The latest in Sochi food news is the Wall Street Journal’s thrilling exposé on NBC’s “secret” Starbucks outpost, which they’ve erected exclusively for their 2500 media employees sent to cover the Olympic Games. (We airquote because they’ve actually had these so-called secret Starbucks set up in their media lounge at every Games since Sydney.)
But since there’s no Starbucks in Sochi, and McCafe is the official coffee sponsor of the Olympic Games, there’s an understandable frenzy surrounding journalists who’ve been living in shambles for the past two weeks dying for a sip of that sweet, sweet Chai Latte goodness.
The secret Starbucks outpost is staffed by 15 baristas, all from real Starbucks locations all over Russia, who are flown in by NBC on a rotating basis. Only NBC employees are permitted to use the Starbucks facilities, although outsiders who have gotten their hands on a Starbucks cup have been clutching it with the fervor of broke college students returning again and again for their 35-cent refills, and refilling it with vending machine coffee.
“It’s a status symbol,” says Pittsburgh Tribune-Review sports columnist Dejan Kovacevic, who got a cup through a friend. “It shows I’m not some kind of lowlife.”
Here’s the catch, though, non-NBC journos:
Though it looks like a normal outpost, the private kiosk doesn’t offer the full Starbucks menu. It indulges drinkers with an array of specialty espresso and chai drinks—but no plain black coffee.
Yeah. You can only get the milkshake drinks. Which like, not that we don’t love a nice seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte, but we’re pretty sure that replacing all of an overworked journalist’s drip coffee drinks with syrup-fests is a recipe for early onset diabetes. Be careful, Matt and Savannah. (Bob Costas, you should drink all the syrup milk you want, you poor, disgusting dear.)
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