Starbucks’ new olive oil-infused coffee drinks are coming to a city near you. After launching in select stores this spring, Oleato drinks are now available in more cities across the country.
As of today, you can find Oleato beverages in Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, as well as select cities in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont. Plus, they’ll be available in more stores throughout California, Illinois, New York and Washington, where the beverages first made their U.S. debut in select stores this March.
That means the drink will be available in 15 states total and nearly one-third of Starbucks U.S. company-operated stores—a pretty big footprint for a contentious beverage line.
What exactly is Oleato?
Here’s how Starbucks describes Oleato: “Starbucks® arabica coffee deliciously infused with a press of Partanna® cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil.”
The Oleato beverage menu includes:
- Oleato™ Caffé Latte: Starbucks Blonde Espresso Roast, a light roast that is smooth and subtly sweet, is infused with Partanna® extra virgin olive oil and steamed with creamy oatmilk to create a velvety smooth, deliciously lush latte.
- Oleato™ Iced Shaken Espresso: This coffee-forward beverage offers layers of flavor sweetened with notes of toffeenut, rich espresso and creamy oatmilk infused with Partanna® extra virgin olive oil.
- Oleato™ Golden Foam™ Cold Brew: The inviting aroma of lush Partanna® extra virgin olive oil-infused cold foam cascades slowly through the dark, smooth cold brew, creating a subtle sweetness in the beverage.
Starbucks Reserve and Roastery locations in New York City, Chicago, and Seattle offer additional Oleato drinks, including an iced cortado and a martini.
What does it taste like?
I tried several Oleato drinks, including the latte and the cold brew.
As for the latte, the olive oil is infused into the foam, meaning the EVOO flavor is subtle. The foam looks basically the same as any other latte, though it takes on a slightly golden hue and it feels a bit more velvety on the tongue.
If you really want to taste the olive oil, the cold brew offered a stronger flavor on my palate. It’s topped with a sweet creamy foam and bears a noticeably olive oil color. I could even feel the slick olive oil on my lips after a few sips.
While I enjoyed trying the drinks, I’m not likely to switch up my usual Starbucks order.
In terms of the controversy, some Starbucks customers have complained about stomach issues after trying the drink, as Today documented here. One person on Twitter even called the beverage line a “legit laxative,” Today reported. I’m happy to report no ill effects from my tasting of several Oleato drinks. It’s worth noting that I ordered decaf when possible and that I’ve generally got a strong stomach thanks to my well-honed tolerance to late-night bar food.
Why olive oil anyway?
Starbucks founder Howard Schultz has long drawn inspiration from Italy, and a recent trip to Sicily sparked the Oleato idea. Here’s how Starbucks tells the tale: Schultz learned about a Mediterranean custom of taking a spoonful of olive oil each day, and he started enjoying a spoonful of Partanna extra virgin olive oil in addition to his morning coffee. Soon, he got the idea to try the two together.
“I was absolutely stunned at the unique flavor and texture created when the Partanna extra virgin olive oil was infused into Starbucks coffee,” Schultz said in a statement online. “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.”
How to find Oleato
If you want to try it for yourself, you can use the Starbucks store locator to find Oleato beverages.