How I “Suspended a Coffee” and why you should too

Napoli, Italy. The birthplace of great coffee.

Here during the 1st World War a tradition began from working class café where someone would order a caffe’ sospeso and pay the price for 2 coffees but receiving and consuming only one. The second coffee was being “suspended” in case someone in need may walk in and ask if there was any coffee in “sospeso” that he could have for free.

This caring and loving tradition lasted till our present days and spread around the world.

The New York Times discovered it in this article: and countless movements are popping out in cafés all around the world including here in Australia:

In Napoli, I probably tasted the best espresso in my life. Not an exaggeration, it was damn good. And I did it in style at one of the best coffee bars in Napoli, the historical Café Gambrinus:

I knew about Suspended Coffee and I thought to give my little contribute to keep tradition alive so I ordered 2 Espresso Cups (I was very tempted to have both) but I resisted the temptation and left one in “sospeso”.

While I was at the counter sipping my “Black Gold” cup, a homeless man walks in and points the barista. He gets close and asks if there was any caffè in sospeso. The Barista nods, heads toward the coffee machine and start preparing him a beautiful Espresso Cup. The homeless then pick his coffee cup and come and stand next to me. He looks at me and I look back at him. It was intense but beautiful. No words are spoken other than simply “salute” cheers. That made my day, pure and simple.

Next time, you are sipping your “Latte” at your favorite Sydney Café, think about this story, go to the counter and pay for 2 coffees. If the Barista asks why, tell him to start preparing it, no questions asked, to someone like the homeless guy sleeping 1 block away from here if he ever walks in.

You could then say to have given your little contribute to keep the Suspended Coffee tradition alive for the next 100 years and make someone’s day…. very special.

caffe sospeso



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