Pay it forward: caffe sospeso

There’s a bit of a movement in the coffee scene to truly distinguish cafes as a “third place” – a safe haven from home or the office. It’s a nice idea. It’s in keeping with the traditional Italian cafe culture – which you can read a bit about here – in this article.

Here’s a nice little “pay it forward” aspect of coffee culture:

It is not uncommon for a contented patron to pay for two cups of espresso when he gets to the cashier—one for himself and one as an offering to humanity, or to the guy lucky enough to be next in line. This extra coffee is commonly referred to as a caffè sospeso, or a dangling espresso.

And here’s what Italians apparently think of my predilection for cappuccinos…

“There is, however, one rule that holds true throughout the peninsula: a cappuccino is only a breakfast drink. No self-respecting Italian would be caught dead sipping on a cup of hot milk with a splash of coffee anytime after the mid-day meal.”

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