“It was a beautiful custom,” he recalls. “When a person who had a break of good luck entered a cafe and ordered a cup of coffee, he didn’t pay just for one, but for two cups, allowing someone less fortunate who entered later to have a cup of coffee for free.”
With the Yak Attack in the books, let’s kick The Straight Dope back into gear with one of my favorite topics: coffee. NPR reports,
Tough economic times and growing poverty in much of Europe are reviving a humble tradition that began some one-hundred years ago in the Italian city of Naples. It’s called caffè sospeso — “suspended coffee”: A customer pays in advance for a person who cannot afford a cup of coffee.
The Neapolitan writer Luciano de Crescenzo used the tradition as the title of one of his books, Caffè sospeso: Saggezza quotidiana in piccoli sorsi (“Suspended coffee: Daily wisdom in small sips”)…
… The barista would keep a log, and when someone popped his head in the doorway of the cafe and asked, “Is there anything suspended?” the barista would nod and serve him a cup of coffee … for free.
How civilized is that? Certainly makes the Italians feel like a higher culture to me though, as the article states, suspended coffee is becoming a fad across Europe.
“It’s an elegant way to show generosity: an act of charity in which donors and recipients never meet each other, the donor doesn’t show off and the recipient doesn’t have to show gratitude.”
Okay, this is a health blog, so how good is coffee, exactly? Followers of my blog have seen plenty on this; mainly good with a little bad (it can hurt your ability to sleep), but this page catalogs most of the science in an objective manner and is pretty damn positive.
Now I’m going to head down to my coffee house, watch the Tour de France, grab a cup o’ Joe for myself, and buy an extra cup for someone who’s a little light this week.