A few weeks ago the social media site Facebook was awash with stories of "suspended coffees". You'll possibly recognise the image attached to this blog from your social media feed.
While internationally this isn't a new concept (our Italian friends have worked with this initiative for years) we're slowly seeing an uptake in the UK.
We will likely all have experienced being at the bar and someone orders two pints, one to be "left in the tap" for their friend who is due to arrive. Suspended coffee isn't too dissimilar but the coffee left over is made available, as a gift, to be savoured by someone who wouldn't normally be able to afford that drink.
I've been watching with interest as the Suspended Coffee Scotland Facebook page has rocketed with "likers" in the last few days. Not only that but I'm absolutely delighted that one of our customers is the first site to launch suspended coffee in Aberdeen! Inchgarth Community Centre opened their new Peggy's Cafe yesterday (8/4/13) and launched the initiative at the same time. Today's Evening Express has a two page feature on the cafe where Paul O'Connor MBE talks of how they will operate their system to benefit those in the community who are less fortunate. I'm proud to say that I bought my first suspended coffee yesterday.
Rumour has it that one of the UK's biggest high-street coffee chains is also introducing suspended coffees to their stores. Fortunate timing, possibly, for a company that was involved with a very-public tax faux-pas, recently! Where Caber's customers' lead, the high street follows! (sounds good, doesn't it?)
While many argue that the system is open to abuse it's safe to say that local cafe owners know their local community and should welcome the opportunity to serve everyone, opening their doors to those of us who enjoy the "cafe culture" while also being able to provide the poorest in our community with a delicious coffee or hot meal.
We can raise awareness even further. "Pay it Forward Day" is on the 25th of April and more information can be found on their website: http://payitforwardday.com/ - And I believe that some local school students are already being taught about and introduced to this idea - readying our developing generations to consider how they can help others.
I freely admit, I genuinely love this idea, and we'll be looking to see how we can integrate our ETHYCO customers into the suspended coffee or Pay it Forward schemes. Our customers already commit to buying some of the finest Ethically Traded and Direct Sourced coffee available in the UK, we already support a wide variety of charities and social enterprises so why not deliver this right at community level? I think suspended coffee is here to stay, and rightly so!