Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Big News From Green Mountain Coffee---in Philadelphia and Beyond

Big news from Green Mountain Coffee, widely recognized for their incredible beans and blends and their role as the #1 fair trade coffee purveyor in the world. They are in the process of introducing their new blends for the Keurig, including the Focus Blend, a medium roast coffee that is supplemented with 50 mg of L-Theanine per 8-ounce serving. In fact, I had a chance to try it today at the 2012 Food and Nutrition Conference, which is being held in Philadelphia. 

Green Mountain proudly proclaims the ingredients of its success---first integrity and unassailable business practices---and then the perfect admixture of high-mountain growing spots, warm soil and gentle tropical rains. And then of course there is that technically informed approach to roasting and brewing so that each cup of Green Mountain coffee achieves the perfect flavor, body and acidity.

But it turns out there is one more element---market research. That’s right; the hard-working folks at Green Mountain Coffee used focus groups to come up with the Focus blend. “We were literally sitting in people’s kitchens saying, ‘what do you want in your coffee?’” says Kristen Mercure, an associate in Green Mountain’s Specialty Coffee Business Unit.

So what did they learn? According to Kristen, people were saying that not only do they drink coffee as part of being healthy and energized, but they also take supplements. Mark Corey, PhD, Food Development Scientist, at Green Mountain, notes that you can pack a lot of healthy stuff into one K-cup, including not only 80 to 120 mg of caffeine, but also L-Theanine----an amino acid compound found in green tea, with documented positive effects on both cognition and mood.

 My experience drinking a K-cup of the Focus blend was one of subtle uplift. There was a surprisingly nice interplay between the caffeine and the additional L-Theanine---and I enjoyed it very much. In fact, since I was working, I found the coffee very energizing and effective as well.

Later that evening, I had a glass of wine with dinner. A nice glass of merlot. But as my colleagues had more alcohol, I decided to move toward coffee. I found the coffee brewed by the bar in the lobby of our hotel surprisingly fresh, well brewed and delivered with remarkable kindness and good humor. 

Once again, coffee is common currency around the region, the country and the world. It’s not always about the type of coffee you’re drinking, though a good cup of coffee is always a goal. More often, it’s about the intention behind the coffee, its effectiveness in helping you stay upbeat and energized….and the company you keep.

Happy fall!