Starbucks is stirring the coffee world yet again, announcing the return of its unique, and for some, contentious Oleato line in the United States from January 30.
These beverages, with roots in a Mediterranean tradition of daily olive oil consumption, are not only distinctive but also alluring. At the heart of the Oleato line is the infusion of Partanna extra virgin olive oil. This idea was born from an experiment by Starbucks' founder, Howard Schultz, who tasted the unusual, yet, as he described it, “lush, velvety flavor” of coffee combined with olive oil.
The range includes drinks like the Oleato Golden Foam Iced Shaken Espresso with Toffenut and Oleato Cafe Latte with Oatmilk, amongst others. Espresso and latte, the two mainstays of coffee culture, are infused with olive oil in inventive ways, thereby offering an unexpected twist to traditional beverages.
It's not just the regular Starbucks branches that are jazzing up their menus. Starbucks Reserve Roasteries are also set to introduce “elevated” versions of these olive oil-infused drinks.
Personalize your sip
For those wanting to experiment, Starbucks is giving them the freedom to add the Partanna olive oil to any of their chosen drinks. This move aims to cater to the varied tastes and preferences of its customers.
A comeback with a twist
The Oleato line makes its comeback after the initial launch in 2023 in the US received mixed reactions. Some patrons found the strong olive oil flavor off-putting, while others noted an unexpected side effect – more frequent restroom visits.
Addressing controversy and change
Laxman Narasimhan, the CEO of Starbucks, has recently voiced his concerns over the company's media portrayal during customer boycotts. The reintroduction of the Oleato line may be viewed by some as a strategic move to shift the conversation.
Besides the intriguing drinks line, customers might also notice some changes in their cups. Starbucks is reportedly revamping its cup design, which will be visible, particularly in the drive-thru line.