Duo58: supporting charitable causes in a homey atmosphere


photo by Peyton Whittington

Since it is so new, Duo58 usually has plenty of seating available for customers.

Peyton Whittington, Online Editor-in-Chief

If you follow the directions to Duo58, the newest coffee place to pop up on Oviedo’s radar, you’re likely to find a couple of college-aged hipsters sitting outside, working on their Macbooks and sipping espresso beneath a sign that reads “Salon Exchange.”

But this isn’t some modern take on a speakeasy. This is a charitable, nonprofit community coffee bar and café working with Mission of Hope to provide meals and education for children in Haiti. Through Duo58 and other partners of Mission of Hope, 91,000 Haitian children and students are fed each day.

Upon entering, customers are welcomed by an inviting rustic chic environment. Charming twinkle lights are draped above big, comfy chairs, spacious tables and a coffee bar fully equipped with a wide selection of coffee, espresso and tea, plus some baked goods to boot, making Duo58 perfect for those searching for their next study or hangout spot.

As for their drinks menu, Duo58 is definitely for those with adventurous tastes. All coffee beans come from locally-sourced Lineage Coffee Roasting or Huckleberry Roasters out of Denver, featuring coffee blends with flavor notes ranging from cherry cola to lemon drop candy to pie crust. These beans are acquired through direct trade with coffee farmers across the globe, another example of the nonprofit’s efforts to do good. Pricing is reasonable, considering all drinks receive plenty of TLC from baristas, and customers can escape with a craft latte or specialty tea blend for around $4.

First-timers looking for something interesting, yet familiar, should order a cortado, an espresso drink cut with milk and a dash of brown sugar. Cold coffee lovers beware: Duo58’s pour over packs a punch, and even a few trips to the sweetener bar won’t put a dent in its distinctly bitter taste. Tea drinkers, however, are in luck, as the café also carries a variety of loose leaf teas, choicest of which being their dragonwell blend, a refreshing, nutty, pan-roasted green tea.

And if all these beverage names seem intimidating, never fear. The baristas are friendly and knowledgeable about all their menu options. So friendly, in fact, that the head barista explained their entire menu to a group of Swedish tourists dressed in full-on cowboy getups who walked in during one of my visits. If the Duo58 staff can describe their various specialty drinks to foreigners who think all American Southerners look like John Wayne, then they can certainly describe them to you.

Though the café’s sign isn’t even up, it’s already breathing life into the ghost town of the old Albertson’s plaza and Oviedo’s abundant crop of caffeine lovers. Their recipes may not be as perfected as other coffee shops that have been around longer, such as Vespr, but Duo58 provides a unique coffee and tea-tasting experience, married nicely with their tranquil living room-reminiscent layout.