Caffeine and a shot of kindness | Life | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Minute to burn it
    July 13, 2013
    Bored by long workouts? Just seven fast and furious minutes can produce results.
  • Going Biblical
    July 13, 2013
    In Jordan, one finds places mentioned in the Bible.
  • Tribal travel
    July 13, 2013
    Ethically sensitive ethno-tourism ventures are benefiting tourists, tribals.
More in this Section
Profiles
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy
SUSPENDED COFFEE

Caffeine and a shot of kindness

|



The Italian tradition of 'suspended coffee' - or buying an extra cup anonymously for someone who can't afford it - is gaining steam.

There's a new kind of coffee in town. It isn't made from rare beans nor does it have an exotic aroma. What it does have is a generous spoonful of goodwill.

Over the past few weeks, an Italian tradition has become a worldwide phenomenon, thanks to people sharing notes on Facebook. 'Suspended coffee' - or caffe sospeso in Italian - is a long-standing tradition from Naples. It spread to Bulgaria after World War II, where 150 cafês have reportedly established it as a formal scheme.

The idea is simple: Every time you buy a cup of coffee or a plate of food, you buy an additional one - not for yourself but for someone who struggles to make ends meet. The cafê keeps these on a tab and anyone who walks in asking for a "suspended coffee" gets one. The Facebook page was launched on January 11, 2013, and with more than 60, 000 people talking about it, cafês in the US, Russia, Canada, Australia, Europe and even India have signed up for the goodwill initiative. Some have created their own spin-off suspended coffee pages and the movement is on Twitter too. Corporate coffee chains like Pret-A-Manger and Starbucks have applauded the initiative, and last week Starbucks UK announced on its Facebook page that it was adopting the programme on customer demand. Two cafes in India - Flipside Cafe in the creative and gastronomic maze that is Delhi's Hauz Khas Village and Cafe LOLZ in Ghaziabad - have opened their doors and counters to the idea. Flipside co-owner Raavi Chou was familiar with the concept but the idea of introducing it struck him only when he read about it online. Last month, he asked patrons if they thought it was a good idea and the response was encouraging enough to try it. The very next day, someone bought a 'pending coffee'. "It seemed like a good idea. On the very first day, we had two or three pending coffees, " says Chou.

Apart from renaming it, Chou tweaked the initiative a bit. Instead of waiting for someone to walk into the cafe - "people might not be comfortable walking into a coffee place" - Chou and his staff take whatever is 'pending' to the streets. Instead of coffee, they offer chai since it's what most Indians like to drink. "A cup of coffee becomes two cups of chai or lemonade, depending on who needs what. People have been buying pizza slices as well, " Chou says. Canadian actor and TV host David Rocco who was shooting at Flipside for his TV show, bought a pending coffee too.

Loca La Zona or Cafe LOLZ is just a few minutes off the highway and gets none of the smart crowd that throngs Haus Khas Village but that didn't stop Kama K M from introducing the concept at his newly opened cafe. "Every organisation has some social responsibility. I'm not in a posh market. In fact, I have a lot of rickshaw-wallahs around. My coffee costs Rs 45 a cup and if that much can feed someone then why not?"

The coffee shop has to keep track of the coffee credits. "I have allotted a tab in my accounting system for this, " says Kama. Flipside has declared on Facebook that it takes personal guarantee every time someone buys a pending coffee or dish.

Both Chou and Kama agree that this is an easy way for people to feel good. "It's charity without doing the dirty work, " says Chou. But what about freeloaders who might just waltz in? "There will always be some bad eggs but we can't stop because of them, " says Kama, who is also one of India's busiest bar and beverage consultants.

Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik | MensXP.com

Networking

itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Hotklix
Services
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service