Olive Oil in Coffee: What is it and should you try it

Olive Oil in Coffee: What is it and should you try it

Putting Olive Oil in Your Morning Coffee


Starbucks has recently announced the launch of a new line of unique coffee beverages named "Oleato," which are coffee-based drinks mixed with a spoonful of olive oil. These drinks, currently only available in Italy, have sparked interest and curiosity among coffee enthusiasts worldwide. While the US market has not yet received these drinks, some individuals may be tempted to add a spoonful of olive oil to their morning coffee at home.

In this blog post, we will delve into the reasons behind Starbucks' release of these drinks and speculate on the possibility of their availability in the US market..

Table of Contents

  1. Starbucks launches new Olive Oil based coffee drinks
  2. Why put olive oil in coffee
    • Health benefits
      • Antioxidants and polyphenols
      • Vitamin E and K
      • Anti-inflammatory
      • Lowers LDL cholesterol
    • Viscosity and Texture
    • Added flavor
  3. Olive oil in coffee versus Bulletproof coffee
  4. Olive Oil Coffee Recipes
  5. Our issue with adding olive oil to coffee

Starbucks launches new Olive Oil based coffee drinks

Starbucks has recently introduced a new line of beverages in Italy that include extra virgin olive oil. These coffee-based drinks are not simply flavored with olive oil, but instead contain a spoonful of the oil, adding 120 calories to the drink. Some of the drinks have a visible layer of oil on top. The line, called Oleato, includes an Oleato latte with oat milk and olive oil, an Oleato ice shaken espresso with oat milk, hazelnut flavor, and olive oil, and the Oleato golden foam cold brew, which includes two servings of olive oil in the sweet milk foam. While the drinks are currently only available in Italy, versions of them will be released in other markets throughout the year, including in the US this spring. Starbucks' Chief Marketing Officer, Brady Brewer, describes the launch as one of the biggest in decades and a platform for customers to customize some drinks with olive oil. Starbucks is taking a risk with the launch, as adding fat to coffee is not new, but there is little demand for olive oil coffee.

Why put Olive Oil in coffee

Health Benefits of Olive Oil and the Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet

The diet is primarily plant-based and includes fish and poultry as the main animal-based products, with limited dairy intake. Before large-scale trade, people relied on what was locally available, resulting in seasonal variability. While the modern version of the diet may include more red meat and processed foods, the emphasis remains on a plant-based diet with healthy fats.

Mediterranean Diet Foods:

The Mediterranean diet is predominantly composed of green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, fresh fruits, whole grains, and olive oil. Olive oil, which contains alpha-linoleic acid, an omega-3 essential fatty acid, is a staple in the Mediterranean diet and has been found to be cardioprotective. The consumption of fish and other sea animals provides additional sources of omega fatty acids, contributing to the diet's cardioprotective nature. Moderate consumption of red wine, another important element, has been suggested to provide metabolic benefits, particularly in lipid metabolism, and its microconstituents may also play significant roles in hemostasis and inflammation.

Source: Rishor-Olney CR, Hinson MR. Mediterranean Diet. [Updated 2022 Mar 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557733/

You may have heard of the Mediterranean diet and how those that stick to this diet live a longer and healthier life. There are plenty of published studies on why this diet works and one key proponent of the diet is several servings of olive oil!

Olive oil contains alpha-linolenic acid, and omega-3 essential fatty acid that is high in antioxidants, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K, and is known for its anti-inflammatory, and cholesterol-lowering properties.

While we are certainly not a health blog, the benefits of olive oil can’t be denied. A recent publication in 2019 concerning Virgin Olive Oil and Health stated:

The Mediterranean diet is a healthy eating model that includes the use of extra-virgin olive oil as its main component. Research suggests that consuming virgin olive oil in moderation is associated with reduced body mass index and lower blood pressure, which in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. The anti-atherosclerotic potential of virgin olive oils also supports the maintenance of proper bodily functions. While the phenolic content of olive oil is important, recommendations for the population should consider the type of olive oil. Epidemiological studies support the chemoprevention benefits of the Mediterranean diet, including a reduced risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. While there is limited evidence on the specific protective role of virgin olive oils in preventing colorectal cancer, studies suggest that they may play a role in immunomodulation and could potentially aid in the prevention and management of immune-inflammatory diseases. Further clinical studies are needed to determine the effective doses and dose dependence of these effects.

Source: Gaforio JJ, Visioli F, Alarcón-de-la-Lastra C, Castañer O, Delgado-Rodríguez M, Fitó M, Hernández AF, Huertas JR, Martínez-González MA, Menendez JA, Osada J, Papadaki A, Parrón T, Pereira JE, Rosillo MA, Sánchez-Quesada C, Schwingshackl L, Toledo E, Tsatsakis AM. Virgin Olive Oil and Health: Summary of the III International Conference on Virgin Olive Oil and Health Consensus Report, JAEN (Spain) 2018. Nutrients. 2019 Sep 1;11(9):2039. doi: 10.3390/nu11092039. PMID: 31480506; PMCID: PMC6770785.

Health Benefits Conclusion

It's unclear whether Starbucks introduced EVOO-based drinks for health reasons or for the sake of taste and texture. Later in this article, we will compare it to Bullet Proof coffee, which adds butter and MCT oil to coffee for health benefits. Starbucks may be trying to compete with Bullet Proof coffee by introducing their own version of adding healthy fats to coffee.

Viscosity and Texture


Viscosity refers to a fluid's resistance to change shape or move in relation to its neighboring parts. This resistance to flow is determined by the liquid's thickness and increases with higher viscosity. The temperature of most materials can also impact their viscosity.

Source: https://www.britannica.com/science/viscosity

Starbucks may be adding olive oil to coffee to increase its viscosity, which refers to a liquid's resistance to flow. The more viscous a liquid, the thicker it is and the more resistant it is to flow. By adding even a tablespoon of olive oil to a 12-ounce cold brew, the viscosity of the coffee is increased, resulting in a creamier and thicker texture that is not found in black coffee alone. This added viscosity can improve the body and texture of all types of coffee drinks, including espressos, which cannot be achieved by milk alone, except for when creating thick foam. However, the question arises whether this is necessary or not. In our final thoughts, we will discuss not only the addition of olive oil to coffee but also the impact of flavorings and other additives on the coffee's original taste.

Added Flavor

Those who know, know that olive oil is not just a cooking agent and can be added to salads, dipping bread in it, adding it to yogurt, cheese, and even ice cream.

Connoisseurs of olive oil know that it is like coffee and or wine where the taste notes and quality of olive oil greatly vary. Taste notes of olive oils vary immensely and pairing your olive oil with its intended use is very similar to how one pairs a wine with a meal or a coffee with a particular brewing method.

Some taste notes in high-end olive oil can be:

  1. Stonefruit
  2. Green banana
  3. Cinnamon
  4. Citrus
  5. Cherry
  6. Woody
  7. Nuts
  8. Floral

While we do not know if Starbucks is using a more run-of-the-mill average-tasting olive oil in their drinks or a higher-end one with unique taste notes and pairing the olive oil with the drink and coffee type. It would be quite intriguing if Starbucks went with higher-end olive oils and appropriately paired the oil with the coffee, something that I do not think it is done but worth noting if these drinks get more sophisticated.

Olive Oil in coffee versus Bulletproof Coffee

What is Bulletproof coffee

Bulletproof coffee is a warm, creamy latte-like beverage that combines unsalted butter and a medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil with brewed coffee. The use of grass-fed butter in this recipe adds powerful antioxidants such as beta carotene and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which are higher in concentration compared to regular butter. Coconut oil and MCT oil are both healthy fats that offer potential health benefits such as increasing heart-protective HDL cholesterol and reducing inflammation. In some studies, MCT oil has also been shown to promote weight loss and improve cholesterol levels.

Why people drink Bulletproof coffee

Bulletproof coffee is renowned for its potential health benefits and is frequently associated with individuals following a ketogenic diet. MCT oil, a key ingredient in Bulletproof coffee, is believed to aid in maintaining ketosis, which is one of the main reasons for its inclusion in the recipe. Although we won't delve into its other potential health benefits, it is worth noting that Bulletproof coffee was originally formulated for its health-promoting properties when combined with coffee, rather than for the purpose of enhancing the taste of your coffee beverage.

Olive Oil in coffee versus Bulletproof coffee

When comparing olive oil to MCT oil and grass-fed butter (which is contained in the Bulletproof coffee recipe), each contains its health benefits from a boost in energy, gut health, assistance in weight loss, heart health, and more.

We are big proponents of personal health but often shy away from combining vitamins, minerals, fats, mushrooms, and other health supplements with our coffee. While we believe the Bulletproof coffee idea and recipe lean more heavily on the health benefits than what Starbucks is trying with olive oil, we still don’t see the need to combine these things.

We’ll get more into detail about why we believe if your intention is for better health, combining supplements with specialty-grade coffee or any coffee does a disservice to the industry and should just be taken separately. That said if adding olive oil enhances your coffee-drinking experience due to the increased viscosity or taste notes in olive oil that compliment those in coffee, maybe Starbucks is onto something.

Olive Oil Coffee Recipes

Olive Oil Latte:


  1. 20 grams of espresso roast coffee (1:2 ratio for 40g yield)
  2. 1 tablespoon of good extra virgin olive oil
  3. 8 ounces of half and half or any alternative milk


  1. Brew your espresso using 20 grams of coffee to 40 grams of liquid
  2. Steam 8 ounces of half and half - we chose half and half as it will further add to the texture of this drink than regular milk
  3. Add the steamed milk onto of the espresso. No need to worry about latte art as your be mixing in a tablespoon of olive oil
  4. Add one tablespoon of olive oil, mix and enjoy

Olive Oil Double Shot:

This is a pretty simple recipe of a double-shot of espresso with 1 tablespoon of EVOO. The EVOO will add big body and texture to the shot of espresso. Sourcing a good olive oil here is key and not using cheaper off the shelf extra virgin olive oil.


  1. 20 grams of espresso roast coffee (1:2 ratio for 40g yield)
  2. 1 tablespoon of good extra virgin olive oil


  1. Brew your espresso using 20 grams of coffee to 40 grams of liquid
  2. Add one tablespoon of olive oil, mix and enjoy

Honey Olive Oil Cortado:

This is a fun recipe because when speaking of viscosity and texture both olive oil and honey are high on the list. Using half and half in this recipe will further highlight the heavy body and texture and combined with honey and olive oil will make one interesting drink.


  1. 20 grams of espresso roast coffee (1:2 ratio for 40g yield)
  2. 1 tablespoon of good extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 tablespoon of a good honey or coffee blossom honey
  4. 2 ounces of half and half or any alternative milk


  1. Brew your espresso using 20 grams of coffee to 40 grams of liquid
  2. Steam 2 ounces of half and half - we chose half and half as it will further add to the texture of this drink than regular milk
    • You have an option of steaming the honey and milk together or stirring in the honey after you finished steaming.
  3. Add the steamed milk and honey onto of the espresso. No need to worry about latte art as your be mixing in a tablespoon of olive oil
  4. Add one tablespoon of olive oil, mix and enjoy

Our issue with Olive Oil Coffee

We believe that experimenting with different coffee drinks is a fun way to spark conversations and discover new options for enhancing your coffee, whether for health or taste. However, we personally do not recommend using olive oil as the sole way to enjoy a cup of coffee, either for taste or health benefits. In our view, it is simply another novelty coffee recipe, similar to the orange juice espresso shot that was popular for a while.

If you are a Bulletproof coffee enthusiast or someone who adds olive oil to your coffee for health reasons, we suggest enjoying high-grade specialty coffee and adding the health supplements separately. Mixing coffee with substances, regardless of their health benefits, detracts from the hard work of coffee producers around the world who put their heart and soul into creating this delightful beverage. As a coffee company, we love experimenting with different recipes, but we will always champion the amazing taste and hard work that goes into producing high-grade specialty coffee. We hope that coffee producers will not be subjected to the practice of dousing their coffee with olive oil as it goes against our appreciation for the purity and authenticity of specialty coffee.

Until the next trend!

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