The Art of Blending
"Blending is where the art is," says Don Holly, Director of Quality for Green Mountain Coffee. "Knowing which notes will harmonize, and which are better left to solo."
Don was part of a team that developed the recipe for Organic Espresso Blend. Working with the chefs of nearby Shelburne Farms, the team tasted our entire collection of organic, Fair Trade Certified™ beans at a medium roast. They then started blending, adding nuances of chocolate from our Mexican coffee with the deep body found in Indonesian beans.
"That's the way we determined how each element complemented the other, and were able to express the complexity of a good espresso," Don says. "It's like a conductor putting together a symphony of individual musicians."
Our Coffee Buyer
Lindsey Bolger is more than our chief coffee buyer. She's our ambassador to the world.
Her job takes her to the Amazon Basin in Peru, the steep cliffs of the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains in Mexico, and the Tanzanian shores of Lake Tanganyika. If a region grows great coffee, it's likely Lindsey's been there.
Her extensive globetrotting is all in the pursuit of a better cup of coffee - building relationships with farmers, sharing her extensive coffee knowledge, and supporting sustainable farming practices. She is praised by colleagues like Kenneth Davids of Coffee Review for her "deeply personal engagement with coffee that transcends profession and approaches art." Perhaps more than anyone, Lindsey understands that the quality of our coffee is directly related to the quality of our relationships with the hardworking families who grow it.
"We work closely with producers to align our standards of quality," Lindsey says of her "high-touch" approach to sourcing. "We know that great quality coffee is the result of a high level of engagement with the people who grow and produce it."
On every trip to coffee country, Lindsey meets with farmers to hear what their challenges are, and how we can be a partner in their success. She then conducts a coffee "cupping" (tasting) with farmers so they can evaluate their own coffee and get a better understanding of what we're looking for in the cup.
"Our investment in training is part of the work we do in developing sustainable sources of coffee," Lindsey says. "Great quality is the result of choices that growers make on the farm. When we work as far upstream as possible, we help to ensure that farmers know the benefits of choices that support and improve quality over time."
After hours of sipping, slurping and spitting, there's usually time for celebration. Lindsey might be treated to a dinner of cuy (guinea pig) in Peru, or hours of dancing with long-time friends at the Huatusco cooperative in Mexico. "There's always an outpouring of warmth and hospitality," Lindsey says of these visits.
The next day, she'll pack her bags, say goodbye, and get a warm send off to her next destination. The farmers know she'll be back, to honor their hard work and share in their success.