Caffe, Amore e Sorriso Sospeso Coming Right Up!


Photo of Hannah Young


By Charm Moreto Damon


A friend shared an Internet article on “suspended coffee” about a week ago.  Curious, I read the article, and was left with more hope and enthusiasm for humanity.  The caffe sospeso movement, with roots originating in Naples, Italy, has been a century-long practice in which an individual pays for two (or more) coffee orders where coffee is sold, but takes only one, hence reserving the extra for another patron who is unable to pay for the beverage.  To me, this practice not only depicts a coffee-scale generosity, but also a celebration of humanity’s sensibility for other’s needs, which I believe inevitably trickles down to many aspects of our lives, similar to the pay-it-forward and domino effect concepts.


Inspired by the caffe sospeso concept, I thought, “Why not also subscribe to an amore e sorriso sospeso mentality (with a slight twist), especially when the going gets a little less than desirable? Moreover, I thought, having a “suspended love and smile” frame of mind could actually be an excellent tool that many parents like us would want handy at home, with our own kids.  As parents, my husband and I find ourselves both lenient and strict with our little ones in various circumstances. Most of the time, fortunately, we find ourselves joyful for the precious gifts that unconditionally demonstrate love and smile to us in happy moments, and even right after tantrum episodes.


Hence, with the slight twist I was referring to above, instead of waiting for someone to voluntarily give you “love and smiles,” why not bank love and smiles each time your child illustrates them (although I am convinced that the Universe knows how to use our loved ones to give and teach us about love and smiles)?  Later then, when you yourself need either or both when your child challenges you, you are readily able to pull love and a smile from your amore e sorriso sospeso bank, and turn a potential conflict into a nurturing opportunity.  The same practice works when another adult, a loved one or a stranger, challenges you – think of the uplifting century-old Neapolitan tradition, and tell yourself, “Amore e sorriso sospeso coming right up!” over coffee, tea, or extra smiles!


But you have no children, you say? Why not turn to the most loving, smiley, compassionate, forgiving, generous, wise person you know and begin filling up your _______ sospeso bank? You never know when you’re going to need to withdraw such “virtues!”


Tonight, as my family sits down for dinner, I will continue to fill my love and smile bank from the love and smiles I will receive from them, not so much with the anticipation of needing love and smiles to deflect a confrontation, but to simply offer love and smiles to a friend currently going through a challenging time.


Pay it inward, forward or whichever way! Cheers to you, yours, all our sospeso banks, and a better world today, tomorrow and always.





Charm Moreto Damon is a mother, a TESOL professional and a freelance editor.  She graduated from the University of the Philippines, and pursued graduate studies at the Ohio State University, where she also taught academic writing and research to international students.  She is currently a stay-at-home-mom, and keeps herself busy with family, friends, and editorial work.   She writes for regularly. She may be contacted at