I have this love hate thing with Tognana. I like one of their particular cups so much, I wanted to order 1,000 sets with the CoffeeGeek / CoffeeKid logo on them. Then comes the hate part: after spending about 5 months unsuccessfully (as in, they never respond to faxes, phone calls, or email) trying to contact the company in Italy to get samples and find out pricing, I gave up. Still, the Tognana cup in many ways is the epitome of what a quality espresso cup should be.
My set comes courtesy of Espresso Vivace (website) out of Seattle, WA, and were the tenth anniversary cups chosen by David Schomer, the company's owner.
Very appealing design with a nice bowl shape inside - best of all the cups reviewed - and also a solid connection between handle and cup. The bottoms of these cups (along with the Saeco cups) have serrated teeth, the purpose of which is to prevent possible vacuum-forming if you happen to have liquid in the saucer and you try to lift the cup (thanks to cup maestro Ted Simpson for this info).
Tognana's in the business of selling cups to companies who want their logos on them (though in my case, it seems they weren't really in the business of doing this with any seriousness), and they will (might, will consider) put your company's logo or any artwork on the cups and saucers. These are commercial grade cups.
Saucers ain't much to write home about. Thick, plain, and I get the feeling that they use the same saucer for about a dozen different cup designs.
Commercial grade porcelain, super durable, no mars or scratches or cracking, with a high gloss glaze over the artwork.
Very thick. I've seen thicker cups, but not much so. Thickest cups in this review, though the illy cups come close.
Heaviest cup in the review, and that's a plus. Solid. But the handle kind of blows. In fact, it's the worst feeling handle in the roundup. Cup just doesn't feel super secure in the hand. Not that you'll drop it, just that the other handles seem to feel better overall.
Superior. Thanks to the thick side walls. Gets nice and hot on top of the machine, and holds that heat.
Classic shape. Otherwise fairly plain. Nothing to complain about, but nothing to wow either. Maybe if I had a set with some original CoffeeGeek artwork on them :-)
Other than the handle issue, these are very well made and designed cups. Beats the illy cups by a smidge in the preferred bowl shape and thickness departments.
Vivace sells these cups for $8 per cup and saucer on their website. I've heard tale that wholesale on these cups, sans artwork, is around $1.75 per set, 1,000 minimum. But I never got to confirm that... grrr.