Starbucks is adding olive oil to your coffee in Italy. Bellissimo or pessimo?

Ayaan Paul
Ayaan PaulFeb 24, 2023 | 13:48

Starbucks is adding olive oil to your coffee in Italy. Bellissimo or pessimo?

Move over, milk and sugar - Starbucks in Italy is taking their coffee game to the next level by serving it with a drizzle of olive oil. That's right, the world's most famous coffee chain has added a touch of Mediterranean flavour to their classic brews, and Italians are buzzing with curiosity (and probably a bit of scepticism).


The world's largest coffee chain is introducing a new range of coffee drinks infused with olive oil in Italy. Howard Schultz, the company's CEO, praised the "unexpected, velvety, buttery flavour" of olive oil, claiming that it enhances the coffee and lingers beautifully on the palate.


The coffee chain has introduced a new range of coffee drinks in Milan infused with olive oil, in the hopes of capitalising on the Italians' love for both coffee and olive oil. The brand has named the new beverage 'Oleato', which is a playful combination of the Italian words for olive oil (oliva) and well-oiled or smooth (oliato). 

What the

The cold brew coffee is made with Starbucks' Arabica coffee and a dollop of Partana cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil. The range features several options, including an iced-shaken espresso, an espresso martini, and an olive oil latte made with oat milk. The coffee chain is optimistic that this innovative concoction will prove to be a profitable venture.

Starbucks, like many other major US businesses, has faced obstacles as it tried to expand into the Italian food and drinks market, where independent and family-run cafes dominate the coffee scene.


Currently, Starbucks has about 20 stores in Italy.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

Despite potential scepticism, Schultz asserted that the proof is in the cup, and he is thrilled about the launch of the Oleato range. This line of hot and iced drinks will be released in Southern California in the US this spring, with plans to follow later in the year in the UK, Middle East, and Japan.

"Now, there's going to be people who say, olive oil in coffee? But the proof is in the cup. In over 40 years, I can't remember a moment in time where I've been more excited, more enthused."
- Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on the company's website

The range features an iced shaken espresso and a latte made with olive oil that is "steamed with oat milk". In addition, there will be a cold brew coffee infused with a silky Partanna extra virgin oil and vanilla sweet cream foam that "slowly cascades through the beverage".

The ubiquitous olive oil in the Mediterranean

Olive oil is a staple in the Mediterranean diet, which is associated with countries such as Italy, Greece, and Spain.

The monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil contain vitamins and minerals, while polyphenols are micronutrients derived from plants, both of which offer various health benefits.

Last year, the term "drink olive oil" became popular on TikTok, with supporters claiming that it had anti-inflammatory properties.

Starbucks in Italy

In 2018, Starbucks' announcement of its first store in Italy prompted some Italians to call for a boycott of the chain. Schultz responded at the time, stating that the company was approaching the venture with humility and respect, and not intending to teach Italians how to make coffee.

Starbucks's Milan Roastery

In the previous year, the news of Domino's Pizza's departure from Italy was met with celebration among certain social media users. The fast-food giant had encountered challenges in winning over customers in the home of pizza since its launch there in 2015 and ended up shutting down its 29 outlets in the country.

Verdict's still out on how the whether or not Starbucks will be given the Dominos treatment in Italy. 

Last updated: February 24, 2023 | 13:48
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