Vermont Coffee Company

Giving Thanks

 

We hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving! After you are stuffed with turkey, cranberry sauce, and shared plenty of laughs and memories with family and friends, we want to know: what have you given thanks for this year?

Here are some of ours:

Kristen Mercure: "Friends, family, and colleagues always make my Thanksgiving list.  I would not be the same person without their influence, kindness, and vivre!  But this year, I’m also thankful to delicious eats, sweet treats, and readers who put up with our antics J  Thanks to you, dear readers!  Now: time to dig into some leftovers!"

Hannah Hassler: "I’m thankful for…Family....Health.....My new Treadmill so I can eat more pie :) !"

Amanda Cooper: "I am thankful for great family and great coffee! I love that I work for a company where I can introduce my family to great coffee as well as all the important work GMCR does to help "Brew a Better World".  My brother loves our Fair Trade Seasonals and I'm very partial to our Special Reserves!"

Amy Klinger: "This time of year in Vermont, I'm thankful for ice scrapers, wood stoves, big pots of soup, and of course, the white fluffy stuff that makes skiing so much easier."

Briana Keene: "Family, friends, good health and happiness. Thanksgiving is a great time to kick back, enjoy scrumptious foods and watch some football. I love this time of year especially for all the yummy fall desserts and activities that are all around us this season! I will always love a cup of my favorite Pumpkin Spice as well."

 

Cheers to another great holiday!

 

 

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10 ways to Celebrate Autumn

Fall is in the air!

It is the autumnal equinox, which means today is equally divided by daytime and nighttime.   It’s time to say good bye to those long summer days, but it doesn’t have to be bittersweet.  I know I am ready to say hello to no allergies, no bugs, perfectly moderate weather, and beautiful foliage.  Here are ten great ways to savor all that autumn has to offer before winter rolls in (I’m sorry for even mentioning it).

  1. One word: pumpkin.  Eat everything pumpkin you can find.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes, and of course Green Mountain Coffee Pumpkin Spice.  When you’re not eating pumpkins, try your hand at carving them.  Save the seeds and then roast them to commence the pumpkin eating again!
  2. Build a scare-crow to keep your Jack-O-Lanterns company.  Despite the name, scare-crows don’t have to be scary and they can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to make them.  Building your own scare-crow is a fun, kid-friendly way to spend an afternoon. 
  3. Go for a hike, nature walk, or even just a brisk stroll around the neighborhood.  Even if you don’t live in a climate like ours here in Vermont that offers stunning autumn foliage, it’s still great to get a breath of fall fresh air.
  4. If you are lucky enough to have a ton of leaves to rake, jump in!  Nothing is more satisfying than plunging into a fluffy mound of leaves, especially if you are the one who’s done the raking all day.  Don’t be shy; this one isn’t just for the kids.
  5. Pick your own peck of apples or pick a peck at your local farmer’s market.  Use your fresh apples for apple pie, caramel-coated apples, or try a cheddar and apple pizza.  Then, what better way to celebrate your hard work than with Hot Apple Cider and apple cider doughnuts?
  6. Get out in the country and go for a hay ride.  Whether you go tractor- or horse-drawn, the sweet smell of hay and the gold and jewel tones of harvest will transport you to an autumn wonderland.
  7. Get lost in a maze of maize!  You’ll be amaized by how fun corn mazes are.  Okay, I’ll stop being corny.
  8. Visit a haunted house or haunted woods.  Get your heartbeat pumping and prepare for a lot of laughs afterwards. This is the one time of year when you should be afraid of the dark.
  9. Break out that old guitar and gather around a bonfire.  The weather is just right for getting cozy around a crackling fire with a few good friends and a steaming cup of Cafe Escapes Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa.  S’mores anyone?
  10. Play a game of touch football.  Many of us will be doing a lot of football watching this season, but why not join in the fun yourself?  The crisp weather is perfect for running around!

What are you most excited about doing this fall?  If you are anything like me your list is eating, more eating, and eating with good company!

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Meet A New Face at the Visitors Center and Cafe

Meet Julia at the Train Station

We would like to introduce a new face in the Train Station! Meet Julia Garufi. We are proud to have her as a part of our talented team. She isn’t as new as she may seem though.

Back in June 1983, Julia worked at the original Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Café in Waitsfield, Vermont. She worked under Patty Vincent (you know, Patty on our Coffee Team, right?) as a barista.

As Julia recalls, things were a little different back then. They roasted right on site in the café. Wholesale roasting was done at what is now our Factory Outlet here in Waterbury. They would roast into large bins and everything was hand bagged except for frac packs (those little sealed pouches of coffee) which had a special machine to seal them closed. There was also another retail facility in the Winooski Mill in Winooski, Vermont and in Portland, Maine. Overall, it was quite the memorable experience for her. Memorable enough to bring her to us. Seeing how socially aware and employee friendly the company managed to be despite its growth and size, Julia decided to come back to where it all began and now works with us here in the Train Station!

Stop in sometime and say hello to Julia! Ask her about the original café or just visit for a cup of Green Mountain Coffee®. We look forward to your visit!

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Tips to Pick and Pack a Picnic for the Fourth

Packing for a Picnic for The 4th of July

In case you hadn’t noticed, picnic season is in full swing. As we countdown to July 4th, it seems like a good time to offer some inspiration in putting together a perfect picnic basket to be enjoyed with or without the benefit of fireworks.

To help keep things organized, let’s start with the non-food items you’ll want to pack.

If your early summer weather has been a fraction as soggy as it’s been in Vermont, it might be nice bring a tarp in addition to a blanket, ideally one that can fit most of your picnickers’ behinds, and that is pleasant to sit on (the blanket, that is).

Paper plates and plastic ware…check. Cloth napkins are nice since they won’t blow away if the wind picks up. Handy wipes for messy foods and kids, a couple of garbage bags, aluminum foil, and/or plastic baggies for any leftovers. For entertaining the little ones, pack a flying disc, whiffle ball set, bubbles, butterfly net. Leave the tablets and digital babysitters at home.

Now the food. It sounds obvious, but you’ll want to put together a menu of foods that actually taste good cold. I much prefer my fried chicken hot and greasy, so that won’t find its way into my picnic basket. Veggies and hummus, chips and salsa or popcorn are good for snacking. Setting up a “sandwich bar” is a great option for the main meal. If you go this route, do all the slicing and dicing ahead of time, keeping everything in its own container to avoid sogginess and cross-flavoring: not everyone likes their bread soaked with pickle juice. For dessert, a pan of brownies is a crowd-pleaser and nothing says summer like slices of sweet watermelon. Pit-spitting contests are encouraged.

Finally, considering you are reading a blog entry from a company that sells beverages – or rather, a company that sells single serve beverage packs and brewers – there is clearly one key item I’ve forgotten. The drinks! If you think your Keurig® brewer can only be enjoyed at home, consider the to-go options a spill-resistant, Brew Over Ice tumbler presents you with: fresh-tasting lemonade, iced tea flavors like Half-and-Half and Snapple®, delicious iced coffee, and a splash of fruit flavor with Vitamin Burst® iced brews.

True, these tumblers don’t come in six-packs like some other popular beverage items, but you can at least enjoy a little refreshment during the ride to the festivities. And with a car filled to the gills with gear and kids and dogs, that might just be the nicest way to keep your cool.

Happy 4th, everyone!

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Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Named Business Leader in Energy Efficiency

Photo of GMCR's Plant in Essex, VT (Photo by Alex Eshelman)

(Photo by Alex Eshelman)

We are proud to share that we've has been named a 2013 “Northeast Business Leader for Energy Efficiency”.  We were nominated by Efficiency Vermont, and are being honored for our efforts that reduced our yearly energy costs by more than $725,000. The award is given annually by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP), a non-profit energy efficiency advocacy organization, to highlight the energy-saving achievements of organizations throughout the region.

“We are proud to recognize GMCR for their success and commitment to energy efficiency,” said Sue Coakley, Executive Director of NEEP. “GMCR provides an excellent example of how energy saving investments can improve a company’s bottom line, contribute to economic growth, and reduce environmental impact.”

We were selected for recognition for our efficient approaches to lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, and industrial process equipment in its Waterbury, Essex, and Williston plants and for construction of our facility in South Burlington. In addition, we are being honored for our ongoing monitoring of energy use, to maintain continuous awareness of building and equipment performance.

“GMCR has shown a strong commitment to energy efficiency – not just in its buildings but also in every facet of its operations,” said Jim Merriam, Director of Efficiency Vermont. “We are proud to be a longstanding partner of GMCR, and we look forward to supporting their continuing innovation and success.”

“Our exceptional growth rate over the past five years has provided us with a great opportunity to create systems and buildings that are both functional and energy efficient,” said Mick Muscat, Facilities Engineering Manager for GMCR. “We are extremely fortunate that the company supports these dual objectives. With this support, we are able to significantly increase our energy efficiency.”

We will be recognized, along with winners from neighboring states, in Springfield, Massachusetts on June 18-19, 2013 at the Northeast Energy Efficiency Summit. The gathering brings together regional leaders in public policy, business, energy efficiency, and consumer and environmental advocacy to advance energy efficiency as the leading clean energy resource for the Northeast.

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The Cafe Staff Goes to Source

Missy at Source

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.

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Employee Source Trip to Costa Rica 2013

   
Luis Campos from Altura de San Ramon, with Laurent and Winston looking on
Manuel Antonio Quiros, the coffee farming, car repairing bonsai gardener.

It is easy to imagine how nice it is to go to Costa Rica in January especially if you are leaving behind a climate that includes a down jacket and snow shovel.  Every year employees get to leave their home climates to go on source trips to warm coffee producing countries, like Costa Rica.  And that's what I first got to do in 1996.  I was a trainer in what would now be called Continuous Learning and our 'classrooms' were in the old Java U in Waterbury, VT.   The building was torn down years ago and very few remember the building, but I'll never forget the day my boss and her boss asked me to follow them into one of the classrooms to tell me I was selected to go on the employee trip to Costa Rica.

Fast forward to 2013 and I have led four trips to Costa Rica (15 in total between there and Mexico) and I never get tired of bringing employees there.  One of my favorite groups to visit in Costa Rica is Altura de San Ramon in San Ramon.  One reason is Luis Campos (upper left), their General Manager, who I adore and admire.  He's been to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. in Vermont many times sporting his leather hat, soft spoken manner, and just plain tallness.  As well as a coffee farmer and cattle rancher Luis runs the Association of more than 500 farmers.  Another reason it is a favorite group to visit is the other friends we have made over time there, like Manuel Antonio Quiros (bottom), who has also been here before. Manuel is a coffee farmer, but also runs a car repair garage and dabbles in bonsai.

This year instead of going to Luis' house like we usually do, we went to Sergio Hernandez's farm for a short tour and snacks made by his wife Martha.  Sergio is a coffee farmer but he also raises day old chicks to sell to chicken farms that raise them for fried chicken and broilers.  He proudly pointed out that those little chickens gross him $90,000 per year.  When we got to the top of the hill full of coffee trees, he pointed out (again not without a certain amount of pride) the coffee farms that his many sons own.  It was at the end of the day, and I can't tell you exquisite the light was; it was the kind of light that has no humidity to it, no bugs to it, just light and fresh air, and warmth (upper right).  It’s the kind of view and company that encompasses how the employee source trips make people feel.

 

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6th Annual Grounds for Health Carwash to be held August, 16th!

This Thursday (8/16/12), we’ll be hosting our 6th annual carwash to raise money for the Waterbury, Vermont-based nonprofit Grounds for Health, an organization that aims to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in coffee-growing communities.

Employees will be hosing down and washing cars behind the Green Mountain Coffee Visitor Center and Café in Waterbury from 12 p.m. - 4 p.m . The carwash is free, but donations are strongly encouraged (especially if you’d like your car detailed by Gigi’s Cleaning Company)! They’ll be free Ben and Jerry’s ice cream as well as music by The Growlers.

Grounds for Health Carwash 2011  GMCR Employees Voluteering at Carwash

In addition, to hosting this annual carwash, we’ve also been a long-time supporter of Grounds for Health through past grants. We most recently awarded Grounds for Health a three-year $900,000 grant that will help them to further develop their existing cervical cancer prevention programs in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Tanzania, and expand its program into Peru. We're excited to continue to support Grounds For Health's efforts to establish sustainable and effective cervical cancer prevention and treatment programs in coffee-growing communities. The partnerships Grounds for Health forges with coffee cooperatives help break down barriers that stand between women and the care they need.

If you’re in the area on Thursday, be sure to stop by the carwash to show your support and have some fun!

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3rd Annual Tennessee River Rescue with Ijams Nature Center

Volunteerism is an integral part of our Corporate Social Responsibility programs. Every full-time employee can take up to 52-hours of paid time-off to volunteer for an non-profit organization they are passionate about (learn more on how we support local communities).

A company tradition in Vermont has been to cleanup one of the nearby rivers as part of American River’s National River Cleanup. In Vermont, we’ve been organizing a River Cleanup on the Winooski River since 2005. As our volunteerism program has expanded to other employee locations, so has the tradition of an annual River Cleanup.

GMCR Employees Volunteer Tennessee RiverKnoxville River Rescue

In early April, employees from our Knoxville, TN facility, with help from Ijams Nature Center (also a Green Mountain Coffee Roasters grant recipient) participated in their 3rd annual River Rescue cleanup event on the Tennessee River. In total, 149 volunteers over the course of two days collected 452 bags of trash, 20 tires, 6 shopping carts, a conveyor belt, a bicycle, a gas tank, a metal “man” cut-out, rugs, ropes and numerous other items. The approximate weight of the bagged trash was approximately 8,100 lbs!

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Grounds For Health Continues and Expands Work in Coffee-Growing Communities

Yesterday, Grounds for Health announced that they will be able to further develop their existing cervical cancer prevention programs in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Tanzania, and expand its program into Peru thanks to a three-year $900,000 grant from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. We've supported the Vermont-based non-profit through past grants as well as through the annual Grounds For Health Carwash. We're excited to continue to support Grounds For Health's efforts to establish sustainable and effective cervical cancer prevention and treatment programs in coffee-growing communities.

The announcement of this grant is particularly meaningful as January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. August Burns, the Executive Director of Grounds For Health says "It’s important to recognize that the greatest cancer killer of women in developing countries worldwide is cervical cancer, despite it being nearly 100% preventable".

“We are proud to contribute to Grounds for Health’s important work in coffee-growing communities,” says Colleen Bramhall, GMCR Coffee Community Outreach January is Cervical Cancer Awareness MonthManager. “The partnerships Grounds for Health forges with coffee cooperatives help break down barriers that stand between women and the care they need. We are proud of the accomplishments of our Waterbury neighbor and look forward to continuing our collaboration.” 

In the words of Fatima Ismael, cervical cancer survivor and general manager of the Soppexcca coffee cooperative, a long-time partner of both companies, “I think until my last breath, I will be eternally grateful for what [Grounds for Health] has done for us.” You can find out more information on Grounds for Health on their webpage, Facebook or Twitter.

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New Year’s Reflections from the CSR Department

During the past couple days, while email and phone calls have slowed down in the office, my coworkers and I started to reminisce about the past year at GMCR. It is a wonderful experience working at a growing company, but it was nice to slow down a bit this week and look back at some of the highpoints for us working in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department.  

For me, it’s all about the growth. As our business has grown, so has our 5% fund. We’ve expanded our reach exponentially since I started with the company 5 years ago. There are more resources to grant to deserving non-profits in coffee-growing communities and in new supply chains. We’ve started employee community grant programs at our Employee Sites throughout the U.S. Our department has also grown – welcoming 3 new members to the CSR this year. It is truly amazing to see the ongoing development of our CSR programs.

Liz Dohrman, Enterprise Volunteerism SpecialistChildren at Planting Hope's Coffee Camps

Working on the domestic team in our CSR department, I know a lot about our work in coffee growing communities but had never had the chance to see the projects we support in person. In December I had the opportunity to visit Nicaragua as part of this year’s employee source trip. In a little town called San Ramon, we met children attending Coffee Camp. Coffee Camps were started by a small, Vermont-based non-profit called Planting Hope. Parents who work in the fields to harvest coffee frequently leave their young children at home alone. Coffee Camps offer a safe place for kids to go during their school vacation. Instead of being left home alone in remote areas, they go to camp where snacks and a meal are provided and a school-like curriculum is presented, with a little fun thrown in, too. Meeting these kids was incredible. Many live in remote areas in meager conditions with few possessions. We had the opportunity to play with them and see how happy they are, despite the many challenges facing them. I’m very proud to work for a company that supports projects like Planting Hope’s Coffee Camps.

Eliza Dodd, Domestic Community OutreachEliza pulling a tire out of the Winooski River in Vermont

One of my 2011 highlights was participating in GMCR’s River Clean-Up week! It is a great opportunity for employees to get out and give back to our local communities. I had a blast digging tires out of the river, paddling down the Winooski, and meeting folks from other departments in the company.

Mary Beth Jenssen, Supply-Chain Outreach

When thinking back on my first year as a GMCR employee, the part that sticks out in my mind above the rest is the people. Stated many times, but all too often unproven, is the importance of great coworkers.  GMCR has a culture that values collaboration, open dialogue and growth that is proven through its employees. IGMCR Employees at Employee Appreciation Day have never met a coworker that I didn’t like and have been fortunate enough to have made many friends over the last 11 months and that is  a rare thing to find at work. Having wonderful coworkers can be a reason you come in to work each day, a reason you stay with the company rather than looking to move out, a reason you are able to accomplish a seemingly impossible project. 2011 at GMCR has been filled with wonderful coworkers that showed me what it means to work at a great place.

Thank you for following our work throughout the year.

And Happy New Year!

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Grand Reopening of the Visitor Center and Cafe!


This past Saturday we held the grand reopening of the Green Mountain Coffee® Visitors Center and Café - and what a great success it was!  All day long folks stopped by to check things out, see our revitalized space, and warm up (it was only 25-degrees out) with a steaming cup of coffee. Some lucky customers even walked away with great prizes including gift bags full of Green Mountain Coffee goodies (and even a Keurig® brewer or two).

We have to say: The Café staff did a spectacular job reopening the doors. Their friendly greetings and glowing faces really added to the enjoyment of the day. To say the least, we are so happy to see them back in action – particularly when they walked around with a selection of tasty treats was provided by Joan Grenier of Grenier’s Home Bakery.  Yum!


What’s a celebration without music?  Harwood Unions High School’s own a capella group, I Cantori, stopped by and captivated listeners with a selection of holiday favorites on the front porch. True professionals, the group sounded perfect - even in chilly temperatures!

Inspired by the occasion (and by the joyous music), Megan Smith, Vermont’s Commissioner of Tourism & Marketing, spoke about Waterbury and the importance of small towns in Vermont. Revitalizing Waterbury presented Ernie Pomerleau with a community services award for his work in Waterbury – thanks, Ernie!  Missy Gorham, the Café’s Manager, also got the chance to speak, sharing how very happy she is to be back in business after three months of hard work to get everything up and running again. Finally, the group raised their mugs in a toast to the Café staff, commemorating the reopening, the Visitor Center’s 5th year in business and Revitalizing Waterbury’s 20th year.


We are so fortunate to be part of a community that looks out for each other and rally when times get tough. We hope that the Café will continue to embody a sense of community spirit and that locals and visitors alike will come see us to enjoy a warm cup of coffee and the company of family and friends.

Thanks to all those who joined us on Saturday!  We hope to see you again soon. And for those of you who didn’t have the chance, come visit us any day of the week between 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. You’ll be glad you did.

By: Alexa Mucklow, PR Intern

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Giving Thanks For...

Every year on the blog, we step back and give thanks.  Thanks for our families.  Thanks for our friends.  Thanks for the air we breathe and the coffee we drink.  We step back and think about the hard times and the triumphant times.  The silly and the delicious.  We take a moment to take a moment, and hope that you do the same with us.  So, without further ado, our thanks:

Laura: I am thankful to work with smart, passionate colleagues who care deeply about their work and the impact we have on the world around us.

Mike: Easy…I am more grateful than I could ever express for the presence of our little boy Zeke – a miracle baby born March 5th, 2011.

John: I am thankful for so many things. I am thankful that my house did not experience any damage during Hurricane Irene, my heart goes out to the Vermonters that are still putting their lives back together. I am thankful for family and friends who offer their love and support.  I am thankful for my awesome job at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc.; it is great to work with so many smart people who love coffee. I am thankful for my two dogs; they are old, fit and happy and keep me active.

Marybeth: I am thankful for a great cup of coffee (Guatemalan Finca Dos Marias Rocks!) on a sunny fall morning while sitting on my front porch watching the sun light up the sky. I am thankful for being a part of a company that cares – cares about the people who work here, our consumers, and the environment. I am thankful that as our sales grow so does the 5% we donate to local and global causes.

Roger: Have you ever had one of those moments of wonder? The kinds when the whole world seems to slow down just long enough for you to appreciate it. And then for that instant, that single speck in time, nothing else matters – no stress, no worry, no frets. The other day when I was walking to work I had one of those moments. It was a beautiful morning and the sun was dancing on the autumnally punctuated mountains that surround us. The air was crisp but not cold. The colors of the sky, the clouds, and the hillsides were spot on. Even the birds’ songs seemed to lilt just a bit brighter, carrying on the breeze just a second longer than the physics of sound would normally allow. The moment literally stopped me in my tracks. I chuckled to myself while taking it all in. Those moments, those quick, personal mental group hugs with the universe, those simple distillations of time and purpose and place, that’s what I’m thankful for….

Mary Beth J.: I am new to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. this year and have found that I have a lot that I am thankful for:



  • Bringing my personal passion into work each day

  • New opportunities and experiences

  • A new appreciation for the coffee industry and an endless supply of caffeine

  • Having coworkers who patiently waited while I got back on my feet, literally, and cheered me on along the way after having only known me for a few weeks



Colleen: I am thankful that I trusted my heart and moved from New York City to Vermont!  Now I have a fiancé that I adore, a dream job at a company I admire, and a world of outdoor adventures at my doorstep!

Jen:  I am thankful for my awesome network of friends who never fail to support me and keep me going!  And that Donovan McNabb is no longer the starting quarterback for the Vikings! ;)

Derek: I am thankful for many things, but among them: I am thankful that great, interesting music is still being made today.  I’m thankful that the Flatlander Barbecue team didn’t fall flat on our face during our first year of competitive barbecue.  I’m thankful to work for a company with so many opportunities and to have the ability to work on such an amazing brand.  And I’m thankful that my wife and I get to live in the beautiful state of Vermont – more often than not, my morning commute is just breathtaking.

Kristen:  It’s been one of those years, folks.  You know: The kind of year that brings just as many challenges as it does rewards?  But man, are those rewards all the sweeter because of the hurdles it took to get them.  And those rewards are: Superior coworkers – the kind that will deal with you reverse trick-or-treating around campus in costume or frolicking down the halls of Cubeland; loving family – those that will pick you up at the airport after an event so late in the night it’s early in the morning; and hilarious, dedicated friends – the ones that roll their eyes when you tell them they’re all getting coffee for Christmas for year number three and then merrily chug every morsel of caffeinated goodness.

Tom:  My family lore has it that we're descended from the pilgrims John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley. Howland was swept off the deck of the Mayflower in a storm -- but saved by a rope thrown overboard. So I'm definitely thankful for that rescue. Otherwise I wouldn't even be here! (I am also secretly grateful for the cranberry sauce shaped just like the can it comes out of. With three kids, there's always some of that on our Thanksgiving table, alongside the more wholesome, natural whole-berry stuff.)

Doug: I'm thankful for wool socks, the heavy kind, all sheepy soft on the inside and thick enough to ward off evening chills. I'm thankful for autumn bonfires, and friends to share them with. Marshmallows, toasted just so. And I'm exceptionally thankful for a job with an amazing company that has in so many ways exceeded my expectations about what a group of committed people can do. I mean — it's a job, right? In this economy that's enough, and it affords me many of the other things I'm thankful for. But working here has enriched me as a human being, too. Who'd have expected that? So, thanks. And don't forget… wool socks: awesome.

What are you thankful for this year?

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Update: Irene Flood Relief Concert with Rubblebucket

Update 9/15/2011 - We're getting really excited for the relief show tomorrow night and to help spread the word our friends at Select Design created this great event flyer! There are going to be some fabulous raffle prizes as well as some food samples from Vermont Companies!


9/8/2011 - As you know, communities around Vermont – and many of our friends and coworkers – continue to recover from the aftermath of tropical storm Irene.   We’ve all been searching for ways to help, to do more where there’s need and to support organizations that can reach people and places we cannot.



That’s why on Friday, September 16, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. and other Vermont businesses will be hosting an Irene Flood Relief concert at Higher Ground in Burlington.

The concert features energetic afro-indie pop band Rubblebucket, returning to Vermont for one last 2011 concert to help the Vermont community, and Latin jazz and salsa dance band Ritmo Masacote.

In addition, the event will spotlight the companies and nonprofit organizations who have been involved in the relief efforts.

Tickets are $10 each, with proceeds benefitting the Vermont Foodbank.  Tickets are now on sale -- please click here to purchase tickets.

ETA: Can’t make it to Vermont for the event?  We’ll miss you, but you can still donate by texting FOODNOW to 52000 to donate $10 to Vermont Foodbank.

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Brewing a Better BBQ with Coffee and Tea Recipes

Last weekend, a team of Green Mountain Coffee and Brew Over Ice foodies rolled into Washington, D.C. fueled with the idea that coffee, tea, and BBQ would make for a winning combination at the Safeway Barbeque Battle.  After three days of late nights, early mornings, and more coffee around the brewer than we can count, the results are in:

 

Flatlander BBQ’s Celestial Seasoning Sweet Southern Tea Perfect Iced Tea-rubbed and Brew Over Ice Nantucket Iced coffee sauce-smothered pork ribs took 3rd place in the Barbeque Battle!  These caffeinated ribs garnered our team a pig-topped trophy and $500, which will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Washington, D.C., the marquee charity of the event.  To top it all off, it turns out we placed 9th out of 41 teams, competing among some of the top teams in the country. “Wow,” would be an understatement.

 

 

Wanting to spread BBQ coffee revelations around and to thank you all for cheering us on, it’s time to share our recipes in time for everyone to enjoy them during the Fourth of July.  Look below to learn how to make our Coffee-Rubbed Brisket, Half-and-Half Chicken, Nantucket Blend-Rubbed Pork Shoulder and award-winning Sweet Tea Ribs.  Not to mention our Jalapeño Coffee Barbecue and Tricky Barbeque Saucel!  Read the recipes below:

 

 

Coffee-Rubbed Brisket


RUB:
2 Tablespoons Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Organic Sumatran Reserve OR Nantucket Blend K-Cup® Portion Packs

2 Tablespoons paprika

2 Tablespoons light brown sugar (Fair Trade Certified™)

2 Tablespoons coarse salt

4 Tablespoons ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon ground ancho chili powder

1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

Open the portion packs and empty the contents into a bowl with other ingredients.  Mix well.

MOP:

1/2 cup apple juice

4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

TECHNIQUE:

Trim a full packer brisket of most exterior fat and silverskin, or you can use just the brisket flat

Coat the brisket with a thin layer of yellow mustard and then coat with coffee rub, rubbing it into the meat.  Wrap in plastic wrap or place in a large resalable plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.

Rest the meat at room temperature before grilling, about 1 hour. Prepare grill for indirect medium-low heat, about 250 degrees.
Put the brisket, fatty-side up, on the grill away from the heat; cover the grill. Baste or spray the brisket with the mop whenever the surface looks dry, about once every hour. Keep the temperature of the grill or smoker around 250 degrees, adding charcoal as necessary.

After 4 hours of cooking, put the brisket in an aluminum foil pan, fatty side up; return brisket to the grill away from the heat. Cover the grill; continue cooking. Continue mopping the brisket if it looks dry. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay about 250 degrees during the entire cooking time. If using charcoal, add fresh coals about once an hour.

Cook until severely browned and blackened in spots or very well-done (about 190 degrees on an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the brisket), 6 to 8 hours total.

Remove the pan from the heat; let rest 20 minutes. Trim any excess fat; slice brisket across the grain. Serve with barbecue sauce.

 

Sweet Tea Ribs

 

RUB:

4 Celestial Seasonings Southern Style Sweet Tea Brew Over Ice K-Cup® Portion Packs

1 Tablespoons paprika

1/2 Tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon Tiny Spice Company Citrus Pepper OR substitute 1 teaspoon black pepper

Peel the foil off the portion packs, empty into a spice or coffee grinder, and grind until powdery.  Mix with the paprika, salt and pepper.

MOP:

1/2 cup apple juice

4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

TECHNIQUE:

Pat ribs dry and trim the membrane from the underside.

Coat ribs with a thin layer of yellow mustard and then rub the tea mixture into the ribs

Wrap in plastic wrap or place in a large resalable plastic bag and let marinate for at least 4 hours.

Rest the meat at room temperature before grilling, about 30 minutes. Prepare grill for indirect medium-low heat, about 250 degrees.
Put the ribs, bone side down, on the grill away from the heat; cover the grill. Baste or spray the ribs with the mop whenever the surface looks dry, about once every hour.  Keep the temperature of the grill or smoker around 250 degrees, adding charcoal as necessary.

After 3 hours of cooking, wrap the ribs in aluminum foil and return ribs to the grill away from the heat. Cover the grill; continue cooking. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay about 250 degrees during the entire cooking time. If using charcoal, add fresh coals about once an hour.

Cook until the ribs are flexible when you try to pick them up using tongs or oven mitts, 5 to 6 hours total.  They should not be falling off the bone, but tender and flexible.

Remove the ribs from the heat; let rest 20 minutes. Place on grill directly above coals and baste generously on both sides with sauce, turning frequently to prevent burning.  Remove from grill and cut into portions.

 

Chicken Rub

2 Celestial Seasonings Half & Half Brew Over Ice K-Cup® Portion Packs

4 Tablespoons Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Seasoning

1 Tablespoon paprika

1 Tablespoon kosher salt

Empty the portion packs into a coffee or spice grinder and grind until powdery.  Mix with other ingredients.

TECHNIQUE:

Use the rub on your favorite cut of chicken or a whole chicken: if using a cut with skin, be sure to get under the skin.

Barbecue or grill chicken as you normally would.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nantucket Blend-Rubbed Pork Shoulder

RUB:

1 Green Mountain Coffee Nantucket Blend Brew Over Ice K-Cup® Portion Packs

3 Tablespoons light brown sugar (Fair Trade Certified™)

1 Tablespoon Tiny Spice Company Citrus Pepper (or substitute black pepper)

½ teaspoon anise seed

1 Tablespoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon anise seed

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Open the portion packs and empty the contents into a bowl with other ingredients.  Mix well.

MOP:

1/2 cup apple juice

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

TECHNIQUE:

Trim a pork shoulder (Boston Butt) of  most visible fat and silverskin.

Rub with a thin layer of yellow mustard and then cover with coffee rub

Wrap in plastic wrap or place in a large plastic bag and let marinate overnight

Rest the meat at room temperature before grilling, about 1 hour. Prepare grill for indirect medium-low heat, about 250 degrees.
Put the pork shoulder, fatty-side up, on the grill away from the heat; cover the grill. Baste or spray the brisket with the mop whenever the surface looks dry, about once every hour.  Keep the temperature of the grill or smoker around 250 degrees, adding charcoal as necessary.
After 4 hours of cooking, put the pork shoulder in an aluminum foil pan, add ½ cup apple juice and cover tightly with aluminum foil; return shoulder to the grill away from the heat. Cover the grill; continue cooking. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay about 250 degrees during the entire cooking time. If using charcoal, add fresh coals about once an hour.

Cook until severely the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees on an instant read thermometer, 6 to 8 hours total.

Remove the pan from the heat; let rest 20 minutes. Using heat-proof gloves or forks, pull pork apart in foil pan, using the jus in pan to moisten and flavor the meat.  Remove any connective tissue or fat that didn’t cook out.  Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce.

 

Tricky Barbecue Sauce

 

2 Tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard (we use Fox Meadow Farm 3-Peppercorn Dijon from Vermont)

2 Tablespoons yellow mustard (we use Fox Meadow Farm Vermont Maple Mustard)

1 cup cider vinegar

¼ cup low sodium soy sauce

¼ cup regular soy sauce

2 cups ketchup

2 cups honey (Champlain Valley Apiaries Honey)

1 Nantucket Brew Over Ice K-Cup® Portion Pack brewed on 6-oz setting without ice

3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 Tablespoon paprika

1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon maple sugar OR 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons maple syrup

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder

¼ teaspoon ancho chili powder

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and bring to a light boil.  Boil while continuously stirring for about 15 minutes, or until thickened.

 

 

 

Jalapeno-Coffee Barbecue Sauce

2 Green Mountain Coffee Nantucket Blend Brew Over Ice K-Cup® Portion Packs brewed on 4oz setting

1 cup ketchup

¼ cup molasses

2 Tablespoons orange juice

2 Tablespoons cider vinegar

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 jalapeno peppers, pierced all over with a fork

3 shots hot sauce

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except hot sauce.  Cook, stirring frequently, over low heat until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes

Remove from heat and let cool.  Discard peppers and season with hot sauce to taste.

 

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An Employee’s Perspective: What’s it REALLY Like at Green Mountain Coffee?

When I joined Green Mountain Coffee at the beginning of January as an intern in the Public Relations (PR) department, I had no idea what the next few months would bring. I came into the company with only a vague idea about the type of PR work I would be involved with. Now, a few months later, not only have my expectations for Green Mountain Coffee been met and exceeded, but I have developed a passion for the company that goes far beyond my PR role.

Growing up in Vermont, I’ve always known Green Mountain Coffee. As a Vermonter, not being familiar with this company would be like not knowing what real maple syrup tastes like or failing to own a pair of winter boots. After being employed at Green Mountain Coffee for about three months, I’ve discovered that it’s much bigger and much better than I thought. Here are some general things that I’ve learned:


  • I have yet to meet one unfriendly Green Mountain Coffee employee.

  • There’s so much more to the company than producing and distributing coffee.

  • The time and energy that employees put into volunteer work and corporate responsibility is truly impressive and in my mind, very unique.

  • At Green Mountain Coffee, it’s about more than just making money. It’s about spearheading industry-wide campaigns and solving challenges in the coffee world.

  • The company really cares about each individual customer and does whatever it can to make everyone happy.

  • There are so many different balls being juggled that, some times,  it’s a real challenge to keep up with everything.

  • Having an endless supply of coffee is very helpful for getting through an eight-hour work day.

  • There are so many company buildings dispersed throughout Waterbury that I sometimes think GMCR is the town.

  • An iced Wild Mountain Blueberry® Maple Supreme (a drink made at our own Green Mountain Coffee Factory Outlet in town) is my new favorite afternoon sweet.

  • The interactive presentation at the Visitor Center and Café makes me think of The Lion King.

  • Watching the machine-operated K-Cup production line in the manufacturing plant is mesmerizing.


For someone like me with a big heart and an open mind, it’s easy to become passionate about a company quickly. However, I never imagined that I would learn to love Green Mountain Coffee as much as I do. It’s truly a great company that cares about its customers, the planet, and its employees. As a previous outsider, I saw the company’s dedication to social responsibility and the awards it was receiving, but I never knew the whole story behind this publicity. Now, after being on the inside, I can confidently say that the positive press surrounding Green Mountain Coffee is true— all of it.

By: Arianna Bolotin, beloved PR intern

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A Journey to Rwanda: Stories of Hope Event

The Visitor Center is located right in the middle of town and is a welcoming spot not only for guests from outside Vermont, but also for many locals.  Green Mountain Coffee has been a part of the Waterbury community for nearly 30-years, with the Visitor Center celebrating 5-years in the community this coming fall.  Community is a big piece of what we do on a corporate level, but also on the local level.  Integrating the Visitor Center into what is happening locally is very important to me, as a life long resident of Waterbury and as an employee.


On May 13th, at 5:30 p.m. the Visitor Center will host, in conjunction with Harwood Union High School., A Journey to Rwanda: Stories of Hope. Rwanda is a very special place to us:  Today, after years of a brutal civil war, a partnership of growers, roasters and governments is producing exceptionally fine coffee (some of which is in our Fair Trade Spring Revival™ Blend), and allow us all to join in supporting Rwanda’s economic revival and small farmers who are producing extraordinary beans.

Harwood Union High School ,our local high school, has been sending students to Rwanda for the past 7-years in an effort to understand the Rwandan culture and people while creating life changing experiences and long term relationships.  Students participate in a variety of service learning projects and this event gives them the opportunity to share their experiences with the greater community.  While in Rwanda students visit a variety of venues such as schools, craft cooperatives, and coffee farms to name just a few.

I'm proud to be part of a company encourages its employees to find ways of giving back to the community.

You can watch an audio-show produced by one Harwood student as a part of her role in the Rwandan Project here

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We’re One of Vermont’s “Best Places to Work”

Whenever I tell someone I work at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR), I always get the response “Ohh – they’re supposed to a great place to work!” And I always agreeGMCR Employees at Continuous Learning Training with them; GMCR is a great place to work. In fact, on Monday, March 28th 2011 we were honored as one the best places to work in Vermont! Among others, recipients included small companies like HUBER+SUHNER, Inc and large companies like Mascoma Savings Bank.

To determine these awards, the Best Companies Group assesses both the Employee Benefits and Policies as well as conducting an employee survey at each participating company.

So what makes GMCR a great place to work? For many folks, they say it is working for a company that gives back. Although not all of our jobs directly relate to Corporate Social Responsibility, working for a company that is creating positive change in the world is inspiring. We also support employees’ passion and inspiration through our company volunteer program (CAFE), which provides employees with 52-hours of paid time-off to volunteer at organizations of their choice. Our matching donation program matches 100% of employees’ cash donations to non-profits up to $1000.00 per year.

Other employees value our commitment to continuous learning. Our goal for each employee is 30 learning hours per year. The company offers classes such as Employees in front of canoes during River Clean UpApplied Math, English as a Second Language, Business Spanish, Yoga, Tai Chi, Advanced Excel techniques and many more. It’s great knowing that the company is investing in your future and career.

Another benefit I value is the company’s commitment to wellness. I have affordable health care, opportunities to take yoga on campus, and even get reimbursed up to $500 per year for wellness activities, such as skiing, gym memberships and even massages!

You can learn more about GMCR’s awesome benefits and other ways we’re Brewing a Better World at http://www.brewingabetterworld.com.

Curious to see which companies are the best places to work are in your state? Click here to see if your state has participated in a similar program.

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Connections

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.
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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.

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So, Why Are Seasonal Coffee Blends Not Available in K-Cups?

Over the past few months, many of you have responded to our blog posts about the return of your favorite seasonal coffees, asking why our seasonal blends have been retired from the the K-Cup® Portion-Pack line-up.

Trust us: It was not an easy decision to make.  We know how much some of you love these blends and brewing them in your Keurig® brewer, so the retirement was not one we took lightly.

Discontinuing items from our product lines not new -- as a company, it's standard practice for us to evaluate our products' performance to see how well they're doing, for better or for worse.  At a recent review of our Seasonal coffees, it was shown that the Flavored Seasonal coffees in K-Cups outselling the Seasonal Blends in K-Cups 4 to 1.  We also saw that Seasonal bagged coffees are strong overall, for both flavors and blends.

It's never easy to have to break news like this to our customers--we realize that decisions like this can be disappointing to those who develop a fondness for the products that are discontinued.

But there is are a few options for those of you who adored our Seasonal Blends in K-Cups.  First, Seasonal Blends are still available in bags - so you can pick up at My K-Cup adapter and still brew your favorite.  Second, while the Seasonal Blends are no longer available in K-Cups, our coffee team has worked to find some great recommendations of other coffee blends that you may enjoy:

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