Best Coffee in the World

Happy Engineers Week!

GMCR Engineers Use 'Out of the Box' Ideas for In-the-Box Solutions 

 

Engineers are known for their problem solving and analytical thinking. At Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) we put this to the test and encourage our team members to literally think outside of the box and have fun doing it! Recently, teams of engineers were challenged to come up with innovative and sustainable packaging ideas for Keurig® home brewer models.

Incorporating passion and innovation in all that we do, GMCR creates engaging, hands-on activities for our employees with a purpose. Conducted at our new state-of-the-art facility in Burlington, Mass., 13 teams competed to create sustainable material packaging ideas to protect a Keurig® brewer when falling 20 feet. Some of the winning ideas are going to be considered to improve our designs for future packaging.

“At GMCR, we strive to do what best for our customers and the environment,” said Jim Shepard, GMCR Director of Brewer Engineering. “The engineering group is constantly pursuing ways to reduce our non-renewable waste stream and the sustainable drop test competition was a way to fully embrace and challenge the way we are currently packaging our products”

While many engineers have participated in the classic egg drop experiment in the past, at GMCR, we up the ante and conduct a drop contest using Keurig® home brewers. Not only was the purpose to give our engineers an exciting way to work together, it also provides GMCR an opportunity to explore innovative ways to improve our packaging. The teams were judged on a variety of criteria after the boxes were dropped including, brewer functionality, aesthetics of the master carton, aesthetics of the brewer and sustainable materials used for the packaging.

“It was great to challenge our engineers to think out of the box about what goes into the box,” said Shepard.

At GMCR, we strive to create an environment where sparking our team member’s curiosity and imagination can continue to shape our future by redefining the consumer experience.  

So, wish all of your engineer colleagues and friends a very Happy Engineers Week and be sure to check out our GMCR page, to give you a further look into our career ideals as well as our promise of enriching your culture to Brew a Better World with us! 

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Jamaica Blue Mountain® and 100% Kona: This Season’s Special Reserves

Calling all coffee connoisseurs (and the friends who buy them gifts). We are pleased to announce the arrival of two highly prized Special Reserve coffees from Green Mountain Coffee®: Jamaica Blue Mountain® and 100% Kona. This isn’t something for just the French Press folks, these limited edition coffees are available in K-Cup® packs as well as bags. Both package options come with an informational brochure and are specially designed to make an elegant gift presentation.

Here’s a taste of each unique variety.

Jamaica Blue Mountain® is a coffee that is world-renowned for its exceptional flavor. So much so, that coffee experts ask for it by name. It is a complex coffee that presents a cup of well-rounded contrasts. You’ll find rich notes of chocolate, cherry, and plum, while hints of melon, lemon, and lime also shine through. The body is heavy with a silky, smooth finish.

100% Kona is one of the world’s most prized, award-winning coffees. It is a cheerfully bright, but delicate coffee that expresses dry, Chardonnay-like notes while presenting refreshing hints of tropical fruit, tart green apple, and dried citrus. It’s incomparable aroma is pleasantly floral with an almond sweetness.

These coffees, as with all Green Mountain Coffee® Special Reserves, are nurtured on the small farms we encounter during journeys to familiar origins and emerging coffee regions. They are carefully sourced and expertly roasted to bring out the best in every bean.

They’re also limited in supply, so don’t wait too long to order them!

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A New Coffee Blend That’s a World-Traveler

 

 

Just in time for Fair Trade Month, Green Mountain Coffee® has introduced a new Fair Trade Certified™ coffee that brings together beans from three of the most distinctive coffee growing regions in the world. Introducing new, extra bold, medium roast, Three Continent Blend, a harmonious blend that’s not only great coffee for you, it’s helping provide a better quality of life for farmers on our source farms in Sumatra, South America, and Ethiopia.

Here’s how.

Fair Trade certification gives farmers a fair price for their beans with a guaranteed minimum, which means they can invest in their crops, their communities, and their future. Fair Trade also lets Green Mountain Coffee® and farmers work closely together to bring the best tasting coffee to market.

And because it’s Fair Trade Month, there’s all sorts of great stuff going on: savings on all Green Mountain Coffee® Fair Trade Certified™ coffees. And have you heard? Kelly Clarkson traveled to Peru as a Green Mountain Coffee® Fair Trade Ambassador to learn about Fair Trade and all the good it does around the world. You can check out her travelogue, including photos and video at www.choosefairtrade.com. And on October 10, you can watch an exclusive Kelly Clarkson concert live on Facebook. Learn more at www.facebook.com/GreenMountainCoffee.  

Our hope with all this exciting promotional work is that the next time you shop for coffee, you’ll consider choosing Fair Trade. It’s one of the easiest ways you can help make a positive difference in the world. So have your coffee…and feel good about it, too.

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The Best in Bad Poetry

International Bad Poetry Day

With keen anticipation for International Bad Poetry Day, we invited our employees to give us their best bad odes to coffee. We had a terrific response and selected our top 5 favorites. Let us know in the Comments if you find a special message hidden in “Vision Our View”!

And without further ado, here they are.

 

Nantucket

By Dan Bisbee

Packaging Controls Engineer

There once was a blend called Nantucket

That some folks drink by the bucket

They can’t get enough

Of that wonderful stuff

If you gave them a straw they would suck it.

 

Secret Pleasure

By Erik Volk

Technology Learning Leader

I enjoy strong, black coffee.

It’s a coffee snobber’s dream!

Never adding sugar,

Never adding cream.

 

However, recently I found myself

With a hidden secret vice.

Loading down my cup

With sugar, cold milk, and lots of ice.

I find it only happens

In the heat of summer sun.

I drink it only in the shadows

Away from everyone.

 

If I should be discovered,

With this sweet, icy, mellow drink,

I’ll swear it isn’t mine

And quickly dump it down the sink.

 

Vision Our View

By Mark Rivers

Machine Operator, Essex Plant

The ways to brew and ways to get through…morning, noon, and night

Vision a revision of the caffeinated religion, with a new hope in sight

Of a world that blends and never ends, countless portioned possibilities

Green and lean for an environmental dream, showing our Earth no hostility

Mountain to valley, Main Street to alley, no roads dare we not trek

Coffee first led, now more beverages spread, for every category to check

Roasters power at any given hour, meticulously fine-tuned

Is the way we show and continue to grow, and prepare the world to be groomed

To understand what is at hand, a beverage for every taste

Be it breakfast, lunch, an emergency brunch, or an evening face-to-face

The occasion matters not, nor does the plot, with convenience and technology’s best

Leading the revolution of the beverage fusion, above and beyond the rest

Specialty blends are setting the trends, so perfect and expertly pearled

Beverage is the key to the way it will be, brewing a better world

Company of greatness standing on high…Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

 

Aroma

By Thomas Cominelli

Test Engineer, Brewer Engineering

Morning light breaks the night,

sky begins to glow.

Contemplating what’s ahead,

my feet are moving slow.

Green Mountain Coffee scents the air,

now nose and toes are leading.

With cup in hand I’ll make a stand

to end my palate’s pleading.

One sip to start, you’ve stolen my heart

but now I’m on my way.

My steps have spring, I start to sing

looking forward to a glorious day.

 

La Guatemalteca

By Luther Leake

Manager, R&D Innovation

A woman in coastal Guatemala

Picked coffee all day for a dolla.

But what she was paid

Increased with Fair Trade

And lifted her family from squala.

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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™!

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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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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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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!]

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Then and Now: Notes from a CSR Trip Report

As Director of Social Advocacy and Supply Chain Community Outreach in our CSR Department I frequently travel to source to check on our coffee growing communities and the programs that assist them. I find that being there firsthand gives me a much clearer insight on how we can best help our supply chain, and I have watched our supply chain and initiatives make huge development strides over the last 24 years.

The following notes are a part of an eye-opening part of my latest trip. It feels amazing to see what changes we can actually make in our world to improve normal people's lives.

 -Rick


 

Wednesday, July 18

Bill, Jonathan, Paula, and I left our hotel in Guatemala City, Guatemala at 6 a.m. for an 5 hour drive to the village of Copan Ruinas in Honduras, where we met an employee of the nearby Santa Rosa de Copan dry mill, and traveled to the mill.  After, we met Omar Rodriguez, General Manager of COCAFCAL (a coffee coop we work with) located in Capucas, Honduras. Omar then led us on our journey to Capucas in 4-wheel drive pickup trucks.  I had previously spent 3 weeks as a volunteer in this small mountainous community in 2005 and 2006 to help this young co-op develop a marketing plan and make market linkages.  GMCR is now purchasing coffee from COCAFCAL, and the community is one of those being served by a GMCR-sponsored Heifer International project in the region.

 When we finally arrived in Capucas, I was amazed by the changes that have taken place since my last visit.  In 2005 the co-op had 75 members; it now has over 800 members!  In 2005, it sold 1 container of coffee; in 2011 it sold over 100 containers.  In 2005 it had no certified coffee.  Today, it has organic, Fair Trade, Bird Friendly, and Rainforest Alliance certifications.

During my first year as a volunteer I lived in a long cinder block building, just off the beneficio's drying patio that had 3 rooms: a room with 2 chest freezers (used to freeze chickens from a Plan International project), a storage room, and finally my 15' x 15' room with a cinder block bathroom and cold shower.  My "home" was now engulfed in a large 2-story co-op office building that houses a cupping lab, an espresso cafe, QC rooms, offices, and more. 

 

My "Home", 2005 New Office Building, 2012

 

In addition significant improvements have been made in the wet mill and dry mill that have improved the capacity of the co-op and the quality of the coffee processed. 

 After visiting the co-op buildings, we drove to the buildings where we would stay.  We arrived at a small compound of 3 cottages (all brand new) that had two bedrooms, an open area with a flat screen TV, and a full kitchen.  Most amazing was the presence of two swimming pools!  This compound was built by Omar's family to support the co-op and with the hope of developing an eco-tourism business.  Celaque, a pristine national park, is within hiking distance of the community.

 While we were in Capucas, we had all of our meals with Omar's family.  It was great spending time with them again.  They were a wonderful host family during my prior visits, and it was great to see how their coop had improved with the help of some of our CSR programs!

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My Pilgrimage to The City of Coffee

 

I want you to close your eyes for a second and imagine a place where the coffee is just as good as the scenery. I must admit that Vermont has both of these things. However, there are some places that offer scenery on such a grand scale that it is often humbling to witness.  I have recently returned from a long journey to Seattle, a place that many would consider the Coffee City of the United States, maybe even the world.

My coffee pilgrimage began when I touched down in Seattle at 12:24 AM. I must admit after a 5 hour and 50 minute flight from Newark I decided it was best to get some much needed rest before exploring the sights and smells of the Seattle Coffee scene.

By 10:30 AM I was ready to get my bearings and venture out to the closest coffee shop to order a heavily caffeinated beverage. After taking a photo of the view from my hotel room I walked just around the corner and found myself staring at one of the original Tully’s Coffee Shops. It was then that I knew I was in the right place! I immediately ran inside and ordered up a double shot of espresso and a 16 oz. mocha latte with skim milk.

After getting my caffeine fix I decided to walk down to a boardwalk that was situated in close proximity to the famous Pike’s Place market. While looking west at Puget Sound and some distant 6,000 ft. mountain peaks, I realized the true beauty that Seattle had to offer. For me, life is about great coffee and great scenery and my trip to Seattle provided me with an experience that I will not soon forget! 
 
Have you had a coffee trip this summer?
 

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The Top 10 Things We Like Most About Memorial Day

Gathered via an extremely informal, impromptu poll around the office about what people liked best about Memorial Day weekend, aside from the fact that it’s a long weekend and paid holiday of course!

  1. Having a BBQ (or picnic):
    • Naturally, there were many mentions regarding cook-outs and grilling. Just about everyone had some iteration of it. Some people were a little more enthusiastic and detailed about it than others though, going so far as to say “a clambake at the beach or “a fat juicy steak on the grill cooked just so”, possibly bordering on being a little overzealous in some cases. People love their food!
  2. Being with friends and family:
    • This common theme ties in nicely with pretty much everything else about the holiday, the, generally, more pleasant weather, outdoor opportunities and the typical events warrant spending quality time with loved ones.
  3. Strawberry shortcake:
    • This classic summer treat deserves its own place in the lineup, it’s delicious. enough said!
  4. Fireworks:
    • Always fun, even if slightly dangerous, but it’s a holiday and the weather is nice enough to spend it outside, so fireworks are an obvious possibility. Please just be safe, we like you all to be healthy, happy people.
  5. Beginning to plant the garden, window boxes, spring flowers:
    • This was an extremely popular response, with good reason. The sun is finally shining strongly and the world is a verdant green and in bloom around you, so it’s an appropriate time to enjoy in that fresh spring vigor and get dirty working in the garden.
  6. Parades:
    • Exciting to watch and good for people of ages. Everything from a young girl walking her cows, which are 3 times her size, to the older veterans riding in classic cars, to people hanging out of the back of a hay wagon being pulled behind an enormous tractor(at least where I’m from).
  7. Flying candy:
    • An essential part of any parade in my book, though I’m told that this may not be a universal trait of these sorts of events nationwide. If you’re unfamiliar with this tradition, it’s basically centered around throwing candy from the vehicles and floats in the parade to the observers. Obviously a nice gesture!
  8. The start of the summer feeling:
    • Something triggers in the body right around this holiday in conjunction with the weather that says that it’s time for fun, boating, swimming, and laying in the hammock, etc…
  9. Icy beverages:
    • Marketing completely aside, the increasing warmth and humidity bring with them a desire for more refreshing, cooler drinks. Iced coffee and Iced tea taking the place of their normal counterparts.
  10. Going camping:
    • Again tied to the agreeableness of the weather, is the opening up of the camping season. Time for bug spray, camp fires, hot dogs, and s’mores!

Enjoy the holiday and cross your fingers for nice weather!

If you’re looking for ideas and/or a good deal on iced beverages you should check out what we’ve got going on the website. (GreenMountainCoffee.com)

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Sharing Coffee and other great things about living with my girlfriend

While I wasn't initially planning on moving in with my girlfriend, Lena, so young - even though we've been dating since high school - I've found that it's been a really great experience for both personal and financial reasons. I wouldn't recommend that everyone live with their significant other right out of college, it seems to be working for me.

I shouldn't be too surprised that the two of us make such good roommates - after all, we have a number of similar interests, including - what else? - coffee. I can recall one instance in college when Lena and I were preparing for a final exam - we probably each bought about six or seven cups of coffee that day. Needless to say, that caffeine binge cost us both a pretty penny at the local coffee shop, although when it comes to money, living in the post-college world has showed us both that undergraduate studies are nothing compared to professional life. 

More than just cheaper rent, Lena and I save an immense amount of money by splitting most of our costs right down the middle. In particular, we still tend to blow a lot of money on coffee every week, so sharing the cost of Green Mountain Coffee® and our Keurig® makes enjoying multiple cups a day (and we do) much easier on our bank accounts. Now we can pack up a couple of travel mugs full of our favorite French Roast or Donut House® K-Cup® packs before work - avoiding the trouble of running to the coffee shop several times a day.

There have certainly been some road bumps along the way, but I can safely say that moving in with my girlfriend has unexpectedly become one of the best decisions of my life.

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Coffee After College

I came to a strange realization over this past weekend while speaking to some of my younger friends who are currently graduating from college - I can no longer really call myself a "recent college grad." It's been just shy of a year since I received my diploma in May 2011, and the knowledge that a whole 12 months have passed since then has me thinking about those immediate post-graduation weeks.

It's oddly nostalgic to hear my buddies talking about taking that plunge into the real world. All the plans they're making, the apprehension of finding a job and place to live - it's certifiably weird to think that I was right there only a year ago. And it's perhaps even stranger to think that I've already moved on to the next step.

In truth, the summer after college graduation was simultaneously one of the best and most terrifying periods in my life. Sure it was nerve-wracking not knowing what my next step would be, but for the first time ever, I had no academic deadlines or concrete responsibilities on the horizon. Instead of enjoying my morning cup of Green Mountain Coffee® at 7 a.m. before class, I could roll out of bed at noon and have it then.

In between bouts of sending out job applications and earning some money as an intern, I spent my days exploring parks near my home, reading the entire A Song of Fire and Ice series (recommended!), finishing marathon viewings of HBO shows, traveling back and forth to the beach, and generally lounging around with my friends who hadn't moved home after graduation.

I'd be lying if I said that I felt like a full-fledged adult now, but there are a few minor signs of maturity that I've recognized. I no longer favor those sweet and delicious coffee blends like Hazelnut or French Vanilla. These days, I take my coffee straight black - the darker the coffee, such as my new favorite, French Roast, the better. I've also bid goodbye to frequent all-nighter sessions due to my early job schedule, which dark coffee also makes much easier.

So my advice to anyone crossing that college graduation finish line this May - cherish the free time you have, because it won't last forever. By no means should you forgo the inevitable job search (especially in this economy), but you should make an equal effort to enjoy every moment of this final summer vacation.

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Green Mountain Coffee Special Reserve Panama Lerida Estate

On the Panama Lerida Estate, cherries mature until red and ripe while nestled underneath thick mountain fog. Picked by skilled farmers on the foothills of the Baru Volcano, these cherries will soon be roasted to perfection- the kind of perfection that boasts 11 years of “Best of Panama” wins!



 At first, the cup presents itself with floral, perfume-like aroma but a sip reveals the blend’s true complexity. As berry sweetness melts with savory notes of vanilla, the cup finds balance and ends with a deeply satisfying finish.

Just as the success of the blend is determined by balance, so is the success of the estate itself. The tight-knit community of the Panamanian coffee farmers who cultivate this crop also work to preserve the virgin forests that help to guard it. Drawing in avid birdwatchers from around the world, the hidden footpaths, lush greenery, and picturesque waterfalls on the Estate provide shelter to some of the country’s most unique birds. Lindsey Bolger, Director of Coffee Sourcing and Relationships (and cupping expert!) commends Lerida Estate for working hard to find balance among commercial interest and environmental protection.  “They’ve created an incredibly beautiful preserve that’s home to both natural and treasures and world-class coffee.”

If you still need more convincing to at least try a cup, wait until you hear Lerida Estate’s rich history! Like many of its neighbors, the Lerida Estate can trace its engineering influences back to the construction of the Panama Canal; however, what sets this estate apart from others is that its founder, Tollef B. Mönniche, actually designed the emergency dams of the famed canal. Pretty cool, huh?

As with all of our Special Reserves, supply is limited, as we only roast one batch.  This coffee was roasted on April 10, 2012, so pick up your bag of Special Reserve Panama Lerida Estate today!

 

-Hannah P., PR Intern

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It's Fair Trade Month

It’s our favorite time of year again: October.  The first month of autumn brings foliage, bonfires, and, of course, Fair Trade Month!

Fair Trade provides farmers a fair price for their harvest, which means they can invest in their crops, their communities, and their futures.  Fair Trade creates some of the best coffee in the world, because farmers can afford to invest in their farms to produce the finest coffee beans.

It’s simple: Fair Trade means better coffee for you and a better life for farmers.   Check out the infographic below to get the full picture.  (Click the image to see the details. )


In the upcoming month, we’re all about showcasing Fair Trade Certified™ coffees.  From sharing our favorite varieties to showing news ways of thinking about what Fair Trade purchases can do to sharing coupons to hearing from folks who support Fair Trade, there are a lot of great things in the line-up!

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Irrigation for Food Gardens in Tanzania

Drip Tech Systems in Kibwigwa Village

This is a guest post by Mary Beth Jenssen. Mary Beth works on our Supply-Chain Outreach Team.

It’s hard to imagine the need for water when much of the United States experienced significant rain and flooding this spring and summer, but in many parts of the world the issue is just the opposite: drought threatens communities’ crops, livestock, and survival. Not only can drought be an issue, but access to water can be just as challenging for some communities.

GMCR has worked with Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers for several years now. Sustainable Harvest is a coffee importer, as the name says, but they also offer “Relationship Coffee” services. What does that mean? They work to connect growers to markets through direct relationships while investing in training, technology and management systems to improve farmers’ ability to create a better quality of product and thrive in the specialty coffee market.

Water Tank in Mkabogo

In 2010, GMCR supported a project with Sustainable Harvest in Tanzania focused on food security. The main project component was planting family gardens. Shortly into the start of the project, it was realized that the garden could not thrive, let alone survive, without a water irrigation system. In 2011, GMCR agreed to support a drip irrigation component added on to the family garden project. While the drip irrigation system does allow for easier access to clean drinking water, it also allows for easy access to water for participants’ food gardens, allowing the original goal to be achieved: food security for coffee farmers and the community.

In May of this year, community members in Mkabogo worked hard to install the water system in time to be used during a period of little to no rain. With the support of experienced technicians, the participants carefully chose locations for the water tanks, considering both security and fertilizers in the area.

Kibwiga Village Community Water Facility

In July, two months later, work moved along as the 35 Driptech systems were installed in Kibwigwa Village. The Driptech system is sturdy, efficient, and has the added benefit of being able to water laterals at different times – not only alleviating the issues of slope, but also allowing for crops with different water requirements to be planted on the same plot.

In the coming months, Sustainable Harvest will support crop planting, monitoring and evaluating the drip irrigation system functionality, conducting a market survey for the sale of excess crops and continued research and training on the best practices in vegetable production. Check out an update on the project from Sustainable Harvest themselves: http://blog.sustainableharvest.com/?cat=41

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Bringing Financial Literacy to Aceh

This is a guest post by Colleen Bramhall. Colleen works in our Supply-Chain Outreach Team focusing on Coffee-Growing Communities.

My dad worked in a bank, so I’ve had a bank account for as long as I can remember.  I’d go into the branchMercy Corps Training of Trainers in Financial Literacy – Aceh, June 2011 in our village, fill out the little piece of paper with my account number and the $5 I earned walking the neighbor’s dog, or the $20 check I got from my aunt for my birthday.  I would hand over my money and I would get a receipt back telling me how much I had saved so far, and I trusted that it was there whenever I absolutely needed it for some critical purchase (e.g. a new Cabbage Patch Kids®).  This was the best part – there would be extra money that I didn’t even have to earn that the bank just gave me for free (aka interest).

Most Americans have had a similar experience with financial services – for the most part, designed for convenience, operating fairly, and ingrained in our culture.  In other parts of the world, access to basic financial services is rare and when available, seldom understood by would-be customers.  Can you imagine a life without a bank?  Your mattress might be good at holding savings, but how’s its interest rate or loanMercy Corps staff collecting baseline data for the maternal and child health survey June 2011 policy?

To address this issue with coffee farmers in Aceh, Indonesia, GMCR has partnered with Mercy Corps, an international nonprofit that ‘helps people turn the crises they confront into the opportunities they deserve.’  In the community assessments carried out by Mercy Corps, farmers indicated that they were most interested in learning about household financial planning and wanted savings and loan services.  Mercy Corps is working with four GMCR coffee cooperatives on a three year “Community Health and Investment for Livelihoods (CHILI)” program.  They are helping to increase financial literacy in the community through trainings on household expenses, cash flow, savings plans, by leveraging materials created in Western Unions Our World Our Family program.  They have also started working with the cooperatives on establishing savings and loans systems.

Through a community health survey, Mercy Corps found another way to help mothers in Aceh save money – by breastfeeding instead of purchasing expensive formula.  Mercy Corps has created mothers groups where they provide information on financial literacy and healthy practices, including the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding (for child health and financial).

Planning for life’s ups and downs is getting a little easier for those wonderful people picking your Sumatra Reserve coffee!

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Limited Edition: Special Reserve La Unión Mexico

While La Unión has all the distinctive characteristics that merit its inclusion in our line of Special Reserve coffees, it differs from the other coffees in one important way: it is not obscure, nor recently discovered on a remote hillside of some exotic land. La Unión is an extraordinary offering from one of our oldest friends.

We have been working with members of the Unión Regional de Pequenos Productores de Café cooperative for nearly 20 years. Originally, beans from this cooperative were used as a neutral base for our flavored coffees. As our relationship deepened with these farmers, they became more successful at coaxing out the unique qualities of their beans. Years of sharing knowledge and exchanging visits resulted in higher-quality coffee.

Now the cooperative has taken quality control to a new level, and their commitment is astoundingly evident in this year’s crop. A singular focus on training, cupping, and grading has resulted in a coffee that amplifies the best of a cup that was already deliciously satisfying. Bright citrus notes are now intensified. The warm tones and round body are now velvety smooth. It’s like listening to your favorite tune performed by a world-class symphony orchestra in an acoustically flawless concert hall.  To top it all off, this coffee is Fair Trade Certified™ and organic, two certifications that have enabled the cooperative to establish education facilities and health care centers for several villages.

As with all of our Special Reserves, supply is limited, as we only roast one batch.  This coffee will roast on June 30, 2011, so pick up your bag of Special Reserve La Unión Mexico today – or join the tour to be shipped our latest Reserve fresh from the roaster.

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Island Coconut Chicken Curry Recipe

It's the first day of summer and you know what that means?  A new, mouthwatering recipe from the mind of Amber of Bluebonnets & Brownies.  She's brought us two scrumptious coffee-strewn desserts and now... now she helps us answer the age-old question: What's for dinner?

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Last time, I went over the top sweet with Wild Mountain Blueberry® Coffee Pound Cake. Now, there's nothing in the world wrong with sweet, delicious baked goods - but when you're talking about Fair Trade Island Coconut® Coffee, a sweet dessert just seemed a little too obvious to me.

I decided I should challenge myself, and you, by turning Island Coconut into a savory dish. Island Coconut is such a fun coffee flavor. We enjoy it around here as the perfect finish to a meal, practically dessert in a coffee cup. So turning it into a dinner ingredient just upped the ante on one of my favorite Green Mountain Coffee flavors.

Folks, I like to think just maybe I hit this one out of the proverbial ballpark. Whether you've ever had Indian food before or not, I implore you to try making this dish. The majority of the ingredients will be familiar to you, and once you've added curry powder to your spice cabinet, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Island Coconut Chicken Curry is best served over Basmati or Long Grain white rice, with a side of Naan bread. Naan is a pillowy flat bread native to Indian cuisine. You can usually find it in your grocer's bakery area, but if you can't, feel free to substitute some freshly made tortillas. I certainly won't tell!

You can make this curry as directed in a dutch oven or large saute pan, or use a slow cooker for an incredibly easy weeknight dinner.

In the recipe below, I've linked to where you can find the two curry powders I used. You should also be able to find a variety of curry powders in your local spice store, and at least one variety is usually carried at major grocery chains. You're welcome to change up the style of curry powders if you like more heat.  The two I used are fairly mild, and work incredibly well with coconut, which, after all, is the star of this show.

Island Coconut Chicken Curry


Serves 4

 

1 medium onion (about 1/2 cup), diced
1 large red pepper (about 3/4 cup), diced
4-6 cloves of garlic
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
4 oz half and half or plain yogurt (I used half and half)
6 oz freshly brewed, hot Green Mountain Island Coconut coffee (I used the smallest setting on my Keurig)
1 tbsp maharajah curry powder
2 tbsp rogan josh curry powder
1/2 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp olive or canola oil
1 1/2 lbs. skinless chicken breast or thighs, diced into 1" cubes
1 cup frozen diced okra
fresh cilantro for garnish

Place onion, red pepper, garlic, tomato paste, coffee, cream or yogurt, both curry powders, chili flakes, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Pulse to combine until you have a semi-smooth sauce.

In a large frying pan or dutch oven, heat oil on high. Add chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to brown for 10-15 minutes, stirring often.

Add okra pieces to the pan, and cover with curry sauce. Allow to simmer, covered, on low to medium heat for 30-40 minutes, giving the flavors time to combine. Stir every 10 minutes or so.

If making in a slow cooker, cook on low for 6-8 hours or 4 hours on high.

Serve over rice, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

 

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Donate your Tweets to Fair Trade

We love Ben & Jerry’s and it really shouldn’t be surprising why:



  1. They’re our neighbors in Waterbury! (Hi, folks!)

  2. They make the best ice cream we’ve ever tasted. (If you’ve never bellied up to a pint of  Coffee HEATH® Bar Crunch, you have not lived.)

  3. They’re on a mission, committed to sourcing every possible ingredient from Fair Trade producers by the end of 2013!




    So, with that in mind, we’re really excited to share something they’ve been working on: Fair Tweets!


    Today, May 3, Ben & Jerry's is launching a "Fair Tweets" campaign to rally awareness of Fair Trade and World Fair Trade Day (May 14) on Twitter.  By tweeting via fairtweets.com, Twitter users will be able to attach messages about Fair Trade to the tweets they're already sending.

    How does this work? It’s easy:

    As you know, a tweet can be up to 140 characters long.  However, most tweets are actually only 40 characters, on average.  Fair Tweets will put the "unused" characters in those tweets to good use, committing them to Fair Trade awareness.

    After joining, you’ll simply write a tweet as usual, but will see a new message about Fair Trade added in the leftover space at the end.  If only a few characters are available, this may be a short, simple message such as “support #Fairtrade”; if more characters are available, this could include a more detailed message and a link to a Fair Trade-related webpage.

    For example, a tweet such as “I'm going to walk the dog” has only 25 characters. When posted by a Fair Tweets participant, the leftover characters would automatically become a message about Fair Trade, so that the full tweet might say, “I'm going to drink some coffee | #Fairtrade products pay producers fair wages for their work.  World Fair Trade Day is May 14: http://ow.ly/4u3fI.”

    What say, you our favorite, caffeinated crew?  Will you to help get the word out about Fair Trade by making every tweet count?

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    Mr. Coffee Joins the Keurig Revolution!

    We are pleased to announce that the Mr. Coffee® single serve brewer is now part of our family of brewers!

    Mr. Coffee, a trusted name in household coffee makers, has partnered with Keurig® technology to bring you the best of both worlds--the quality and value you'd expect from a Mr. Coffee machine, along with the convenience of single cup brewing.

    It takes just a few simple steps to enjoy your favorite coffee, tea, or hot cocoa:


    1. Insert a K-Cup

    2. Fill water tank

    3. Brew

    4. Voila!


    The small footprint of the Mr. Coffee brewer makes a great fit for limited spaces, and it's compact size makes it easy to take with you on the road if you want to enjoy the Keurig experience in your camper, or even in your hotel room.

    Someone once said that,  "Forever is the time it takes to brew the first pot of coffee in the morning."  The Mr. Coffee single serve brewer shortens forever to under three minutes for a perfectly brewed 8-ounce cup of Joe!  It also features an auto shut-off feature and a removable drip tray.  It comes with a variety pack of five K-Cup®  portion packs.

    People have been relying on Mr. Coffee coffeemakers to start their day for nearly 40 years.  No doubt the Mr. Coffee single serve brewer will help to carry on this legacy.

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