march 7, 2022

Rachel McCrickard, LMFT

From our Founder

Each week, our founder, Rachel, writes about her learnings and reflections in our newsletter, Mondays with Motivo. Sign up below to receive it in your inbox.

Suspended coffee

March 7, 2022


By: Rachel McCrickard

Hi, friends!

Warren and I love to watch cooking and travel shows on the weekends. The Great British Baking Show is one of my faves — it always makes we wish I was British.

A few weekends ago, we were watching Searching for Italy with Stanley Tucci – have you seen it? It’s so good.

The first episode highlights Naples and the Amalfi Coast, and it will have you wanting to eat pasta immediately. Tucci tours Naples, interviewing people, tasting local cuisine and asking locals about the things that are important to them. 

At one point, Tucci is walking the streets of Naples with a police officer, and the officer stops and orders “due caffe e un caffe sospeso” from a local coffee stand. “Due caffe e un caffe sospeso” translates to “two coffees and a suspended coffee.”

The officer explains that it is tradition in Naples to purchase a “suspended coffee” for customers who are not able to afford one.  The coffee stays suspended, or on hold, until a customer comes in and asks if any suspended coffees are available. The practice is seen as a charitable act whereby those who have more than they need can offer a gift to those who do not have enough.

I’ve heard of people purchasing a Starbucks coffee for the person in line behind them, but this practice seems to take it a step further by ensuring that the gift is distributed to someone who has an immediate need.

As this article states: The caffe sospeso tradition “seems like more of a mindset. It’s the idea that if I’m doing OK, wouldn’t it be nice to do something for someone who might not be quite as OK?”

I’ve been thinking about this tradition a lot the last few days, as we see so many people across the world coming to the aid of Ukrainians.

Here are a few examples:

Hundreds of volunteers come to Berlin’s train station to offer housing to Ukrainian refugees.


Poland and other EU countries welcome Ukrainian refugees at the borders.  The Polish Border Agency said, “We will help everyone. We will not leave anyone without help.”

Scotland leads a grassroots effort to collect medical and food supplies for displaced Ukrainians.

These heroic acts are such beautiful examples of what the gesture of suspended coffee might look like on the grander scale.

For me, it’s a great reminder that every act of kindness — no matter how large or small — matters.

Alongside the amazing individuals who are doing good, here are a few of the large-scale organizations providing relief to the Ukrainian people:

  • International Medical Corps: Teams are already on the ground in Ukraine delivering medical and mental health care. More info here.
  • Voices of Children: A charity that focuses on helping children recover from the psychological trauma of war. More info here.
  • Choose Love: A non-profit that doesn’t just provide medical care, food, clothing, shelter and legal aid, but also helps support Ukraine’s LGBTQ+ community. More info here.

Does the Italian tradition of suspended coffee resonate with you today? How have you seen communities come together to help those in need?

If this brings up anything for you, I’d love to hear about it.



Rachel McCrickard, LMFT
CEO/Founder, Motivo

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