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  • Writer's pictureCharlie Brown

Hanging Coffee

As I was sitting in a little coffee shop, I noticed two ladies approach the counter and order:

“Five coffees please. Two for us and three hanging.” They paid, took their two coffees and walked out.

I saw several others order 'hanging coffees' with their coffee order the same way

and was left wondering. . . . 'what is the meaning of the hanging coffees?'

Then a man dressed in worn clothes, who looked like he might be homeless, arrived at the counter and asked sincerely . . . “Do you have a coffee hanging?"

The server replied: “Yes we do, sir.” Then, they gave him a coffee -- FOR FREE!  

I got my answer:

People pay in advance for a coffee that will be served to whoever can't afford a hot drink.

Hanging coffee is a tradition that started in Naples, Italy and dates to at least the turn of the 20th century. When customers buy coffee, they also pay in advance for a cup to be given to somebody else -- usually someone who otherwise couldn't afford it.

Amazingly, this custom has spread throughout the world! It’s also possible to order not only "hanging coffees" but also a sandwich or a low cost meal!

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all start doing this in the cities and towns where we live?

Small kindnesses like this can impact so many lives in ways we could never imagine.

Maybe we should all try it.


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