Suspended coffee is a new concept arriving in cafes all over the world, and something I discovered last week whilst on holiday in Melbourne. Originating in Italy, the idea is that you can anonymously pre-pay for drinks that those in need can redeem later on. It is also a trend that has caught much attention online and has gone viral via social media.
For a long time, society has been divided over whether it is appropriate to give money to beggars or the homeless. The cynical person inside of us wonders whether the money we give would be spent on alcohol, cigarettes or other drugs. A friend of mine used to solve this internal dilemma by handing out parts of her lunch, until an elderly man got annoyed and asserted he’d rather have her coke than her chips. But it’s difficult to argue against buying someone a hot drink.
Starbucks, keen to recover from their previous PR disaster, have jumped on the bandwagon and are already promoting the scheme in the UK. Of course they had to handle it their own “corporate” way, donating the money straight to charity instead (hardly the idea?)… but on the up side they will match the consumer’s donation.
I’m not sure whether it will catch on in New Zealand, partly because I’m unaware whether we have a large demand on our streets. (Particularly comparing with at home in the UK?) Given the open nature of kiwis, I expect to see a few independent cafes try. It would cheer up my morning knowing that I was helping someone less fortunate with the simple gesture of sharing a cup of coffee.
Read more about Suspended Coffees on their Facebook page.