"Suspended Coffee" in Aspley
01 Apr 2013 | Adam
“Suspended Coffee” has gone viral. I’m not one for fads but this is a great idea that benefits everyone. I’ve discussed the pros & cons with the Cup From Above team and we’ve decided to go ahead and trial it for the month of April.
This is one version of the viral post which you may have seen…
“We enter a little coffeehouse with a friend of mine and give our order. While we’re approaching our table two people come in and they go to the counter:
‘Five coffees, please. Two of them for us and three suspended’ They pay for their order, take the two and leave.
I ask my friend, “What are those ‘suspended’ coffees?”
My friend, “Wait for it and you will see.”
Some more people enter. Two girls ask for one coffee each, pay and go. The next order was for seven coffees and it was made by three lawyers – three for them and four ‘suspended’. While I still wonder what’s the deal with those ‘suspended’ coffees I enjoy the sunny weather and the beautiful view towards the square in front of the café. Suddenly a man dressed in shabby clothes who looks like a beggar comes in through the door and kindly asks ‘Do you have a suspended coffee?’
It’s simple – people pay in advance for a coffee meant for someone who can 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.
I have worked with disadvantaged people for many years. I think the poor people of Aspley will greatly appreciate getting a free cup of coffee but I think the real miracle will be inspiring the “rich” to care for the less fortunate. I have had several ‘well-off’ people come into my cafe and ask if I’ve had any of “them” come here. Seriously. There is such a chasm, a polarisation, here in Aspley, that the poor are referred to by a pronoun. I hope that by encouraging this trivial gift of coffees will take us one step closer to dissolving this unnecessary divide. I hope that we can build genuine relationships through this that will help the poor to know that someone cares and to inspire the rich to genuinely care.
There is something about giving something anonymously with no expectation of anything in return that is truly liberating. The movie “Pay It Forward” demonstrates this really well. If you haven’t seen it I can’t recommend it more! Here’s the preview…
The idea isn’t to give in the hope you will get something back. The idea is that hopefully they will ‘pay it forward’ and give something to someone else. If enough of us start doing this in Aspley we’ll create a culture of generosity and together we’ll destroy poverty.
I went online to research the history of the ‘Suspended Coffee’ movement. It seems it started in Naples, Italy sometime after WWI during a time of great poverty. Though it developed into something more than just an act of charity. I came across one Neapolitan cafe owner that described it so beautifully, “When someone is happy with life, they say they will buy a coffee for someone, not because the next customer is poor but just because they are happy, they are buying it for the world and it shares their happiness with the world”. I think that’s a great way to look at it. A culture we can aspire to.
Next time you’re in and you’re feeling happy you are welcome to share it with the world by purchasing a “Suspended Coffee”. You will get a token to hang up on the “Suspended Coffee” rack next to the espresso machine and we’ll make sure it’s enjoyed by a total stranger.
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