Who doesn’t love a good coffee in a small town story? We’ve seen them time and again with increasing frequency over the past decade, and it’s honestly one that we never get tired of seeing. Today’s entry is exactly that sort of story, coming to us all the way from Kulm, North Dakota, population 235.

Fleischkup’s Coffee is an over 100-year-old coffee company in the small North Dakota town. The family business has seen five generations of Fleischkup at the helm, and under the direction of Michael Fleishkup, a 10-year specialty coffee vet in LA and Portland before returning home to run the family’s cafe and roastery, the company is bringing its coffee into the 21st century while still keeping much of the old world sensibilities upon which the brand has been built (including one of the most unique coffee roasters we ever heard of). Old school charm meets new school tech, in pastoral North Dakota no less. This is Fleischkup’s Coffee.

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As told to Sprudge by Michael Fleischkup. 

Introduce yourself to our readers—tell us about your cafe!

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn a little more about Fleischkup’s Coffee. We’re incredibly proud of the coffee and family community we’ve built here over five generations, founded by great-great grandfather, Augustus Fleischkup, who emigrated to North Dakota from Essen, Germany in the early 1900s to escape persecution and unfounded criminal allegations.

fleischkup family

Our company is built on a simple motto: Powered By People. People are at the core of everything we do at Fleischkup’s Coffee, from our daily blends, to our signature drinks produced on certain key dates each month, to our tradition of hiring excellent baristas from around the world and bringing them to our small town for a taste of what’s possible. We feel there is nowhere else quite like Fleischkup’s and one taste, you’ll agree.

My name is Michael Fleischkup, and I’m working to take my family’s passion for coffee and update it for the 21st century. I worked in Los Angeles and Portland for a decade at some of the best specialty coffee companies, which I’m not actually able to name due to some contract stuff, but it’s there I met my beautiful wife, Evanna, who now helps me run Fleischkup’s back home in little Kulm, North Dakota, where our family has owned a homestead for more than 100 years. It’s here we run our roaster/retailer cafe, and roast coffee to the exacting specifications honed by generations of the Fleischkup’s family.

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What equipment do you use in your shop?

Key to our work at Fleischkup’s is an antique hybrid coffee roaster and meat grinder brought over piece by piece by my great-great grandfather and his kin. It’s in impeccable working condition and continues to produce what we think is the most delicious coffee in the world. Exact settings can be adjusted using brass gears, which allow us to roast at different levels of density and heat, depending on the composition of what’s being roasted.

fleischkup family photo

We also employ a fleet of vintage German grinders, which we’ve adapted to grind coffee but were original designed for butcher shops. Many of our customers ask for their Fleischkup’s blends to be ground in-house, just so they can get a taste of this traditional grinding equipment.

It’s incredibly important to me to have competition-ready, state of the art coffee gear on our coffee bar, that way we can lure ambitious young coffee professionals from around the world who are interested in someday entering the world of competitive coffee. For this reason we use the Barista Attitude STORM espresso machine and the Mythos MY75 by Victoria Arduino coffee grinder, just as you’ll find on the World Barista Championship stage.

Which roaster or roasters do you serve?

For five generations we have only served Fleischkup’s Coffee signature blends, and it’s the key to our distinct flavors and experiences as a coffee roaster. One taste and you’ll agree: there’s nothing like Fleischkup’s!

What is the neighborhood like where you’re located? What’s some other cool stuff nearby?

Kulm, North Dakota has a population of just 235. Most of these are descendants of our beloved patriarch Augustus Fleischkup, his first wife, Henrietta Fleischkup, as well as his second wife, Eudora Fleischkup, and finally his third wife, Ingundis Fleischkup. My uncle, Hubert Fleischkup, is our city’s chief of police, and my siblings—Tobias Fleischkup, Hannah Fleischkup, Timotheus Fleischkup, Mina Fleischkup, and Sigrid Fleischkup—comprise the city council’s current quorum.

Kulm is a quiet place, not much happens here, but we are always given new energy and renewed life by the young baristas who join us at Fleischkup’s Coffee from around the world. If you’re interested in getting a taste, please visit the Sprudge Jobs hiring page and see our recent ads, which do of course include an hourly rate declaration.


What’s something cool or unique about your cafe you want folks to know?

You simply must come see for yourself. Steeped in history, and totally unique, our motto is Powered by People, and we live up to this belief each and every month at Fleishkup’s. Our unique approach to coffee also has a significant impact on carbon neutrality, and at least one expert (my cousin, Humbert Fleischkup) has declared us to be the most carbon reducing coffee roaster in the world. Visit us and see!

Is there a community organization or charity you’d like to shout-out as part of this feature?

Fleischkup’s is proud to sponsor the Rune of Tacitus ritual each year, a beloved local tradition here in Kulm. Held on the coldest night of the season, this is the perfect time to warm yourself with a hot cup of Fleischkup’s Coffee: Powered by People.

Thank you!

Want your cafe featured in a Sprudge Maps Spotlight? Register your shop for Sprudge Maps, our user-driven compendium of coffee shops around the globe. It’s completely free. Sign up today!

Sprudge Maps is presented by La Marzocco and Pacific Barista Series

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