Some of our customers are homeless.

Well, okay, do I know that they’re homeless? No. I have never asked. I do that thing they say you shouldn’t do: I make assumptions.

Maybe they fumble for change. Maybe their clothes are stained with dirt and sweat. Maybe they ask for money. Whatever they do, I get the sense that they’re not in a great spot.

Lucky for them, they came to Palate Coffee Brewery.

As a barista, I get to see firsthand what the staff at Palate does for the local community.

For example, after Hurricane Irma hit, the coffeeshop became a drop station for sandbags. People could come and go, leaving and collecting sandbags for homes that were affected by the overflowing Lake Monroe. At one point, we had about 3,000 sandbags! (That’s a lot of sandbags.)

The staff at Palate also got together to compile 1,300 Christmas boxes. 700 of them went to Hamilton Elementary School in Sanford and 600 went to a school in Mississippi. (That’s a lot of Christmas boxes.)

But another, perhaps simpler way that Palate gives back to the community is through pending coffee.

Pending coffee is Palate’s pay-it-forward system. How does it work? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Step One: Ask the Barista for a Pending Coffee

You could phrase it as:

“Hey, could I get a pending coffee?”


“I would like a pending coffee, please.”


“So…that pending coffee thing…”

Step Two: Design the Filter

Once you ask the barista for a pending coffee, they will charge you for a 12oz coffee and then pass you a coffee filter.

You could scrawl a Bible verse on it, sketch a coffee mug, or simply say something inspirational. Like this one:

Step Three: Pin it to the Board

When someone in need of a coffee comes along, they or a barista can untack a filter and redeem the coffee you paid for. That person walks away, sipping a free cup of joe.

Pretty cool, huh?

Sure, a coffee won’t give a homeless person a home, or feed a hungry child. It won’t alleviate a person’s debt. Or cure a broken heart.

But if a cup of house blend makes a passerby’s day a little less lonely—if the roasted smell alone warms their soul—then we’re all about that. We just need your help.

The next time you’re in the coffee shop, ask our barista about our pending coffee. Don’t worry. We’re friendly people.

Just think: for someone, your coffee could be the difference between a bad day and a good day.

This post was originally published on

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