Product review: Forte Promotions cafe set

by on January 20, 2009

I love coffee, therefore I love coffee preparation gadgets. One thing I learned early on was that each method of preparation can bring out different flavors in coffee. I tend to make coffee one of five ways: drip, pour-over, Cafe Solo, Aeropress, and French press. My work-a-day French press is a stainless steel one by Planetary Design. I was really impressed by their French press travel mug, and am equally happy with the tabletop press.

That being said, most French presses are glass. Forte Promotions recently sent me their Coffee House Cafe Set, consisting of a glass and silver metal 12-oz. French press and two matching 5-oz. glass mugs. They are sold in multiple units, with 24 being the minimum order.

Background
Forte is a distributor of a myriad of promotional gifts — company logos can be put on just about any product, including this press, via laser etching or color printing. This set comes in a really nice latching cardboard box (which also has space for a logo) with a fitted insert and is thus appropriate as a corporate gift. Forte appeared to have a lower price on this set than the manufacturer (Leed’s) and a number of other promotional gift companies that I looked at. Forte also had an entire section of eco-friendly products.

Product review
This press is listed as 12-oz., although it does hold about 16 oz of liquid. So it’s a great size for two small cups or a mug-and-a-slug. Any more, frankly, and the glass wouldn’t keep the coffee hot enough anyway.

The most important part of a press is the plunger. The screen on this product is sturdy and the mesh size fine. The screening extends well past the edges of the plunger, but is not quite tight enough against the glass to prevent grounds from sneaking past if  the plunger is depressed too fast. In a number of trials, I found the amount of grounds getting by on the sides was minimal so long as it was plunged with care.

I’m used to the snug-fitting lid of my thermal stainless press, so the first time I nearly forgot to hold the lid of this press while pouring. It’s not loose, but would likely come off with a swift pour of a full press. What ended up in the cup was comparable to any other good French press brew. The glass, of course, lent no funky flavors to the coffee.

The glass on both the press and the mugs was not heavy (again, I’m used to the rugged stainless steel). It can be removed from the press (and therefore replaced if needed). The manufacturer says using a dishwasher is not recommended on this product. I wouldn’t put the metal portion of the press in a dishwasher, but I don’t see why you couldn’t put the glass itself, or even the plunger, on the top shelf. The glass is not removable on the mugs — they’ll have to be hand-washed.

Overall, a very classy looking set that would look even cooler with a logo. This set may not be sturdy enough to be used regularly by a cafe for table service, but I think it would make a terrific gift — especially with a bag of coffee — for a grand opening or other special event. It would provide a constant reminder of the business and a reminder to return for more coffee.

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Revised on December 14, 2012

Posted in Coffee-related products

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