We entered a little coffee house with a friend of mine and gave our order. While we were approaching our table two people came in and went to the counter –
‘Five coffees, please. Two of them for us and three suspended’
They paid for their order, took the two and left . I asked my friend:
‘What are those ‘suspended’ coffees ?’
‘Wait for it and you will see’
More people entered. Two girls asked for one coffee each, paid and left . The next order was for seven coffees and it was made by three lawyers – three for them and four ‘suspended’. While I still wondered what was the deal with those ‘suspended’ coffees I enjoyed the sunny weather and the beautiful view towards the square in front of the café.
Suddenly a man dressed in shabby clothes who looked like a beggar came in through the door and kindly asked, ‘Do you have a suspended coffee ?’
It’s simple – people paid in advance for a coffee meant for someone who could not afford a warm beverage.
The tradition with the suspended coffees started in Naples, but it has spread all over the world and in some places you can order not only a suspended coffee, but also a sandwich or a whole meal.”