Starbucks Is Going to Infuse Coffee with Olive Oil But Customers Aren't Sold
Starbucks unveiled a new, game-changing line of drinks this week that includes adding olive oil to its caffeinated beverages. The "Oleato" line is debuting in Italy today, but with a worldwide release pending, the chain's American fans are beginning to chime in with their first impressions. And it seems the olive-oil coffee might face quite a few skeptics once it lands in the United States.
The initial European launch includes Caffé Latte and Iced Shaken Espresso infused with Partanna extra virgin olive oil, as well as cold brew topped with an olive oil cold foam. The Starbucks Reserve Milan Roastery will offer a slightly expanded list of Oleato drinks, including an Iced Cortado and Golden Foam Espresso Martini.
In a Facebook announcement, the brand voiced excitement for its customers to taste items from the new line, but the flavor combination left some confused and even defiant.
"It's not even April 1st yet!" said one Facebook user, seemingly implying that the new line was a premature April Fool's Day joke. "Nope. I'll stick to black coffee," another user responded.
Starbucks said that it plans to bring the Oleato line to Southern California this spring, followed by the U.K., Japan, and the Middle East later this year.
In the meantime, Italy is a fitting start for Oleato—according to Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz, the European country provided the inspiration for the line. While traveling in Sicily last year, Schultz started participating in a Mediterranean custom of consuming a daily spoonful of olive oil and alongside his morning coffee. This inspired him to try the two together, and he said he was left "absolutely stunned at the unique flavor and texture created when the Partanna extra virgin olive oil was infused into Starbucks coffee."
"In both hot and cold coffee beverages, what it produced was an unexpected, velvety, buttery flavor that enhanced the coffee and lingers beautifully on the palate," he said.
Not all customer reactions to the announcement were negative. Some fans made sure to convey their excitement or at least openness for trying the olive oil-infused coffees.
"Had it in espresso before and it was honestly quite nice. Brought out a nuttiness to the coffee itself in a kind of sweet and savory way," said one Reddit user.
But positive reactions seemed to be overshadowed by the many customers who questioned why Starbucks felt the need to combine its coffee with the typically savory ingredient.
"When I think of a refreshing and delicious beverage, olive oil is the first thing that comes to mind. Said no one," a user commented on Reddit.
Starbucks was contacted for comment on the reaction to the Oleato line but did not immediately respond.