April 30, 2024

I added EVOO to my Coffee

Lucero Arbequina EVOO and a Perfect Cup of Coffee

This article was originally published 22 February 2023 and has been updated 30 April 2024.


Starbucks Oleato™ Olive Oil Coffee in the News

Tuesday evening Starbucks (SBUX) announced a range of new coffee drinks called Oleato™ which feature the addition of a tablespoon of EVOO. As a food professional and trained olive oil taster I could not easily imagine enjoying our favorite local artisan-roast coffee (or even Starbucks) with good EVOO, however, on a deeper level I was curious.

Olive Oil Coffee Exploration & Result

Olive oil easily and deliciously emulsifies with the fat in dairy. Good EVOO poured over ice cream has converted many a skeptic, and although I was uncertain as to the outcome, it was incumbent upon me to try olive oil coffee to form my own opinion.

This morning I blended 4 tablespoons of whole milk and 2 tablespoons of Arbequina EVOO into a smooth emulsion to serve two. It takes only seconds. The light and fruity mix was poured into a hot cup of black coffee (a Moka Java blend), and I found the result surprisingly pleasant and satisfying! I note that some of my colleagues have blended coffee, dairy, and EVOO at once versus just the oil and dairy, so that works, too.

The mouth feel is indeed rich and velvety, as Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz enthuses. From the standpoint of pleasure, this velvety texture is the highlight. The EVOO flavor was subtle, and I wonder if many could or would discern the presence of it were it not announced. Oleato™, as it will be trademarked, or olive oil coffee for us non-Starbuckians, is a beverage I can imagine serving or enjoying on occasion. 

Why is Olive Oil Coffee Tasty?

The amazing velvety texture in olive oil coffee is the result of olive oil being 100% fat weighing in at 2.55x the grams of fat per tablespoon versus heavy cream. To achieve this same unctuous texture with heavy cream, one would consume ALL of one's daily recommended cholesterol allowance AND part ot tomorrow's too! As you well know, there is no cholesterol in olive oil. By my calculation, to achieve this texture with heavy cream would be subjecting yourself to 347 gms of cholesterol versus zero for EVOO.

Hear Hear for Healthy Fat 

If folks need an additional way to make sure they’re getting 2 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil in their diet, as health professionals advise we do, then I very much support the notion of olive oil coffee as a delivery system. I have never liked the idea of downing a tablespoon of EVOO as if it were cod liver oil–-there is no pleasure in that.

Extra virgin olive oil, thoughtfully emulsified with a dairy product for coffee and enjoyed for health and pleasure--now, that's something I can support.

A few hours ago I scrolled through the first 50 comments on the Washington Post story about this launch (at the time of this writing showing more than 1,000 comments), and every comment I read--without exception--was riddled with skepticism, scorn, and derision rather than curiosity. I love good coffee, and admit that I, too, was skeptical, however, tonight admire Howard Shultz's vision and bravery in the face of public opinion.

I say, if it tastes good to you, enjoy it!  Bravo, Mr. Shultz, bravo. What do you think? Will you try olive oil coffee? Let me know in the comments! - Liz 

Spring 2024 Update

I had a nice chat with one of our customers this afternoon, which reminded me that I've never shared my personal experience trying the Starbucks version of olive oil coffee. The following is my opinion so this update is based solely on my own experience and personal taste.

Unfortunately, the versions that have been rolled out are sugary cold drinks, not anything like my at home experiment. I ordered the least milky version, the Oleato Golden Foam™ Iced Shaken Espresso with "Toffeenut" syrup, however, had the barista omit the four (4!) pumps of flavored sugar syrup and its wholly unnecessary 22 gm of sugar. That said, the folks at Starbucks corporate development still felt compelled to add sugar to the "golden foam" for the American market.

I ordered a standard formulation in their grande size at three different California locations (3 shots of espresso with oat milk, omitting the syrup each time), and found that sipping espresso through the sweetened creamy olive oil/oat milk was tasty and enjoyable, but still rather too dessert-like for my taste. 

I remain encouraged that Starbucks and Americans are experimenting with extra virgin olive oil and coffee, however, regret that they do so by making promoting something that could be quite healthy in a vehicle loaded with excess sugar.

At this writing, Starbucks' pricing for an iced triple espresso is $3.45.

Their "shaken version" with sweetener is $5.45 (or if you order the regular iced triple espresso for $3.45 and ask for Oleato they charge $2.00 for the add in, so the same).

Starbuck's Shaken Oleato™ is $8.25. 


  • Liz on July 19, 2023

    Hi Kim! I hope you enjoy the experience of olive oil coffee. I haven’t tried it since as I enjoy matcha daily, however, I did think the first trial was a delight. (…FYI olive oil, dairy and matcha is waaaaaay too grassy so I stay traditional with that morning beverage). In the weeks and months since the concept was launched, you’ve no doubt read that too much can and will cause intestinal upset or, ahem, overactivity for some digestive systems. A little seems to go a long way, so moderation and a plan for a testing close to home is probably a good idea. Thanks for writing to check in! – Liz

  • Kim on July 19, 2023

    I too was curios when I saw Oleato promoted. Didn’t sound very good… but with your experiment I’m inclined to try taking my healthy fat in my morning ‘Joe!

  • Liz on February 24, 2023

    Hello Brandy and Emily! Thank you both for reading my post and leaving a comment! I’m glad to know you both have taste explorer spirits! – Liz

  • Liz on February 24, 2023

    Hello Donna! I used the Arbequina because I had an open bottle AND it is a milder oil, so I thought more suitable. Interestingly, I received an email from a colleague yesterday who mentioned he was doing some “like vs like” tastings in Italy about 20 years ago, and he had a few drops of very bitter Coratina from Puglia with very bitter espresso and said it was “wunderbar!”, that it made sense to him that the milder oil I chose would naturally fit with a low-bitter milky coffee.

    As I normally drink matcha at breakfast I tried some Arbequina with that also, being in an experimental mood—it was a totally different experience; VERY bitter, very vegetal, with an impossibly long finish that lingered on and on and grew pleasanter as the moments passed. I’m going to try it again, perhaps with a bit of half & half to take the edge off. I don’t drink milky drinks as a rule, however, if we don’t try we don’t learn, and this whole exploration has me quite intrigued! Thanks for being in touch!!

  • Brandy on February 24, 2023

    I think this sounds like an utterly delightful treat and I can hardly wait to try this!
    Thank you!

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