About a century ago, a simple tradition of paying it forward emerged in the coffee shops of Naples, Italy. A customer, feeling flush, generous, or simply grateful, would pay for two espressos but take only one – leaving the other “pending” or “in suspense” (pagato or sospeso). The barista would mark the second espresso (or coffee or pastry) in a separate ledger. Future patrons feeling less flush could then inquire if there were any paid items and, if so, claim them without paying.
Recently, a movement emerged to revive and spread the tradition – even here in the U.S. Curious if your local stop has joined the bandwagon? Look for the image above, or check out this list: http://thesuspendedcoffees.wordpress.com/participating-cafes-americas/
Try it out – I hear good Karma pairs nicely with caffeine.