Coffee is a divine liquid that has inspired centuries of enlightened thinking and social change. It drives our current society, filling our veins with jittering, uncontained energy. Coffee literally sends our hearts racing and our heads flying. In the states, I’ve learned the hard way through unintentionally sleepless nights and unmanaged anxiety that the thin, watery low-quality version of espresso that is often served is simply not for me. Yet in Europe, the richly delicious version that is served in doll-sized mugs for breakfast and post-lunch simply makes me thrive.
While touring the countryside and cities of Spain over Spring Break, this stated consequence of the carefully-concocted caffeine source was verified daily. Each time that I consumed the popular single-shot espresso in a local café, it made my heart pound with dream development – although I suppose the change in scenery from snowy Boston to roadtripping in summer dresses through sun-kissed Spain also didn’t hurt for igniting my creative fires. In any case, I was inevitably inspired with a million ideas per minute as I mindfully sipped my morning café solo. What will I find when exploring today? Where will I travel tomorrow? And the next day? And the next year? What career direction should I follow, and how can I run down that pathway with passion? How can I contribute to global mindfulness, compassion, and social change?
Stay tuned until future blog posts for my own caffeine-driven answers to these questions over coffee. But for now, read on to find out how characteristics of sipping coffee the Spanish way can be incorporated into your day to propel you to achieve your dreams.
In the best café of Barcelona that is tucked away adjacent to my favorite trendy yoga studio, morning coffee was not simply served. It was sold. Upon first entering the café, dazed and sleep deprived from late-night travel, a business-savvy waiter with sleeked black hair and a smart suit approached to direct me to a quiet corner table. I told him in my broken Spanish that I was in need of a “café solo, por favor”, to which he replied in a thick Spanish accent, “Where are you from? Oh, America! What a beautiful face you have!” With this unexpected complement received on my most disheveled morning, I was completely sold. This cheerful waiter had gone beyond his job description, reaching out to establish a genuine human connection with myself and all other patrons that he served.
In that instant, the value of interpersonal connection was reaffirmed in my mind. In order to achieve, whether our goal is as big as starting a revolution or as simple as selling a cup of coffee, we must approach the world with the spirit of a creative entrepreneur. Social likability is needed for the inevitable collaboration that is fundamental to dream development.
“Muchas gracias”, I said to the smiling waiter upon receiving my freshly brewed beverage, knowing I would be back the next day.
With my tiny coffee delicately placed atop my elegant table, I inhaled the bitter cherry-tinted aroma, sensing the physical potential of this potent drink before its robust flavor could even embrace my or its physiological effects could stimulate my body. I gazed across the room, sensing the effects of the piquiño-but-powerful drink upon the local customers in the room.
A mid-twenties writer with dreadlocks and tattooed arms sipped her coffee intermittently as she typed at a feverish pace, perhaps working the next global bestseller akin to the notoriety of Don Quixote. At an adjacent table, a late-twenties couple with undeniable Barcelona beach glow held their coffees as they spoke intently in Spanish at the speed of light – perhaps within this discussion, planting the seeds for social change through exchange of caffeinated ideas.
For these three local patrons, passion guided their actions – their creative fires lit by high-quality espresso. This passion and innovative creativity – caffeine-induced or not – is fundamental to attainment of any dream. Its intensity must percolate one’s being from the initial outpouring of ideas, as witnessed in these inspired locals, to the day in which one’s best-seller hits the press or dream business venture hits the ground running.
Lastly, as I finally held my warm baby coffee cup in my hands and brought its rim to my lips, my gaze shifted to an elderly hunchbacked, balding, and bearded Spaniard in a window seat who soaked up the warm morning rays of sun. A neatly-unfolded newspaper was sprawled atop the old man’s small table, along with a nibbled-on croissant and his infant-sized espresso. I watched him close his eyes as he inhaled his coffee’s aroma and opened his salivating mouth to ingest the fine liquid. He savored his coffee, noting the cherry-sweet undertones and the bitter, earthy after-taste. He traced his warm drink from bean to brewed beverage, counting the interconnected blessings from mother nature who grew the Coffea arabica tree to the Peruvian farmers who expertly harvested its beans all the way to the local upper-fifties widowed barista who brewed his daily drink with affection for her most regular customer.
I followed suit of the old, wise man, savoring the rich taste of my own coffee, and realizing the essence of appreciation in vision. With each dream, we must mindfully stop to smell our own brewed coffee, savoring our effort and impact at each step along the pathway to our destination. What good is a dream if we cannot slow down to savor it?
After taking my first beautiful sip of coffee, I returned my gaze to the old man in the window. With his eyes still sealed shut, he noted the hot sips of liquid making its way down his digestive tract. Finally, the old man opened his eyes, which met with those of his barista across the room. With a wink, the barista returned to her dedicated coffee-brewing. With a smile, the old man savored the serendipity of the present, and scribbled his home phone number onto his receipt. At my own table, amazed, I held my pen to my napkin and secretly jotted down the just-witnessed scenes of ingenuine Spanish coffee-sipping strategies that bear fruit for dream achievement.