This little coffee gem was buried in a relatively uninformative story about coffee in Italy from a couple of years ago:
“On average, Italians make two to three daily espresso runs to their local bar, often inviting a friend or work colleague. They go for a quick pick-me-up, but inevitably spend a few minutes exchanging soccer results with the barista, bar owner or other customers. In Naples a visit to the caffè might end with an act of charity. According to Luciano De Crescenzo, novelist and expert in Neapolitan social customs, it is not uncommon for a contented patron to pay for two cups of espresso when he gets to the cashier—one for himself and one as an offering to humanity, or to the guy lucky enough to be next in line. This extra coffee is commonly referred to as a caffè sospeso, or a dangling espresso.”
I love it. I plan to do this at the next cafe I visit. Maybe. If I remember. A caffè sospeso. It so perfectly picks up everything that I love about coffee culture.