Olive Oil and Coffee?
by BO LI on Mar 15, 2023
Recently Starbucks decided to take part in a curious new venture. Inspired by Italian culture and kicking off in Starbucks’ Milan location, Starbucks will feature a line of coffee drinks made with Partanna extra-virgin olive oil, known as “Oleato”. Though this may sound strange, let’s not forget there is coffee out there made with butter, coconut oil, sea salt, herbs, spices, and who knows what else. So before we pan (get it, that’s usually where olive oil goes, the pan!) olive oil coffee, let’s take a closer look at this interesting take on java. Italian style.
It can be certain, this combination has an interesting backstory to it. While visiting Italy, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz was in awe of Italian culture. Initially, this inspired him to pursue espresso-based coffee drinks. Fast forward a few years or so and that connection to Italy is being revisited albeit in the form of olive oil as a key connection, and an Italian culinary staple, being added to Starbucks’ java. Some of the thoughts behind this one also come from Italian cuisine's inclusion in the Blue Zone diet. Hence, Schultz wanted to add a key Italian staple to coffee that also promoted health and longevity, too.
Many might find this addition of what is usually used as a cooking oil or sauce as an odd accouterment. But as many may point out, butter, coconut oil, and much more finds their way into coffee. So, while the origins of the cappuccino or flat white are steeped in myth, history, and sometimes controversy, the beginnings of this one come from the head of Starbucks just having a curious idea on how to connect to Italian culture and make a healthy and unique beverage while on a trip. Can’t say there's anything wrong with that!
Starbucks has stated that part of the inspiration behind this unique alliance between coffee and olive oil comes from Italy’s Blue Zone culinary scene. Olive oil and the many dishes graced by its presence are found to be within the Blue Zone of the wider Mediterranean. The Blue Zones of the world refer to places where the lifestyle, culture, environment, and food help to promote longevity in people. As we have discussed in previous articles, coffee is good for your brain and body, but what about olive oil?
Olive oil hosts lots of health benefits, hence why it contributes to Blue Zone diets and was chosen to be added to the already healthy coffee Starbucks currently serves. Olive oil is rich in monosaturated fats which are “good” fats. Like coffee olive oil has tons of longevity-promoting antioxidants. Olive oil is great for fighting inflammation and reducing inflammation. Olive oil is great for our hearts, reducing the risk of strokes and potentially guarding against heart disease, and has been found to help lower blood pressure. Again, like coffee, olive oil may have some anti-carcinogenic properties. This makes olive oil a truly keen ally to coffee on that front.
But are there health drawbacks to adding olive oil to your coffee? Some experts say that the oil and coffee combo may irritate some coffee lovers’ stomachs due to the chemistry of the two. Some other criticisms add that olive oil may add some extra carbohydrates to one's morning java. This may be amplified by some of the drink options Starbucks offers like ones featuring oat milk for example. If trying to make this creation at home, it is also advised to use extra-virgin olive oil as a stronger type of olive oil may overpower your coffee's flavor!
But, how's the taste?
The most important part for most coffee lovers when it comes to unique coffee combinations is how it tastes. The combination of olive oil with coffee is said to be sweet, nutty, and a little creamy. One might presume the mix to be very oily, but a rich and creamy consistency is more common, especially when paired with milk or cream. Starbucks will unveil a few olive oil drink options that include milk and cream so that will not be a problem!
Buon Giorno, Oleato
Inspired by Italian tradition and the world of Blue Zone foods. Starbucks' new Oleato is certainly a unique take on coffee. But if butter, coconut oil, and more have proven to have staying power in the coffee scene, so too may olive oil. Why not give the Oleato a try? Maybe the olive oil in your kitchen will go from cooking oil to coffee oil? The only way to find out is to try it. Arrivederci!
• “Introducing Starbucks Oleato – a Revolutionary New Coffee Ritual.” Starbucks Stories, stories.starbucks.com/press/2023/introducing-starbucks-oleato-a-revolutionary-new-coffee-ritual/.
• “Is the New Starbucks Olive Oil Coffee Drink Healthy?” Www.cbsnews.com, www.cbsnews.com/news/olive-oil-coffee-starbucks-drink-healthy-oleato/.
• Yazawa, Maki. “Starbucks’ New Drinks—Which Have a Spoonful of Olive Oil per Cup—Were Inspired by the Dietary Habits of the Longest-Living People on the Planet.” Well+Good, 23 Feb. 2023, www.wellandgood.com/starbucks-olive-oil-coffee/. Accessed 7 Mar. 2023.