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Thursday, April 04, 2013

Suspended Coffee & Chop-ing Food

Recently, a photo with an inspirational story on suspended coffee has been making its round on my Facebook newsfeed with about 38k likes and 30k shares. Have you heard of this story? It goes like this:

We entered a little coffeehouse with a friend of mine and gave our order. While we were approaching our table, two people came in and they went to the counter. "Five coffees, please. Two of them for us and three suspended."

They paid for their order, took the two and left. I asked my friend, "What are those 'suspended' coffees?"

"Wait for it and you will see."

More people entered. Two girls asked for one coffee each, paid and went off. The next order was for seven coffees and it was made by three lawyers - three for them and four 'suspended'. While I was still wondering what the deal with those 'suspended' coffees was, I enjoyed the sunny weather and the beautiful view towards the square in front of the café.

Suddenly a man dressed in shabby clothes who looked like a beggar came in through the door and kindly asked,"Do you have a suspended coffee?"

It's simple - people pay in advance for a coffee meant for someone who cannot afford a warm beverage. The tradition with the suspended coffees started in Naples, but it has spread all over the world and in some places you can order not only a suspended coffee, but also a sandwich or a whole meal.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have such cafés or even grocery stores in every town where the less fortunate will find hope and support?

If you own a business why don't you offer it to your clients... I am sure many of them will like it :)

[Source of text: Click here
Disclaimer: I've amended the original text to be in the past tense and also made minor edits.]

Initially when I shared the story, I was a little sceptical that Singapore would pick up this culture. Then on the second of April, somebody in Singapore set up a Facebook page "CHOPE FOOD for the NEEDY" which has since garnered 4.2k likes. (For my non-Singaporean friends, "chope" is a slang to mean reserve.)

This is such a meaningful act though I think it would be a little daunting for those interested to partake in this pay it forward movement when they try to explain to the hawkers what their intentions are. It is a lot easier for me to explain to them in English but many of our hawkers are Chinese-speaking. I'm already formulating Mandarin and dialect sentences in my mind and trying to find the vocabulary of certain terms.

Have you heard of suspended coffee? Does your hometown have this practice too? Would you partake in it?


  1. Aw this is lovely! I've never heard of suspended coffee before but I think we have have them in our country. Maybe they do but I don't know of it. Aww Thanks for sharing this lovely post. :)

  2. I think that is so awesome! We have something similar to that in the States. It's called Bee Sweet. For instance, they give you cards and when you go to a store, grocery or coffee shop you pay for the next person in line. They give them the card and ask that they do the same for another person. It happened to me before! Someone paid for my breakfast and I have no idea who it was. So the next time I paid for someone's breakfast.

  3. It is a wonderful practice. I've read about it, but don't know of any places that participate.

  4. I had never heard of 'suspended coffees' until now! It seems like a touching gesture which I think my country should employ.. but somehow I feel like there could be free loaders too, going for the freebies?

  5. I've never heard of this before but it sounds like a really lovely practice. I don't think this happens in NYC.

    Rowena @ rolala loves

  6. Never heard this sounds really interesting! Super post. Hope you are well xx

  7. What a wonderful and heartwarming story. This world needs more caring people as our economy is going downhill, more disadvantaged families/people.

    Yes i take photos with a DSLR, i have had it for about 4 years. Make a huge diffetence in photo quality.

  8. Huong,

    I think your country has it. London sounds like a place to have suspended coffee.



    Bee Sweet sounds so sweet! Do you have to pay for the next person in line or could you choose? I think it is lovely that somebody paid for your meal and you paid it forward. Such a nice concept.



    I think where you are staying is probably too big and hence difficult to find out if there is such practices in cafes and eateries.



    Yes, there could be free loaders too but it would certainly benefit lots of unfortunate as well. I guess one must have integrity and I hope this thought doesn't deter one from helping the needy.



    NYC sounds like a place to practise this concept. I guess it is quite difficult to find out if any eateries embark on this.



    Now you've heard of it. Enjoy your weekend!



    The world definitely needs more caring people. I'm so happy to read all the updates on the Singapore Chope Food movement. There are indeed lots of kind souls out there.

  9. I've read this story and seen it floating around a lot lately too sadly I don't know of any places that do this in my city but that doesn't mean there isn't right? haha I think this simple act of kindness makes people great, it's not always the big things that count =)

  10. Suki Pooki,

    You are right. In fact, sometimes it is these little things that actually mean so much.

  11. The CHOPE FOOD for the Needy FB page has just uploaded a Chinese version of their instructions. You can print it out and bring it to the hawkers. Thanks for your post :)

  12. Hi Anon,

    Yes, I'm aware of that as I've liked the page on FB and often getting their news on my newsfeed. Thank you for informing nonetheless. =)


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