I am not a coffee connoisseur. Caffeine gives me the shakes.
Coffee aficionados look on with horror when I fix myself an instant decaffeinated cup of joe, or use a chicory-based hippy alternative from the health-food shop.
But this afternoon, a friend and I were pressing our noses against a new coffee-shop window in town, which is due to open later in the week. Inside, we could see a hive of industrious activity going on. And then, the owner saw us. To my surprise, he hurried across to the door and invited us in for a free coffee.
Pretty soon, we were being given a grand tour of the premises, which included a giant coffee roaster that looked like a brass steam train.
Of course, I was aware that the guy wanted to make a good impression on potential future customers. But there was something more than that... passion.
Passion is such an over-used, eye-roll inducing word these days. But when you come across the real thing, you know it.
I found myself being drawn in with stories about coffee – the romance, the history, the tales behind the various blends. The way the beans are sourced, selected and washed. The various shades of colours they will turn while they are being roasted. The aromas. The infusion of flavours, the different characters... I'm sure the man could have gone on for days.
I was reminded of a time when I worked for a magazine, and I was interviewing someone about ecological house-paint. Again, the passion was extraordinary and inspiring.
Real passion seems to ignite a sense of mission – a drive to grow and explore that pushes you beyond your comfort zones. That keeps you going long after most people would have thrown in the towel.
I guess it comes down to listening to your heart, and finding a way to connect with whatever it is that you can do for the world.
Whether it's paintings, writing, eco-paint or coffee... passion is magic.