Keurig’s Explosive History

August 06, 2011

Keurig, maker of the top-selling single serve coffee maker, had a few bumps in its road to success. Author Daniel McGinn calls Keurig’s development “a tale unlikely, ultra-caffeinated and sometimes explosive”. You have no idea what sacrifices the company’s inventors went through to bring you the convenience and good taste of Keurig K-Cups. The tale’s first dramatic bump was the 1995 illness of one of the system’s inventors. What McGinn calls ultra-caffeinated was a description of John Sylvan, as he suffered from woozy-ness, throbbing headaches, palpitating heart and tunnel vision. His doctor was mystified until he asked John how much coffee he drank daily. The answer, thirty to forty cups, solved the illness riddle. An occupational hazard of coffee machine inventors, caffeine poisoning caused Sylvan to sample the product a little less often. Another headache of Sylvan on the way to his Keurig vision, was that of “shaking down” his fellow employees to collect the coffee money for the office. That, and the bad-tasting office coffee, gave him the initial vision to find a way to do both things better. It was after quitting his job and experimenting in his kitchen that life became explosive for Sylvan. Pot after pot of grounds ended up all over his kitchen. Keurig, which means excellence, was definitely not born in one day. In addition to exploding pots, the first K-cups were full of grounds because they split during brewing, earning the nickname – crunchy coffee – for the first attempts. Sylvan eventually sold out his interests, but not before enduring caffeine poisoning, exploding grounds and crunchy coffee – all in the name of providing great coffee with high convenience to the coffee-loving world.



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