Is Olive Oil Coffee the New Butter Coffee?

Or has Starbucks lost its mind?

Olive oil coffee

Getty Images/Allrecipes

We’re used to seeing coffee shops that offer cream, sugar, and maybe some extra flavor additives, like cinnamon or syrups, for your coffee order. But, what if you walked up to your favorite coffee shop and were greeted with a bottle of olive oil to add to your coffee? 

It may sound unusual, but olive oil-infused coffee is a real thing and it’s coming to Starbucks. The beloved coffee brand recently announced the release of Starbucks Oleato, which is a new line of drinks that combines Starbucks arabica coffee and Partanna cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. 

Three new olive oil-infused coffee drinks will hit menus worldwide this year—starting in Italy and making their way to Southern California in the spring. The new drinks are infused with olive oil in one of two ways: in the espresso or in the milk. Once on the menu, you’ll find a Starbucks Oleato Caffe Latte, with the oil infused in the blonde espresso, a Starbucks Oleato Iced Shaken Espresso, with the oil infused in the oat milk, and a Starbucks Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew, with the oil infused in the cold foam.

You might be wondering why add olive oil to coffee? Which is valid, but adding a fat, like olive oil, to your coffee isn’t actually new—you might remember butter coffee becoming popular a few years ago—and there’s a real reason Starbucks is introducing it.

Is Olive Oil Coffee the New Butter Coffee?

A few years ago, you may remember seeing butter coffee—or bulletproof coffee—gaining popularity, especially among people following the keto diet. As the name suggests, butter coffee is coffee made with unsalted butter and coconut oil. 

Adding butter instead of traditional cream increases the coffee’s fat content, which some people think will help reach ketosis quicker. However, unlike butter coffee, olive oil coffee isn’t meant to be drunk for the presumed health benefits—though that is how the Starbucks Oleato story started.

Why Is Starbucks Introducing Olive Oil Coffee?

On a recent trip to Italy, Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ CEO, was introduced to the custom of eating a spoonful of olive oil every day. Much like butter, some people add olive oil, especially high-polyphenol olive oil, to their daily diets for the health benefits.

“[Olive oil] is packed with monounsaturated fats that help improve cardiovascular health [and] also contains antioxidants, compounds in food that help destroy free radicals which damage healthy cells (leading to cancer, heart disease, and other health conditions),” says Sara Haas, RDN, LDN.

Schultz says he began taking his spoonful of olive oil with his morning coffee, which is how he came up with the idea to combine the two.

“I was absolutely stunned at the unique flavor and texture created when the Partanna extra-virgin olive oil was infused into Starbucks coffee,” Schultz said. “In both hot and cold coffee beverages, what it produced was an unexpected, velvety, buttery flavor that enhanced the coffee and lingers beautifully on the palate.”

What started as his daily ritual turned into a new coffee that Schultz brought to market for its unique texture and depth of flavor. Starbucks chose Partanna extra-virgin olive oil, which is made with Castelvetrano olives grown in Sicily, because the olives have a “sweet and really buttery” flavor that pairs well with the buttery caramel flavors in Starbucks coffee, according to Amy Dilger, the principal Starbucks beverage developer.

Even though Starbucks Oleato wasn’t created for its health benefits, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them along with the delicious taste. Haas says that adding olive oil to your coffee may have anti-inflammatory benefits as well as help feel full for longer. 

“Is this a cure-all for anything? Nope, but if you struggle to get healthy fats into your diet, this might be a fun way to try it,” Haas says.

Plus, we already know that studies show drinking black coffee every day may make you live longer. So olive oil plus coffee really is the best of both worlds—Starbucks Oleato, get to the U.S. quickly, please!

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