The Starbucks Oleato Release Controversy (Is It Worth Trying?)

Last Updated on April 30, 2023 by brewthatcoffee

The Starbucks Oleato Release Controversy (Is It Worth Trying?)
The Starbucks Oleato

Starbucks launched its new coffee product, the Oleato. A mix of coffee with a dash of olive oil has created controversy among Starbucks fans. So, what is the Starbucks Oleato controversy, and is the drink really worth trying?

The Starbucks Oleato comes in three different lines, a café latte, shaken iced espresso, and golden foam cold brew. It combines classic coffee drinks with a spoonful of the Italian Partanna extra virgin olive oil, creating an uplifted European-styled smooth and velvety drink.

Coffee and olive oil are two increasingly popular products. The stimulating effects of coffee provide the jolt needed, while the health benefits of olive oil are replacing saturated and trans fats, but is combining them the next best thing?

What Is An Oleato Coffee From Starbucks?

The word oleate in Italian refers to “with oil” or “oiled,” fitting for the new controversial drink from the coffee giant. Starbucks has launched a new range of Arabic coffee drinks incorporating a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil and milk.

A mix of iced, cold brew, and latte coffees was launched in the United States in March after the successful launch in Italy.

The drinks aroused amusement as well as curiosity at the combination. Still, this combo is definitely among the most unlikely things Starbucks has come out with.

However, to avoid deconstruction of the olive oil and its separation from the beverage’s content, it’s best to drink iced and cold Oleato coffees quickly.

What It Tastes Like

The flavors could take some time to get accustomed to, given the evidently present flavors of the bitter, savory olive oil. To some, the presence of olive oil is quite intense and unusual. Still, the olive oil definitely lends a new depth and dimension to the coffee.

It has a rich, velvety mouthfeel where the combination of flavors unexpectedly complements each other very well. The added syrup in the iced version adds a subtle sweetness that softens the olive oil taste. Still, the rich and buttery flavors are exceptional.

Why Starbucks Is Adding Olive Oil To Their Coffee

Inspired by Italians’ love for their coffee, Howard Schultz revolutionized how we drink our coffee. Four decades later and another lightbulb moment, Starbucks CEO was inspired to create a new line of coffee by combining people’s love of coffee with the uplifting ritual, Mediterranean people have for drinking a small dose of extra virgin olive oil.

Bringing together nature’s two finest ingredients that are widely used will hopefully bring a transformation to coffee with Partanna extra virgin olive oil, which has a uniquely nutty and sweet nuance. This adds a new dimension to the traditional coffee and latte that Starbucks typically sells.

The Starbucks Oleato Lineup

The lineup of Oleato beverages that will be served worldwide incorporates three traditionally loved coffee drinks with an added twist of the finest oil from Mediterranean olives that Starbucks Barristers skilfully add to create a delicious experience.

1. Oleato Caffé Latte

The Oleato Caffe Latte uses two shots of short prepped blonde espresso and oat milk. The creamy foam topping is a rich, velvety mix of steamed oat milk infused with Partanna extra virgin olive oil.

The nutritional values are taken from a grande cup (16oz).

  • Calories: 330
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Caffeine: 170mg

Since the Oleato caffe latte is not sweetened, you could modify this drink to make it slightly sweeter and mask some of the savory flavors of the olive oil by asking for an extra pump of vanilla syrup and pistachio sauce to top the foam.

2. Oleato Iced Shaken Espresso (Our Favorite)

Oleato Iced Shaken Espresso
Starbucks Oleato Iced Shaken Espresso
Oleato Iced Shaken Espresso
Starbucks Oleato Iced Shaken Espresso

The iced Oleato shaken espresso is made with three shots of blonde espresso and a spoonful of Partanna extra virgin olive oil with four pumps of toffee nut syrup that is vigorously shaken to mix all the ingredients well before being poured over ice.

The oat milk is poured over the concoction to produce delicate white lace tendrils of milk as it mixes in the cup to create notes of caramel toffee nut that subdue the flavors of olive oil.

The nutritional values are taken on a grande cup (16oz):

  • Calories: 250
  • Sugar: 17g
  • Caffeine: 225mg

If you don’t like oat milk, a quick modification is to ask for whole milk, which also works well with olive oil.

3. Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew

Starbucks Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew
Starbucks Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew
Starbucks Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew
Starbucks Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew

Hand-crafted cold brew coffee with two pumps of vanilla syrup is topped with Starbucks cold foam. The foam is made from sweet vanilla cream with a spoonful of Partanna extra virgin olive oil and blended to a light foamy texture before being poured over the coffee.

The nutritional values are taken from a grande cup (16oz):

  • Calories: 380
  • Sugar: 19g
  • Caffeine: 185mg

A quick modification to this drink would be to swap the milk with skim milk to slightly lower the calories.


Inside Look at Oleato™ Part 2: Meet Golden Foam™ Cold Brew, our handcrafted cold brew topped with cold foam infused with Partanna extra virgin olive oil. Available now in Seattle and Los Angeles and soon a store near you. #Starbucks #Oleato

♬ original sound – Starbucks

Why Some Customers Are Reporting Bowel Problems

The new line of Starbucks coffees, the Oleato range, has caught some people by surprise, and they found that they have had bowel problems.

It’s not because the coffee and olive oil mix is a bad combo, and Starbucks has lost its mind. There is some science behind this reason.

While caffeine is a stimulant and increases the mobility of your intestines, olive oil is a relaxant. It can be used as a stool softener and is often used to help constipation, as it lines and moisturizes the gut.

Because it’s in a liquid form, olive oil is absorbed and digested much faster than high-fat meals, so the period between digesting a high-fat meal and drinking a high-fat coffee like the Oleato range can catch people that have stomach problems off guard with uncomfortable cramps and feeling of needing to go to the bathroom.

Should You Try This Drink?

Extra virgin olive oil can have many benefits and some downsides for people with sensitive stomachs.

It’s definitely worth trying out to experience the unexpected complementing flavors of coffee and extra virgin olive oil, which brings a nutty and complex flavor to the coffee that should be savored when you have time rather than on the go.

For people with sensitive stomachs who want to try this out, be warned that the olive oil can act quickly, and you could experience cramps as the stimulant of caffeine and the relaxant of the olive oil play havoc with sufferers or irritated bowel syndrome (IBS).

The high fat of olive oil can also increase the production of acid reflux. While olive oil is a relaxant, this may cause your lower esophagus sphincter (LES) to relax, prompting heartburn.

So, coffee drinkers with sensitive stomachs, beware and be prepared but definitely try out the new Oleato range and decide for yourself.


Either way, a new ritual or a passing craze, the new Starbucks line of Oleato coffee is either loved or hated and, for some, is not a good match. Curiosity is what is getting so many people to try this drink out. However, the census is not unanimous, and while some people may love it and create a new ritual, others would be best to avoid it.


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