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So, maybe you got a new Keurig® brewer over the holidays. Or maybe you’ve had a brewer for years. Either way, there’s a lot more than just a simple cup of coffee that you can get out of this terrific little machine. Here’s some inspiration from GreenMountainCoffee.com and Keurig.com to help you think outside the bean.

 

  1. Explore new varieties of coffee. Sure you have your go-to blend, and no one’s going to take that away from you. But did you know, there are over 150 different K-Cup® and about 50 Vue® pack varieties of coffee out there? From light, medium, and dark roast to extra bold, flavored, or special reserve – you might just discover a new favorite or two.
     
  2. Try other hot brews. Coffee’s not the only cup in town. The best-loved hot tea brands are also available for your Keurig® brewer, including Bigelow, Celestial Seasonings, Lipton, Tazo, Tetley, and Twinings. And on a chilly day, kids and grown-ups alike love a cup of hot apple cider or hot cocoa.
     
  3. Enjoy cold beverages with Brew Over Ice packs. With specially-crafted Brew Over Ice K-Cup® and Vue® packs, it’s a cinch to make a fresh and refreshing cup of iced coffee, iced tea, lemonade or other fruit brew. Just fill a cup with ice (do not use glass), pop in a pack, brew, stir and enjoy!
     
  4. Involve your brewer for cooking and baking. There are lots of great recipes that call for coffee, both sweet and savory dishes. Your Keurig® brewer makes it easy to brew a single cup, fast and without cleanup. This blog has a boatload of delicious recipes, so do a little perusing for some culinary ideas.
     
  5. Use My K-Cup® for whole bean and ground options. For some, there’s nothing like a cup of coffee from freshly ground beans. The My K-Cup® refill pack allows you to grind your own beans or to try varieties that are only available in bags.

 

But it’s not just what’s in the cup that matters. Here are a few more tips.

  1. A little maintenance goes a long way. Changing your water filter every 2 months and descaling your brewer every 3-6 months will not only help extend the life of your brewer, it’ll keep your beverages tasting great. Learn more.
  2. Keep your packs in order. There are a few great space-saving options for keeping your packs handy and organized, including carousels, dispensers, and under-brewer drawers. Check out your storage options for both K-Cup® and Vue® packs.
  3. Stock up for guests. When company comes, it’s a real treat to allow everyone to choose his or her own beverage, so keep a stash of options (see #s 1,2, and 3 above) and make it easy for guests to browse packs (see #7 above).
  4. Keep in touch. Sign up at GreenMountainCoffee.com and Keurig.com (bottom left) to receive emails with exclusive discounts and special offers, new product information, and more. We’re also on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.

 

Got an idea to make it an even 10? We’d love to hear from you!

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Water: It’s a Matter of Good Taste

Celebrate National Water Quality Month by Treating your Keurig Brewer Right

It’s perhaps less well-known than Black History Month, but a little more relevant to most of us than National Celery Month (which apparently is March). That’s right, August is Water Quality Month!

At Green Mountain Coffee®, we have our own way of celebrating and improving our water through a series of river clean-ups in the communities in which we work. You can learn more about those great efforts here and this entire week!

But we also wanted to take a moment to share some ideas about getting the best out of your own water, specifically as it relates to your Keurig Brewed® beverages.

Did you know that your cup of coffee is over 98% water? So it stands to reason that the better the taste and quality of your water, the better your coffee will be. The same holds true for tea and cocoa (not to mention all those Brew Over Ice beverages like lemonade, iced tea, and fruit brews that are helping you chill out this summer).

When it comes to the water you choose for your brew, we suggest using clean, filtered water such as you would get from a tap or pitcher filter. While some mineral content helps to lend flavor and depth to your brews – for that reason, distilled water is not recommended – you don’t want to have an overabundance of minerals…or the wrong ones.  

OK, so you’ve got good tasting (and smelling) water, now you’ll want to make sure the inner-workings of your brewer are clean. Keurig® recommends de-scaling your brewer every 3-6 months depending on the hardness of your water. Don’t know how to de-scale? Here’s a quick video tutorial.

Once you’ve assured good water and a clean machine, the last 2% of getting a great cup is easy: just pick your favorite variety K-Cup® or Vue® pack and let your Keurig® brewer do its thing.

Oh, and if you have a chance to do something to help clean up the waterways in your community or to support water conservation programs here or abroad, think how much more satisfaction you’ll get from that great cup of coffee or tea. Learn more about water quality issues at www.nrdc.org/water.

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DIY K-Cup Pack Easter Baskets

K-Cup Pack Easter Basket

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.

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Green Your Office Part 1: 10 Easy, Low-Cost Tips

According to a TIME Magazine article, heating, air conditioning, and electricity for American businesses produce about 40% of our nation’s CO2 emissions and account for around 70% of our power consumption. The following first steps will not only yield a greener office with a smaller carbon footprint, but also promote a happier workplace, and a healthier bottom line. These 10 are just a start. I'll share more in the coming months


1. Use Power Strips


“Phantom loads” occur when devices that appear turned off still draw electricity — such as appliances with digital clocks and electronics with instant-on capability. Office equipment can be bundled onto one power strip for easy switching off when not in use, but make sure the power strips are accessible and visible so everyone remembers to use them.



2. Kick the Bottled Water Habit


It is estimated that Americans toss out over 35 billion plastic water bottles annually, and workplaces are some of the largest sources of that plastic bottle trash. Consider using a water delivery service or buying a water filter for the kitchen faucet along with a supply of reusable cups.



3. Buy Recycled Paper


Opt for 100% recycled content paper, paper towels, and toilet paper. For printed sales and marketing brochures, investigate alternatives in post-consumer recycled paper. Luckily, many recycled paper vendors now sell high post-consumer content recycled products at prices comparable to traditional paper products.



4. Stop Stapling


Use reusable binder clips or paper clips to join pages, or buy a “stapleless” fastener to avoid buying staples altogether. You will keep tons of steel out of landfills.



5. Go Paperless


Employing a cloud-based project management system as much as possible allows team members access to key information resources, without the need for lots of printouts. Some examples of these systems include Jive, BaseCamp, Google Docs, and Wave.



6. Think Outside the Cubicle


Carpools and public transit benefit both the environment and the employees. Initiate some of these simple ideas if you are the business owner or suggest them to your boss:



  • Suggest four-day work weeks or telecommuting. (Working fewer days per week or telecommuting can substantially reduce transportation and fuel expenses.)

  • Ask your employer to offer carpool-matching plans connecting employees with co-workers who live nearby or on the same route to the office.

  • Provide parking incentives such as prime parking spots for carpoolers.

  • Encourage bicycling and walking to the office by conveniently locating bike racks near the workplace.

  • Offer financial incentives for these options.




7. Use Laptops


ENERGY STAR qualified computers can use up to 90% less energy than desktop models so, whenever possible, ditch the desktops.



8. Give the Gift of Green
Whether you are buying a special gift for a client or a present for an office baby shower, try to buy environmentally friendly or Fair Trade items to show that you care about your customers and co-workers as well as the planet.




9. Offer Organic Coffee & Tea


This is our favorite. Ask your office manager to stock organic or Fair Trade coffee for the break room. Ask your co-workers to bring in their favorite coffee mug or water glass and get some mugs (preferably with your company logo) for visiting clients to eliminate disposable cup waste.



10. Track and Celebrate Your Success


Last but not least, post explanations of what you’re doing and how much you’ve accomplished near each “greened space” — and include how the changes make sense environmentally and financially. People tend to respond more favorably when they know the reason behind a decision and feel they are included in the effort rather than having it imposed top-down. Share these and any other green office tips you find with your office mates and consider electing a “Sustainability Manager” to oversee recycling, energy usage, and research more green office alternatives.

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Cuisinart and Keurig Serve Up a New Single-Cup Brewer

Coffee lovers and tech-junkies, convenience hounds and kitchen wizards - look what's showed up at GreenMountainCoffee.com today: the new Cuisinart® single-cup brewer.

We heard about it this time last year and now it's finally here: Cuisinart® and Keurig® have teamed up to bring us the Cuisinart single-cup brewer!  Pretty, no?

Ah, but this isn't just about looks. The Cuisinart has many of the features you’ve come to love about Keurig brewing technology, with a few more bells and whistles:


  • It has an extra large, removable 80 oz. water reservoir that offers impressive capacity, eliminating the need for frequent refills.

  • The hot water button is great for instant coffee, soup, tea, or hot cereal.

  • There is a rinse button that instantly cleans the inside of the brew chamber to keep every cup as delicious as the first.


And, of course, there's a few more extras: Included with the brewer are a 12 K-Cup starter variety pack, the reusable My K-Cup filter (which has its own storage area in the brewer), and one charcoal water filter. Click here to read up on all of the brewer's features and specs.

With over 80 varieties of coffee, tea, and hot cocoa to choose from at www.ShopAllKCups.com, its easier than ever for you to enjoy a wide array of hot and cold beverages from your Cuisinart brewer!

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Summer Camping? Don't forget the coffee!

Dr. Jane Goodall demonstrates her method for brewing coffee in the wild.

Recently, the CBS Early Show featured gear guru Paul Hochman talking about how more families are choosing camping vacations over more pricey visits to expensive resorts this summer.

There’s nothing like waking up in the wild on a chilly morning and greeting the day with a cup of hot coffee!  Green Mountain Coffee’s coffee experts are outdoor enthusiasts and never without their daily cup, so I polled them for their recommended methods for brewing coffee tentside. 

Ed just returned from a car camping trip up & down the East Coast.  He picked up micro-roasts from boutique coffee shops along the way and brewed them up with a hand-grinder and an insulated French press.

Don prefers the Mocha Pot, a dual chamber “stove-top” espresso maker.  A standard for homes in Italy, this is ideal for camping as it makes a concentrated cup with little heat and water.  Perfect for Don’s canoe and backpack camping excursions!

Lindsey also uses a French press, made of thermal stainless steel so it won’t break during her hard core adventures.  Inside the press, she stores a bag with enough ground coffee to last a few days. 

Winston also likes the French press and pre-ground coffee for his Adirondack adventures.  Even easier, he says, is the Chemex brewer, or the Toddy cold brewer.  With the Toddy you make up a concentrate in advance, and add water when ready to drink.  It can be served cold or heated on the stove for a hot cup.

Deb clued me in to the convenient Mini Minit.  These biodegradable filters are perfect for making one cup of coffee or tea at a time.

I had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Jane Goodall demonstrate her rustic coffee-making methods in New York City when we launched our Tanzanian Gombe Reserve coffee.  She recycles the foot of a pair of pantyhose to use as a filter! 

Bottom line…with a little preparation and a small camping stove, you can make sure your next adventure is well-caffeinated.

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Keurig Water Filter Starter Kit: New!

09-accessories-keurig-water-filter-lgIs your water supply the best it can be or does it taste a bit like chlorine or some other "undesirable?"  If so, then the Keurig Water Filter Starter Kit is a must-have for your Keurig Brewer.

Great coffee begins with great beans, but it’s still about 98% water. The starter kit includes everything you need to start filtering the water in your Keurig Brewer. The Keurig Water Filter comes with two charcoal filter cartridges and when you use the filter in the water reservoir of your Keurig Brewer you are certain to have fresh, delicious, taint-free tasting coffee.

In addition, we also have replacement filters that come in packs of six which is enough for one full year of deliciously clean water. These can be used in Keurig Water Filters for Keurig Single-Cup Brewers.

Please visit gmcr.com today to read more about our K-Cups, single brewers and new Keurig Water Filter system.


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How Should the Next K-Cup Be?

Hi all -

A few weeks back, Ken posted on this blog, asking readers to submit ideas on what the next K-Cup should be.  That post has been far and away our most popular, with over 600 comments to date and some very interesting and original suggestions.

A few days ago, however, a reader named Roger posted a different kind of comment.  Roger wanted to know why we aren't using compostable K-Cups.  He mentioned that Ben & Jerry's is currently using compostable containers for their pints so why aren't we doing the same with our K-Cups?

Great question, Roger, and thanks for posing it.

The answer is in the technical details relating to how the Keurig system delivers such great coffee.  When you roast and package coffee, elements like oxygen, moisture, and light are enemies of freshness - when the coffee is exposed to any of them, it will decrease the quality and shelf life of the product.  Additionally, when you use your package as a brewing vessel, the package needs to withstand a fairly high amount of heat.  As a result, the package itself (the K-Cup) has to be impervious to the exact elements that are at work (heat, moisture, air, light) when you compost waste effectively.  Without this packaging, all the resources and effort put into growing and roasting great coffee would be wasted - and that would also be a serious environmental impact.

That still leaves us with the question of what we are doing to work on the issue of the environmental impact of the K-Cup though.  Packaging is an area of major environmental concern for all consumer product companies. As the single-cup coffee market and our Keurig brewing systems grow in popularity, we understand that the impact of the K-Cup® waste stream is one of our most significant environmental challenges.

Finding a more environmentally-friendly approach to this packaging challenge is a big priority for us. We are working on a few different fronts to improve the environmental characteristics of the K-Cup system, as well as to mitigate its impact.

Here's what we're doing:

First, we are working to identify the right end goal for the K-Cup. The term “environmentally-friendly” or “sustainable” means different things to different people; it could mean carbon-neutral, made with renewable materials only, recyclable, biodegradable, compostable, petroleum-free, etc. We are researching all these avenues, trying to understand what is possible today and tomorrow, taking into account the current state of packaging technology, consumer preferences, community infrastructure, performance requirements, and the demands of the marketplace.

Second, we have commissioned Life-Cycle Analysis to help us quantitatively understand the environmental impact of the K-Cup. Waste at the end of a process is an important factor in understanding the environmental impact of a product, but impact occurs throughout a product’s life. We want to understand the full impact of K-Cup packaging so we can more clearly understand its real benefits as well as where we can take concrete steps to reduce its impact.

Third, we are continuing to invest in both public and private innovation in packaging. We are looking at ways to improve all of our coffee packaging, while still maintaining the freshness and quality that consumers have come to expect from us. We have made some strides in this area. Our hot and cold beverage cups are made from fully renewable materials. And our new 10 and 12 ounce bags of coffee are made from 19% PLA – a bio-plastic sourced from corn.

Fourth, we are introducing more Fair Trade Certified® coffees into our K-Cup line. We believe that’s good for Fair Trade as well as for our business. Its good for Fair Trade because the K-Cup market is growing quickly; having Fair Trade Certified® coffees in K-Cups helps grow the Fair Trade system and exposes more people to great Fair Trade Certified® coffees. Its good for our business because we know consumers like Fair Trade Certified® coffees when they get a chance to learn what it means and taste it.

Fifth, we offer the My K-Cup product, a reusable filter assembly that can be refilled by the consumer, is easily cleaned, and is compatible with all Keurig home brewers sold today.

I hope that helps explain how we're working to answer the question "How should the next K-Cup be?" - we look forward to sharing our results with you as soon as we can.

5/3/2011 UPDATE:

We appreciate the comments and feedback related to the environmental impact of the Keurig® Single-Cup Brewing System. Since the posting of this blog, we created a webpage on our Brewing a Better World website that has the most recent information on our work to reduce the environmental impact of the K-Cup® portion packs.

Please visit that webpage for the most up to date information on these efforts.

A few highlights from that work include:

-Commissioning a Life-Cycle Analysis that compared single-cup brewing using the Keurig system to drip brewing across a number of environmental dimensions. This analysis indicated that the disposal of a product’s packaging generally represents a fraction of its total environmental impact and that the most significant environmental impact actually occurs in the production of the materials used to create the product. We are acting on this information.

-Investing significant resources in working with packaging suppliers to identify and implement materials changes that will meet our standards for quality and deliver the most significant positive environmental impact, both in the creation and disposal of our packaging.

-Evolving our product design processes and systems by, among other things, educating our engineering staff about sustainable design and establishing in-house Life-Cycle Analysis capability so that we can build greater environmental responsibility into our products and their packaging from the beginning.

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Greening Up Our K-Cups

"When will you be able to offer a more sustainable K-Cup?"

We hear this question a lot -- from our customers, sure, but also from people throughout our own organization. It's a simple question, but the answers are pretty complex.

Consider for a moment that sustainability means different things to different people. For some it's being carbon-neutral, for others it means being recyclable or made strictly with renewable materials, or a product that's compostable, biodegradable or petroleum-free. That's not an attempt to muddy the waters, but to try to lay out some of the many fronts we're actively researching in order to make K-Cups, and single-cup brewing in general, every bit as ecological as it is convenient. Greening Up K-Cups


  • We *are* researching alternatives to the materials that currently make up our K-Cups. There's not a lot we can publicly talk about just yet, save to say this is an active effort for us, and an important one.

  • We're conducting Life-Cycle Analysis to better understand the entire ecological footprint of the K-Cup. That's more than just its packaging... it's an attempt to evaluate the *entire* footprint -- and to look at both the product's positive and negative attributes.


While our research continues, we continue to take active steps. We're introducing more Fair Trade Certified® coffees into our K-Cup product line. We're promoting the "My K-Cup" reusable single-serve filter, which is compatible with all of the home brewers we offer today. And we recently added recycling codes to those parts of our home brewers that are recyclable.

We intend to continue to improve the ecological impact of our K-Cups until we're all of us satisfied -- customers and employees alike -- that our K-Cups are a winning proposition not only for coffee lovers the world over, but for the world, too.

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