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Adding olive oil to coffee: Is Starbucks’ latest trend worth the hype?

How do you take your coffee? A splash of cream? A lump of sugar? A drizzle of olive oil?

Bottle of olive oil
roberta-sorge/Unsplash

What is the olive oil coffee trend?

The world of social media recipes and the latest food trends can be fun. Granted, sometimes, it’s an eye-rolling disaster fest (we’re looking at you, NyQuil Chicken), but other times it can prove to be an absolute delight. After all, where would the world be without butter boards or cauliflower pizza crust?

Every once in a while, though, we land somewhere in the middle. A food or drink trend comes along that makes you think, “Huh. That could be revolting, or it could be my newest addiction.” For us, this is one of those trends. One of those it-could-swing-either-way trends. When it comes to both coffee and olive oil, we’re big fans. But combining them? The jury’s still out.

Similar to the bulletproof coffee trend that took the caffeinated world by storm about a decade ago, the idea of adding deliciously silky fat to your morning coffee has been resurrected with the new olive oil trend. Only this time, Starbucks is at the controls. It’s pretty self-explanatory in that the trend is, quite simply, adding olive oil to coffee.

Los Angeles, CA - March 15, 2019: Cup of Starbucks Coffee on counter. Starbucks is the World's largest coffee shop
Harun Ozmen / Shutterstock

Why is this a thing?

In many ways, it seems Starbucks actually runs the world, so it isn’t at all peculiar that the company would be at the helm of any new trendy flavored coffee additives and ideas.

The new Starbucks Oleato line is a line of special drinks containing olive oil now offered in select markets. The coffee goliath’s website boasts, “The alchemy of Starbucks arabica coffee and premium Partanna extra virgin olive oil creates an entirely new experience, taking on a depth and dimension that simply must be tasted to be believed.”

The line includes an Oleato Caffè Latte, an Oleato Iced Shaken Espresso, and an Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew currently served at select Starbucks stores in Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, and New York.

Starbucks will continue to introduce the drinks in more locations later this year, including Japan, the Middle East, and the United Kingdom.

Olive oil being poured onto a spoon, with a bowl of salad in the background
Image Source / Alamy

Pros of adding olive oil to coffee

While this is a brand-new trend, and therefore the health benefits of combining olive oil and coffee have yet to be studied, it goes without saying that olive oil itself is bountiful in its health benefits. Olive oil is packed full of heart-healthy monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can help reduce the bad and increase the good cholesterol. It’s wonderful for helping prevent many illnesses like heart disease. It’s full of vitamin E, which is good for inflammation and is excellent for boosting immunity.

As far as taste goes, fans of the new drink are saying that the addition of olive oil to their morning brew creates a smooth, silky texture to the bitter beverage. For many, it seems olive oil is a welcome condiment to their morning pick-me-up.

Small coffee cup and saucer
Maani Collection / Shutterstock

Cons of adding olive oil to coffee

While many who have tasted Starbucks’ new drinks have enjoyed their flavor — even comparing their taste to silky ice cream — not everyone has the barista talents the green apron brings. Simply pouring some olive oil from your cabinet into that morning cup of joe may not exactly have the same results.

If you do want to try this trend at home, be sure to use a higher-quality olive oil. While grocery store brands will do fine in a cooking pinch, for drinking, we recommend using a more top-of-the-line brand for the best flavor.

Something else to keep in mind? Blending coffee and oil is essentially mixing oil and water. It’s not easily done. It’s best to use a blender or mixer to ensure the coffee and oil properly emulsify. If you skip this step, the oil will likely separate from the coffee and puddle on top, resembling a greasy oil stain on a black slab of pavement. Not the best way to start the day.

Speaking of starting the day off on the wrong foot, both coffee and olive oil are laxatives, so mixing the two first thing in the morning may leave you desperately running for the restroom before your 9 a.m. meeting. So if you have a sensitive stomach, take heed.

In addition to potential tummy troubles, while it’s a wonderful ingredient for cooking, not everyone enjoys the actual taste of olive oil. If you’re looking to add a bit to your coffee but don’t love the flavor, you can try adding more ingredients to help camouflage the olive oil flavor. Honey, flavored milks, and spices like cinnamon are all delicious choices. The recipe below is a great option.

Olive oil coffee recipe

Olive oil coffee
The Simple Sprinkle

(From The Simple Sprinkle)

If you don’t happen to live in one of the areas where Starbucks is offering its newest treat, you can try this copycat version from The Simple Sprinkle. This version is not only delicious, but vegan, and whips up in just a few minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of vegan barista milk
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of hazelnut syrup
  • 1 dash of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of instant coffee
  • 1 cup of ice-cold water

Method:

  1. In a large glass, mix water and instant coffee until combined.
  2. Mix together the milk, olive oil, hazelnut syrup, and vanilla extract.
  3. Using a milk frother, froth the milk mixture until it is thick and stabilized.
  4. Add ice cubes to the coffee, then pour the frothed milk on top of the iced coffee. Serve immediately.

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Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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