suspended coffee one for me and one for someone less fortunate

A suspended coffee is not something you drink whilst bungee jumping… so what is it?

The term “Caffè Sospeso” meaning Suspended Coffee, is a 100+ year old tradition that started in Naples, but has now spread worldwide and is revolutionising the Pay-It-Forward concept because of it’s simplicity.


Walk into any one of the participating cafes around the world and simply order a coffee for yourself and one for the “wall”. The barista will then put an order of your choice onto a special wall amongst the other special orders and when someone less fortunate next enters the cafe, they get to choose one coffee from the wall and enjoy it for free.

Why it works so well, is because there is tangible evidence. Homeless people, the unemployed, and the underprivileged can all be seen enjoying the benefits of this nutritious beverage right before you. So, unlike donating money to charity, or buying a goat for a family in another country, you get to see the direct effect in your own backyard.


After World War I, many of the country’s [Italy] population had lost everything and, although coffee is a significantly important cultural tradition, they couldn’t even afford a single espresso. With all the health benefits and even beyond the simple pleasures of consuming this drink, coffee is effectively a basic human right! To not have the privilege to consume coffee is unfathomable. Luckily enough, the people who could still afford to buy coffee started a habit of buying one for themselves and one that was credited to the next person who could not afford it.

In recent years, the suspended coffee concept has spread worldwide – even to the point that it transcended the coffee industry to loaves of Bread, juices, books and even pizza. A Pizzeria in Philadelphia, Rosa’s Fresh Pizza, show how effective this concept can be; patrons donate over 8500 slices of pizza to the homeless and jobless each year. The walls covered in post-it notes are a constant reminder of the generosity of the people who have bought suspended food and drinks and also thank you notes from the recipients.

suspended pizza notes cover the wall of Rosa's Fresh Pizza place in Philidelphia

Thousands of suspended pizza notes cover the walls of Rosa’s Fresh Pizza. Photo courtesy of Robert Spiders

“I just want to thank all those who donate at Rosa’s Fresh Pizza; they gave me a place to eat every day and the chance to get back on my feet. I start a new job tomorrow.” Reads one of the heart warming thank you notes on the wall of the Pizzeria.

It’s just such a simple concept that is extremely easy to manage and the rewards are staring straight at you every morning you get your coffee.

So, when are you going to buy your next Caffe Sospeso?

Use #suspendedcoffee on Instagram and we’ll post it on our homepage wall.

(For a full list of cafes around the world, check out Suspended Coffees)

Ryadan Jeavons

by Ryadan Jeavons

Ryd is a passionate coffee educator who started his career in 2000 as a barista. Having seen the coffee industry develop over the years and how much there is to learn about coffee still, his personal mission has become a role as the conduit between the industry and the consumer. He is passionate about educating the public on all the wonderful things we are learning about this golden liquid drink.

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