Suspended coffee (caffè sospeso): a Neapolitan tradition
Tiny streets, music from the flats, loud talks, the majestic Vesuvio, hugs and horns.
Surrounded by the smell of the sea, of ragu’ sauce and espresso, which circulates in the air. This is my city.
Melting pot of cultures, it was capital of the “Regno delle due Sicilie”, until the end of 19th century. Today Napoli is still the indisputable capital of the coffee, espresso, of course.
People drink in average 5-6 espressos per day, adding often one small sugar bag. Before drinking it they have a sip of water in order to clean their mouth so they can fully enjoy the aroma.
Days are usually sunny and everything goes slow and loosen, in the heart of Naples.
Caffeine is a way to start the day and to let the laziness go away, but it is also a way to get a break and enjoy a small talk.
Baristas usually know their customers, because each coffee becomes a short chat or daily gossip news.
Coffee for Neapolitan people does not represent a simple beverage. It is a lifestyle, it is a break, it is a cuddle, it is a moment dedicated to theirselv, or to share with friends. It is an ordinary ritual.
"Have you ever asked what a coffee is? A coffee is an excuse to say to a friend you love him” said De Crescenzo, one of the most important contemporary artistic figure of the city.
Neapolitan coffee has 3 characteristics: it is creamy, strong and cheap, everyone can buy it for just few cents of euro.
Neapolitans love sharing coffee moment and they give this moment also to all those people who cannot afford it. Homeless, unemployed or broke people: coffee is a right which cannot be denied.
How do they do that?
When Neapolitans go to a bar, they order and pay two coffee. One is for them, the other one is added in a sort of waiting list, ready to be enjoed by a person in need who will ask for it. This kind of coffee is called suspended coffee, “caffè sospeso” in Italian.
This story equals the best image of Naples: genuine, honest and cozy, in spite of all the problems.
Tourists and everyone who visits the city can be impressed not only by its amazing views, its history and stories, its charming contradictions, but, in particular, by the people’s warm heart, which is Napoli’s distinctive feature.
Suspended coffee is an old Neapolitan tradition. Nowadays in some restaurants, it is also possible to find the suspended pizza, and sometimes, close to the stations, the suspended train ticket.
I am proud to be born in this land, where all are equal, and everyone deserves to have an espresso.