Following in the buttery footsteps of Bulletproof coffee, Starbucks recently launched Oleato beverages, a line of coffees that each contain a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Admittedly, I tend to think of olive oil as best used for cooking and not something I want anywhere near my morning beverage, but I was intrigued. I had been a Bulletproof coffee drinker back in the day, so this didn't seem that different.
What are the Starbucks olive oil coffee options?
There are currently three drinks in the Oleata line: Golden Foam Cold Brew, Cafe Latte With Oatmilk, and Iced Shaken Espresso With Oatmilk and Toffeenut. For the purposes of thorough product testing, I ordered all of them and recruited my husband and one coffee-drinking child to taste test with me. I did not realize at the time exactly how much apologizing I would have to do for that recruitment later.
What does Starbucks Oleato taste like?
The first drink we tried was the Cafe Latte With Oatmilk. While I didn't taste the olive oil (at first), the oat milk was weirdly and overbearingly dominant — and not in a good way. As someone who actually orders coffee with oat milk, I was surprised at how off-putting this was. My husband, who doesn't get oat milk in his coffee, agreed the oat milk was overwhelming — again, not in a good way. The youth representative just shook her head. I also noticed an oily aftertaste, which I didn't love. But the good part? There were only 6 grams of sugar, though I suspected more sweetness might cover up the awful taste of the thing. The oil was inescapable, even rising to the top after the latte had settled.
But onward and upward! The next was the Golden Foam Cold Brew. This seemed like it might be the least olive oily of the bunch since the oil was only "infused" in the foam, then poured on top of the Starbucks traditional cold brew. No luck. More than the latte, I got straight oil flavor in this. My husband thought it tasted like movie-theater buttered popcorn. That isn't the worst taste, I'll admit, but probably not one you want from your coffee. My kid didn't like this one, either.
Iced Shaken Espresso With Oatmilk and Toffeenut was another fail. While the toffee flavor was there, somewhere, all too often it was drowned out by the taste of olive oil. My husband and my kid both made faces, and I think the youth representative even shuddered sipping this one.
Are Starbucks Oleato coffees worth it?
I really, really wanted to like these. They seemed like, if not a great idea, no worse than Bulletproof coffee, which tasted alright and made sense if you were fasting and skipping breakfast (not so much if you weren't). While these, like Bulletproof or butter coffee, were also high in fat, olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats and is considered anti-inflammatory (which the sugar probably cancels out, but whatever). It seemed like, if not a win, a step in the right direction. The problem, unfortunately, was each of these drinks tasted largely awful — and they weren't cheap. Sorry, Starbucks, but this was a big fail.
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