11 million pounds of coffee from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms

Ask the Coffee Lab: What is Cowboy Coffee

What is cowboy coffee?


Cowboy Coffee from National Archives

Cowboy coffee is essentially coffee prepared outdoors, unfiltered, by fire. You don’t have to wear a cowboy hat to prepare cowboy coffee, but why should anyone pass up the opportunity to wear one anyway? Cowboy coffee shouldn’t be considered the finest, cleanest way to prepare coffee, but whether you are camping, or being a real cowboy, it’s hot, it’s coffee and it’s just fine. Plus you are outside drinking coffee, which means you are not working at your desk like I am right now.

How do you make it?  Easy: You put coffee grounds with water, let it boil for a while in the fire, take it out of the fire, try to get the grinds to settle a bit, pour and enjoy.

The photo above from the National Archives is from the 1800s and shows some gentleman enjoying breakfast with a nice cup of coffee, presumable cowboy coffee, though they probably didn’t call it cowboy coffee back then.  The description reads: 1849 - William Whiting, a lieutenant in the United States army, states, “Give a frontiersman coffee and tobacco, and he will endure any privation, suffer any hardship, but let him be without these two necessaries of the woods, and he becomes irresolute and murmuring.”


Photo Friday in Essex, Vermont

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. in Essex, Vermont

A picture says a thousand words, and Alex Eshelman, Project Engineer, captured every single one in this photo of our Essex, Vermont site right before sunset. 

[Thank you, Alex!]



20,000 Coffee Farming Families Receive Food Security Support


Coffee Farming Family

We often talk about our financial support of projects within our coffee growing communities. Those communities are just one of the communities throughout our supply chain. Our other supply chains include apple growing communities and manufacturing communities to name just a few. We are working to build a Resilient Supply Chain - helping the producers and manufacturers in our supply chain, as well as their employees and wider communities, to adapt to the many challenges they face and to prosper over the short term and the long term.

Resilence, at its most basic level, refers to an ability to adapt quickly to, or recover from, changes. We also strive to address more complex social and environmental challenges. We commit to long-term relationships that sustain healthier communities and create the highest-quality products — whether we are helping our suppliers keep pace with our Company’s continued growth or financially assisting partner organizations to develop new programs for coffee farmers to better support their families.

Focus Areas for Supply Chain Projects

Highlights from our Fiscal 2012 Report include:

-Over $10 million in funding to projects in over 12 countries within our Supply Chain Communities.

-An estimated 20,000 families have received food security support from GMCR-funded programs

-Funding of our first U.S.-based non-coffee supply chain project in apple-growing communities in Yakima, Wash.

To explore the full Fiscal 2012 Sustainability Report, visit


Green Mountain Coffee Nantucket Blend is Now Fair Trade Certified

We're committed to creating a higher quality of life for our coffee communities all over the world, and a better cup of coffee for you. That's why we're excited to announce that one of our best-selling and most loved coffees, Green Mountain Coffee® Nantucket Blend®, is now one hundred percent Fair Trade Certified™!

That’s right. One hundred percent fair trade!

This means approximately five million pounds of our coffee will switch to being fair trade this fiscal year alone!  That's almost $1 million in fair trade social premiums that go back to the farmers each year.  Named the world’s largest purchaser of Fair Trade coffees in 2010 and 2011, this is just another step in toward our commitment to support fair trade - and other opportunity to share the great quality and familiar tastes that a conversion of such a beloved coffee can do for fans!

Take part in our quest to do good and pop in a Fair Trade Nantucket Blend K-Cup® in your Keurig® brewer.  Brew a Better Day™!


Salt for Sugar on April Fool’s Day

Something looked funny in the break room this morning.

Something felt amiss.

Switching the salt and sugar shakers?  Good try, Donut Shop. Good try.  There’s always next year.

Happy April Fools’ Day!