I have a love-love relationship with coffee. There have been phases in my life when coffee was my only friend, seeing me through late-night bar exam cram sessions (I’ve taken and passed three of those cursed things, so there have been a good many of those nights). Other times, like when I was expecting my babies, even though I swore off caffeine altogether, I still gazed longingly at frothy cups of cappuccino, taking deep, drowning breaths of that rich aroma that can be mistaken for nothing else. The hubby feels the same way. One of his ultimate love songs to me happens in the smallest way, when every morning during my “coffee’s on” phases he greets me with a freshly-made cappuccino.
For the longest time, the hubby made cappuccinos on our Breville espresso machine, which we’d bought refurbished off an online sale. In Kuala Lumpur, we hitched our Breville to a giant voltage converter (being that the voltage was different in Malaysia than in the U.S.) but didn’t realize that running that machine through said giant voltage converter would lead to the gradual demise of the Breville. By the time we returned to the U.S. in 2011, our Breville was reduced to a sad little shell of its former self. The hubby would kick it on, only to have it wheeze and sputter as if were saying, “Now? Really?”
Thus, the morning cappuccinos came to a temporary end. Until, that is, earlier this summer. The hubby, after years of carefully obsessing over Nespresso and various other capsule coffee makers, was thrilled to discover that the patent (and thus the monopoly) on Nespresso capsules had finally come to an end. We’d loved the Nespresso ever since experiencing one in France at my cousin’s rental house, but we couldn’t justify the cost of the capsules, since we kind of tend to drink more than one cup of coffee a day.
That’s why we were thrilled to discover HiLine Coffee, a small American coffee company committed to filling Nespresso compatible pods with high-quality speciality coffee reminiscent of the small-batch, freshly ground coffee so popular these days. Before we bought our Nespresso machine, we’d been devoted consumers of Counter Culture Coffee in our French press, and I’ll be honest – I was hesitant to convert to capsules. Could they really be as good as the fresh roasts from our mail-ordered coffee roasted just before it was shipped to our house?
The folks over at HiLine Coffee were super generous in sending us a variety of their capsules for us to make just that determination. After a few weeks of drinking nothing but HiLine every single morning – well, I’m hooked. My favorite is the Soho medium brown, packaged in a pleasing lady-colored fuchsia. The blend is just slightly chocolatey, which means I can pretend my cappuccino has some mocha in it without being an obnoxious, sugar-coated mochachino slurper (not that there’s anything wrong with that per se, but I feel sometimes like the piles of whipped cream and oodles of chocolate syrup I see on coffee drinks these days are intended for teeny boppers who don’t actually enjoy the taste of coffee).
The hubby is a big fan of the Wall Street in its pure espresso form, and I have to say that even though I don’t normally go for dark roasts, I’ll have a Wall Street for kicks sometimes, too. Its nutty flavor makes it interesting to drink just black, although it does better with a touch of raw sugar. The best part of the HiLine Coffee capsules, though, is the price. With some of their roasts priced as low as $3.99 for 10 capsules, it’s nearly half the price of the Nespresso-brand capsules.
Of course, this just means I can justify having extra jitters at the end of the day. Hey, I’m a working parent. I get my cheap thrills where I can.
Thanks again to HiLine Coffee!