Facebook was in one of the most unlikely places to come across such an inspiring sub-culture. But you can’t deny that Facebook has its uses when it comes to spreading news. The post that caught our attention was this:
Maybe, you have seen this before? It really struck a cord with COSSAC HQ and we did a little research to find out some more about this growing subculture to provide free coffees and food to those unable to afford it.
So, what is a pending coffee?
Originating in Naples, Italy, a pending coffee is a coffee purchased by customers alongside their own coffee. Essentially they are buying a coffee for another person to come and claim whenever they want.
This originally started in working class cafes in Naples when many people were struggling to earn money to buy luxuries like coffees. There was a period of bad unemployment and those who had encountered a stroke of luck financially could pass on a bit of their success to those less fortunate. The locals of Naples and coffee are almost inseparable and this system allowed the smallest, but most important of liberties to Naples locals in need. The gesture of buying a pending coffee for another person became the norm for most cafes in Naples and then quickly spread across the rest of Italy, known as a ‘café sospeso’.
Homeless people seeking warmth, lonely people looking for a pick-me-up can claim a free coffee from the pending coffees provided by the café, all paid for in advance by other generous customers.
What we loved about this system is not the ability to give people a warm drink when they may not be able to afford it themselves but the gesture of passing on an act of kindness - which is beautifully infectious. When someone shows you kindness you are often so touched that you want to pass on the act of kindness to another person, spreading further and further.
How can I buy a pending coffee?
After a little digging we discovered that the pending coffee culture is not limited only to Naples. There are a few initiatives set up around the globe that promote the idea of a ‘pending’ coffee or meal for another to claim at a different time.
One such organization is suspendedcoffees.com started by Irish father John Sweeney. Sweeney is on a mission to spread the word of passing on an act of kindness with the suspended / pending coffee scheme. They already have hundreds of cafes signed up the suspended coffee scheme and are continually growing.