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The postponed coffee


If you live in Naples even for few days, you can surely feel how much humanity there is in the way Neapolitan people think and behave. A Neapolitan is friendly, generous, humorous, easy-going and with an inexhaustible and sparkling temperament. But what stands out immediately is the great generosity fully demonstrated by a gesture typical of the Neapolitan custom: The postponed coffee.

This is an ancient and deeply felt habit when you go to the bar to have your coffee and consists in paying for an additional one intended for people who can have it later. Born in 19th century, this habit spread particularly after the Second War World as a gesture of solidarity and altruism. This tradition has even become trendy in Northern Europe, Australia and South America and although nowadays is not so frequent as in the past it is still a sign of Neapolitan spirit. But it is also a philosophy of life as the philosopher and writer Luciano De Crescenzo points out in one of his books. He explains that when a Neapolitan is happy he pays for his own coffee and also for a second one for the person coming after him. De Crescenzo says “ It is like offering a coffee to the rest of the world”. But it clearly means transmitting his happiness to another person, sharing his fortune.

In these times in which living is so difficult for many layers of the population another habit is getting widespread: “The postponed loaf of bread” for indigent people.


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