Keurig’s First Hot Cocoa
February 8, 2016April 9, 2007 was a good day for Keurig® users. It was on that day that we introduced the first hot cocoa K-Cup® pod. At the time, we trumpeted to the world that with the introduction of cocoa, consumers now had “unrivaled selection” with coffee, tea, and cocoa for their Keurig® brewer. Little did we know that nine short years later we’d more than double the kind of beverages people could create in their homes with our hot system thanks to the introduction of fruit brews like hot apple cider, refreshing iced coffees and teas, and even hot soup. But back in 2007, Green Mountain Coffee® Hot Cocoa was a bold first for us - expanding our selection and stepping closer to our mission to offer a beverage for every occasion.
Of course, like any idea that’s worth pursing, the path to the first hot cocoa K-Cup® pod was not an easy one. Hot cocoa was only the second non-coffee product we’d offered in a K-Cup® pod (The first? Tea thanks to our partnership with Celestial Seasonings®). While we could hear the demand for hot cocoa loud and clear from offices and kitchens around the United States, we still had to make it. And it wasn’t obvious how to make hot cocoa happen.
We tried powders. We tried syrups. We tried concentrated liquids. Shelf life became a concern, so we went back to powders. Twelve different suppliers spent almost 18 months searching for a solution, but all of them gave up. That just wouldn't do.
The challenge came down to three Ds: density, dissolution, and drinkability. Hot cocoa requires a precise mix of dairy, sugar, and cocoa, so volume was question as the K-Cup® pods can only hold so much. Once we had the right mix and amount in the K-Cup® pod, we had to determine how to get it all to dissolve quickly so there was little to no powder (AKA flavor) left in the pod after brewing. Finally, and most importantly, its a rich, creamy flavor had to please our hot cocoa experts - children.
We knew we had a winner the day our Quality Manager finally saw his four children drink our hot cocoa samples without marshmallows. And so, Green Mountain Coffee® Hot Cocoa was born, and a new age of hot beverages entered the Keurig® system. While the original hot cocoa is no more, we haven't looked back, adding multiple hot cocoa varieties from Café Escapes®, and our partners like Swiss Miss®, Starbucks®, Dunkin’ Donuts®, and more!