London is about to add a new concept to its coffee culture: the ‘suspended’ coffee. Not to be confused with ‘suspended service’ (a phrase Londoners are more likely to be familiar with), ‘suspended’ coffee is a java (or other hot beverage) that you pay for but don’t drink. Simply place your order and pre-pay for one more. That drink can later be claimed by someone who is homeless – or broke. The long standing, Neapolitan tradition has been spread to cafés around the world, including around 150 British venues.
‘It’s a fantastic idea,’ says Hettie Clarke, manager of Coffee7 in Forest Gate, the first London café to take up the baton. It has built up a ‘bank’ of drinks since it joined the initiative at the end of March; and after advertising the project at a local refugee centre, the drinks are being snapped up. ‘The recipients are thrilled,’ says Hettie, who adds that the café also hopes to offer ‘suspended’ food soon. ‘It’s more than a cup of coffee. People down on their luck have a space where they feel part of a community,’ says Clarke. Will people take advantage of the scheme? ‘There’ll always be a few who try it on, but that won’t stop us,’ she says. Rebecca Taylor
More info about Suspended Coffee at facebook.com.