CI recklessly kowtows in the general direction of britain

August 3, 2007 – 12:35 am

it strikes this blog that newly crowned world barista champion james hoffmann represents a sort of preeminent aesthetic value that doesn’t just lead in its category (known formally as “dang good coffee”), but that transcends industry and cultural divisions to engage a diverse melange of the masses. you’d be hard pressed to find a world champion as humble, eccentric and universally appreciated, as humoring of hack junkie blogs or more capable of showing you up, as tall and as well-rounded and as … nerdy. there. we said it, and it sort of proves our point. because inside even the most image-conscious of trendsetters is an inner nerd that stifles, that gags for air. hoffmann liberates him, draws out the most elemental natures of those who experience his craft and then blows open their worldviews with pure, imaginative good taste.

this blog doesn’t know of any previous champion — indeed, any previous world competitor — that could meet such a description. hoffmann’s win is good for coffee in real life, as a cultural distinction that caters to no one and engrosses everyone. herm, lessee. the last brit to tag all those bases was definitively called a “genius,” wasn’t he? what was his name? seems like it started with “shakes” and ended with “ear.”

p.s. he’s also bizarrely linked to this blog’s outpost in the hinterlands. but that has nothing to do with anything.

UPDATE: as tonx notes, more or less, he’s also a category to himself — neither a company-backed racehorse nor a working shift barista.

UPDATE: james’ stature, which has already eclipsed any previous world champion, is also a uniquely web-driven phenomenon. how fitting, then, that in the year a.d. 2007, the WBC finally got all internetty! yay! it’s like a global connection thingy, with pictures! hoffmann pictures!

UPDATE: wheeze! gasp! stop us now! teh hyperbole! teh hyperbole!