The Duo wants to make a good, easy cup of coffee

By Cale Guthrie Weissman , written on December 25, 2013

From The News Desk

The quest to make the perfect cup of coffee is a never-ending endeavor. As I've written about in the past, people are always looking for new ways to iterate the process, make a cup of coffee's flavor more pronounced, and make the method of brewing just simply easier for the user. Quite often, these ideas are pitched on Kickstarter.

One of the latest coffee-centric items on the crowdfunding site is the Duo. On its Kickstarter page it purports to be a "dual chamber 'twist' on a traditional French press," which, according to Jake Miller, one of the Duo's founders, means it brews better French press coffee. Instead of the traditional plunger system, the Duo has two filters stationed between two adjoined carafes. Coffee and grounds come together to brew in the top, then are filtered into in a lower chamber. This makes it slightly resemble a filter brewing system, but with a French press twist.

Miller came up with this idea, because he loves coffee and often thinks about it. As much as he enjoys French press, his biggest gripe was that "the filter always leaves a lot of grounds." That led to the Duo, "a French press without the grit." He wanted to make a simple and intuitive brewing method ideal for home coffee-making. "The process of brewing at home always frustrated me a bit," he said.

A former coffee nerd, he's worked in the business before, as a brand manager for Caribou Coffee before heading to Stanford to study business. In addition to economics, Miller took courses in product design. Then he created the Duo and that spawned a company. Now he oversees a team of eight, five of whom he deems bonafide coffee-folk.

They have been working on numerous prototypes since the project's commencement earlier this year. The current one seems to solve all the problems they've encountered: it's easy to use and can make up to four cups of coffee. (Admittedly, this system reminded me of another one called the Clever, but that process seems a bit more convoluted and uses a paper filter.)

The real question is now is whether people will bite. Its campaign has only been up for a few days and Duo has already raised more than $31,000. That's quite impressive, although it still has some work to do until it reaches its $50,000 goal.

Many of the new coffee contraptions focus on making great coffee but are complicated to use. Duo embraces ease of use, a characteristic that many bleary-eyed coffee drinkers prize above all else.