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Why Big Coffee Is Betting On Single-Serve Cups

The Keurig machine—that handy gadget that produces one perfectly portioned cup of coffee—has 37 patents. Two of those integral patents expire this September, opening the simple but legally exclusive technology behind K-Cup coffee pods to retailers that want to produce their own, cheaper versions. Keurig's parent company, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, prepared a two-pronged defense: Partner with popular coffee companies (such as Folgers and Dunkin' Donuts) to make branded K-Cups, and introduce the Vue, a new, fancy espresso machine that comes complete with a Starbucks alliance. To understand how important this is to Green Mountain—and how attractive it is to everyone else—just look at the rapid growth of single-serve revenue.

Infographic by carl de torres

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  • Gaskillml

    I'm stunned at the trend toward brewing cups of coffee one at a time, leaving a little plastic cup to toss in the trash with each one. We are awash in a rising tide of single-use plastic trash  -- which will never go away and that is working its way throughout our environment, into our food and, ultimately, our bodies. Why on earth would we find ways to make more of it "attractive"??