Green Mountain Coffee Review: More Than Just Keurig K-Cups
Green Mountain Coffee is best known for its association with Keurig, but there is more to the brand than K-Cup brews. They offer an impressive collection of blends and single origin coffees, available pre-ground or as whole beans.
This review looks at what to expect from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and I expect you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Summary: Green Mountain Coffee Beans
- Multinational coffee roaster founded in Vermont
- Large selection of blends, single origins, and flavoured coffees
- Available as whole beans, pre-ground coffee, or K-Cups
This coffee is great for anyone who wants to transition to drinking their coffee black. It’s a nice light roast with NO bitter taste.– Customer review of the Breakfast Blend
The Full Green Mountain Coffee Review
Green Mountain Coffee is big business today, but it started humbly. Founder Robert Stiller began with a small cafe in Vermont in the early 1980s (1). By the 1990s, they had over 1000 wholesale clients. By 2008, Forbes named Green Mountain Coffee Roasters one of the top 200 small companies in America (2).
That kind of growth takes business acumen, but it also takes a quality product. Let’s look deeper into why Green Mountain found success.
Coffee Quality and Flavour – 3.5/5
Green Mountain Coffee is not specialty coffee, but the beans are good-quality 100% Arabica.
The flavours are smooth and enjoyable; this is easy-drinking coffee rather than a novelty for your palate. You can sip it all day long.
The flavoured coffees are a different story; they are not subtle. The flavours make themselves known, though they are pleasantly devoid of any overly fake or chemical taste. I’ll admit, I took a liking to the pumpkin spice coffee with a dash of oat milk while writing this review.
Selection and Variety – 4/5
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters offers a well-curated selection. It isn’t enormous, but there is something for everyone. There are light, medium, and dark roasts. There is a half-caff and a decaf. There are single origins and blends. There are flavoured coffees. There are special Keurig cups for brewing over ice.
Most Green Mountain Coffee, with some exceptions noted below, is available as whole beans, pre-ground, or as K-Cup coffee.
Blends are Green Mountain’s best sellers, no surprise given their balance and wide-ranging appeal. They offer:
- Light roast Breakfast Blend
- Medium roast Nantucket Blend or Vermont Mountain Blend
- Dark roast Dark Magic Blend or French Roast
Note that the Breakfast Blend is more of a medium-light roast, which better fits the brand’s target audience. It’s similar in character to the Starbucks Blonde Roast.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters offers only a few single origins. They are well chosen, however, showcasing some of the world’s top-growing regions. There are three medium roasts – Colombia, Costa Rica, and Kenya – and a Sumatran dark roast. The flavours are excellent, complex without being overbearing, but it would be nice if these coffees were traceable to the farm or processing station.
Flavoured coffee isn’t to everyone’s taste, but it’s a fun way to mix up your coffee routine. Green Mountain has a nice assortment of flavoured coffees, with a few creative options but nothing overly weird. Available flavours vary seasonally, but you can expect classics like maple pecan, cinnamon, caramel vanilla, pumpkin spice, blueberry and hazelnut.
Brew Over Ice
“Brew Over Ice” Kcups were designed for the growing number of Keurig brewers with “Over Ice” settings for iced coffee. The three flavours of Brew Over Ice coffee are Classic Black, Hazelnut Cream, and Vanilla Caramel.
Sustainability – 3.5/5
I was prepared to write a scathing review of Green Mountain’s sustainability program. We all know about the environmental record of Kcups and the broken promise to make them recyclable (3).
Those issues remain, and I won’t let them off the hook, but it’s not all bad. Green Mountain has some impressive initiatives I’m happy to highlight.
In Sumatra, farmers were given high-quality seedlings to replace ageing and unproductive trees. This provides the farmers with a better and more reliable income, and Green Mountain benefits from better quality beans, explains Senior Sustainability Manager Colleen Popkin.
The seeding program helps to make sure the new trees are strong and healthy enough to produce good quality coffee for a very long time.
In Central America, Green Mountain works with coffee farmers to adjust agricultural practices to improve local drinking water and watersheds. Around the globe, they support coffee farmers by helping them secure loans, supporting trade financing, and teaching financial literacy. And they donate to World Coffee Research, which studies mitigating the impacts of climate change on coffee.
Green Mountain doesn’t have a perfect environmental record, but they are making a positive impact on the lives of many producers. While they offer little organic coffee, their single origin coffees are all Fairtrade certified.
Brewing Methods – 4.5/5
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has a coffee for nearly any brewing method, from espresso to drip to Keurig. For espresso, Moka pot, French press, or cold brew, we recommend buying whole bean coffee to grind at home.
The pre-ground coffee is suitable for automatic coffee machines and most pour over brewing, though it won’t match the flavour of freshly ground.
The only thing missing is Nespresso capsules. But as with Keurig, we think the better option (for flavour and sustainability) is to buy a refillable capsule and add your own ground coffee.
- Offers blends and single origins
- Available as whole beans, pre-ground, or K-Cups
- Diverse collection of sustainability initiatives
- 100% Arabica coffee
- Coffees aren’t traceable
- Can’t recycle Green Mountain Coffee K-Cups
- No good option for light roast lovers
Don’t Buy Green Mountain Coffee If…
- You’re a specialty coffee lover: If you take coffee seriously, look beyond Green Mountain to find the best coffees. Volcanica is an excellent online retailer that sources top coffees worldwide and roasts them fresh to order. Read our review of Lifeboost Coffee for more premium coffee.
- You want organic coffee: If you value Organic coffee for your health or the environment, try coffees from Kicking Horse. They are all certified Organic and Fairtrade. Or try anti-oxidant rich Purity Coffee, which is roasted specifically for your health.
- You enjoy light roasts: Green Mountain’s lone light roast is closer to medium. For bright and fruity coffee, peruse the Trade Coffee marketplace. Trade sources specialty coffee from independent roasters, some exceptional light roasts among them.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters produces reliably crowd-pleasing coffee in a variety of formats. This isn’t specialty coffee for the true connoisseur, but the brand offers a robust selection of 100% Arabica blends, single origins, and flavoured coffees suitable for all brewing methods.
- D’Ambrosio, D. (2018, October 29). Green Mountain Coffee: How a small Waitsfield coffee shop became Keurig Dr Pepper. Retrieved from https://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/money/2018/10/29/keurig-dr-pepper-started-green-mountain-coffee-roasters/1774594002/
- Badenhausen, K. & Settimi, C. (2008, October 21). Forbes list: America’s 200 best small companies. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/forbes-list-america-s-200-best-small-companies-1.739261
- Hamblin, J. (2015, March 2). A Brewing Problem. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/