A Nespresso Alternative
I have been working on this review off and on for a while. After doing some investigating online, I came across a few competitors to Nespresso, using compatible capsules to their most popular machines.
After all, I do like Nespresso's coffees, and their blends are amazing. The new single origin Bukeela is definitely something to try. But, honestly, Nespresso is expensive, and I do not always like buying a big load all at one time.
From reviews, and availability, I decided to give Hi-Line coffee a shot. They are a New York based coffee company that seems committed to quality coffee and sustainability. (Of course, what small coffee company isn't?)
However, they are a small company with few people working for them rather than the biggest food company in the world. Accountability for making a solid product is much higher with Hi-Line, and it shows in their coffees.
I have made several orders in an effort to really be certain I like their coffees. Generally, I do. When compared with Illy, Lavazza, or even Nespresso, the espressos from Hi-Line truly are in their category.
There are some differences, of course. Instead of being a aluminum pod, there's are recyclable plastic with a foil cover. They are well tamped, and a substantial amount of coffee in the pod. These pods are compatible with most machines, including my Pixie. They will work with most machines, except for some of the newer (and mostly discontinued) U's, and VertuoLine. Hi-Line is meant for home use, and the commercial Nespresso machines are not even discussed.
I find the coffees, particularly the medium to light roasts fit American palates. They certainly work better with my own except for a couple exceptions in Nespresso's selections of coffee.
However, one of the better things with Hi-Line is the fact they have a smaller, more focused selection. Hopefully, they will build on it over time, but for now there is just 12 coffees to chose from. However, that is probably closer to the average with most smaller coffee companies.
As for price, the coffee is $0.50 per capsule, sold mostly in sleeves of ten. Shipping, no matter how many you order is just $5.00. They're shipping may not be guaranteed two day shipping like Nespresso, but my deliveries have been coming fast enough. I will order on a Friday, and have the coffee from the Postal Service by Wednesday, just in time to make a cup for work.