Imagine a darn good-looking French Press in it’s simplest form—created using that old Mason jar in your pantry, made in Oregon from American wood, steel and wool, and backed with a lifetime warranty.
Bryan Kappa and Rob Story imagined that, and decided to create the Portland Press.
Let’s face it, mass-produced, cheaply made “efficiency products” made overseas and transported thousands of miles from where they are bought and used are becoming a tired-old-notion. Small-batch, artisan products imagined, made and manufactured in the United States are gaining in popularity.
The Portland Press is a French Press for a Mason jar, made in the state of Oregon, out of materials sourced in the USA. It’s a simple, clean, practical design made out of fundamental materials: glass, wool, steel, wood. Most importantly, the Mason jar is easy to replace if it breaks, and the rest of the Portland Press is backed with a lifetime warranty.
The Portland Press might seem like an exercise in Hipsterism, but it actually solves two problems: how do you make the glass for a French Press easy and inexpensive to replace, and how do you design a French Press with fundamental materials that can be recycled? “We came to the solution the way that we will approach all of our products: design for standards (like the Mason jar), design for product lifetime, and find talented local manufacturers to build high quality products,” says Bryan.
Rob and Bryan started with an idea about making smart, sustainable products that were designed to last. “Rob and I wanted to merge design, functionality, and responsibility. Whenever we buy something at the store, we really want two things out of a product: that it functions well, and that it will last.”
They created a company called Bucket with a mission to focus on great designs, with an eye towards where the product came from, and how it was made. They want to design products that improve people's lives in ways that maybe they never thought about, and to do so with a focus on local manufacturing and materials sourced from the USA. “There is a lot of complex design out there, and a lot of products being manufactured overseas with an opaque supply chain. Bucket has a pretty simple outlook: develop elegant, functional products, and tell the story about where they came from.”
They believe it is important that every product has a story about its path from raw material to store shelf. “We're proud of the fact that we know the names of the people who made the Portland Press for us,” says Bryan. “These are people who have been doing their trade for years, they're really good at it, and they're excited to be making a product that will be used domestically.”
Bryan is a Portland native, with a background in Mechanical Engineering, and Rob's from West Virginia (hold the jokes, he's heard them all), and is versed in a number of engineering disciplines, including Naval Architecture and Wind Energy. The Portland Press was the child of a year’s-long discussion about mason jars and how versatile they can be, with the right accessory design. “Our group of friends has been using Mason jars for a while as both drinking containers and food containers (and for canning, of course), and it's natural to think about what else you could design to make the ubiquitous $1 jar more useful,” says Bryan. “The one idea that bubbled to the top was a French Press for a mason jar. We're not really sure why it stuck- maybe because it seemed the most challenging, and the least likely idea that someone else would bring to market first. Who would be crazy enough to design a French Press for a Mason jar?”