Brazil Got Real Mad At This Canadian Journalist For Complaining About The Coffee At The Olympics
He thought the cups were too small, which irritated Brazilians. We talked with him about the controversy.
This is Scott Stinton, a columnist for the National Post who's in Rio for the Olympics. On Monday, he published a tweet about the size of the coffee cups in the Olympic press centre. Little did he know what a shitstorm it would cause.
"I know everyone posted photos of the small coffee cups in Rio press centres already, but seriously," he wrote, sharing a photo of what is ~to be fair~ a pretty small cup of coffee.
He also added that the pen in the photo, was "a normal-size pen." Not like a miniature pen. Like an adult-human sized hand.
While Stinson probably thought he was just making an offhand comment on size variation, many Brazilians took the observation pretty personally.
Brazilians are serious about coffee, you see. "Good coffee is small and strong," said one person. They also said Brazilians "know a little more about coffee" than Canadians. Since Brazil is the world's largest producer of coffee, this is probably true.
Many of the Brazilians who responded to Stinson thought he was from the United States.
This person reminded Stinson that it's not just Brazil — many countries prefer small but strong doses of coffee rather than gigantic vats of it.
Another person called out North American coffee for being "nasty-tasting."
The general consensus seems to be that North American coffee is weak and Brazilian coffee is the lord's gift to caffeine lovers.
Our colleagues in Brazil asked BuzzFeed Canada to explain how large our coffees are. We sent back a photo of a large and medium Starbucks cups, and a small cup from Timmies. All were larger than Stinson's wee cup.
We told our colleagues in Brazil that, in general, we'd probably expect a free coffee to be bigger than the thimble's worth Stinson got.
But BuzzFeed Brazil still had questions. So many questions. So they reached out to Stinson for answers.
BuzzFeed Brazil: Were you expecting so much criticism from Brazilians?
Scott Stinson: I'm not going to say that I expected it because I don't think that many Brazilians follow me on Twitter. But maybe now there are more.
How did you deal with the criticism?
It's kind of funny. Apparently, people have strong feelings about coffee here.
Were any of them just too offensive?
I wasn't offended, because I don't speak Portuguese very well. I know that basically it was a wave of insults being hurled against me, but it could also be that there were a certain number of people telling me I was charming and handsome.
What size coffee cup are you usually accustomed to in Canada, and in other places around the world?
Obviously, cups in Canada and the United States are much bigger, filled with that stuff that everyone in Brazil now tells me is "dirty water." But even the cups in most of the Olympic press centers in Rio are bigger than the one I tweeted about. That one was much smaller than the ones in the main center, for example. That's why I found it funny.
Almost everyone thought you were from the US and began to criticize the coffee there. What do you think about this confusion?
I actually like strong coffee, but I don't consider myself pro-Starbucks. However, nobody from Canada likes to be called American.
Finally: how was the coffee? Did it taste good?
It was good, as far as I remember. I would have paid much closer attention to it if I knew that it was going to be an international incident.