By Liz, welcoming Emmeline Duncan back to the blog! And she’s talking about one of my favorite things – coffee. And doing a giveaway. I mean, what could be better? Take it away, Emmeline!
A while back, I dropped into a local coffee shop to write. As I walked in, something I saw made me smile: their suspended coffee board had a couple of items, including a bowl of oatmeal and a breakfast burrito.
Wait, oatmeal is coffee? And what’s this about a Suspended Coffee?
Oatmeal is definitely not coffee, but it can be included on a Suspended Coffee board. Once upon a time, in Naples, Italy, customers would order a “caffè sospeso” from their local shop. This means they would buy two espressos: one to drink and the second “suspended,” meaning someone else could come and claim the second drink. This was all done anonymously.
Then, in March 2013, John M Sweeney read about caffè sospeso and turned it into an international movement with participating cafes worldwide. Patrons can pre-buy anything the participating café wants to include—coffee, food, etc.—and then someone down on their luck can claim the item.
As mentioned on the Suspended Coffee website, you can never know who will claim the coffee or food item. Maybe it’ll be someone homeless. Or it’ll be the guy dressed for a job interview who looks sharp—but has been interviewing for jobs for three months as he struggles to afford the basics. Or a single mother struggling to make it until her next payday. No one judges the worthiness of who claims the items; the shops trust that if someone requests one of the items, they need it to brighten their day.
One thing I appreciate about this program is how it supports both coffee shops and people down on their luck. If you run a cafe, you can’t spend your days giving out free products, even if you’d like to help. So when your customers buy food donations, it brightens someone in the community’s day while supporting the café.
When I started writing the Ground Rules series, I decided my protagonist, Sage, should have a Suspended Coffee board. I’d first seen this program at a Portland coffee cart, Ole Latte, and I knew my fictional coffee shop owner would be an enthusiastic supporter of the program.
Readers: Have you seen a Suspended Coffee board in your community? Comment on this post to be entered to win a copy of Flat White Fatality and swag!
Like her Ground Rules Mystery series, Emmeline Duncan is based in Portland, Oregon. Her series includes Fresh Brewed Murder, Double Shot Death, and Flat White Fatality, which came out on May 23rd. You can track her online at emmelineduncan.com or on Instagram and Facebook at @writeremmelineduncan and Twitter @DuncanEmmeline.
About Flat White Fatality :
To top off her coffee business, Sage is now helping out with her boyfriend Bax’s gaming company. Conveniently for Sage, it’s located next door to her Ground Rules Roastery. That makes it easy for her to pitch in with Bax’s employee team-building event. The plan is to boost morale with a scavenger hunt. And it seems to be going well—until Robbie, a programmer known for being a prankster, turns up dead in Sage’s roastery . . .
There are two suspects so far: Sage, who has no idea how the victim ended up in her space; and Bax, who was allegedly spotted arguing with Robbie the day before. But could it be a disgruntled employee? After all, Robbie’s sense of humor was known to have rubbed some coworkers the wrong way. Now, it’s up to Sage to find the culprit—before another life grinds to a halt.