Starbucks is known for its viral drinks offering. Each year, fans are eager to get their hands on a pumpkin spice latte when it launches in autumn, and just last month, the brand unveiled an Instagram-worthy cloud frappucino. But the latest launch from the coffee aficionados is a little more divisive. Enter: olive oil coffee.
Having already launched in Italy, the US, and Japan, it was only a matter of time before the beverage landed on our shores. And from 4 May, it officially arrived in the form of three coffee variations all infused with olive oil. The idea for this new range stemmed from Starbuck’s chief executive Howard Schultz, who noticed the Italian custom of having a spoonful of olive oil in the mornings while he was travelling around Sicily. Olive oil has long been a staple of a mediterranean diet, said to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and have anti-inflammatory properties, according to BBC Good Food. Having it over a caprese salad? Sure! But adding it to coffee? I had reservations.
“The alchemy of coffee and olive oil yields a rich texture that pairs the buttery, round flavours of the olive oil with the soft, chocolatey notes of the coffee – it’s unique,” Alex Rayner, general manager of Starbucks UK adds. I decided I’ll be the judge of that and took myself to Starbucks to give it a try.
First up, I tried the Oleato golden foam cold brew. The sweetest of the three, the golden foam was a welcome addition to the strong cold brew flavour. The foam was light and fluffy, almost like adding a scoop of olive oil to Mr Whippy. The olive oil taste was strong, but did make the drink velvety and smooth, so that was a win. Although, I do have to admit, it took a little getting used to. My first sip tasted a bit like drinking oily focaccia bread, which I love, but not necessarily in liquid form. Nevertheless, I persevered and, by sip two, I began to ease into the smooth beverage. Spoiler alert, this one became my favourite of the three.
I moved onto the Oleato iced shaken espresso, which combines espresso coffee with toasted nut syrup, creamy oat milk and, you guessed it, olive oil. I had high hopes as the iced brown sugar oat shaken expresso is actually my go-to Starbucks order, so I was intrigued to try it with the Italian extra. The olive oil was a lot stronger in this one and lacked the sweetness I’m used to. In order to complement the olive oil, hazelnut syrup is added which creates a rich, earthy taste as it mixes with the olive oil. I found it left a peppery after taste, almost like a ginger shot. As you can probably tell, I have a sweet tooth, so while this one won’t be replacing my usual order, it could be the one if you prefer a stronger iced coffee.
And finally, the Oleato caffe latte; the only warm drink in the range. A basic oat latte with olive oil. The smell and flavour of the added ingredient hit me immediately, but I was surprised to find it really enhanced the smoothness of the fluffy oat milk. I could see this one easily sliding into my morning routine occasionally.
The range is launching in select stores in London initially, but we have the Oleato coffee recipes available if you want to try to make it at home. They are also a little pricier than the standard cappuccinos and lattes on offer, starting at £4.65, meaning I’d consider them more of a treat.
So does oil spoil or is it a coffee revolution? As I’m a sweet girl at heart, I will always choose blue raspberry editions, with extra candy crystals, please. Olive oil coffee isn’t likely to replace my usual, but it’s definitely worth trying. Plus, the added health benefits make it kind of like adding chia seeds to your açai bowl or a protein powder into your smoothie, so I would be tempted on those days where I’m feeling like I need the extra kick.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Chloe Dunn