Product: Coffee House Cafe Set
Rating: 3+ (translates to "good")
Coffee and tea are only good if they can be enjoyed correctly. What good is coffee if you cannot brew it, espresso if you have not the proper machine or grinder, or tea... well, if you have not a cup full of close-to-boiling water (let's face it; it doesn't take much to enjoy tea).
Consequently, quite often we beverage geeks really pay a lot of attention to equipment. So when FortePromo.com sent me their cafe set to try out, I was interested to test out the quality.
Though I've personally not had much experience with FortePromo.com, it seems the company has a great deal of background in personalizing products for promotional purposes (which is also easily deduced in that you need to buy 24 sets for the low price of $25) and also produces what seems to be pretty decent products.
The cafe set arrived in a nice black box. The set includes a 1 cup french press (around 18 oz) and two small mugs fashioned in likeness to the french press (i.e. glass in a wire frame). As I've noted in my explorations, the lid and plunger really define the set and thus, I noted that the lid is a basic two-layer plastic (there's a separable white plastic dome under the lid) and the plunger is a plastic and mesh composite.
After a couple runs, I felt that I really got the full experience of the set. To start with the less complex, I found the cups to be quaint and of decent quality. The only detraction was that the coffee residue (the fine grinds that always sneak in) looks a whole lot worse in a clear cup.
The french press proved overall decent. The glass pot seems to hold up under the wear-and-tear of use, the frame proved durable, and the plunger did a good job of holding back the grinds. My only dislikes were that the plunger's only rest position was in full plunge (i.e. the plunger was not wide enough to stop at various degrees of altitude), which made keeping the lid on between the initial mixing and 4 minutes later a bit difficult.
In the end, I found the set to be decent (especially for the price!) with but a few drawbacks. I would get this set for someone who's just getting into coffee, someone looking for a press for travel, someone who has a good coffee marketing idea, or someone who has dire need for a lot of reserves.
If you're in the market for a regiment of french presses, give FortePromo.com a try.