Tag Archives: suspended coffees
A caffè sospeso ( suspended coffee) is a cup of coffee paid for in advance as an anonymous act of charity. The tradition began in the working-class cafes of Naples, where someone who had experienced good luck would order a sospeso, paying the price of two coffees but receiving and consuming only one. A poor person enquiring later whether there was a sospeso available would then be served a coffee for free. Coffee shops in other countries have adopted the sospeso to increase sales.
One 2010 account claims the tradition was over 100 years old, but declined during the postwar period, so that it is mainly observed around Christmastime. A 2008 article reported the tradition was obsolescent, the reporter visiting three bars where it had not been observed for at least 15 years.
The sospeso gave the title to a 2008 journalism collection by Neapolitan Luciano De Crescenzo, Il caffe sospeso: Saggezza quotidiana in piccoli sorsi, which helped publicise the tradition throughout Italy. The idea has been reported in cafés in Bulgaria Kiev, Melbourne, Quebec, Russia, Spain and Argentina A Dutch campaign at Christmas 2011 gave a discount on the price of the donated coffee.
The UK arm of coffee chain Starbucks signed up for a charity initiative based on the suspended coffee concept in April 2013, in which it said it would match the value of each suspended coffee with a cash donation to the Oasis charity. The growth of the trend in other coffee shops in the UK also received media coverage around the same time.
- A pending coffee or a “Caffe Sospeso” (homebuenosairesblog.com)
- Paying it forward, one coffee at time (sarannaelford.com.au)
- The Pending Coffee (planetsurprises.wordpress.com)
- EU Embraces ‘Suspended Coffee’: Pay It Forward With A Cup Of Joe (npr.org)
- EU Embraces ‘Suspended Coffee’: Pay It Forward With A Cup Of Joe (wnyc.org)
- Pending Hope: Restoring Our Humanity With Coffee (lavenderandbrokenbones.wordpress.com)
- Suspended Coffee (mkarimshah.wordpress.com)
I was twenty-four years old and three months pregnant when my husband died.
I was a widow and an expectant mother in the same day.
We had bought a new home and I had filled our two bedroom apartment with nursery items in anticipation of moving in. Now the house would be taken away. I knew I would have to go back to my parents’ home, at least until I delivered the baby. And the shock of my husband’s sudden death had made losing the baby a very real possibility.
I moved back into my old bedroom. My twin bed, a crib and a dresser was all that could fit in the 8 x 10 foot bedroom. The rest of our furniture had to go into storage.
I was able to pay for three months worth of storage and then I would have to sell all the new furniture we had bought for our new home because I wouldn’t be able to pay any more storage fees.
I had been told I couldn’t grieve my husband’s death because the baby was so at risk of delivering early, so I focused on keeping calm. Of course, that wasn’t easy – and it only got more difficult! Because I tend not to be a person who shares my troubles much, I had told no one but my sister. She was poorer than me and could only provide moral support. My parents were just making ends meet with another mouth to feed.
Then one day in early January 1971 I received a cashier’s check for $500. I had no idea who it was from and no amount of calling the financial institution who issued it gave me any clues. I was saved! We had enough money to pay for the storage rental for nearly another year!
I was so happy I smiled all day – something I hadn’t done in months!
Then, on the same day, my husband’s boss came to the house saying he wanted to see how I was doing. I told him about the check and he was thrilled for me. I knew I had nothing coming from the company my husband had worked for because he had been there only 6 months. In order to get insurance payments or death benefits you had to be with the company for a year.
The man sat down and pulled out three envelopes. The first was what we were due of my husband’s salary for his last month. The second was a bonus check he had earned for the month before (which was originally due to be issued at the end of the year.) And the third was for $10,000, which was his death benefits with the company!
I was incredulous! How could this be? His boss explained the first two checks were due us for services rendered, and he said he used his twenty-eight years with the company to make sure they did the right thing by us.
To this day I don’t know how he did it but that money saved us.
After the baby was born (with health issues that required thirteen surgeries in two years,) I was able to stay home with him until he was healthy enough to go to a nursery school with other kids. And it allowed us to move to a little apartment of our own.
In one day we had been saved by two angels with acts of kindness that touched my very soul. It was forty-one years ago but I have never forgotten them or that day.
It was the day I smiled from morning to night!…
Please do just one nice thing for someone today , it can be however big or small you want it to be , just do it with kindness .