What is Starbuck’s Olive Oil Coffee? Meet the Oil-Infused Oleato

what is starbuck's olive oil coffee

Starbucks, as a brand, has been revolutionizing the commercial coffee space since its inception. They’ve always aimed to bring a variety of options to the masses. It’s even changed the culture and way we think about this popular morning beverage. 

With that mindset, Starbucks is bringing yet another new change with its debut of the Oleato. The Starbucks Oleato coffee infuses olive oil with coffee. At first thought, olive oil-infused coffee can sound like a weird combination. But it’s something that’s been done in Europe, specifically Italy, for some time now. 

Sicily, Italy, is where former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz got the idea for the Oleato. During his travels through Sicily, he tried oil-infused coffee for the first time. He was pleasantly surprised by its unique flavor palette. And he knew they had to bring it to Starbucks. 

That led to the Starbucks beverage development team getting started on a recipe for olive oil-infused Starbucks coffee. As of March 23rd, 2023, they are now introducing it to select locations in the U.S. and other places around the world. Before we go any further, we should cover the question, what is Starbucks olive oil coffee?

The Starbucks Oleato is a unique blend of Partanna olive oil with arabica coffee. Currently, Starbucks is introducing three new beverages with this new olive oil spin at select locations. Those beverages are the Oleato Caffe Latte, Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew, and Oleato Iced Shaken Espresso. 

There’s much more to dive into with these new Starbucks beverages. We’ll cover it all in this article, so stick around until the end to get all the details. 

Key Takeaways

  • The Oleato is only available in select locations at this time.
  • Starbucks uses a unique infusion process to combine olive oil with coffee. 
  • The reviews of these new drinks have been mixed so far. 

Launch Timeline and Expansion Details for the Starbucks Oleato

Hearing about the new Oleato, you may be hoping that it will be coming to a location near you. The new coffee line was first introduced in Italy back in February. It was a safe launching location since olive oil in coffee is a common practice there. As of March 23rd, it has started to be rolled out in select U.S. locations. 

Currently, it is available in select reserve cafes in:

  • New York City
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • Seattle

You’ll have to check at specific locations in these cities to see if they are offering the Oleato. 

Starbucks also has plans later this year to bring the Oleato to other places around the world. The main ones they’ve mentioned are Japan, the Middle East, and the United Kingdom. 

The Unique Combination of Starbucks Arabica Coffee and Partanna Olive Oil

Combining arabica coffee and Partanna olive oil is a unique spin in the U.S. Some may worry that this combo won’t work. But Starbucks seems confident that they have the process down. 

To brew these new beverages, the green olive oil is steamed with oat milk and then infused with coffee. This infusion process creates a unique blend and flavor palette. 

Starbucks describes the flavor of these new beverages as “velvety smooth and deliciously lush.” They hope that upon trying it, customers will agree.  

Originating in Sicily, Partanna olive oil is very high-quality. It has a unique nutty, and sweet flavor to it. So it should combine nicely with coffee and the traditional flavors of Starbucks’ recipes. 

Details on the Oleato Beverage Lineup

To give you some more details on the features and flavors of the beverages in the Oleato lineup:

  • Oleato™ Caffè Latte: This one is a light roast. It’ll have a much milder flavor palette that newer coffee drinkers will prefer. It has a subtle sweetness combined with the smooth flavors of Partanna olive oil. 
  • Oleato™ Golden Foam™ Cold Brew: Iced coffee lovers will enjoy this version of the Oleato. The coffee used is a darker roast to offer a smooth, rich flavor. While it is a darker roast, it still tastes sweet and smooth. Most coffee drinkers should enjoy this flavor profile. 
  • Oleato™ Iced Shaken Espresso: If you enjoy a nice espresso mix, this one will be right up your alley. This one has a rich and creamy flavor with some notes of hazelnuts. The bold espresso combined with smooth olive oil makes for a unique flavor that many will enjoy. 

With these first options, Starbucks aimed to offer different styles for those with various coffee-drinking preferences. That way, the Oleato can feel accessible to any customers that want to try it.  

Are Any Customizations Available for the Oleato Beverages?

Currently, there aren’t a lot of customizations or add-ons for these beverages. Since they are new, Starbucks is still experimenting with what works well with olive oil. The two add-on options they are offering are:

  • Golden foam as a topping – which will add some extra creamy and sweet flavors.
  • An extra press of extra virgin olive oil – for those who want a smoother taste that isn’t as sweet.

While there aren’t a lot of customizations, Starbucks has a good start here with their current offerings of the Oleato. 

Other Exclusive Offerings of the Oleato at Starbucks Reserve Locations

In addition to the three main options in the U.S., the Milan Roastery in Italy is also offering some exclusive options. The beverages exclusive to reserve locations in Italy at this time are:

  • Oleato™ Iced Cortado: This one uses orange bitters and a sprinkle of orange peel in the recipe. It should add a unique sweet and citrus flavor to this iced coffee blend. 
  • Oleato™ Deconstructed: This is a very simple blend of espresso, olive oil, and passionfruit cold foam. It’s a bold and rich flavor with a touch of sweetness to it. 
  • Oleato™ Golden Foam™ Espresso Martini: A mixture of espresso, vodka, and vanilla bean syrup topped with gold foam. It has a very sweet flavor profile that’ll help take the edge off after a long day. 

Starbucks hasn’t announced if any of these other offerings will be coming to the U.S. or other places around the world. 

The Oleato Tasting Experience at Starbucks Roasteries

Roasteries offering different versions of the Oleato are currently offering a unique tasting experience upon its debut. Many locations are offering samples to customers who come in. If you can try a sample of the Oleato, it’s a great way to try these new beverages before buying. 

What Has the Overall Reception Been of the Oleato?

Early thoughts from customers upon the Oleato’s release in the U.S. have been mixed. That may have been expected since olive oil and coffee aren’t a common combination in the U.S. 

Some customers love it. They find these drinks’ rich and sweet flavors to be an excellent combination. 

Others have had some complaints. One of the main complaints is that the mixture of olive oil and coffee doesn’t stay mixed for a long time. After all, coffee is a water-based beverage, and oil and water don’t usually mix. 

Some have said that as soon as 10 minutes after receiving their beverage, they can see the oil separating from their coffee. For those who like to casually sip their beverage, this may not be a great experience. 

Conclusion

Overall, the Oleato lineup is an interesting twist from Starbucks. 

It’s likely that some people will really enjoy this olive oil-infused Starbucks coffee. 

Others, as we have seen, will have complaints about its flavor and how well it stays mixed. 

If you’re curious, the best way to know for sure is to try it out for yourself! If you’re in a location where the Oleato is available and have tried it, comment below what you thought. I’d be excited to hear anyone’s opinion on these new beverages. 

FAQ

What Does Olive Oil in Coffee Taste Like?

Olive oil in coffee adds a smooth flavor that takes out some of the bitterness. It’s similar to adding milk or cream to it. Olive oil will just have a richer texture compared to dairy-based options. However, some may not like the oily flavor it adds. It depends on personal preferences.

Are There Benefits of Adding Olive Oil to Coffee?

The main benefit is added flavor. Adding fat-based ingredients like olive oil, milk, or cream removes some of the bitterness of coffee. There are also many other substitutes to coffee creamer you can add to coffee to improve the flavor. 

Adding olive oil or ingredients like butter to coffee also has some other benefits. The main ones are aiding digestion and slowing caffeine absorption to provide longer-lasting energy.

How Much Should I Add?

Adding one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to your coffee is a good starting point if you want to make a cup of coffee with olive oil at home. If it tastes too oily, backing off to half a tablespoon may be better. Bumping up to two tablespoons may be a good fit if you want more oil flavor.
Christopher Mize

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