Conference Coffee

Preventing Cervical Cancer in Coffee Communities

Grounds for Health is a non-profit organization based in Waterbury, Vermont that focuses on cervical cancer prevention awareness. Cervical cancer remains the #1 cause of cancer related death for women in low-resource settings, although it is nearly 100% preventable. In October 2011, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters awarded Grounds for Health a three-year grant totaling $900,000 to support projects in collaboration with coffee cooperatives in Nicaragua, Mexico, Tanzania and Peru to tackle the dangerously high rate of cervical cancer in these regions.

Grounds for Health has been able to reach women without access to appropriate health services and by partnering with local organizations. They train local community health promoters as well as provide local doctors and nurses with equipment and technical assistance.

Grounds for Health’s efforts are part of a growing movement worldwide to prevent cervical cancer and increase awareness on prevention methods.

Grounds from Health unveiled the video below at the Specialty Coffee Association of America's Conference in April:


A New Understanding: My First Attendance at the SCAA

The post below is by Claudia Gonzalez. Claudia works in on our Supply Chain Community Outreach.

Claudia Gonzalez at the Food 4 Farmers booth at SCAA

"Not long ago, I began my journey in the high quality coffee world.  Always having been a coffee enthusiastic, it wasn’t until I joined Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. last year that I began to emerge myself on what it means to drink a high quality cup of coffee. From the moment the coffee cherry ripens to the time it reaches our customer’s hands, it takes a long chain of events and people to make it all come together.

I work with the supply chain community outreach group providing human and economic development financial support to our coffee and non-coffee supply chains.  As such, I am learning more and more about the challenges coffee farmers face, in particular during the “the thin months”, a time when food and other economic resources becomes scarce in the coffeelands.

In April 2013, I had the opportunity to attend the 25th annual Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) conference in Boston, Ma. The conference is the world’s largest gathering of the high quality coffee community.

The experience was grand; there was so much to take in all at once, the aroma of coffees from a multitude of countries at my fingertips, the most highly skilled of baristas, most importantly a community full of knowledge on high quality coffee, and interested in finding out more about the challenges coffee farmers in the coffee supply chain face.

As such, the conference was a suitable opportunity to attain more awareness on the pressing issues within coffee growing communities. In particular, what helped to build some of my new knowledge and awareness was the opportunity to speak to many of our coffee’s producers and hear directly from them some of the pressing issues in their communities. 

A dominant theme I heard throughout the conference was la roya; a coffee rust fungus epidemic that affects Arabica coffee bean leaves and it’s currently spreading throughout Latin American coffee growing countries. For instance, in Guatemala, it is estimated to affect up to 70% of coffee crops, thus resulting in the government calling a state of emergency.

The SCAA held several informative workshops for the conference’s participants, quite a few based around food security and la roya. One particular workshop based on la roya, Leaf Rust: Testing our Resiliency as an Industry was an informative session into what la roya means for small scale coffee farmers and the high quality coffee industry. 

Other workshop themes throughout the conference were food insecurity within small scale coffee farmers, coffee farmers and industry sustainability efforts and productivity for coffee production.

Attending the SCAA’s conference meant being present in a space where I could see the coffee supply chain play out all before my eyes, from the farmers that first harvest and picked the coffee cherries to the baristas that whip out the most inventive of designs.  This experience is not one to be missed for coffee lovers."


Pueblo a Pueblo receives Sustainability Award during 25th Annual SCAA Conference

April 2013 marked the 25th annual Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) conference; the largest specialty coffee conference in the world which recently took place in Boston.

Amongst the event’s highlights was the work of Pueblo a Pueblo, a non-profit organization focused on improving the lives of indigenous Guatemalans and this year’s recipient of the Sustainability Award in recognition of their Organic School Garden project in Guatemala. The award honors individuals and organizations, within the specialty coffee industry, working to create substantial positive change through projects that promote sustainability.

GMCR proudly partners with Pueblo a Pueblo and has supported the Organic School Garden project in Guatemala for over 2 years. The project seeks to improve the lives of those living in coffee growing communities in Guatemala though strengthening food security at the household level and diminishing malnutrition levels for school-aged children.

In 2012, 1,151 children attended weekly garden activities and 86 teachers and directors received trainings on organic agriculture techniques. This project has been complimented by school initiatives, including incorporation of the produce harvested from the organic school gardens into school lunches.  In addition, the provision of a daily meal has increased school attendance, students’ learning capability and improvement in the overall health of participating children resulting from the increased diversity of food in their diet.

Below is a video which highlights their great work in Guatemala

For all their admirable work and tremendous positive change created in Guatemala, we congratulate Pueblo a Pueblo on their Sustainability Award.


Transforming Business as Usual Along a Supply Chain

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

Colleen Bramhall at Let's Talk Coffee

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

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

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

Drip Irrigation Project with Sustainable Harvest in Tanzania

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

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


Ask the Coffee Lab: Coffee Pairing

I always hear about pairing coffees with certain things.  Do some coffees taste better with certain foods?


I was at a lecture years ago with the great Ken Davids, coffee genius, and he said he thought that people sort of over-did the  whole idea of pairing coffee with food and they end up feeling locked in and not being creative and spontaneous. That said, he thought that heavy foods went better with heavier coffees (like Dark Magic® or any of the extra bold coffees) and lighter food should go with lighter coffees. That should give you some broad ranges to work in, right? According to Ken, coffee works best with desserts.

That same conference, I attended another lecture by Timothy James Castle, a foodie and writer. He thought that were two best ways to pair: Contrast and resonance. Here are some examples right from my notes:

  • Dark chocolate goes with acid-y coffees like Guatemalans

  • Milk chocolate goes with  Sumatrans or Konas

  • Chicken Curry goes with a light roast coffee

  • Ribeye steak goes with dark roast Sumatran

  • Fruit compote goes high acid coffees

My favorite coffee and food pairing is taking a fresh cider donut and dipped into a cappuccino. It’s not exactly fine dining, but try it.  What do you like to pair?  So go forth and be creative and tell us what you find!


Exchanging Ideas on Food Security Solutions in Nicaragua

This is a guest post written by Colleen Bramhall. Colleen works in our Corporate Social Responsibility Department, supporting our Coffee Community Outreach programs.

You know that feeling of satisfaction you get when you introduce two of your Field visit with Campesino a Campesinoamazing friends that have a common interest... that moment when you step back and watch as they hit it off and engage in a meaningful, intelligent conversation that enriches them both?

We imagined this kind of engagement would happen if we brought together all of our incredible partners in Nicaragua that are working on different food security solutions targeting coffee farmers in our supply chain.  A few weeks ago, it became a reality!  In a highly participatory conference organized by the Community Agroecology Network (CAN), dozens of NGO project managers, coffee cooperative farm technicians, and other community and government leaders came together to discuss Interview with Youth and Women Leaders on FSinnovative strategies and approaches to addressing “the thin months” in coffee growing communities in Nicaragua.

We started in the field with a visit to a few farms near San Ramon that are part of the “Campesino a Campesino” (Farmer to Farmer) movement, which is a grassroots network of volunteers that provide sustainable agricultural advice to their neighbors.  The visit was a low-risk, informal way to share ideas and start to build relationships.  On the second day, each participant presented a poster to the group that described the strategies and tactics used in their food security project; for example, establishing household gardens, building grain drying facilities, distributing silos for seed storage, etc.  We were surprised to Presenting Posters at the Food Security Forumsee that so many of the projects had similar elements, which fostered collaboration and knowledge sharing.  On the final day, we invited government officials, advisors, and senior staff to join the dialogue to discuss how we could influence national policy.

The conference ended but the discussion continues.  Attendees were interested in forming a cross-organizational network of professionals engaged in food security solutions that could share best practices on an ongoing basis.  It will be exciting to see the collaborations that evolve from this network as we work towards our common goal of improving the lives of coffee farmers in Nicaragua.


Volunteering at St. Mary's Foodbank

In this blog we talk a lot about food insecurity in coffee-growing communities and the organizations andGMCR Employees sort oranges at St. Mary's Foodbankprojects that are working on solutions to address this issue. We focus our funding on this issue because we know that food security is a key element in improving the quality of life for farmer’s and their families.

However, food insecurity is not  isolated to a country or community – it affects every nation and a diverse population. Food Insecurity affects the communities where our employees work and where we sell our products - from Waterbury, VT, to Sumner, WA, Reading, MA and even the communities we visit.

In May, our annual Sales Meeting, which brings together GMCR employees from USA and Canada,Employees sorting food at St. Mary's Foodbank, AZtook place in Phoenix, AZ. While there, 60 employees took an afternoon away from the conference rooms to volunteer at St. Mary’s Foodbank, the world’s first Foodbank. St. Mary’s serves two-thirds of the counties in Arizona, distributing more than 72 million pounds of food last year to food shelves and individual clients.

While volunteering employees sorted oranges, onions and other items that were collected during the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger™ Food Drive. Some employees handed out supplies directly to clients, who, when they come to the Foodbank, receive a 3-day supply of food.

We’re grateful to St. Mary’s Foodbank for organizing this event, giving GMCR employees an opportunity to give back to the Arizona community during our visit.

Volunteering at a Foodbank is a rewarding and eye-opening experience. To find a Foodbank in your area visit Feeding America’s Website.


Abuzz about the Coffee Industry

This is a guest post written by Colleen Bramhall. Colleen works in our Corporate Social Responsibility Department, managing our Supply Chain Community Outreach programs.

Houston was abuzz last week, in a caffeinated craze for the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Annual Conference.  Coffee roasters, baristas, importers,

Brewing coffee using the Chemex method

exporters, coffee farmers, gadget manufacturers, and anyone else even tangentially related to the coffee industry converged on a city typically associated with the other black gold to discover the newest trends, make business connections, taste coffees from various origins, and collaborate on issues impacting the industry.

It was my first time attending the SCAA and it was obvious since I was the only one in a hall of 5000+ people looking for milk and sugar to add to my coffee (a true faux-pas when you are tasting brews of the highest quality!).  Fear not, drinkers of Green Mountain Coffee, I’m not a buyer!  I was there to connect with GMCR’s partners and cooperatives that are grantees of our Supply Chain Outreach program.  When your supply chain wraps around the world from Sumatra to Kenya to Colombia and many places in between, this event is a terrific opportunity to meet just about everyone you need to in the same place at the same time.

The conference kicked off with our friends and neighbors from Grounds for Health winning the 2011 Sustainability Award for their

Merling Preza and Michael Sheridan presenting at SCAA (photo by Bryan Clifton, Heifer)

programs to treat and prevent cervical cancer in the coffeelands – an incredible honor in an industry with so many worthy projects focusing on the long term social, economic, and environmental viability of coffee  production.  And there was much excitement to do even more, with the premiere of After the Harvest, a film underwritten by GMCR, which described the problem of seasonal hunger and featured the work we are funding with Save the Children and Heifer International to improve food security for coffee farmers.  We overheard enthusiastic conversations between our Nicaraguan suppliers about getting together to share ideas on confronting the “thin months” within their communities.

Producer cooperatives shared with us their new ideas for projects that will improve quality of life for farmers, such as building co-op management capacity in Honduras and hosting medical missions to Ethiopia.  I sat in on a meeting organized by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to introduce new cooperatives to our GMCR coffee buyer team, the first step in opening new markets and opportunities for them.  We met with Coffee Lifeline which provides agronomy and social radio programming targeting coffee farmers in Rwanda and we learned more about the ambitious plans of Coffee Kids, Food for Farmers, Pueblo a Pueblo, Café Femenino, and many others.

I left on a high – not just because of all the extraordinary java I had consumed – but also because I am part of such a fantastic industry where there is so much potential and interest in collaborating for sustainability.

Coffee Lifeline Radio



Connections: Part 1

We just started buying coffee from a small cooperative in El Salvador called APECAFE. It's not a super unusual group with an amazing tale of hardship or uniqueness, but it is a group that illustrates one of the models we use to buy coffee. With our certified coffees, we use a two tiered approach to sourcing and maintaining good relationships with our supply chain. The first part is fair pricing and clear quality expectations. The second tier is social investments.

As you might know, we take 5% of our pre-tax profits and invest a portion of that in our supply chain, with a strong emphasis on food security to help combat the thin months or "los mesos flacos" in Spanish. Right now we're funding over 50 different projects in over 10 different countries to the tune of over 4 million dollars per year. One of those fundees is Sustainable Harvest, a highly regarded importer of certified coffees based in Portland, OR.

This past summer, they put on a Let's Talk Coffee Food Security Event, that we helped fund, for their and our supply chain. Here's right from their website:

Sustainable Harvest pays growers prices well above the Fair Trade minimum price for their coffee; yet, when we visit coffee-producing communities in Latin America and Africa, farmers still tell us that they struggle to provide food for their children at certain times of year. We realized that simply paying a just price for coffee was not enough. We wanted to help farmers provide food for their families all year round. We began working on mushroom production projects in Tanzania and peer training in Central America.

Sustainable Harvest began our work in food security by leveraging the Let’s Talk Coffee® format—peer-led, hands-on training combined with technological innovations and a market-based approach—to scale initiatives that provide coffee farmers with greater food security. Sustainable Harvest invited approximately 60 people from cooperatives across the region to the Food Security Solutions event in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. There, participants learned innovative, effective strategies to improve food security that they can replicate in their own communities.

One of the groups there was APECAFE.  Jorge Cuevas, Director of Trade Operations for Sustainable Harvest, met with them and they had this to say about us, "we find that very few companies are interested in our livelihoods, our caloric intake, and the nutrition of our children." They wanted to be in our supply chain and we needed coffee. So Jorge connected us: first over a Skype call for an "introduction" as well as some emailed pictures from the event at Selva Negra in Nicaragua. Then, like a good importer does, he facilitated an exchange of quality expectations and helped both sides negotiate a fair price. Now we all have signed contracts and are eagerly awaiting their fine coffee. When it does get here, we're going to put it in our Fair Trade Vermont Country Blend.

Jorge was kind enough to let me do a quick interview with him giving some more background information on the coop. He was here in March and of course it was snowing, which doesn't happen that often in Oaxaca, Mexico where Jorge is from. Poor guy, about half the time he visits here it's snowing or raining and every time we visit him it's sunny, dry and warm.

Connections: Part 2
One of our other fundees is Catholic Relief Services in Guatemala and they're also doing food security work. At that same conference in Nicaragua was Michael Sheriden from CRS. He has been working for awhile with APECAFE, in particular Las Cruces, which is a primary level coop in APECAFE. He keeps a really nice bog called CRS Coffeelands Blog.  Michael does development work in Central America, but to read his posts and see his pictures, you would think he came from the New York Times and National Geographic.  Great pictures of farmer and employees of Las Cruces.


Top Ten Office Gifts of the Season


#10 Small Revelation Travel Mug $2.95

We here at Business Coffee Express are often asked, "What is the best way to take my Green Mountain Coffee wakeboarding?" The answer is this cute little 12-oz. Revelation Travel Mug with a spill-proof, screw-on lid. It features a beautiful scene of the Vermont Green Mountains, and is the perfect size to grab and go whether you are free soloing, sky surfing, or even wakeboarding.  At this price you should buy one for everyone in the office!

#9 Logo Backpacker Thermos $19.95

The sleek, slender shape looks like you after the holidays, thanks to all the wakeboarding you've been doing! This compact, no-leak Thermos®, made by Nissan™ is so stylish it might just put mugs and tumblers out of style. Features an easy-to-open, spring loaded lid. Completely leak proof perfect for backpacks and travel. Double Insulation means your coffee stays hot for hours.

#8 Stoneware Logo Mug $14.95

Perfect for the boss who needs to be reminded on a daily basis that every office deserves great coffee! Each is individually hand-thrown by American master potters. Slight color and size variations showcase the unique properties of each one-of-a-kind mug. Solid and sizable, each of these mugs can stand on its own, but two make a nice pair.

#7 Bodum Milk Frother $19.95

The next time someone in your office tells you not to get worked up into such a lather, say "Why Not?" and show them this! This easy-to-use, battery-powered frother is perfect for foamy milk for your coffee without the hassle of an espresso machine. You will probably decide to keep it for yourself so buy two.

#6 Lake Champlain Chocolates Organic Truffles $22.95

Lake Champlain truffles— on the list because it's made in VT of course, and because they are the best Truffles I've ever had. Sorry Belgium, but cheer up, GMCR will probably never make a $25 raspberry beer aged in oak. Lake Champlain Chocolates has reached new heights with this collection of 15 all-natural, preservative-free truffles. Includes Ethiopian Coffee, Honey Fig, Ginger Lemon, Aztec, Mango, and Vanilla.

#5 Better World Gift Bag $59.95

Isn't dreaming of a better world what the Holidays are all about? Our exquisite chocolates, cocoa, coffees and tea help actually make it happen— plus they taste amazing. Includes 7 fabulous products contributing to a better world and a reusable shopping tote.

#4 Organic Breakfast Crate $37.95

Why a Crate? Because "Crate" just sounds cool, and who wouldn’t rather have a "crate" of something they love rather than just a box? Besides, it doubles as an "In" box. Filled with Fair Trade Organic coffee and Cocoa and Organic pancake mix and maple syrup, all from Vermont.

#3 K-Cup Ultimate Gift Basket $44.95

C'mon, "Ultimate" is right there in the name, of course it has to be in the top 10! The perfect gift if their office already enjoys a Keurig® Brewer. If not, get them one of those too! Our K-Cup Gift Basket gives you great coffee right away, and wonderful sustenance for the rest of the day. Includes 24 Green Mountain Coffee Sampler K-Cups.

#2 The Ultimate Office Gift Basket $49.95

Is it possible for two Green Mountain Coffee gifts to be called "Ultimate" at the same time? Yes, it's a holiday miracle! Packed full of delicious treats, and there’s more than enough to share. Brew up a pot of Breakfast Blend or French Roast while everyone in the office digs in to sweet granola, delicate shortbread, maple candy, or chocolate indulgences. It’ll be the most memorable Holiday coffee break ever!

#1 Keurig Office Pro Coffee Brewer $129.95

Not only the greatest invention in the history of humankind, but perhaps the greatest gift since frankincense and myrrh. (Gold is still hard to beat.) Even small offices deserve great coffee and the B145 Office Pro delivers. Designed for offices with 15 or fewer people, its small footprint makes it a perfect fit for conference rooms, board rooms and reception areas. Guaranteed to ward off office revolts, palace coups, passive-aggressive behavior and Monday sick days. They should rename it "Ultimate."


Food Security and Coffee Quality at GMCR

Rick Peyser, Director of Social Advocacy and Coffee Community Outreach recently attended the Sustainable Agriculture Partnerships Conference in San Francisco, CA. While there he spoke about the work we've been doing around food security in regions where we purchase coffee.

As we've discussed before on our blog, through research we discovered that there are coffee farming families that experience a few months every year where they have to alter their diets or borrow money to feed their families. These are called "los meses flacos" or "the thin months". We see a direct link between the quality of coffee and the quality of the farmer’s life and work with these communities to find solutions.

Below is a video of Rick Peyser being interviewed at the conference about this work by Martin Smith, CEO of JustMeans.


#Revelation2Action Coffee Break #SXSW Edition

Yesterday I got back from an amazing conference called South By SouthWest (SXSW) Interactive. Although SXSW is known for its film and music festivals, it also hosts a five day conference on emerging media. Myself, along with Kristen and Paula were lucky enough to be sent to this exciting, fun, and exhausting conference. We came back with great ideas, fond memories, and documentation of how we spread the Green Mountain word all the way down in Texas.

This wonderfully edited (go Kristen!) episode shows our Revelation2Action “Coffee Bomb" of the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. Although the contest is only for those organizations impacting New England states and New York, we knew SXSW folks would know of someone in those states who are strengthening their communities!  Without further ado, episode five:


Heart of the Cup [VIDEO]

Fair Trade Month Quiz:

Question 19: What country purchases the most Fair Trade coffee overall?

Answer: The United States

Haven’t answered our Fair Trade Quiz question of the day, yet? Well, why not? The answer’s right there! If that isn’t enough for you, the first 100 participants* get a sample of Green Mountain Coffee’s Fair Trade Certified™ Organic House Blend and all answers get entered to the grand prize drawing of 12-months of Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Certified™ Coffees. Go here to enter:

*Sorry, employees and their immediate family members of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. are not eligible. But keep an eye out for our internal Fair Trade quiz.


When we enjoy a cup of coffee, we may have many things on our mind.  We might be easing into to the start of a new day, generating plans with co-workers around a conference room, or relaxing with friends after a wonderful meal.  Coffee is often an integral part of our day.

Coffee is also an integral part of each day for the farmers who supply green coffee beans to Green Mountain Coffee to roast, market and sell.  It is their livelihood.  Those of us who have visited these cooperatives have seen first hand how many steps it takes to produce quality coffees and the amazing care that goes into each step.  A video called Heart of the Cup was put together by the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Foundation so that people could learn about the process of getting coffee from tree to cup.  It is narrated by Lindsey Bolger, our Director of Coffee Sourcing and Relationships, along with Don Holly, our Director of Corporate Quality and Materials.

Take a look and see where your Fair Trade dollars are going.



Coffee for your Small Office

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Keurig Small OfficeGreetings!

I'm the new guy here at GMCR but you'll be seeing me more frequently as I talk about our Small Office coffee program.  I'm a long time Green Mountain Coffee fan and before coming to work here I was lucky enough to be with an organization who had a Keurig brewer.  Not only was it an employee favorite, it also saved us and the company time from having to run to the corner store for a "mediocre" cup of Joe!

At Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, we believe even small offices deserve great coffee.  With this in mind, we've developed the new The Keurig Office Pro coffee brewer.

With a small footprint, the B145 Office Pro is designed for offices that have 15 or fewer people.  This dandy brewer is the perfect fit for conference rooms, board rooms, and reception areas and is certain to impress your clients and visitors with hot and delicious coffee in an instant!  And, if you purchase this brewer and sign your office up for Café EXPRESS, you'll receive 48 free K-Cups in addition to free shipping!

We invite you to read more about our Small Office Coffee program today!


Attending the CLAC Conference in Guatemala

Below is a report sent in by Rick Peyser, Green Mountain Coffee's Director of Social Advocacy and Coffee Community Outreach, while attending a two-day CLAC conference in Guatemala.  CLAC (Coordinadora Latinoamerica del Caribe Pequeños Productores de Comercio Justo) is a Latin American Small Fair Trade Producers Assembly held every two years.  Last time this assembly was held in the Dominican Republic.  This week, it is being held in Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua was the first capital of Guatemala before it was destroyed in an earthquake.  It is a beautiful colonial town with cobblestone streets, beautiful buildings and many ruins - some as a result of the earthquake.  It is surrounded by at least three volcanoes.  Today was a beautiful day, although I had very little time to enjoy it because we were indoors all day. 

This morning’s session began with a welcome from the Economic Minister from Guatemala to welcome the attendees.  The first working session was focused on FLO’s (Fair Trade Labeling Organization International's) new strategic plan and business model.  That was presented to many of the people who were here.  Most had seen it before, but some of it was brand new, and others had not yet seen it, so it was a topic for discussion in a variety of areas. 

This afternoon’s session focused on competition – talking about unfair competition from the multi-nationals corporations / transnationals that have gotten involved in Fair Trade.  There is a tremendous amount of concern on the part of small scale producers around this competition.  Other topics wrapped up the day.  The overall tone was very, very positive.  The news about Starbucks doubling their Fair Trade purchased was well received here overall by producers. 

Late this afternoon, we broke into more working groups focused on a few different themes.  The group I was in worked on producer relationships and how buyers could perhaps collaborate on different areas to support the regional producer networks, of which there are three.  CLAC is one, obviously, in Latin America.  There is also an African producer network, and an Asian producer network.  The first of our group's work was looking at ways companies and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) can support and strengthen the producer networks which, in turn, will help the co-ops that work within their system.


Heart of the Cup

When we enjoy a cup of coffee, we may have many things on our mind.  We might be easing into to the start of a new day, generating plans with co-workers around a conference room, or relaxing with friends after a wonderful meal.  Coffee is often an integral part of our day.

Coffee is also an integral part of each day for the farmers who supply green coffee beans to Green Mountain Coffee to roast, market and sell.  It is their livelihood.  Those of us who have visited these cooperatives have seen first hand how many steps it takes to produce quality coffees and the amazing care that goes into each step.  A video (link below) called Heart of the Cup was put together by the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Foundation so that people could learn about the process of getting coffee from tree to cup.  It is narrated by our Director of Coffee Sourcing and Relationships- Lindsey Bolger, along with Don Holly - our Director of Corporate Quality and Materials. 

See where your Fair Trade dollars are going. Watch Heart of the Cup.


Let's Talk Coffee

The first weekend in October, Ed Canty, Lindsey Bolger, and Winston Rost, all from Green Mountain Coffee’s Coffee Department, will attend Sustainable Harvest’s 6th Annual “Let’s Talk Coffee” conference in Armenia, Colombia. Sustainable Harvest, one of our long term importers and our largest importer of Fair Trade Organic certified coffees, hosts this unique event where our entire supply chain – farmers themselves, coop managers, cuppers, exporters, certifiers, and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) all get together for a weekend of learning, sharing, and quality calibration. Not to mention, some great coffee!

Check out the link to the Let's Talk Coffee site (above) and watch the video about what takes place there.


Rick Peyser's Elephant Interview

Rick Peyser -- Green Mountain's Director of Social Advocacy & Coffee Community Outreach  -- recently participated in a panel discussion on Fair Trade at the LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability) Conference that took place June 18-21 in Boulder, CO. Rick's fellow panelists included Denise Hamler (Cofounder of Co-Op America), Wolf Ludge (CEO, Hess Natur), and Wayne Zink (CEO Endangered Species Chocolate).

Boulder-based Elephant Journal (a frequently irreverent guide to ‘the mindful life’: yoga, organics, sustainability, genuine spirituality, conscious consumerism, fair fashion, and the contemplative arts) conducted an interview marathon at the LOHAS conference, chatting with more than 40 individuals and companies devoted to living a good life that also happens to be good for others, and our planet.

Here's Rick's interview with Waylon Lewis, Editor-In-Chief of Elephant... or click-through to Elephant's web site to view a high rez version.


Scars from the War in Nicaragua

Notes from the SCAA Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota

We were in a hotel conference room at the SCAA conference, the kind that the caterers can dress up in the evening and make it look actually semi inviting. It was a reception that we hosted for Volcafé Specialty Coffee, who is one of the coffee importers we use to help us find great coffee. Naturally there were some producers in the room and one of them was José Adan, the Vice General Manager of one of our Fair Trade Organic suppliers in Nicaragua called UCASUMAN (Union de Cooperatives Agropecuarias de Servicios Unidos de Mancotal). Based in Jinotega in the heart of coffee country, UCASUMAN is one of the coops I got to visit this past February on a trip with Ed Canty, our Fair Trade Organic green coffee buyer.

When José walked in the room, we instantly recognized each other and I got him a cold beer from the porta-bar that the caterers wheeled in, served by the friendly barman Chris. Chris was going to put a lime in Jose’s Corona, but I stopped him and asked him if he wanted it – pointing out that it was an American thing, not even a Mexican thing! (He said no thanks.)

After we got caught up on things and the harvest, he told me and a couple of other Green Mountain Coffee employees that a couple of videographers had made a video of their coop and he would send us a copy so we could see. He said not to get too excited because the camera work was a little shaky at which point he showed us proper camera panning movement. I asked him how he knew that and he casually said, “Oh, I was a videographer during the war.” The war... Of course! the Nicaraguan Revolution.

Since he looked to be about the same age as I am (42), I was surprised and asked him how old he was at the time. “Oh I was 16. I worked as a videographer filming things.” Then José rolled up his sleeve to show an arm riddled with scars from shrapnel... the result of an encounter with a land mine. He said he almost lost his arm but was lucky to be able to keep it. He also told us which side he was on (sorry, I won’t tell you which)  but in the end it doesn’t matter. He said he doesn’t wish that experience on anyone, especially his three kids. Then he proceeded to take out his cell phone and show us some video of his three year old boy dancing and playing a toy guitar.