History of Keurig K-Cups Coffee

The Beginnings

Keurig K-Cups Coffee – HistoryThe Keurig company was founded by John Sylvan and Peter Dragone, who had been college roommates at Colby College in Maine in the 1970s. These guys were trying to solve the problem of stale, bitter office coffee. You know, a full pot of coffee brewed for only one cup, the remainder of the pot sits for hours becoming gross. The next unsuspecting co-worker goes for a cup hours later and gets the short end of the stick. So, being tinkerers, their solution was to develop a single-serve pod coffee brewing system. Sylvan brought on Dragone in 1992 to help create a business plan for their company, Keurig, which actually means “excellence” in Dutch.

With a new company founded, and their passion for fresh coffee, they now needed a more efficient way to make pods (they were being made by hand at the time). They brought in a manufacturing expert to assist with this issue and began pitching this idea to coffee roasters for funding. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters was the first company to invest in Keurig. To further their expansion into manufacturing K-Cups and Keurig machines, they needed extensive capital. By 1994 they had raised over $1.5 million to begin their manufacturing processes.


Green Mountain Coffee Roasters was the first company to launch its coffee in K-Cups in 1997. Following suite, in 1998, the first Keurig K-Cup ready machine was to be launched, the B2000, designed for office use. These machines were greeted with a warm welcome in the office culture, that fresh cup of single-serve K-Cup magic was a huge hit. Keurig sold 10,000 commercial machines by 2002, with the large chunk of their profits coming from the high profit margin K-Cups. Some offices could use hundreds of these K-Cups per day!

Because of the huge success in office culture, the development of a smaller, home-use machine was in high demand. The process to develop a home-use K-Cup machine did not happen overnight, it must be affordable too! By 2004, Keurig had developed a prototype for home-use, the B100. By this time other companies were entering the single-serve coffee market, like Sara Lee and Proctor & Gamble. With successful marketing campaigns, like giving out free K-Cup samples and in-store demonstrations, Keurig was able to quickly dominate the single-serve coffee brewer and pod market.


Needless to say, Keurig has done well with it’s endeavor to conquer stale, bitter coffee, both financially and by creating a great tasting cup of coffee. In 2014, Keurig generated $822.3 million in sales from their brewing machines and accessories while the pods raked in $3.6 billion. So there you have it, from their humble college dorm room beginnings to a multi-billion dollar single-serve coffee empire, that’s the very brief Keurig K-Cups Coffee history.

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