Olive oil can now be found in an unexpected place — infused in your morning cup of joe. Starbucks released their latest menu item, the Oleato, an olive oil coffee drink which has stirred controversy.
There are polarizing opinions on the Oleato, with many finding the combination of olive oil and coffee unappetizing, reluctant to give the new drink a try. However, those who have tasted the drink for themselves claim to enjoy it.
“I was hesitant to try it because I didn’t know what to expect. But [the barista] sweet-talked me into giving it a taste and I have to say, it was really good,” said Carolyn Kennedy, a customer at the USC Village Starbucks.
Kennedy continues on to describe the taste of the new drink. “It felt satisfying, refreshing and surprisingly not oversweet. It just had such a nice taste that I wanted to have more of it,” she said.
Giselle Galindo, a sophomore majoring in art history and cyber operations, said she has enjoyed olive oil coffee in the past from more authentic cafes; however, she isn’t looking forward to tasting Starbucks’ version.
“My initial reaction was that it was gonna to be really horrendous because just thinking of Starbucks putting olive oil in a drink kind of grosses me out,” said Galindo, “Seeing the pictures of it and like the TikTok videos I’ve seen so far, it’s not looking good.”
Jamie Hogan, a senior majoring in public relations, said he doesn’t plan to buy the drink anytime soon; however, he saw the advertisement displayed throughout the store and was full of questions.
“I was intrigued. I think, confused as to what it is, and what it tastes like and where the olive oil is [inside the drink],” Hogan said.
Despite the olive oil drink igniting polarized opinions, there has been a lot of positive feedback on the different forms it comes in — including the iced shaken espresso and Golden Foam Cold Brew.
“It’s quite new and a lot of people have been ordering it. I think a lot of people like it,” said Adrian Melendrez, a Starbucks employee at the USC Village. “I personally like it. My favorite version of it would be the cold brew with the foam on top.”
Aside from the culinary benefits of olive oil, it has been known for its health benefits as well. According to a study conducted by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, including a daily intake of olive oil to your diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The Oleato was first introduced in Italy starting late February and is now available in select Starbucks locations in Seattle, New York and Los Angeles, including multiple stores surrounding USC. Starbucks plans to expand the Oleato into other countries but remain exclusive to only certain locations.
The interim CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, is excited for the release of the Oleato and describes this as a gamechanger in the way people enjoy their daily coffee.
“Oleato represents the next revolution in coffee that brings together an alchemy of nature’s finest ingredients — Starbucks arabica coffee beans and Partanna cold pressed extra virgin olive oil,” Schultz said on the Starbucks website.
Although some customers at the USC Village Starbucks refuse to try the new drink, there is no denying that the Oleato has sparked conversations among people. With all the publicity the drink has received, even those who are most skeptical see its potential.
“But if it tastes good and it actually works, maybe it will be a new trend or something,” Hogan said.
Overall the question remains: Does oil and coffee mix or is it the new oil and water?