Have you ever ordered a coffee “in suspense”?

May 26th 2011 by Silvia

Naples, Italy: a curious old custom

Totò and Peppino, A Coffee break in NaplesTotò and Peppino, A Coffee break in Naples

Many years ago, in the Neapolitan society, you could order a Caffè sospeso, literally a “coffee in suspense”.

Curiously, rich customers used to drink a coffee but often payed for two of them. What happened was that when a homeless or less fortunate walked into a café he could enjoy a coffee as a courtesy of the first customer.
Today the custom of Caffè sospeso is well-known but not used as in the past.
Luciano de Crescenzo, an Italian writer, has written a book titled “Il caffè sospeso” as a symbol of wisdom philosophy of life.

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  1. Silvia says:

    Thanks for your comment! I like your definition...Slices of Italy is full of tidbits :)

  2. [...] you remember our post about Coffee in suspense? It’s an “original” way of ordering [...]

  3. Silvia says:

    Thanks Tania! If you like italian coffe and if you miss our last Infographic, please take a look http://www.charmingitaly.com/types-of-italian-coffee/ ;)

  4. james says:

    Aha! I remember watching some show with Mario Batalli who mentioned this. I forgot about it until I went on a press trip to Naples and asked the experts there, who had never heard of it. Glad to know about Caffè sospeso!

  5. [...] your meal. If you order coffee, it is served to you being poured directly from the mocha (stove top coffee pot). You will really feel like being at the home of an Italian relative when you eat here. So sit [...]

  6. Vagabond3 says:

    What an interesting fact. These kind of tidbits always fascinate me.

  7. Silvia says:

    Thanks James! It is a great curiosity, isn't it? I'll check new interesting customs made in Italy ;)

  8. [...] have already talked about the nice Neapolitan habit of the “Coffee in Suspense”. In Naples it is said that a good coffee needs to respect the rule of the 3 “C”: it has to be [...]

  9. Tania says:

    What a nice history of coffee..Thank you for sharing with us.

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Have you ever ordered a coffee “in suspense”?