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!]
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!]
While I’m no glue gun goddess, I’ve been known to enjoy a good crafting session. With Easter just around the corner, I have my DIY Easter list narrowed down to one project: K-Cup® pack Easter Baskets! This little beauty came from Karen on our Sustainability team. Cute and bunny-sized, how could I not give it a try? Here’s how to do it:
1. Brew your favorite Keurig Brewed® coffee – perhaps Green Mountain Coffee® Island Coconut® to welcome in spring? Sip, savor, and enjoy that cup! (And let the brewed K-Cup® pack cool down a touch.)
2. Once cooled, carefully remove the foil lid, filter, and coffee grounds. Your soon-to-be planted garden will appreciate a little coffee ground compost.
3. Gently wash out and towel-dry the empty K-Cup® pack.*
4. Poke two small holes on each side of the K-Cup® pack below the lip and thread each end of your pipe cleaner through to create a handle.
5. Fill with Eater grass and your favorite candies. Jelly beans and candy coated chocolate eggs are our favorites.
6. Delight your family with this bunny-sized treat on Easter morning!
*Psst - If you want to add more color, grab some paint, glue, rhinestones, - you name it - , and decorate the pack before putting in the pipe cleaner handle.
At the Green Mountain Coffee® Café and Visitor Center we enjoy sharing experiences with the community. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. provides employees an opportunity to visit coffee growing communities on source trips. This gives us the chance to see where the process of tree to cup begins and meet the farmers who produce the very same coffee we roast everyday.
In December, my coworker Michele was given the opportunity to go to Nicaragua with fellow employees in the company, including east coast to west coast American and Canadian teammates. Not only did she have the chance to meet and create bonds with the farmers who influence our lives even here in Vermont, but she had the chance to get to know people within the company she may not have had a chance to meet otherwise.
In February two of our coworkers, Christiane and Joshua, had the chance to travel with members of the International Woman’s Coffee Alliance to Guatemala. The International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) strives to create a difference in the world of coffee. With a mission to “empower women in the international coffee community to achieve meaningful and sustainable lives; and to encourage and recognize the participation of women in all aspects of the coffee industry,” the IWCA, from its inception, has remained focused on promoting possibilities for women in coffee communities throughout the world.
After our trips to our coffee growing regions we, as a whole department in the Green Mountain Coffee Café and Visitor Center, found a deep respect for the people in our supply chain. We created long lasting bonds with our coffee growing communities and our international team members who keep this company running strong. The in-depth opportunity to see and experience the tree to cup experience and have the chance to share with our community has given a life changing view of the coffee sitting in our cups.
Have a passion for coffee? Crazy for chocolate? Have a minty swish in your step as you imagine yourself on a piazza in Italy? Then our resident K-Cup® mixologist in has a recipe for you:
Brew 6-8 ounces (make it Strong brew on your Vue® brewer if you're in for a tres forte mocha) of Barista Prima® Italian Roast into a large mug
Add peppermint extract
Add 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup
Add Half & Half, gently stir
Top with whipped cream
Drizzle chocolate syrup and sprinkle crushed peppermint candies on top
My name is Kiley and I have been working at the Green Mountain Coffee® Visitor Center & Café located in Waterbury’s historic train station for about three and a half years. Over the course of these few years I've developed an interest in working with espresso-based drinks. Most recently I have been refining my latte art skills, which I find challenging and rewarding at the same time.
Lattes are humble beverages made on an espresso machine that consist of espresso shots and steamed milk. The art itself is made with the espresso crème and milk crème. The method of pouring the milk (height and quantity of the pour, affecting the velocity) effects which crème raises to the top. Accents, such as the fins on my fish above, can be created with a tool like a thermometer stem or a coffee stir stick.
I've been showing some of my latte art to customers as they come in to the Visitor Center & Cafe. I now receive requests for me to use art in beverages which allows me to refine my newly adapted skill. So far I have done some simple and traditional works such as traditional swirl designs and flowers. I have also done a few more advanced options such as animals, the night sky, and even a few unicorns! I’m currently working on my calligraphy and am always experimenting and expanding options for requests.
If you’re in the area, stop in and ask for me. You can request a latte or leave it up to my imagination! Hope to see you soon!
In Waterbury, Vermont, the Green Mountain Coffee® Visitor Center & Café located at the historic train station is bustling with activity. The café is nestled in between five ski resorts and the energy is high this time of year. The holidays have passed and many are working off those extra calories on their skis or snowboards. In the morning, we see many energetic faces gearing up for a day at the mountain by starting it off with a hot Golden French Toast® Maple Supreme. We start off with hot Golden French Toast coffee, steamed light cream, and a shot of pure Vermont maple syrup. Of course, a dollop of whip cream can be added for those planning to hit the slopes hard. Although ,if you prefer a good ol’ cup-o-joe over a specialty drink, we have seven daily brews of the day to choose. A mug for every mogul you tackle that day?
Being a stop before and after skiing has its perks for us. Skiers and riders are happy to tell us what the conditions were on the mountain that day, and we make sure to pass that information on to our other guests. Most recently, we had a skier coming back from one mountain report that as he was just getting off of the lift and about to rip down the mountain and he saw a moose chasing a fellow skier. Yes, a moose! Fortunately, the skier was able to get good speed quickly and the moose gave up the chase and retreated to the woods. Wonder if the mountain will now put up a moose crossing sign at the top of the lift…
The Visitor Center & Café also serves as a stop on the Amtrak Vermonter line. If it’s not the skier and riders stories that keep us entertained daily, it is the periodic visits we receive from major news outlets. Just last week, CNN visited the train station with the Vermont Department of Tourism for an interview to discuss the improvements on the high speed rail and Vermont being the first state to complete the improvements. Vermont certainly has a lot of firsts and this is just an example of the progressive nature of our state.
There are still many powder days ahead of us in Vermont which powers our local economy and helps make us a great retreat from the hustle and bustle of cities like Boston and Montreal. Won’t you come and see us soon?
We tallied up the number of cuppings we did in Waterbury, Vermont for 2012 and the big number is 7,142 cuppings! That number represents the samples that we cupped in Waterbury alone, with a sample representing a contract for green coffee which is normally in the size of 42,000 pounds. You can see that these cuppings represent a lot of coffee. One sample has six cups put out on the table; multiply that by the number of cuppings and that’s 42,852 cups of coffee. Since every sample should have three people cup each cup, we’re now looking at 128,556 cups cupped, or “spoon dips” for lack of a better phrase.
But now...for our top cuppers! Brent, Coffee Generalist, cupped the most cups this past year clocking in at 5,610, or 33,660 different cups he dipped a spoon into. Getting the “silver” medal was Penny at 5,088 samples and your humble correspondent who won a “bronze” at 4,966. If you see any of us vacuuming the drapes at 11:30 at night, now you’ll know why.
Sometimes, a picture speaks a thousand words.
Behold: Green Mountain Coffee® French Roast – as a cake! This delicious beauty appeared in the office yesterday as a congratulatory gesture for work done between our IST and Digital teams. Vanilla cake with mocha frosting – delish!
Which kind of "coffee cake" would you like to try? I think Spicy Eggnog® coffee would be a treat - a new holiday tradition!
(Thanks to Jacques' Fine European Pastries!)
Did you know next Saturday is National Coffee Day? For us, that means this week is an invitation to embrace our java joy and revel in our roasts as we work up to the ultimate celebration. So, what better way to start the work week than to sip Newman’s Own® Organics coffee with Nell Newman?
Did we mention you’re invited, too?
Newman’s Own Organics has a lot of proud partners: Green Mountain Coffee® is proud to source and roast a line of world-changing, Fair Trade Certified™ coffees for our friends at Newman's Own Organics and New England McDonald’s are proud to serve this exceptional coffee every day in most of its restaurants. So, we’re sharing that pride with fans who love this coffee with a live virtual tasting.
Here are the details:
Chat with you soon!
We drink a lot of coffee here as part of our jobs. And even better, we get paid to drink and then evaluate it. Even though a lot of evaluating any beverage you drink for pleasure is subjective, there are still some objective ways to judge coffee for purchase. By the way, I should explain: I'm talking about the Coffee Department in Waterbury, Vermont, where we shop for and buy the millions of pounds of green coffee that we then roast and package and ship all around the United States and Canada.
We can't taste every single pound of coffee we buy (though that would be fun), but we do taste a lot. And when I say taste, I'm really talking about cupping, which is the professional version of tasting. (Want to know more about cupping and slurping, go here: “Why slurp?”).
We buy coffee by the container, which is the big metal box you see on large shipping vessels. Generally speaking, you can put about 42,000 pounds of green coffee in one container. When we evaluate that lot of coffee, the seller sends us a composite sample from that huge pile of green coffee. A few beans from this bag, a few from that bag, a few from that bag over there, until we have one pound of green coffee ready for us to roast and cup.
Before we roast it, however, we measure how wet or dry the coffee is in terms of moisture level. If it comes in too wet, it might not have been properly dried at origin, or maybe it got wet on the boat ride over the ocean. If it's too dry, it might be old coffee. We still cup it, but that's an example of an objective way to evaluate coffee.
We do a visual inspection of each sample as well. It should generally be a uniform color and size, without foreign material, bits of stone, twigs, and beans with insect damage (among other issues.) Even if a sample looks sub optimal, we still cup it, but note the state of the sample. Some coffees look beautiful, but don't taste that great while some coffees don't look so great but taste amazing.
We roast the samples ourselves so that we can control that important stage. And then the real proof is in the cup. We use the Specialty Coffee Assosication of America cupping sheet to tally our scores, average up the scores and then decide if the coffee passed the grade or not. The cupping sheet lets you score based on fragrance/aroma, flavor, acidity, body, aftertaste, balance, uniformity, clean cup, sweetness, and then there are ways to score defects and taints in the coffee as well. If it seems like a lot to keep track of, after the first 1-2,000 samples, it gets easier. Our supply chain uses the same scoring system so that we can all communicate in the same language, in spite of everyone speaking so many different languages.
We like metrics here and so we keep track of a lot of our activities:
So, if you ask how we know if the coffee will taste good, it's because we drink so much of it. We drink the bad stuff so that you won't have to. On top of that, every sample that we cup was also cupped by the importer, by the exporter, and even by the co-op or farm. There are many, many ways for a coffee to shine or receal itseld as an imposter of great coffee.
Next time you have a nice cup of our coffee, don't forget how much work went into making it a nice cup of coffee, and also don't forget all the work that went into making sure it's not a bad cup of coffee.
The summer season has come to an end at the Visitor Center & Café in Waterbury, Vermont. We had a wonderful season with spectacular weather and lots of visitors.
As I think about putting my deck furniture away and taking my sweaters out from storage, I remember our amazing summer season, yet look forward to fall and winter in Vermont. We celebrated our Music on the Porch series every Sunday, including a performance by Grammy Award winner and native Vermonter, Dave Keller; commemorated the one year anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene and the tremendous progress the town of Waterbury has made; and began supporting the Vermont based non-profit Food 4 Farmers whose mission is to facilitate the implementation of sustainable food security programs in coffee-growing communities.
Wow, what a feel-good summer for Waterbury and the Visitor’s Center! We are so happy to be part of such a great community. We hope you come and visit us soon. To entice you, our Limited edition Pumpkin Spice Maple Supreme is now on the menu. What is it, you ask? We start with Fair Trade Pumpkin Spice coffee, add a little steamed light cream, and a shot of Vermont maple syrup. If you really want to make it special we add a dollop of whipped cream to top it off! It's a crowd favorite!
For those of us in New England, the fall season conjures up images of brilliant fall foliage, apple picking, pumpkins, and a hint of chill in the air. With the onset of this glorious season comes another highlight to fans of the Green Mountain Coffee® Family of Brands: our fall catalog! The fall edition of our catalog is jam-packed with a large assortment of coffees, teas, and beverages, as well as a variety of food, mugs, and gift baskets to help get you started with your holiday shopping.
A few highlights, for your reading pleasure:
1. Our catalog opens with a Hot Apple Cider from Green Mountain Naturals®. Nothing says fall quite like a cup of hot apple cider—now available in both K-Cup® and Vue® packs.
2. Wellness Brewed™ Beverages: A new collection of K-Cup® packs, created with your wellness in mind. Included in this collection are two new coffees, two new teas, and Vitamin Burst™ fruit-brewed beverages.
3. The Gift of Discovery: We are bringing you a few handicrafts from artisans that live and work in some of the world’s finest coffee-growing regions.
4. Vue® Brewer, the next generation Keurig® brewer!
5. Accessorize your Keurig® Experience: Featuring a full range of storage solutions for K-Cup® packs.
6. Lot and lots of gifts: The catalog closes with six pages of ideas for just about everyone on your list. No excuses this year - the perfect present awaits!
For those of you who may not have received a catalog in the mail, it’s not too late to get your hands on one! It is available to you in a digital format that you can read online. Or, if you’d like to receive a print copy, please fill out the catalog request form.
As you walk in the front door of the Green Mountain Coffee® Visitor Center & Café one of the first things you will notice is our quote of the day board. A recent quote reminded me of a triumph for our town of Waterbury, Vermont: “At any given moment you have the power to say this is not how the story is going to end.”
Almost one year ago Tropical Storm Irene shocked our town where our visitor center and café is located at the historic train station. This past year has been one of rebuilding and perseverance for our small, yet vital community. We were fortunate to only have the train station basement flooded, however that was a tough blow in itself and forced us to close for four months during renovations. Being an employee of Green Mountain Coffee for some years now I can attest first-hand our perseverance to become a leader and trailblazer in the specialty coffee industry today. For many of us that determination drove us to do what we do best, and serve a great cup of coffee.
Although our visitor center was closed, for sixty-five days following the storm our team served free coffee to the community from the local park, rain or shine. We were transformed in to listeners, sympathizers, and cheerleaders to our fellow community members who often came to us covered in dirt, wearing masks, and sporting mud boots. We were looked upon to provide the metaphorical cup of coffee sought to start the day that helps us rejuvenate, focus, and revitalize. It brought a sense of normalcy in what was a turned upside down community. Our triumph during this time was to see a glimpse of a smile under a mask, and even a hug from a regular customer whose home had been devastated.
I am pleased to let you know that driving through the town of Waterbury today is as beautiful as it was before. Progress continues due to the efforts of many community members and other volunteers. We are proud to be part of such a great community that came together and chose how our story was going to end.
Cheers to Waterbury!
It starts today. The hauling. The dirt. The splashing. The laughing. The tires. The surprises. The grit.
Today, for the eighth year, we go down to the river and see what we can do to make it just a little more pristine (even as we become grubbier). As this is my third year using my Café Time at River Cleanup here in Vermont, I’ve been sharing some of my must-have items with the newbies so they’re armed for whatever the river can brings.
Yes, you’re standing in a lot of water. You’re soaked in it. The walk back to your desk is more of a slosh than a saunter, actually. But that doesn’t mean your body has been hydrated. You’re doing major work during the day, hauling that trash from the water, so remember to drink. H2O all the way.
Your skin does not like to be a lovely lobster red. It does not like to peel and chap and make you all too familiar with the soothing properties of aloe. You may think you can get away with going au natural while digging up tires or scrap metal, but remember this: water reflects. The sun? Hitting you from above and below. Protect yourself with a few SPFs.
3. Good water shoes
Ever seen the sign reading, “Slippery when wet?” Rocks on the river bed take this as their motto. Safety is first at our Company, so wearing shoes with tread that will not take on water and bog you down is key. No rain boots – the river goes above your ankles 80-percent of the time.
4. Change of clothes
Did I mention this takes place in the river, hence the name “River Cleanup?” When your shift is done and you’re ready to get back to work, there is nothing more miserable than being stuck in wet clothes, covered in river mud (trust me: This was my mistake last year). There’s also a distinct river scent that doesn’t quite leave your system for an hour or two. Fresh, clean clothes are your saving grace after this Café Time event.
5. A smile
A grin helps to make everything lighter. That tractor tire? Piece of cake when your pearly whites are showing. That encased grocery cart? Light as a feather when a group of four is laughing so hard at how hard is to move. The sight of five feet worth of scrap metal piled up on the riverbed? Not quite as disturbing when you smile about how you are going to clean it up for the next guy. Smiling – it’s a necessity.
Anything I missed? We’re on the river all week, so just leave me a comment with any suggestions and I’ll pass it on to the team.
Congratulations to our newest calibrated cuppers Fred Gillen and Pat Donnelly of the Coffee Department in our Waterbury, Vermont cupping lab! When a new member of the cupping team starts cupping we ensure they are calibrated to the team before their scores are used to approve or reject coffee. The process to be calibrated to the team takes months of practice cupping every day. It also involves talking and learning about the coffees we buy, why we buy them, when we buy them, and how we use them.
After studiously apprentice cupping for months, it became obvious that Fred and Pat were calibrated to the team. At that point Lindsey Bolger invited everyone into the lab for the 'official' ceremony. She put the official shawl on Fred and Pat, bonked each one on the shoulder with her cupping spoon, and declared them "Calibrated." Now their scores will be included with the teams’ for approving or rejecting coffee. Congrats Fred and Pat!
Yesterday was not only the first official day of summer, but here in Vermont the temperature reached a record-breaking 95 degrees! While we native Vermonters are used to winter conditions – it can snow anytime between November and April around these parts – this heat wave is really throwing us for a loop. We know how to keep warm with a down snowsuit, a hand-knit hat and a steamy mug of coffee but keeping cool is a new phenomenon altogether.
As someone who drives a non-air-conditioned truck, and whose house is kept cool by a series of fans and open windows, beating the heat can be a bit of an art form. These past two days have seen me relying on my Keurig® brewer to chill me out, brewing cup after cup (after cup, after cup) of my favorite Brew Over Ice iced beverages. I’ve been drinking my favorite summer treat, Brew Over Ice Nantucket Blend Iced Coffee, to both cool me down, and perk me up. Until today.
You can imagine my horror today when I realized I was not the only one at the office using Brew Over Ice to beat this week’s heat – when I went to the break room to make myself a cup, I discovered the box of Nantucket Blend Iced coffee was completely empty! After frantically searching for just one more K-Cup® pack, I had to accept that I was going to find a different way to refresh myself.
I decided to try and fend off my disappointment, and the high temperatures, with the Original Donut Shop’s new Sweet and Creamy Nutty Hazelnut Iced Coffee. After all, it was sitting right next to my beloved Nantucket Blend on the shelf. I filled up my plastic cup with ice, popped the K-Cup® pack in the brewer, and pressed the 8-oz. brew setting. I took a curious first sip, and then another deep slurp. The mix of toasty hazelnut and coffee flavors, and the sweet cream notes was the perfect way to beat the heat, and give me that afternoon perk I craved.
I think I’ve just found the best way for a Vermonter to keep cool in the summer months - how are you beating the heat today?
This time of year I like to take our dogs Sadie and Jake exploring in the Vermont wilderness that surrounds our home, but there's just been too much rain to venture outside for more than a few minutes. Needless to say, the whole affair has us all feeling pretty cooped up. But this last weekend we caught a break when the clouds finally cleared and the thermometer showed that it was a beautiful 75 degrees outside. The second the first ray of sunshine appeared, I finished off my cup of Barista Prima®Italian Roast and a few minutes later we had our hiking boots on, the dogs leashed and were ready to hit the trails.
I won't say it was the perfect conditions for exploring - what with the ground still muddy and puddles everywhere - but after two weeks of continuous rain, it didn't matter much to us. This was also our first real chance to take in the beautiful leaves and flowers that had started popping up. I took a few photos of the early spring flowers in the woods, anyone know the names of them?
Between the beautiful mountains, pristine forests, close-knit communities and incredible food, you'd have to drag me away kicking and screaming to get me out of Vermont for more than a few days. Unfortunately, my boyfriend Alden is tied to his job in Boston, so our relationship has always had to deal with us living in two different places. I'm not going to lie - navigating a not-so-long-distance (Vermont to Boston isn't that far, after all) has been tough, but Alden and I seem to have found a way to make it work.
While eventually one of us will have to reconsider his or her respective living arrangement (my money's on Alden) to progress the relationship any further, I've also discovered there are a few enjoyable advantages to being a part of a long distance relationship.
Perhaps the most significant benefit I've noticed is that communicating with your partner when you're separated by many miles allows you to really get to know each other. When you have to schedule specific times to talk either on a lunch break or in the evening, there isn't much time for empty chatter. As a result, I feel like I've discovered parts of Alden's personality that might have taken much longer to uncover through conventional dating.
For instance, I recall one conversation we had that lasted nearly two hours on Skype. We started off with the usual chit-chat - discussing our days at work and griping about this and that - but eventually the conversation evolved to an intense trip into our respective pasts. We talked about our favorite childhood memories, our experiences together in college, traveling, and even old relationships.
After what seemed like a few minutes, both of us realized that we had been talking for an hour and that it was well past nine o'clock. While it was late, neither of us wanted to cut the conversation short, so we fired up our respective Keurig® Vue™ brewers for a necessary caffeine fix. It was during this particular conversation that we learned about our mutual obsession with Barista Prima® Italian Roast. It's good to know that when we end up in the same place, we won't have to argue about which coffee we prefer best.
With our coffee brewed, we were ready to carry the conversation for another hour. After a few more trips to the Keurig, we were both feeling alert enough to watch a movie together. We synced up our well-worn copies of The Big Lebowski (a classic film by all standards) and bantered about our favorite lines from the movie.
I wasn't going to waste a second of the gorgeous spring weather, so I gathered a couple of buddies for some pickup games at the rec park. It was nice to shed sweaters and raincoats in favor of a t-shirt and shorts as we took in the warm sunshine. We started off with some half-field soccer and finished up by just throwing a Frisbee around for the last couple hours - just how a nice spring afternoon should be spent.
Honestly, one of my favorite parts of playing with close friends on the weekends is the sideline banter. Even though we don't take our games all that seriously, we all have a bit of a competitive side that tends to come out as we play. The amount of good-natured trash talk that's thrown around during our water breaks is hilarious and makes the games much more fun. Minor boasting turns into bragging, and soon enough it just goes straight to outright insults.
We had all gotten so used to the cool, rainy weather that we all forgot how hot it gets running around in the sun all day. By the end of the afternoon, we were all a little burned, or parched, or both and looking for a cool place to relax. I invited everyone back to my house, which happens to be the closest and the one with by far the best selection of iced tea and iced coffee (might have something to do with working for a coffee company...) . Luckily, I stocked up on plenty of K-Cup® packs for my Keurig® brewer before the weekend, so I had plenty to go around.
Some of my friends are relative newcomers to the one-touch convenience of the Keurig® system, and they were especially surprised by the Brew Over Ice varieties. It only took a quick demo before I had requests for both iced tea and iced coffee - vital caffeine supplements to help us recover from our post-sports malaise.
All in all, it was a great afternoon with the guys that I hope we can keep going all spring and summer long. Here's to hoping that Mother Nature is willing to play along with the good weather...
Saturday is National Train Day. As the proud residents of Waterbury’s historic train station, our Green Mountain Coffee® Visitor Center and Café is celebrating in style – arts and craft, music by Steve Lotspeich, coffee – and it looks like a few folks from the Vermont rail will, too!
This year, the Rail Section of the Vermont Agency of Transportation* is inviting passengers to board the Vermont Rail System’s historic passenger cars, and travel from the Essex Junction Station to our very own Railway Station in Waterbury, and back. One you’re in Waterbury, there’s a slew of speakers, an inspirational slide show of the repairs to our Vermont railroads post Irene, railroad exhibits to view at the Waterbury Station, and a chance to stretch your legs and perhaps catch a bite to eat at our Café, or take a look around our wonderful town. Oh, and face painting by our very own Café team!
We hope you have a chance to stop by and enjoy the beauty of these trains. It’s a great way to travel.
As the conductors say: All aboard!
*Not to brag but Vermont Rail Systems recently received national recognition by being named the US Shortline Railroad of the Year by Railway Age!