Luigi Lavazza likes what it sees in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR). The Italian coffee giant is investing $250 million in the fast-growing maker of Keurig single-cup brewers and K-Cup portion packs.

In return, Lavazza gets a 7% stake of freshly printed shares, and it'll have the right to purchase as much as 15% of the company.

Is this validation for Green Mountain, or dilution for its shareowners? It's a little bit of both, although the way that Green Mountain has been snapping up regional coffee faves and leading K-Cup suppliers, the balance sheet-buffing investment could also make Green Mountain an even bigger acquisition target.

However, perhaps the neatest wrinkle in the deal is that the two companies will combine to create a Keurig-esque machine for high-end espresso brews.

A pod-based, single-serve espresso machine isn't new. Global juggernaut Nestle (OTC BB: NSRGY.PK) has its Nespresso appliance. Kraft's (NYSE: KFT) Tassimo and Sara Lee's (NYSE: SLE) Senseo brew up a wide array of Euro-style coffees. Heck, even Lavazza markets its own BLUE espresso maker.

If anything, Lavazza has indicated that making a stateside splash in the single-cup espresso market will be easier through Green Mountain -- even if the new device won't hit the market for at least another three years.

Green Mountain doesn't need a second driver at the moment. Revenue soared 64% in its latest quarter, as the K-Cup craze invades homes, corporate break rooms, restaurants, and hospitality specialists. Even Jarden's (NYSE: JAH) Mr. Coffee and Conair's Cuisinart are cranking out machines that feed on K-Cups for gourmet java.

However, K-Cup patent timelines will come into play in a couple of years. With that deadline looming, Green Mountain is wisely exploring diversification opportunities.

Clearly, this is an expanding market. Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) is growing again, despite Green Mountain's rising popularity. Through Green Mountain, Lavazza will be able to ride the industry's growth giant -- and fuel speculation regarding an outright acquisition, if the premium is right.

Now that the euro has finally showed some signs of life against the dollar, it wouldn't be a surprise to see more European food giants start to take a few sips of their American counterparts.

Are you buying into coffee companies these days? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.