The Flavors of K Cup

It’s amazing how popular it has become to use the k cup in restaurants and cafes. Recently I had lunch at a Subway and was surprised to see the k cup at the register when I went up to pay for my meal. The same can be said if you want into almost any convenience store today. It seemed overnight the k cup phenomenon took over the world.

Flavors Galore

Anyone can say the same thing about k cup flavors. Every coffee company worth the name coffee has a version of itself in a k cup format. I went into a Kroger® recently to shop and found the coffee aisle to get French roast coffee. It dawned on me how many companies have adopted the k cup format for their brand. There are k cup brands for chocolate, vanilla, donut, pecan, French, Italian.

Keurig and Green Mountain Roasters

The little pod-shaped cups with the unique flat-flare at the top of the k cup makes it classic. The company Keurig began in 1992 in Massachusetts. Shortly afterward in 1998, Keurig rolled out its Keurig coffee maker. After the K-cups rose to popularity, the company started to seal its k-cup coffee makers for home use in 2004. It was in 2006 that Green Mountain Coffee Roasters acquired Keurig and the company began excelling fast production on its k-cup line of coffees. The Keurig line, under Green Mountain, has reached over 400 specialty coffees and teas in production.

Founders of Keurig

Two friends attending Colby College in Main, John Sylvan and Peter Dragone were roommates. The one problem that Sylvan was trying to solve was one of retaining the freshness of a pot of coffee. At the time it was often the experience of office workers to see a full pot of coffee sitting unused and growing stale throughout the work day. Sylvan found it an interesting and challenging problem to solve. He set out to design a new design for a cup of coffee and a machine that would brew it fresh every time without loss or waste. The time was in the early 1970s. After years of trial and re-trial Sylvan came upon a patented product and called his friend to join the company to become its CFO. At the time Dragone was working for Chiquita. The work for “excellence” in Dutch is translated “Keurig,” says Sylvan.

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered

Sylvan and Dragon continued to make the k cups by hand until 1993 when a significant investment was made by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and MDT Advisers. Kernan sold his stake for $50K; Dragone left the company but retained his stake. The Keurig company was purchased by Green Mountain in 2002 since it owned 43% majority share in the company. Keurig pods sold nearly $4B for Green Mountain Roasters. That’s a lot of K cups. The K cup phenomenon started from an obscure college dorm room and brought into the world thru the Angel Investors Green Mountain Coffee and MDT Advisers.