Have you heard about a Neapolitan tradition called the caffè sospeso meaning "suspended coffee". A person who might be feeling generous, or thankful because he experienced some good fortune, would order a sospeso, paying for two espressos but only drinking one. Then, later, a less-fortunate person who entered and inquired as to whether a "sospeso" was available could have the other espresso -- for free.
This tradition allegedly began a century ago, and while it was nearly forgotten in Italy, it has now experienced a revival and started gaining popularity in other countries around the world, including Spain and France. In the United States, it has been picked up by a coffee shop in Portland, Oregon, an anonymous Tim Horton's customer who paid for 500 coffees for others.
Large chain corporations taking it over, changes the dynamic (the beauty of the original caffè sospeso is that, the donor is anonymous -- the giver offers their gift without needing to announce it or show off, and the receiver gets their coffee with no strings attached and without feeling obligated to somehow repay the favour.
It is and was not an advertisement for a certain person or merchandise they sold. It is a beautiful custom and typically it is abused by big corporations until they lose interest or their efforts does not produce the wanted effects. In a way it's great, that this custom has started to regain interest.
©Photo/Text Ts /Titania Everyday or..