History of Keurig Coffee Makers 

 May 9, 2021

The story behind the renowned Keurig coffee makers and how they began is an intriguing one. The choice of the name “Keurig” for the brand birthed in 1990 was one of its driving forces. This is because its founders clearly understand that they wanted to provide excellent services to their customers. So the next time you’re preparing your delicious cup of Keurig coffee with steamed milk, then consider what all went into making it a reality:

In 1990, John Sylvan, alongside his old-time school mate, Peter Dragone adopted a revolutionary approach to the coffee brewery by basically designing that made only individual cups. From the Danish-English dictionary, John chose to call the appliance, “Keurig” which simply means “excellence,” as it was their vision to make available an outstanding gourmet cup of coffee every morning at least. They named each capsule of served coffee “K-Cup pod.”

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They had one goal, which was to be a renowned brand by defining a perfect “coffee routine” for Americans to keep them happy and functioning to their fullest as they wake up from sleep. However, they had no funding to realize this dream except a sprouting idea that needed to survive, an idea to invent a single coffee brewer with high quality. But, this came with countless setbacks and trials, and getting it right was not a day’s job.

In 1995, Sylvan decided to make different coffee mix but ended up suffering severe caffeine poisoning making and testing his prototype. He said he had experienced a throbbing ache in the head and blurry vision that landed him in intensive care at a hospital. After series of exams conducted on him, it was later found that he had been taking an average of thirty to forty cups of his prototype in a bid to invent and create “excellence.” But, this setback did not stop Sylvan and Dragone from pursuing their dream.

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Their first invention, nirvana, became realistic after series of setbacks, and this marked the beginning of another phase of their efforts. In 1993, Dick Sweeny joined the duo with his technical ability, where he automated the brewer and focused more on the manufacturing process. He was relentless in trying out multiple prototypes and continuously conducted taste tests.

At this time, they were still hand-making the K-cups and relied on the taste test. They experienced K-cups explosions, sandy coffee, and mostly, leaks. Despite all of these outstanding issues, the early Keurig model grew in popularity in almost all commercial settings.  Employees loved the convenience and seldom chose to go back to a traditional drip-style brewer after using this revolutionary unit. 

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The Keurig, Inc. founders knew offering high-quality, specialty coffee in each K-Cup® pod would be instrumental in delivering the taste consumers wanted and deserved. Hence, they sought and earned the collaborative support and partnership of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) in Waterbury, 1993. It was necessary since they didn’t have the financial muscle to engage stronger competitors. The innovative prowess of the Keurig awed GMCR forcing it to invest in both funds and technical know-how to the firm; teaching it the essence of specialty coffee.

With the rising investment from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Sylvan and Dragone launched their first commercial Keurig brewers in workplaces and offices in New York City and New England, in 1998. It was not until 2004 that a prototype model of brewers was then made for use in homes. Today, there are varieties of models available for hostels, hotel rooms, and even offices of varying sizes.

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The home single-serve coffee system, a variant of the Keurig model   gave the firm a competitive edge against known and unknown competitors in the industry. In the early periods of 2003, Keurig brewers as well as its K-Cup pods were already available for sale at stores. Apart from this, they enjoyed patronage from consumers in need of a comfortable coffee brewer that could be operated by simply hitting the button.

But, Green Mountain Coffee’s investment in Keurig didn’t go so well for Sylvan. To John, everything at this point began towing in the opposite direction. He described the situation as everything going downhill. In 1997, John Sylvan demanded that the company acquire his stake while he received a sum a little bit beyond $50,000 as pay. Although Dragone saw a need to opt-out of the company months after John, he learned from the mistakes of Sylvans, thus maintaining all his available stake in the firm.

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Having realized the futuristic value of the Keurig system, in 2006 GMCR acquired Keurig, Inc. and officially united specialty coffee with their high-tech ideas and drive that triggered the early wins of the brand.

The Brand finally got to its peak with its products being in high demand by consumers owing to its improved convenience, advanced quality, and diversity in desired beverages. As just a single firm situated in a single and with a new nomenclature as of 2014, the firm increased its distribution circle of the Keurig system, thus, reaching the specialty retailers, department stores, grocery stores, and several other locations.

The resolve to make the product easily assessable was a strategy that helped make the brand visible to customers whenever they shopped. It caused an incredibly improved consumer loyalty for the system and its products, thereby contributing greatly to the Keurig brewer gaining the title as the first single-serve firm in the coffee brewery category in North America in 2010 – a spot that remains uncontested to date.

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In 2010, the company had successfully sold out $30 million worth of browsers and far above $800 million of K-cups. This was possible then since the K-cups weren’t reusable, and one needs to buy new k-cups regularly after use. Keurig has gone on to win several awards from 2013 till date that defines its importance in the coffee-making world. Keurig coffee makers even hold the position of the seventh-largest food and beverage company in the US. Their products are easy to use and last a long time when maintained properly.

Wrapping UP

The History of the Keurig Coffee Makers has been a captivating one which began as an idea and grew into a world-renowned coffee brewery company. However, this firm has faced many difficult times, but still maintains its status as the best and outclassed its competitors.

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