Choosy coffee slurpers now brew up in cafetieres. But is it worth paying pounds 120 at Liberty's?; is it worth it? by Fiona Mountford
We all like to wake up and smell it, but the uncomfortable truth is that we are becoming a nation of coffee fascists. Not only does Nescafe no longer suffice for our daily fix, but our freshly-ground decaffeinated Columbian beans have to be put in the appropriate receptacle. Gone are the over-designed hi-tech Eighties machines, en vogue now is the simple cafetiere. All well and good, but does that mean that this pewter jelly bean on a stand by Nick Munro for Liberty is worth pounds 120?

It has to be admitted that it is rather endearingly shaped, looking from the front like a one-armed penguin directing traffic, due to its handle being at the unusual angle of 90 degrees to the spout. This makes for a pouring novelty, but one must not lose sight of the fact that conventionally positioned handles have served us well for hundreds of years. Its capacity is unimpressive, offering up a meagre one and a half mugs. And as Michelle Ogundehin, features director of Elle Decoration points out, most people like to see how much coffee they have put in and when it all looks ready to plunge, a facility which the jelly-penguin doesn't allow.

Sarah Parker, head of product and marketing for the Seattle Coffee Company, is adamant that "pounds 120 is not going to make you a better cup of coffee", and says that the main difference between all the cafetieres on the market is stylistic. For a much more reasonable pounds 40, The Conran Shop offers a smart little number in chrome and glass, with volume for enough caffeine to actually wake you up in the morning. But fixated as Real Life has become this week with handles, it has to be said that this handle is too far down, making it hard to pick up when full.

For cafetieres that look good and do their jobs adequately (and have handles conventional enough to pass even the most stringent test) Michelle Ogundehin goes for that old favourite the Bodum range, available both from Whittards and its own name shops. There is glass with plastic surround (in a range of colours, although neon yellow will probably do nothing for a morning-after bad head) for pounds 15 and another chrome and glass offering for pounds 25, on promotion until Thursday in Whittards for pounds 15. Their only major drawback is that everyone has them. If this doesn't bother you, you've saved pounds 105. If it does, I have to admit that the Liberty penguin, sitting on my desk all week, has rather grown on me in an anthropomorphic sort of way. But be strong, buy a Teletubby toy and head for The Conran Shop.