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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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Brewing the "Millennium Challenge Macchiato"

Below is a Guest Post by Jonathan Bloom from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). On April 29th, MCC awarded GMCR with its 2013 Corporate Award. 

"At the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), we work with partners across the world. By the time I arrive at the office, there are often emails from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America that need a quick response.

That’s why the coffee pot is my first stop each morning. And that’s why a coffee addict like me was thrilled to hear that we are honoring Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) with our Corporate Award for its sustainability work to improve the lives of the world’s vulnerable populations.

The award got me thinking on a recipe for a great new drink using the products of both Green Mountain Coffee and MCC’s beneficiaries from across the world. So prepare to treat your taste buds with the Millennium Challenge Macchiato.

Millennium Challenge Macchiato

1)      Start with Green Mountain's Sumatran Lake Tawar whole-bean coffee from Indonesia and grind as fine as possible. As you brew the perfect shot of espresso, take delight in knowing that one of the suppliers of this dark roast, the Gayo Organic Farmers Association, has started a project to bring safe drinking water to more than 1,500 people. The cooperative has also saved funds to help farmers with the reconstruction of their homes, many of which were destroyed in recent fighting, and to aid in the construction of two new schools.

2)      Steam milk sold by dairy farmers in El Salvador’s Northern Zone. As the steam rises, take a moment to read how many dairy farmers are now enjoying a higher income because MCC helped about 17,500 people by providing training, seeds, equipment, and technical assistance. The agency also built or rehabilitated more than 220 kilometers of road and 23 bridges as part of a five-year, $461 million compact.

3)      Pour the milk into the espresso and top with foam.

4)      Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon from the legendary spice island of Zanzibar on top to give it a pleasing kick. As you enjoy that first sip, read a bit about how MCC is strengthening the island’s electrical grid with the aim of increasing investment and reducing poverty.  Or if you have a sweet tooth, add a bit of cocoa from Ghanaian farmers who are more effectively receiving payment on their harvest, thanks to the computerization of rural banks as part of MCC’s five-year, $547 million compact."

Jonathan Bloom is the acting vice president for compact operations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. On April 29, GMCR CEO Brian Kelley accepted the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Corporate Award—recognition for the work that GMCR does to create a sustainable future for its farmer partners.

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Colombia Geisha, the first Special Reserve coffee for Keurig Brewers

Today marks a first for Green Mountain Coffee® Special Reserve.  For years we’ve offered exquisite, rare coffees in limited supply through our Special Reserve collection, but this marks the first time it is also available in K-Cup® packs for Keurig® brewers, and we couldn’t be more excited about it!  Introducing the latest Green Mountain Coffee Special Reserve, Colombia Geisha:

Green Mountain Coffee Special Reserve Colombia Geisha

I recently had the opportunity to visit the farm where this coffee is grown and to get a rare, first-hand glimpse into the process that is meticulously followed to bring you this amazing coffee.  I was astounded to learn of the care and dedication that is put into each step of growing, harvesting and processing this coffee.  For example, only the tiny plants in the nurseries with straight roots are used for growing the Geisha varietal.   The coffee cherry pickers are trained for four-twelve months to ensure only the best cherries are selected.  Plus, once harvested, the coffee is processed in a wet mill that is dedicated for Geisha and is then dried in a mechanical dryer so the flavors are preserved.   That’s a lot of extra care and consideration – which you can taste in every cup. 

While we were in Colombia at Finca Cerro Azul, we had the opportunity to go and cup a variety of coffees, and when I got to Sample #4, I had my ah-ha moment.  I instantly knew that the coffee I just tasted was this Special Reserve – it was no ordinary coffee.  This coffee is known for its sweet, dynamic citrus-like flavor profile.  As you sip it, it turns gently from honey to blood orange, with hints of juicy cherry, lime and orange blossoms

I’ll take a lot away from this trip, but the most important is that the coffee I sip on while getting ready each morning will never be seen as “just a cup of coffee” ever again!  I hope you enjoy this coffee as much as I do!

Colombia Geisha  is available online in whole bean bags and K-Cup®  packs, while supplies last, exclusively on www.GreenMountainCoffee.com and www.Keurig.com.

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A Taste from Home in The Mudhouse at Camp Taji, Iraq

Soldiers at the Mudhouse, Camp Taji, Iraq

In the summer of 2007, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters began working with Holy Joe’s Cafe, a Connecticut based non-profit that works with military chaplains stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan to create coffee houses on different military bases for soldiers.

“Coffee houses? What do coffee houses have to do with our soldiers?”

Answer: Plenty.

Take the Mudhouse in Camp Taji, Iraq, for example. A coffee house located in the largest military base in Iraq, the Mudhouse serves an inordinate amount of servicemen and women as the vast majority those stationed in Iraq come through Camp Taji before moving elsewhere. The Mudhouse is staffed by and serves soldiers looking for a quiet place to reflect, write to loved ones, or just take a sip from a mug of coffee that reminds them of home.  Holy Joe’s has created an environment of respite in a place that rarely offers such things.

Since that first year, Green Mountain Coffee has annually donated 1,500 lbs of whole bean coffee to the Mudhouse.  This year, we’ve donated an additional 1,500 lbs to the Lighthouse, another Holy Joe’s coffee house in the Baghram Airbase in Afghanistan.

We’re proud to send our coffee to where it’s needed most.  Knowing that Green Mountain Coffee is with servicemen and women overseas makes us think of our soldiers when taking the morning’s first sip – even when oceans separate us, the ritual of great coffee brings us back together again.

Remember, November 11 is Veterans Day.  Show your thanks.

-Kristen

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Down:2:Earth Expo

On April 3rd I traveled, along with two of my coworkers, to the Down:2:Earth Expo in Boston, MA. We were invited to exhibit at "Boston's premier destination for conscious consumers...a marketplace for eco-friendly products, a public stage for community initiatives, and an educational forum that addresses sustainability issues on the minds of us all".

Jasna Brown helping a D2E attendee sample seasonal coffees.

After a rainy drive down on Friday and a smooth booth setup, the expo opened that evening for the  Local Bites Preview Party. This was my favorite part of the whole weekend. There was food and beverage sampling from area restaurants/breweries. I discovered one of the restaurants actually has a shop up in VT. If you're in Burlington, check out Boloco: Inspired Burritos on Church Street.

We met some interesting companies and people while sampling our Organic House Blend Decaf, Spring Revival Blend and Island Coconut (all Fair Trade and available now!). Island Coconut got the most attention, having many surprised coffee-connoisseurs raving about a  flavored coffee! We also liked seeing Equal Exchange, who not only showed up in this great ride but were grinding their coffee beans on the spot as well as sampling their delicious chocolate.

Another highlight of the weekend was seeing so many familiar VT faces! We were among many Vermont companies who made the trek to D:2:E. Cabot setup right next to our booth, providing me a constant supply of their Seriously Sharp, Horseradish and Chipotle Cheddars. I learned from the Cabot folks that all their cheese is lactose free since they naturally age their cheese. Other Vermont companies in attentendance were Vermont Soap (my bag still smells like lavender), Brighter Planet, Ibex, and Tara Lynn Studio.

We'll be back in Boston next weekend at the Project Hunger's Walk For Hunger. The Walk for Hunger is the country's oldest continual pledge walk and the largest one-day fundraiser to alleviate local hunger.

Sign up for the walk - your support will help provide nutritious meals for those who would otherwise go without in Massachusetts.

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Real Simple Gives Props to Keurig Nell's Breakfast Blend

Real Simple is one of my all-time favorite magazines, chock full of useful stuff for real people and lots of practical advice, tips and tools that you can easily and immediately incorporate into your life.

So I was thrilled when Real Simple called out the Keurig brewer on its technology blog, and gave props to one of our Fair Trade organic coffees in its coffee round-up -- all in the same week!

In Real Simple's February print edition, now just hitting newsstands, Nell's Breakfast Blend (one of the coffees we source, package and roast for Newman's Own Organics) was included among eight "buzz-worthy" coffees "worth waking up for."  Nell's Breakfast Blend was recognized as the "best whole bean" in the light roasts category.

And last week, one of Real Simple's guest bloggers wrote a post entitled, "Fueling my caffeine addiction," which is all about her Keurig brewer.  Kristin, the author of popular web site ManicMommies, writes about how her husband bought her a brewer after she fell in love with the one at work (what a guy!).  She mentions the variety of K-Cups and that it's even easy for her 80+ year old grandparents to use!

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Juan Francisco Balladarez from UCPCO, Nicaragua

A couple of months ago, Sustainable Harvest at Origin, one of our coffee importers, sent us a dispatch about Juan and the impact that Fair Trade had made in his life. The story detailed how he had worked in coffee for over 50 years and that it was only six years ago he was able to finally buy his own land – 3 hectares – a little more than 7 acres. For about three years after buying his land, he wasn’t part of a coop and sold his coffee to middlemen at whatever price they were offering.


 


Then he joined UCPCO - The Union of Organic Coffee Farm Cooperatives (UCPCO) in San Juan del Rio Coco in Madriz, in northern Nicaragua. He started getting better prices for his coffee and agronomists – coffee growing experts – helped him improve his crop yield through compost fertilizer, soil analysis, and organic pest control techniques. These changes allowed him to grow more coffee and earn more money so that he could finally buy a house for himself and his family.


 


So that you don’t think of his house as some sort of palatial estate, here’s a picture of it:


His family used to live in town and he lived in what sounds very much like the woods near his coffee trees. This is a huge improvement in Juan’s quality of life, and yet when I first read the dispatch from Sustainable Harvest about Juan and saw the picture of the house, I missed the part about that being his home and assumed it was a shed or an unattached kitchen. It was a total double-take for me. I even asked the staff writer at Sustainable Harvest to make sure that it was indeed his new home. “Yep”, she said, “amazing, isn’t it”?

When I was at the SCAA Annual Convention this past spring, I met the General Manager of the Coop, Heberto Rivas. I asked him about Juan and he corroborated the story about him and his success and happiness about being a member of the coop. Heberto even added that every time Juan comes to coop meetings or events, he gets misty and emotional and then cries about his success.


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Juan’s and UCPCO's coffee beans often go into these coffees: Fair Trade Organic House BlendNewman's Special Blend Whole Bean and Newman's Special Blend Cups


 


Some or all of this copy comes to us courtesy of our good friends at Sustainable Harvest whose mission is to improve farmers' lives by creating a transparent and sustainable coffee supply chain, ensuring that quality coffees are sourced from the finest producers and that coffee arrives reliably in its highest quality state to preeminent coffee roasters.

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Coffee Brings Us Together

Ed Canty and Edgar Blandon cupping
Having farmers visit us in Vermont is part of our unique approach to sourcing coffee, and one of the ways we develop a deeper relationship with our producer partners. We hold “calibration cuppings” to make sure our palates are aligned and producers know what our customers expect in the cup.

Edgar Blandon from a Colombian cooperative

Here, GMCR Coffee Buyer Ed Canty cups coffee with Edgar Blandon, General Manager of a Colombian coffee cooperative called CorpoAgro, based in Tolima. Later, Edgar spied a bag of his coop’s coffee during a tour of our warehouse.  We use Edgar's coffee beans in a few different coffees, including our Colombian Fair Trade Select in K-Cups and Single Origin Whole Bean.

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Extremely limited Special Reserve offering: Bolivia Chijchipani Cup of Excellence

We just roasted our latest Special Reserve whole bean coffee:  Bolivia Chijchipani, which won this year's Bolivian Cup of Excellence award.  Doug just brewed a pot here in the Consumer Direct office, and the strong floral notes are a delight.

Familiar with our limited Special Reserve program?  About four times a year, we artistically roast a very small batch of unique, hard-to-find, super-high-quality coffee beans.  We usually roast only enough to produce about 1,000 bags.  To make sure you get your bag of each exclusive Special Reserve, we recommend you sign up for our Special Reserve Tour.  With the SR Tour, we'll automatically send you each new SR coffee just after roasting.

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Our Colombian K-Cup is Now Fair Trade Certified

Colombian FT K-CupsHow do you improve a top selling K-Cup coffee?  Make it Fair Trade Certified.  Our Colombian coffee in K-Cups is now Fair Trade Certified.  We used to call this coffee "Colombian Supremo", but its new name is "Colombian Fair Trade Select".  It contains the same delicious coffee as our bagged, whole bean offering of the same name within our Single Origin line.

Fair Trade certified means the famers are guaranteed a fair price for their harvest.  With a Fair Trade price, farmers can afford to invest in time-honored techniques that produce the finest beans.

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