The first piece of coffee making equipment I ever bought (other than a kettle!) was this cafetiere back in the autumn of 1998. Given that it has been very well used over the last 9 and a bit years I'm surprised that it has lasted as well as it has -- especially given that the glass in my parents first cafetiere got broken on one of the first attempts I made to clean it after it had been used!
As coffee makers go a cafetiere is relatively boring. You add coffee grounds and hot water, wait a minute or so then depress the plunger so as to ensure the grounds don't end up in your cup. However, for someone who was used to instant coffee, the difference in taste is phenomenal and was well worth the small investment at a time when I was a relatively penniless university student. I can't remember exactly where mine came from (other than it was a shop in Meadowhall) or how much it cost, but the Another Coffee website has quite a range to choose from, including one attractively priced at £8.95 for the current crop of penniless coffee loving students.
The first coffee I bought to use in the cafetiere was Hot Lava Java from Taylors of Harrogate. I was probably drawn to this brand a) by the bright coloured packet b) the free matching storage tin and c) because the back of the packet described the coffee as a "blast of pure caffeine". The description goes on to say: Containing twice as much caffeine as a normal coffee, this blend is not for the faint hearted. Drink it at night, it'll keep you wide eyed until the wee small hours. Drink it during the day, you'll have so much energy you won't be able to sit down. Thinking back it was quite popular late at night with my housemates when we all had coursework deadlines the following day!