MINNEAPOLIS, April 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Anyone who says corporate America doesn't have a heart hasn't met the employees of Caribou Coffee Company. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060418/CLTU068 ) When a beloved roastmaster of Caribou Coffee died in 1995 of breast cancer at just 33 years of age, the Caribou employees didn't just make contributions to breast cancer in her name. Instead, they have kept her memory alive for more than a decade by creating a special coffee named Amy's Blend on sale each spring with proceeds going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc. "A company isn't an amorphous machine that makes and sells products; a company is made of people with a mission who all have hearts," said Caribou Coffee CEO Michael Coles. "Through programs like this, we are able to show compassion not only for one of our own, but for all those throughout the nation who are affected by breast cancer." Amy Erickson succumbed to breast cancer in 1995 at the age of 33. As one of Caribou Coffee's first roastmasters, Amy's bright spirit and cheeriness are an inspiration to an entire company. While working at Caribou, Amy added new meaning to the company's mantra, "Life is short; stay awake for it." Amy's life was short, but her memorial each spring keeps Caribou drinkers refreshed and alert while also helping a good cause. As one of Caribou Coffee's original team members, Amy served as roastmaster and as research and development manager for quality and coffee. She helped develop Caribou's cupping skills and created new products and blends. What makes Amy such an inspiration? "Amy believed excellence was worth pursuing, and never settled for average. She believed it takes experimentation to learn. She knew enthusiasm is contagious. Amy set her sights high, and she knew that because life is short, one must enjoy and be challenged everyday," said Chad Trewick, Caribou roastmaster. Amy's Blend, an annual tribute to Amy, was developed with care, passion and the highest-quality beans. Like Amy herself, Amy's Blend is bright- spirited and cheery. The blend combines citrus high notes with a smooth, harmonious silkiness. Underneath it all is a subtle yet delightful hint of melon flavor. The blend was developed from Costa Rican, Colombian, Guatemalan, Ethiopian and Kenyan coffee beans, some of Amy's favorite coffees. In honor of Amy, a portion of the proceeds of Amy's Blend and Amy's Blend Natural Decaf whole bean coffee sales and associated merchandise benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc. (NBCF). Amy's Blend goes on sale April 17 through Mother's Day on May 14 and can be ordered online at www.cariboucoffee.com. This year, Caribou Coffee, in partnership with The Coca-Cola Company's matching funds, hopes to donate a total of $200,000 to the NBCF as a result of this special program. Shortly after Amy's death in 1995, Caribou Coffee opened a cupping facility and dedicated it as the "Amy Erickson Cupping and Quality Laboratory." Additionally, a cupping facility in Caribou's Support Center was dedicated in her honor on October 13, 2004. Her passion, vision and spirit remain part of every coffee produced at Caribou, with Amy's Blend paying special tribute to her legacy and to her constant dedication to the quality that goes into every sip of coffee at Caribou. Amy's mother, Marty Erickson, remains close to the Caribou Coffee family. "Every time I look at the label on Amy's Blend I get a little choked up. This coffee is a tribute to a beloved member of the Caribou roasting team whose vision, determination and passion for life and coffee inspired those who worked with her. It makes me so proud of Amy and so proud that Caribou Coffee still values its employees and inspires a zest for life 10 years after Amy's death." Caribou CEO Michael J. Coles said, "Amy's passion for coffee has remained strong with everyone at Caribou. Her appreciation for all aspects of the coffee business is a daily reminder to our employees that, in Amy's words, our products must always be excellent and never average. Amy's Blend is our way of not only honoring the memory of a vital member of the Caribou team, but also giving back to an organization that educates and helps so many affected by breast cancer. We hope people will help us raise money and awareness to support breast cancer education." About Caribou Coffee Minneapolis-based Caribou Coffee Company Inc. (Nasdaq: CBOU) is the second largest non-franchised coffee house chain in the United States with 400 stores in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Caribou Coffee opened its first store in December 1992 in Minneapolis. Today, over 5,800 people work for Caribou Coffee. For more information, visit the Caribou Coffee Web site at www.cariboucoffee.com. About The Coca-Cola Company The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest beverage company. Along with Coca-Cola(R), recognized as the world's most valuable brand, the Company markets four of the world's top five soft drink brands, including Diet Coke(R), Fanta(R), and Sprite(R), and a wide range of other beverages, including diet and light soft drinks, waters, juices and juice drinks, teas, coffees and sports drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company's beverages at a rate exceeding 1.3 billion servings each day. For more information about The Coca-Cola Company, please visit our Web site at www.coca-cola.com. About the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. The National Breast Cancer Foundation mission is to save lives by increasing awareness of breast cancer through education and by providing mammograms for those in need. NBCF works with local organizations to execute programs that provide desperately needed services to residents of some of this country's poorest neighborhoods. NBCF educates on the prevention and detection of breast cancer and helps provide counseling and treatment for those who are diagnosed with the disease. Learn more about NBCF or make a donation at www.nationalbreastcancer.org.
SOURCE Caribou Coffee Company