The following treatise arrived unsolicited at the offices of the Sprudge Corporation at the stroke of midnight on October 31st, 2022. It appears in unedited form below. For more on Fleischkup’s Coffee please see our previous coverage.
My name is Heathcliff Suttle and I’m a longtime reader and pernicious Twitter critic of your publication. For the last decade it’s been my daily pleasure to repeatedly refresh Sprudge’s content and, when warranted, embark upon a voracious critique of its contents to my Twitter followers, whom number in the hundreds. Your daily free content has provided me countless hours of joy and anger, emotions which trigger the dopamine response in my brain with equal alacrity. For this I both deride and thank you.
Last week I noticed some rather focused coverage in the pages of Sprudge related to the activities of Fleischkup’s Coffee, a previously unknown coffee roaster and retailer located in a small town in rural North Dakota. I was surprised to learn of Fleischkup’s in this manner, as I’m well-known for being a connoisseur of nano-to-small-ish artisan coffee roasters in the Upper Prairie States (and Saskatchewan). And so I did a little digging—in another life I could have been a private eye—and discovered curiously little in the way of a web footprint or business details related to the company.
At first I was content to write this off as a jape, a josh, a simple Halloween spook, but then I thought further: Sprudge wouldn’t dare pull such a cruel hoax on a reader like me, would they? And if Sprudge were going to create a fake company for the purposes of Halloween content, wouldn’t they have bothered to make an Instagram for that brand, or at the very least a dummy website? Why would they do so much content but not follow through on these simple steps to help anchor the ruse? There had to be something more here, some deeper truth that could only be uncovered by engaging directly with Fleischkup’s Coffee itself.
And so I charged up the battery on my sedan and headed out in the direction of Kulm, North Dakota, allegedly home to this Fleischkup’s Coffee, of which I had read so very much on Sprudge. You’ll never have the guts to publish this, but what I found disturbed even me, and I’ve been on cafe crawls in all 50 states. To properly document the moment I’m shifting this writing into a new thought-to-text software called GRÖWN (I’m actually the Remote Project Manager for the brand, all this coffee ain’t free!) and so what you’ll read next is a live inner monologue transcript of my experience at Fleischkup’s.
The little town of Kulm is very real, but Fleischkup’s is located a few miles outside of it, in a dilapidated farmhouse. I happened to notice that this visit coincided with the very height of the lunar cycle, a term I had never heard before it was used in a Sprudge story last week—I had to look it up as a sort of fact-check, which is something I love doing to all of your articles. But here we are, driving along to this farmhouse outside of Kulm, and it’s a beautiful late October day, cold and foggy, a fine mist hanging across the land like God’s cobwebs.
I’m arriving now at the roaster/retailer, which really looks more like a farmhouse. I can’t help but notice as we drove up to the place that it was surrounded by debris and discarded trappings of the barista lifestyle. I’ve now parked, and am taking a brief walk around the property. Let’s just say it’s hard to really get a full scale of the place from the pictures on Sprudge, but that’s nothing new.
I’m at the front door now, and look who’s there but Michael Fleischkup. Hey Michael! You know—he looks like a trustworthy fella. I read somewhere (on Sprudge) that he worked for a while out at some fancy coffee bars on the West Coast before he moved back home run this place. I love stories like that. Real salt of the earth stuff, not like what you find in California. Walking into this cafe and I sure am impressed by the gear—there’s a sick looking Barista Storm Attitude espresso machine, just like what they use at the WBC!—and the bags and packaging are pretty modern looking too. I can’t believe this place wasn’t on my radar before… I wonder if it’s almost like a Brigadoon sort of thing, you know, like a portal to another world that Sprudge opened up by accident via their #content
Michael is offering to show me around the joint, which is exciting. He asked first if I was there on account of the Sprudge Jobs posting—he said they’ve received a lot of interest from it—but I let him know that I was really more of like a citizen-journalist (my TikTok is launching next week), checking out the cafe on account of all the great coverage they’d received recently. He’s just smiling and nodding as I ask questions about the Mythos MY75—I guess the Fleischkup’s coffee style is a little more demanding on these grinders.
First up I have to try Nana’s Little Busselthurst, a drink that’s as fun to say as it is to sip! Michael is as ungiving to me as he was to Sprudge about the drink’s secret ingredient but I figure it is probably just cardamom or something like that (that’s all it usually is at these kinda cafes). I will say that I notice a certain buzz as I am around halfway through the drink—something deep and powerful. They must be using robusta in the blend!
Michael suggests I check out the antique coffee roaster I’d read so much about. It’s located in the basement, he says. Come right this way. I’m following behind Michael down, down a long flight of stairs, the light giving way to an eerie darkness, its walls echoing with something sinister (like not paying enough for green coffee). And before I know it, there it was, the famous antique roaster slash meat grinder…but that’s not all.
Albino children of a pallor and countenance I can’t describe are hopping and chirping around its steel chassis, drinking unknown liquid from steel cups, their eyes a starry runescape of delight and demonic possession. And then I see her: Nana, the living connection to Augustus Fleischkup, all-powerful and all-knowing, 100 years old if she was a day and yet… she perceives me and I watch as she takes a long, thirsty gulp from the Iron Chalice, a foam of latte milk and indistinct organic matter forming upon her upper lip.
I fall to my knees… I scream… she raises the Iron Cup above my head and I can see it now, engraved with Germano-Paganic sacrificial tableaus… the Eve of the Rune of Tacitus is upon us, and oh, the creaking … the groaning! … of that antique roaster, its dark magic engaged, I can hear the gears grinding… screaming! this thing needs a service call! …. the blood and bones of a thousand years, the cursed Hussars, the hidden secret of an undeniable thirst… Nana’s ready for another cup… Fleischkup’s Fleischkup’s Coffee… a cup of flesh… Fleischkup’s Coffee is Powered By People!
*** end transmission ***
Heathcliff Suttle is a freelance citizen-journalist, Project Manager, and Twitter enthusiast based in the United States. This is Heathcliff Suttle’s first (and last) feature for Sprudge Media Network.
Read more Fleischkup’s Coffee coverage on Sprudge.