Men’s Health has some good news, should the new Zombie Frappuccino (out today) fail to satisfy your quota for scary things at Starbucks. On the magazine’s latest episode of Gross, editor-in-chief Matt Bean says he made “some very gross discoveries” after germ-testing public surfaces that New Yorkers constantly encounter — things like subway poles, Citi Bike handlebars, taxi doors, and the doorknob into Starbucks. It’s no shocker that LinkNYC kiosks (i.e., the city’s old payphone booths) are appallingly disgusting, or that you are tempting fate by eating off of the door into Grand Central. But what Bean found upon entering Starbucks might be: Cafés’ door handles contain a layer of filth so terrific that he says they landed “consistently among the most disgusting surfaces that we’ve tested in all of New York City.”
Café handles scored 1,090 RLUs (or “relative light units”) on an adenosine-triphosphate test. By comparison, nothing with more than 50 RLUs is supposed to make contact with food. Also by comparison, taxi doors came in at 424 RLUs, Citi Bike handlebars got a 1,512, and the New York City subway poles measured a paltry 35, despite all the debasing done to them. This is definitely helpful for perspective, though, assuming you trust the mag’s analysis: It suggests that if you’re willing to enter your local Starbucks, there’s basically no reason to not eat Brie directly off of a subway pole just used for a Showtime.