Recently, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was inspired from his trip to Sicily. During his visit, Schultz learned the Mediterranean practice of consuming a spoonful of olive oil with coffee each morning. Schultz was so impressed, Starbucks introduced hot and iced variations of olive oil coffees, called Oleato coffees. Oleato coffee is the healthy combination of olive oil and coffee. While the practice is well known in Mediterranean countries, this combination is still novel in the Western world.

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 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.

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Mediterranean influence

Olive oil has been a staple in Mediterranean cuisine for millennia. The Mediterranean diet is still widely known to use olive oil as the main source of fat. Even in the earlier days, olive oil was used for a variety of health benefits. Benefits range from diets that reduce chances of heart diseases and promote longevity. Olive oil extracts in bath and body products have also been known to contributing to healthy and smoother skin.

Although European cuisines regularly includes olive oil in their diet, this practice is mostly unheard of in the US. In fact, Spain, Italy, and Greece consume and produce major amounts of olive oil worldwide. Meanwhile, the US consumes very little in comparison.

When Starbucks added extra virgin olive oil to their coffees, the unique flavor and health benefits, became a popular topic.

Health benefits of olive oil

While not all types of oil are healthy, research has indicated that extra virgin olive oil is, in fact, healthy.

Contrary to popular belief, olive oil is not associated with weight gain and obesity. Eating excessive amounts of fat causes weight gain, but balanced consumption has actually been linked with desired effects on weight. In fact, moderate consumption may even aid in weight loss.

Adding olive oil to your morning coffee

Because olive oil is naturally fatty, it helps reduce hunger and promotes satiety. So, adding it to your coffee will keep you full for longer. The fats help slow down caffeine absorption. This also helps reduce potential coffee jitters and crashes that come with drinking too much coffee.

If you want to start adding olive oil to your coffee, whether it be for health reasons or you simply like the taste, here are some tips.

First, make sure you purchase the correct type of olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is considered the healthier than the more refined olive oil. It contains the most antioxidants and bioactive compounds from olives.

It is important to start with a teaspoon of olive oil (per cup of coffee) and gradually increase the amount. This is so that the olive oil does not overpower the other flavors of your coffee, including the flavors of the coffee itself.

Next, add your preferred sugar, or cream, or other ingredients you normally have in your coffee. Creamer and milk or nut-based products decrease the flavors of the olive oil. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on your preferences and what you want your coffee to taste like.

The combination of olive oil and coffee add up to high calories for a small drink. So, olive oil should still be used sparingly. If you are including it in your salads and other dishes, if would probably be healthier to exclude it from your coffee. But when consumed as part of a balanced diet, olive oil in your coffee can be a flavorful, nutritious, and healthy way of including healthy fats.

If you’re looking for ideas, try the copycat Starbucks Oleato caffe latte or Starbucks copycat iced shaken espresso. Enjoy!