I have a French press that I never use, because that darn mesh filter is a royal pain to clean. The $99 Fellow Duo aims to get rid of that hassle with its conical filter and a glass carafe that’s reminiscent of a Chemex.
The Duo is five times the price of my all-plastic French press but is made up of glass, silicone, and stainless steel. Though there are eight parts to the Duo, you can put it all together in about 30 seconds. It involves a lot of twisting in parts to make a seal, which can feel a bit flimsy. Considering you’re working with hot liquids, you definitely want to make sure you’re getting it right.
The stainless steel brew chamber fits inside another container, and the cone filter goes inside the brew chamber. The filter rests in place, but you lock the two containers together to ensure the contents of the brew chamber don’t go spilling out just yet. A silicone belt fits around the bottom of the stainless steel outside piece, which then twists into the glass carafe and forms a seal thanks to a silicone ring inside the carafe. Another piece of silicone fits around the glass bottom to protect your countertop.
Once you have the two stainless steel pieces fitted together and the filter in place, you can dump 40 ounces of coarsely ground coffee into the Duo. This is anywhere between five and eight tablespoons, depending on where you’re getting your instructions for the coffee maker. (The included instructions say five; a video on the company’s website says seven to eight.)
You’ll need a kettle or some other way to get your water almost boiling: Duo says — and the National Coffee Association agrees — your water should be between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit (about 90 to 96 degrees Celsius). Then you fill the brew chamber halfway up with water, give it a gentle stir, then add more water until the filter tip is just covered. Don’t stir too vigorously; I realized the hard way this can dislodge the filter and result in grounds-y coffee.
You then wait four minutes, grip the carafe around its siliconed section, and twist the brew chamber to “unlock” it. It’s quite fun to watch the coffee gush into the glass chamber. Now you should have enough for two cups of coffee; I measured between 17 and 20 ounces when I made mine.
The Duo makes a good French press-style cup (or two) of coffee. It manages to hold back the grounds very well with its setup, though there was a tad bit of leakage. It’s easy to assemble and disassemble, which is important for cleaning. It’s even dishwasher-safe, as long as you load everything onto the top rack — although there are a lot of parts you’ll have to fit in there.
While I found it easier to use than my French press, it also made a lot less coffee. That’s fine on normal days, but because you can also use the Duo to make cold press coffee, that means you’ll need to use it every day — and wait the required 12 to 24 hours — if that’s your preferred type of brew.
I didn’t have any disasters with the Duo, but there is some finger-crossing involved the first few times, hoping you’re doing everything right. Though it can be a bit awkward to pour and the silicone still gets fairly warm, all the pieces held together for me. It has a great aesthetic, but it is over a foot tall, so hopefully it can fit under or in your cabinets.