Two types of espresso are served at Kalle Freese’s high school graduation party: from Brazil and El Salvador. The ambitious young graduate soon becomes an acknowledged barista, winning the Finnish barista championship twice and placing top 10 worldwide.

It’s nowhere near good enough, if Freese wants to become “the Elon Musk of coffee”. He must leave for Silicon Valley to pitch. Freese’s start-up Sudden Coffee manufactures instant coffee, which is sold in small test tube-esque vessels.

The idea is to make instant coffee that doesn’t taste like piss, and the aim is to revolutionize the coffee market globally. Angel Investors are drawn into the buzz, but the funding round is just a prelude before the real difficulties begin.

“How fucking difficult can it be to sell some coffee”, Freese agonises, while he’s in crisis therapy with the CEO. Apparently very difficult, indeed.

Director Erika Haavisto’s intimate documentary portrays ambition, extreme competition and what it all does to a person.

Text: Marko Ylitalo
Translation: Maiju Jouppi
By: DocPoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival

January 2020

photos: Erika Haavisto, Kalle Freese & Jussi Häyhä