Friday, May 24 2024

Everyone knows that coffee is one of the most famous elements of the Neapolitan tradition, but not many know that there is a little story behind it,better known as that of “suspended coffee.”

 

Caffè-sospeso-Fotografie-Devid-Rotasperti-1

 

But when did it take place?

There are many legends regarding the presence of coffee in Naples, but it is not until the early 19th century that it can really be attested to, thanks to the first traveling coffee makers.

They would go around the city with two large containers (one containing coffee, the other milk), shouting to the crowds in the streets in order to sell their product.

These figures have now disappeared, but they play a really important role in Neapolitan culture.

The custom of “suspended coffee” began during World War II, when, in very difficult times, people used to pay for two cups of coffee: one for themselves, and one for those who could not afford it.

When asked, “Would you like a coffee, sir?” people used to respond with joy and happiness, at the same time also asking for a cup of coffee to reciprocate.

Suspended coffee today

It is for this reason that nowadays this tradition has spread, not only in Naples, but also throughout Italy and the rest of the world.

In 2010, in fact, Caffè Gambrinus, on the occasion of its 150th anniversary celebration, wanted to resume this act of kindness, so as to bring back to light one of the most important traditions of Partenopean culture.

The writer and philosopher Luciano De Crescenzo, in his book entitled, precisely, “The Suspended Coffee,” also wrote:

“When someone is happy in Naples, he pays for two coffees: one for himself, and another for someone else. It is like offering a coffee to the rest of the world.”

The “suspended coffee” tradition, then, represents humanity, the incredible feeling of love, compassion, understanding and all the other positive feelings that are part of this city and that we should never forget.

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