There’s a story floating around the internet about “caffe saspeso” – suspended coffees. While it’s been related to an Italian tradition, I personally think it’s a tradition that should be passed on until it becomes worldwide. This story has been verified as “true” by snopes.
Here it is in it’s entirety (with a tip o’ the Master’s Hat to Michael R. Poll):
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.