We’re Gene and Ted the founders of HiLine Coffee Company. We love Nespresso, great coffee and of course our home town New York City! We created HiLine Coffee to share all three of our passions with you. Each of our Nespresso compatible capsules is packed with what we think is some of the finest coffee on earth and all of our blends are named after one of our favorite neighborhoods in our favorite city…New York of course! For us, HiLine Coffee is more than just a business, it’s a calling. Our mission is to sell high quality coffee in Nespresso compatible capsules while offering great value and more choice to our customers. While we believe Nespresso manufactures the best single-serve coffee machines we feel it's time to offer consumers a new choice of capsules to use with their Nespresso machines. We work with family owned small batch roasters who help us select the finest beans, roast them to perfection and pack them perfectly in capsules compatible with Nespresso machines. The results are rich unique coffee blends with bold, yet subtle flavors, the beautiful aroma of coffee filling the room as soon as you press the button on your Nespresso machine and a perfect crema each time. We love our great coffee and we’re excited to share it with you.
HOW DO WE DO IT?
How do a couple of college friends running a small business compete with a multinational corporate giant to deliver an outstanding product at a lower price?
We are a small, nimble company. Our size and limited production allow us to dedicate more attention to the product - from the farm to roasting and grinding. This is a fundamentally different approach to business than the status quo in 'big food'. We don't use scientists to develop our blends in laboratories; we select our coffees in our living rooms, based on what we like and feedback from our friends and families. A smaller operation also means we can devote personal attention to our customers, providing the highest level of service. We don't have to support massive overhead, marketing budgets, and million dollar payouts for celebrity endorsements; instead we sell our product on-line and market through word of mouth. As a leaner company we can invest more in our product, allowing us to offer great tasting coffee at a much lower cost. We pass these savings on to you.
We share a love of coffee going back more than a decade, when as undergraduates and best friends at Penn we stumbled upon La Colombe, a café near Rittenhouse Square. Just like many remember their first great wine, we remember our first great coffee. After graduating from college we both moved to New York City and soon developed an intense enthusiasm for this electric and eclectic city. Somehow between the long hours at our new corporate jobs we found the time to explore the rich diverse neighborhoods of New York, from weekend strolls in Central Park, to exciting nights in Times Square and quiet moments discovering the hidden treasures of Brooklyn life was at it’s finest.
During this time our passion for coffee blossomed even more as we discovered some of the best cafes in New York, and also had the opportunity to travel around the world. Some of our favorite cafes include Joe's, Grumpy, Stumptown, Blue Bottle, Intelligentsia, Gimme! Soon the passion bordered on obsession. Then came the espresso machines. Ted gave the first one to Gene as a birthday present, which was subsequently upgraded multiple times. Equipment at home fueled the pursuit of new coffee blends, exotic flavors and exciting tastes that would take a sommelier to describe.
As coffee connoisseurs we were somewhat surprised when we developed a passion for Nespresso too. When Gene got a Nespresso machine as a wedding gift, he didn't hide his skepticism. Being accustomed to selecting and grinding his own beans and pulling shots by hand his expectations were low and he had been underwhelmed by some other single serve machines he had tried. But he gave it a chance. To his surprise, the coffee was great! It saved time and was consistently flavorful and enjoyable! It sometimes annoyed Gene that his wife and friends frequently preferred Nespresso to some of his specialty espressos pulled on his much more expensive and complex Mini Vivaldi. Though we soon learned that a third of Michelin-star restaurants had replaced their professional espresso machines with Nespresso. Even our Italian friends love their Pixies and Essenzas!
As we fell in love with our Nespresso machines, we longed for new and exciting varieties, and were frustrated by being limited only to Nespresso produced capsules. Even inferior single serve machines offer over 200 blends and flavors. We realized that all of our friends with Nespresso machines get excited about seasonal specials and always feel let down that they are so few and far between. We sensed a business opportunity and set out to make more special blends that would provide unique flavors and experience. Our coffee takes inspiration from over a decade of coffee around the world. You can find the initial fruit of our labor in HiLine's online store. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
We are a small New York based business committed to high quality, value for our customers, and giving back to our community. We are passionate about coffee, choice, and bringing people a fantastic cup of coffee at a great price.
Gene enjoys making great coffees for his wife and many friends who stop by. A certified barista, he would have been happy running a specialty café. Instead he spent most of his career on Wall Street, most recently heading the sustainability investment effort at a large private equity firm. Gene's favorite café is Blue Bottle Chelsea.
Ted is a born entrepreneur with a passion for great value and customer service. Always a bundle of natural energy he is a decaf drinker. He's never satisfied with second best and insists that we deliver the same quality and service to our customers that he demands as a customer himself.
Tom is an enthusiastic member of the Australian coffee diaspora, frequenting cafes around his home in the East Village, or his workplace in Williamsburg where he builds and maintains websites.
Brendan is a world traveller cum strategy consultant. After developing a taste for the exotic during nearly ten years abroad, he became a Nespresso fan as a faster pace of life demanded that quality espresso be convenient (and accessible in the office). He believes the Nespresso market is ripe for disruption, and would love to bring a few of those faraway blends closer to home.
Katia is a fan of blind tastings and has a discerning palate for all things delicious. She works in sustainable development by day, turns into a true gourmet by night, and never can resist an espresso after a good meal.
At HiLine Coffee Company we not only believe in great tasting coffee and excellent service, but also in giving back. As a small business we want to use our resources to give back in the most meaningful way possible and to ensure our contributions really help people in need. To accomplish this we partnered with Carolina for Kibera to fund scholarships that would send promising Kenyan girls to high school. We chose to work with Carolina for Kibera because our donations would go directly to help those in need and since many of our coffee beans are sourced from Kenya, we would be helping people in the region that is so vital to our business. We believe that every child deserves an education, but in Kenya public education stops before high school. In Kibera, which is an impoverished slum in Nairobi, Kenya, many families live on one or two dollars a day, and school is an unattainable luxury. Girls who cannot afford tuition are forced to leave school and work, or in some cases marry at a young age. The Scholarship Program ensures that a family’s material circumstances do not limit a student’s ability to excel in school. None of the scholarships provides full awards. Families share responsibility for fees as a demonstrated commitment to students’ academic success.
The Scholarship Program offers more than just school fees. It fully invests in student development, providing mentorships, counseling, tutoring, career panels, study skills and community service. In 2010, its first year, the Scholarship Program awarded 307 scholarships to primary, secondary and post-secondary students from Kibera. Many recipients of scholarships balance family commitments and schoolwork alongside CFK trainings and activities.
Below is the profile of Susan Mueni, one of the girls who has earned a scholarship through Carolina for Kibera.
Born and raised in Kibera along with five other siblings, all of whom are boys and most of whom are older, Mueni found it difficult to find the support from other girls that she needed. Both of her parents owned small businesses, taking up most of their time and energy.
When Mueni was in 4th grade, she heard about CFK’s Sports Association. Soccer intrigued her, so she decided to start playing—and she hasn’t stopped since. Through CFK’s elite Queens Soccer Team for women, she found a community of support that she had been missing. After a few years growing her confidence as a leader, she began facilitating discussions in support groups for younger female soccer players organized through the Sports Association.
Continuing to participate with CFK, she earned scholarship through the Education program and recently graduated high school, an achievement for girls in Kibera. Feeling pressured to find choose a prestigious, high-earning career, she originally strove to be an engineer—until she realized engineering wasn’t actually her passion. Now, she is following her calling to serve others and will soon enroll in college to pursue a career as a social worker.
Having participated in CFK’s programs since 2004, Mueni has been exposed to a variety of experiences, all of which she says have made her a better person. She attributes her confidence and resilient attitude in the face of challenges to the mentorship she received at CFK.
“I wanted to be involved in so many things with CFK, but I always had so much to do at home and for school. So I observed how my friends in CFK do it. I learned to manage myself and become a better person. I can really say that now I am focused and motivated. I don’t think anything can stop me.”
We hope you are as inspired by her story as we are and we would love it if you would join us in supporting Carolina for Kibera. For more information and to donate please visit CFK website