Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Monster High "Coffin Bean" vs. The Bratzillaz "Cafe Zap" Playset

As the holiday season approaches, there are a lot of choices to be made in the play doll market.  The shelves here in Maine are well-stocked with plenty of temptations.  You could buy a Robecca Steam Monster High doll, or bring home any of the five Bratzillaz witches.  You could have some mix and match fun with a creative Cutie Pops doll or stick with the more fashion-forward La Dee Da line.  Perhaps an articulated Winx Club fairy is perfect for your house, or maybe you'd rather just grab some clearance Liv dolls while they're still around.  Even after you settle on the right doll, the accessories present a whole new array of choices.  While some accessories, like the new La Dee Da outfits, will only work for the dolls they are designed to fit, other accessory lines are interchangeable.  Perhaps the Novi Stars' cosmic companions like to hang out with your Mystixx vampires?  Just because you have a Monster High posse doesn't mean that you can't buy them a Barbie car.  A Disney Store Rapunzel can hang out in Hayden's house just as easily as she can lurk the halls of Monster High.

Both Mattel and MGA have released coffee shop playsets for 12" dolls in the past few months.  Mattel introduced the "Coffin Bean" set for Monster High dolls in April, and MGA's "Cafe Zap" for Bratzillaz hit the shelves about a month ago.  I have been searching for the perfect chair to display my 12" dolls, but I haven't had a lot of success.  I tried a Barbie chair (from an overpriced kitchen set) but it was way too flimsy and slippery.  I was delighted to see that the two new cafe sets each have nice looking seating options and figured I'd offer up a comparison review while continuing my quest for a nice, sturdy chair.

Monster High "Coffin Bean" and Bratzillaz "Cafe Zap."
The Coffin Bean retails for $28.99 at Toys R Us ($29.99 online) and Cafe Zap costs $19.99 at some stores and just under $25 at other stores (and online).  Despite its higher price, the Coffin Bean starts the race ahead because the set includes a doll while the Bratzillaz set does not:


I'll de-box the Coffin Bean set first because I've had it for longer.  This set comes with a basic Clawdeen doll and also a nice-looking couch and chair to further my quest:


The box is cardboard and is decorated with some scenes from the cafe and some text bubbles highlighting certain features of the toy:


"Coffin Bean" is a very clever play on words.  It would be a cute name for a real coffee shop, except that I don't find the thought of dusty coffins particularly appetizing.  The name does little to disguise the fact that this is a coffee shop playset.  I'm not sure how I feel about a coffee theme for a toy being sold to children under 15... but I guess my children have been exposed to my exuberance for coffee since they were babies, and I trust that they will hold off drinking it themselves until they are 15...or 6 feet tall, whichever comes first.  Anyway, the text bubble on the back of the box is more cryptic.  Instead of saying that you can "brew your favorite roast," it says, "mix up a double shot of something sweet and scary."  


It also says, "place your order with the grrista at the register."  I had to look that one up.  A "barista" is, apparently, a person who makes coffee.  Good to know.  Here's the fashionable barista--sorry, grrrista herself:


Clawdeen is attached to a bright pink cardboard backdrop.  This pulls easily out of the main box (despite a line of scary-looking glue along one edge).  The rest of the playset is loose in the box, padded with a wedge of cardboard packaging.


I love the packaging.  It is mostly cardboard, almost all of it is easy to recycle, and it takes about a minute to get the doll and all of the cafe pieces out. The set includes a pre-assembled chair and couch, a shelving unit (some assembly required) and a small plastic bag filled with food items and other accessories.


Because I was so anxious to see the quality of the chair and the couch, I'll look at those first.  The chair is a red and black high-backed armchair and the couch is bright blue with a decorative black back.   I like that they're not the same color:


The couch has a spider web pattern throughout, with black scrolled details along the back.  The seat cushions are made from a separate piece of plastic, so they look more like real cushions.


I really like the spider ornament at the top, even though in general, the spider theme decreases the versatility of the piece.


The couch's pattern continues all along the back, which is nice because it means the couch can be displayed from any angle.


The inside of the couch is hollow, but it seems well reinforced.  It feels very solid.


The chair is taller than the couch, with a lot more black ornamentation.  


The red portions of the chair are molded to look like upholstery while the black areas have a skeleton motif.  The top of the chair has a creepy skull head with long-fingered hands gripping the edge.  The black legs of the chair resemble arm bones.


Dem bones.
Some of the structural elements of the chair are visible.  The back of the chair is made out of two layers of plastic, which is great for stability, but the six red tabs that hold the two pieces together stick out along the edges.  It's not as attractive as the couch from this angle:


The seat of the char is hollow, but again, this is a solid, substantial piece and doesn't tip or move around too easily.  


I have to say, the chair and couch give me some optimism about the quality of the new (huge) Monster High high school playset.  I have been eyeing this toy for a while since I know it will be on a lot of wish lists during the holidays.  If the quality of that set is equivalent to these chairs, it might make a great gift.  For $70-80, I just wish it came with a doll or two.

The set also comes with a shelving unit that requires some assembly:


The three pieces slot together very easily.  There's a small countertop extension that sticks out on the left side and is supported by a leg with a spider web design.  This part of the shelving unit is a bit flimsy, but the shelves themselves are solid and heavy.


The logo for the Coffin Bean is this smiling (sleeping? Dead? Stuffed??) coffee bean:


The bean picture is part of a coffin-shaped sticker that adorns the top of the shelves.  It's a cute picture, but in general, the stickers in this set are not very high quality.

There's a cardboard backdrop for the shelving unit that has a printed pattern on both sides.  The sides do not have exactly the same design. I slightly prefer the one with more black on top:


The cardboard has pre-cut holes that line up with holes in the back of the plastic shelves:

Why don't they write real words on the sign?  This looks like bleeped-out curse words.
Inside the small plastic bag of accessories, I found four web-shaped pieces of plastic that are meant to secure the backdrop:



These pieces snap into the four corners of the shelving unit, holding the cardboard securely in place:

&*#@%  coffee for sale.
The completed unit looks good from all angles:


Also included in the small plastic bag of accessories is a cash register in the shape of a tombstone:


The screen of the cash register is another (slightly peeling) sticker.  The design of the sticker is cool--it has the Coffin Bean logo on the top and then several pictures of food items that are available at the cafe:


The cash register is wobbly and a bit crooked.  The crookedness is most visible from the back:


There's a small drawer that actually opens and closes, but it is very thin and couldn't hold anything of substance:


There's a bright turquoise coffee maker with very few details:


The set includes a cardboard magazine that is printed on all sides:

Who is this?  She looks awesome.
On the back cover is the Create-a-Monster vampire boy:


Inside, there's a picture of the three-eyed girl, also fromt the Create-a-Monster series:


I like that there are pictures on all sides of this prop.  Its much more common for these pretend books be blank inside.

There's a small black plastic coffin-shaped coffee table.  The plastic has a molded woodgrain pattern and the trademark Monster High skeleton head.  The coffee table is a bit too petite for the scale of the couch, but its smaller size leaves lots of room for those long Monster High legs:


There are four food items that come with this set, a monster cupcake, a cup of green sludge (a similar cup of pink sludge) and what looks like a mutated croissant:


The green sludge comes in a cute cauldron-shaped coffee cup with a skull design on one side.  Clawdeen comes holding the same style of cup filled with bright pink sludge.


The cupcake monster is my favorite:


This is a strange item. It looks like a chocolate-frosted larval insect


The smaller items can be stored on the lower shelves, but it looks pretty empty.  I wish there had been a few more food accessories with this set.  Maybe they'll offer some add-on sets with more food?


The last accessory from that small plastic bag is an apron with the Coffin Bean decal:


The Clawdeen that comes with this set is fully dressed, but doesn't have a stand or a comb.  She has nice chunky shoes and can stand pretty easily on her own...

The doll stands alone.
...despite warnings to the contrary:


I am not crazy about this doll's hairstyle.  She wears thick bangs in front that have two rows of rooting.     The double rooting is a nice detail, but it makes the hair harder to sweep out of her face.  She wears a simple, long ponytail in the back.  There are two messy blunt-cut tendrils of hair hanging down at either side of her face:

One tendril came tied with brown string, one was loose.
My particular doll had a big clump of hard styling material in half of her ponytail, with lots of tangles all around it, but the mess brushed out easily.


Aside from the bangs, the hair is nice.  It is soft and smooth with a pretty two-toned brown color.  Clawdeen wears two simple gold plastic hoop earrings in each ear and has a gold spiked ponytail decoration.



Her makeup is pretty, but isn't as dramatic or special as some of the other dolls.  She has eyeshadow in two shades of purple with matte coral lips and subtle fangs:



My favorite Clawdeen is still the original release--here's a comparison of the two:


I love the first wave Clawdeen's dark wine colored lips,  glittery eye makeup and softer eyebrows.  The Coffin Bean doll is more generic and has lost some of the fierce personality of the character.


The dress is very simple, but has a cute design. The striped print is meant to be purple belts with little gold buckles.  Following this theme, Clawdeen wears a collection of gold plastic belts around her waist:


The print has little white flecks where the ends of the printed belts are curling up.  I find these areas distracting--they look like defects in the fabric unless you look at them really close. 


The dress has a long fake zipper running down the front and a cute gold collar:


The shoes are a purple-blue color.  The only painted decoration is the gold laces, and these are pretty faint in some areas.

These are slightly more purple-colored in real life.
Clawdeen also wears a gold plastic necklace with a moon design.  


Here's Clawdeen trying out the red chair.  She sits beautifully in this chair--it is just the right height to accomodate her bent legs:


She can also strike a more relaxed pose:



And some dramatic poses:



The couch does not support the doll quite as gracefully.  The seat is pretty low, so if Clawdeen's legs are bent at right angles, her bottom is too high to hit the couch:


Similarly, if her bottom is on the couch, her legs can't bend at right angles--they have to stick out in front of her quite a bit:


So, the dolls have to tuck their legs off to one side in order to sit on this sofa, which, fortunately, is something Monster High dolls do really well:


Flopping across the whole couch is another excellent option:


I always like to see if it's possible to re-create the scene on the box.  Often, there is some photo magic being used to get a cool picture.  Not in this case, though.  I'm missing a few details, but the basic pose in the picture is entirely possible:


Here are some shots of the girls testing out their new coffee shop:






Now, let's see how MGA's Cafe Zap measures up to the competition:


I have to say, the advertising on the back of the box is a bit more exciting than that on the Coffin Bean box.  


The coffee machine has lights and sounds and you can,"spin the cupboard to reveal a secret fireplace."  Very cool--even though it's usually a secret cupboard hiding behind a fireplace, not the other way around.   


This is a pet-friendly establishment and there's a picture of Meygana's cute horse Wingsy:

Wingsy looks like he's sneaking a cup of joe for himself...
The decorations might be tantalizing, but the packing itself is awful.  The outer box is plastic with a cardboard back.  Inside the box is a cardboard insert with all of the toys attached.  The insert is easy to pull out, but that's where things start to take a turn for the worse.


Every single item in this set is secured to the cardboard in at least two different ways.  I wasn't even sure how to get started detaching it--it's like an impenetrable fortress of packaging.


I decided to start by cutting the white strings on the back of the insert.   These are pretty easy to cut and I was hoping that they'd magically free everything:


Although several items do come free when the strings are cut, a few pieces are left behind.  Most notably, the tiered table sits in a molded plastic base and is tied down in three places.  Come on, MGA.  Is this really necessary?  I couldn't even reach my scissors in to cut the string because of the deep indentations in the plastic.  


Once everything is free from the cardboard backdrop, there's still a significant amount of work to be done removing various plastic shells and strings.


Here's another frustrating moment--trying to cut that plastic space-filler while reaching in between the (non-removable) levels of the table.  Argh.  I mean, MGA did not start me off on the right foot with this set.  I started to feel some strong pangs of dislike even before I had a chance to see what the toy looks like.


To finish off any scraps of sanity I had left, the coffee machine is battened down with plastic strips and tape and this plastic cocoon thing:


Finally, after every scrap of plastic and every bit of string was gone, I could sit back (panting) and inspect my new toy:


Pretty cute.  I wanted to examine the bar stool chairs first, because they have a lot of potential.

The structure of these chairs is more solid than I expected.  They stand up straight and have good base support.  They have simple red cushion seats, a curved gold back and a dark coppery stand with a foot rest.


  They also have...seat belts?


I wonder what they put in the coffee at this joint that makes the patrons need seat belts on their chairs?  That's a serious-looking seat belt, too.  I hurried to get my Meygana (not included in the set) to see how she'd fare in this contraption:

Uh...I'm slipping a bit here...
She can sit without the seat belt, I guess, but she does tip backwards a bit and requires some balancing.  With the seat belt in place, however, she sits like a champ:

Whoa!  Hey look--no hands and I'm not tipping backwards!
In fact, I think seat belts for doll chairs might be one of the best inventions of all time.  Not only can Meygana sit--she can pose!

Wheee!!!  This is fun!!
I'm queen of the world!
Hey, there, cutie.  How do you like my seat belt?

I can fly!
The only real problem with these chairs is if you forget to unbuckle when you want to get up...

Oh, ah, yeah.  I meant to bring the chair with me.

The three-layered table can hold most of the food treats that come with this set, although the two drinks are a bit too tall...


...and the display looks better without them:


The bakery treats include this double cupcake tray:


A foamy latte (or maybe a hot chocolate?):


A bran muffin:


And a very shiny little croissant:


All of the food is permanently attached to the plates.  The two drink options are this root beer float:


And this yummy-looking parfait (or maybe it's a milkshake?):

Drool.
The cabinet with the secret fireplace is not quite as exciting as it could have been.  It's actually a very thin mantelpiece unit with a spinning panel that has a fireplace sticker on one side and a cupboard sticker on the other.  It also has a big mirror that, rather than being reflective, is just a Bratzillaz advertisement.



Is seems that this piece was designed to sit up against a wall because the back has a lot of visible screws and hollow parts.  The trouble is, if it's up against a wall, you can't spin the secret panel.


The main attraction is the coffee making island.  The coffe maker itself sits on top of a tall tapering purple pedestal.  The base of the pedestal is hollow and has a plastic cushioned area that is designed to accomodate the Bratzillaz pets. 


The coffee maker looks like a capsule-shaped pressure cooker and comes complete with some decorative dials and valves.  Inside the capsule, there's a reflective compartment that holds the coffee carafe:


If you push down on the top of the coffee maker, lights flash red and blue, accompanied by a static zapping kind of a noise: 


The coffee carafe is removable:


The carafe is interesting--it has a crystal-cut clear body that reflects the light nicely.  It has a more traditional brown base, handle and lip.  It's like a cross between a diner coffee pot and an antique crystal decanter:


The back of the coffee maker is covered with tiny writing, the gist of which is (I think): this won't electrocute you...promise.


So, okay, despite some very good advice, I did cave and buy a Wingsy.  Sigh.  I'll show you some details over on facebook, but here he is enjoying the pet cubby under the coffee machine:


As Clawdeen and Meygana chat over an electrifying caffeinated beverage, it looks like even with the seat belt, Meygana is having some trouble sitting up straight:

Meygana needs a little pick-me-up.

The caffeine goes to straight to Meygana's head...


It looks like Wingsy managed to get a cup of coffee, too....




I tried to re-create Meygana's pose on the back of the box.  Not bad (except I bent the wrong leg):


Because the chairs in these sets are so important to me, I decided to let several of my other 12" dolls try them out to gauge their versatility.  First of all, the quality of the Monster High chair is much better than the Bratzillaz bar stool.  There's really no comparison:


Clawdeen sits on the bar stool more easily than Meygana sits on the armchair.  Meygana has to sit at the very edge of the chair and seems in immediate danger of slipping off:

Clawdeen owns the bar stool.
Liv Hayden's feet can barely touch the ground in the armchair, and she's got no hope of reaching the foot rest on the bar stool, but she looks ok in both chairs--she might look slightly more comfortable in the armchair, but she's more solidly perched on the bar stool.  The bar stool leans a bit under her weight.


The older Disney Princesses can sit in both chairs, but their internally-jointed legs stick way out in front of them.  This look much stranger with the bar stool:


We know the newer Disney Princesses can't sit very elegantly under the best of circumstances.  Their unfortunate knee joints coupled with the bar stool are not a good match...with or without a seat belt (Rapunzel is undressed so you can see what the crazy legs are up to...)


The armchair is better, but Rapunzel's feet don't touch the ground so it's very hard to keep her from sliding right out of the seat.


In the end, the best fit for the greatest number of dolls is the blue couch:


After this little test, my fingers hurt from opening and closing the bar stool seat belt...and the belt is showing some worrisome signs of wear on one end:

Note the white line of weakened plastic.
So, let me break all of this down for you:

Packaging: this is easy.  The Monster High Coffin Bean packaging is far superior.  It is mostly cardboard, easy to open and easy to recycle.  The Bratzillaz Cafe Zap packaging is a huge plastic pain in the neck.

How the (roughly) equivalent pieces stack up

Monster High
Bratzillaz
Comparison
Shelving unit
Coffee maker island
The shelving unit is more versatile and makes a better display piece, but the coffee maker has a higher fun factor with the removable carafe and the lights and sounds.  The pet bed isn't my favorite use of space.
Red armchair
Red bar stools
The sturdy red armchair is a wonderful chair for Monster High dolls. It’s solid and looks great.  The spider theme makes it less versatile.  The bar stools are a bit flimsy and the seat belts are hard to use and could be prone to breakage…but they offer big time fun with chair posing.
Blue couch
Mantelpiece
The mantelpiece is silly—almost disposable.  The blue couch is good—not as awesome as the big red chair, but a nice, sturdy piece of furniture that accommodates other 12" doll lines.
Coffee table
Dessert table
The dessert table displays the baked goods well, but it tips over easily.  The coffin coffee table is small but cute and looks excellent in a display.
Food accessories
Food accessories
I love the Monster High monster cupcake, but the larval croissant is creepy.  The Bratzillaz food is more realistic…and there’s more of it.
Doll
Nothin’
A nice generic Clawdeen doll in contrast to no doll at all.  
Extras: apron, magazine
Extras: drinks
I love the black apron and will use it a lot with this set.  The magazine is a good prop.  The Bratzillaz drinks are very cute and the frothy milkshake is one of my favorite pieces.


Quality: Both sets are more substantial than the Barbie kitchen I bought a few months ago.  Overall, though, the Monster High set has better quality and seems more durable.  The chair and couch are heavy and solid--they remind me of Lalaloopsy furniture.  I also prefer the matte finish on the Coffin Bean plastic.  The shiny Cafe Zap plastic looks and feels a bit cheap in comparison. 

Price: To be conservative, I'll use the $19.99 Toys R Us price I paid for the Cafe Zap set rather than the $25 online/Walmart price.  With this metric, the Coffin Bean set cost $9 more. If my comparisons, above, are accurate, the big difference comes down an extra $9 for a doll and a couch.  If you don't like this version of Clawdeen, that's a lot to pay for a couch.  If you do like Clawdeen, the Coffin Bean is a good deal.  


Bottom line?  I like the Coffin Bean set better for myself.  I think all of the pieces are useful and the Clawdeen doll is great. I wish that more of my 12" dolls were comfortable in the red armchair, but it still fills a void in my collection so I know I will use it (and the blue couch) frequently.  All of the pieces work together to make a very cozy, convincing coffee shop scene.  The smaller accessories are the most obvious weakness.  There are only a few food and drink choices and the cash register and coffee machine are disappointingly simple. 

If I were faced with the choice of these two sets during my holiday shopping, I would still opt for the Coffin Bean.  The added attraction of a new doll is hard to resist--especially when buying a toy for a child.

The Cafe Zap set had some nice surprises.  The coffee machine is cool, there's a fun variety of food, and the bar stools are sturdier than I feared they would be.  In the end though, these pieces do not combine to create as interesting or complete a scene as the Monster High set.  There are some concept flaws, too.  Aside from a tiny counter on one edge of the coffee maker island, there's nowhere for the dolls to sit and eat.  The spinning fireplace and even the pet cubby seem like wasted opportunities.  The fireplace could have been a seating table or a sales counter and the pet cubby could have been a shelving unit or a secret compartment of some kind.  Add in the packaging nightmare of the Cafe Zap set, and the lesser durability of the plastic and there's more than enough reason for me to recommend the Coffin Bean instead, even with its slightly higher price.


39 comments:

  1. I love your product reviews! So thorough!

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  2. Your the best of the best. I can't wait to read a review from you. Every time i log on I check to see if you have a new review on the latest toys

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    1. That is so nice of you to say, Mivda. Made my day. :) I wish I could get more reviews up for you these days, but my schedule is really busy. The New Year will be better!

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  3. You really are setting a new standard for this sort of thing. Two of your thorough reviews AND a comparison for play sets? That's just perfect. As the holiday season approaches I hope more people find their way over here to figure out what to buy. I don't think I've ever felt as certain about the decision to purchase an item (or not) as I do after seeing your analysis. I said this once before but it really feels like getting to test before buying.
    Thanks so much.

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    1. You're very welcome! Thank you so much, maricha, for your lovely words. That really means a lot to me! :) My hope is that even if you don't agree with my bottom line, you have some more information to make a choice about what to buy.

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  4. I love my Coffin Bean and am working on a permanent diorama to use as a setting for my handmade food items. BUT I had no clue that Bratzillaz had a coffee shop as well. Thank you so much for doing this review, I think despite some of your misgivings, I will be adding this to my collection of props. I LOVE the coffee machine and that dessert table is fantastic. At least I know going into the purchase that it will need shored up a bit.

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    1. Oh--the Cafe Zap will be great for your amazing food! It's not that wobbly--don't worry. In fact, you could have mine if you want, but I am so crazy-busy these days I'm not so great at getting things shipped quickly. :/ Still, let me know if you want my used one! Your cakes would make that table incredible! :)

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  5. Hello Emily!!! I love your blog, is really wonderful!

    The cover of the "Monster Beat" is a Create A Monster Dragon Girl http://www.flickr.com/photos/84655546@N06/7904737892/in/photostream/ She is so beautiful!

    Best Regards!!!

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    1. Thank you so much Maya! I'm embarrassed that I didn't recognize her!

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  6. The BARISTA(Italian word for the English barman and the American English bartender) is a professional figure who works in the bar dealing with the preparation of cocktails, leaving other specialized figures (guys of the bar counter) the preparation of the coffee and the service soft drinks.

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    1. Good to know, Sergio! Thank you for the excellent definition! So, do I understand correctly that we've co-opted that word to mean someone who serves coffee when traditionally the barista would apply only to the person serving alcoholic drinks?

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  7. Fabulous Review! I was wondering what they would like combined- and ta-da! You did it :)

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    1. Thank you! Yeah--the sets are actually pretty great together, but I didn't feel like it would be fair to say, "if can't decide...get both!" That's cheating. ;)

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  8. Another great and very funny (&*#@% coffee for sale? Hahahaha) review as always!
    Both playsets aren't available here yet (which I really hate since the coffin bean playset is on my wishlist since I've seen it for the very first time) and I had never seen Cafe Zap before this review.
    As a huge MH fan, it speaks for itself that I love the coffin bean playset and I want it even more now (thanks a lot Emily xD) The details are very nice and I like the two backrounds option. Overall, the set looks really nice and I like the Clawdeen doll. There is an exclusive set which includes a Draculaura doll too but the Netherlands won't be getting that so I won't pay attention to it.
    Cafe Zap was a nice surprise, the coffee machine looks just awesome and the carafe is cute. At first, I thought the seat belts looked weird but I like the fact that they help sit the Bratzillaz better. I'm sorry about the low quality plastic belt though.
    The fireplace isn't so great as you would expect it to be but the space for the pet is cute, I guess. You could always store something else there.
    I like the accesories from both sets but slightly prefer the MH accesories. I just love the monster theme, even though it isn't a lot.
    Bottom line: like you said, I prefer the MH coffin bean but wouldn't mind getting Cafe Zap at all, hahaha xD

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    1. Sorry for the temptation! ;) It is fun to have both sets because the Cafe Zap food is a great addition to the skimpy selection at the Coffin Bean, and the Coffin Bean makes up for Cafe Zap's lack of counter space. They compliment each other quite well!

      I can't believe I didn't recognize the dragon girl on the magazine--I even reviewed her! Sheesh. I knew you guys would know who she is and rescue me, though. :)

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    2. Yes, the last photo proves that they look awesome together!

      I also wanted to ask you something, don't you live really close to where hurricane Sandy will come to shore? I'm worried, hahaha xD

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  9. Oh, before I forget, the ghoul on the cover of the Monster Beat magazine is the CAM dragon girl like Maya Sweet said. Although she has different hair, she wears the same outfit and the wings look like the CAM wings. Since the other ghouls in the magazine are CAM dolls too, I'm pretty sure the covergirl is the CAM dragon girl.

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  10. Hello from Spain: I prefer the furniture of the Monsters. I like the blue couch and the red chair. I buy it ... as ususal, fabulous review! keep in touch.

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    1. Thank you, Marta! The blue couch is really great. The color does funny things to my camera, but it's really sturdy and all of my dolls love to sit on it! :)

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  11. Thanks for a great review. I have been contemplating getting the Coffin Bean...I love it!!

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    1. You're welcome! :) The Coffin Bean seems like a really good deal to me. Lots of fun pieces and a nice doll. It's a great gift (for yourself or someone else)!

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  12. I think the cute food accessories are what makes the Coffin Bean set, and I just love it.

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    1. The cupcake is awesome--maybe it's a spider? Whatever it is, it cracks me up. :) Very creative!

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  13. Great review like usual!

    I think, that I like them both. Coffin Bean have more stuff, but Cafe Zap looks more 'real' and less plastic for me.

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    1. Thank you, Azzure! They do go very nicely together...especially if you are working on a diorama display for your dolls.

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    2. That's the reason I want to get them - I want to make cute display for my dolls. But I will have to wait reallllly long before I will get them. In my country there is no Bratzillaz at all, so no Cafe Zap for me and I don't think I have seen Coffin Bean here. *sighs* Living in Easter Europe is pain in the ass when it comes to collecting dolls...

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  14. Great revuew,Emily. I had seen the Coffin Bean set but hadn't really taken in all the details. I haven't seen the Bratzillatz set here in Australia yet but will now look out for it. And in Australia, a barista makes only coffee - we've obviously appropriated an italian word and given a twist to the meaning.

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    1. Thank you so much. :)

      I think we've done the same thing here in the US--when I looked up "barista," I just saw a lot of coffee references. I like knowing the real origin of the word, though! I'm glad the Coffin Bean isn't serving alcohol. ;)

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  15. Great Review~ You blog is very interesting, I really enjoy your writing style! You know I think both sets look very attractive combined really!

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  16. just found your lovely blog :) i like what i see!

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  17. I haven't got the cafe zap so I can't try it, but: what if you got two fireplaces, glued them back to back and removed the turning bookshelf/fireplace from one of them? That might actually look pretty good, especially if you painted it. You'd just have to file or saw off a bit of the base to make them fit together.

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  18. The two sets look best together, I think. Much more complete setting that way.

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  19. great reveiws. I too have both sets. I prefer the monster high coffee bean cafe to the Bratzillaz cafe. I also have the Monster High High school that I find really flimsy for the price, but I am redoing it with paint and brick wallpaper to make it look more like an old mansion.

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  20. I just came upon your site today and I am delighted. I have never seen such in depth and thorough reviews with a wonderful side of whimsy.

    I will be coming back often!

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  21. I have finally acquired the Coffin Bean for myself. I decided to buy the costco exclusive (I happened to be in Costco, and the set was finally there). The costco exclusive comes with a Draculara as well, which made me so much more excited for the set.

    It was more expensive (because I live in Australia), but it was definitely worth it. Draculaura has a very nice face, the light/medium plum lips, and the pearly pink eyeshadow work quite well on her sweet looking face :)

    I want to thank you for the review, it was the reason I went out and bought it.

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  22. If you're interested in buying the High School playset, it is available for $36.99 here ($53 off the normal price!!!)

    http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12841922&camp=ppc:432729281&affcode=2729281&searchdef=2194806&k_clickid=b0bed0a3-b237-4765-8eb3-3ebab5e22a51&002=2194806&006=35948522806&007=Search&008=&009=b&012=_cat:toysrus.com&021=27445565539

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  23. did you know that there is another monster high food joint called the 'Die-ner', that comes with draculaura? there is also a target exclusive (well i think it is) Die-ner that also comes with operetta. by the way in australia there is a cafe zap that comes with jade j'adore. i don't know if it is sold in america or not.

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  24. So cute! I love the little details

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