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Starbucks' New Oleato Olive Oil Drinks, Ranked

The new Oleato line is another seasonal swing taken by the coffee conglomerate.

At Starbucks, you can now let olive oil infiltrate your coffee with the new and much-hyped Oleato beverages. The lineup—which includes the Oleato Caffé Latte, the Oleato Iced Shaken Espresso, and the Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew—was first released in Italy back in February, but just dropped at select locations in Los Angeles and Seattle this week. If you're like me, you might be asking, "Why olive oil?"


Starbucks has been experimenting with plenty of new foams and flavors in recent months, each one embodying some sort of seasonal flavor or affect without seeming overly artificial. In theory, the Oleato line fits this theme, even though it only tangentially relates to a spring or summer menu, since olive oil is a year-round flavor. That said, desserts flavored with EVOO make a ton of sense, so maybe these drinks will be a hit. Before I review them, though, there is one very important question that needs answered.

Just what kind of olive oil is Starbucks using, exactly?

Starbucks' Oleato drinks are made with Partanna olive oil, which is a cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil produced in Partanna, Sicily. This olive oil is widely available and comes in an iconic tin painted with the image of the Sicilian countryside. Partanna is not my favorite olive oil; it's more of a baseline oil, but it is one that I see used quite often.


Honestly, I'm surprised Starbucks is using Partanna and not something a little cheaper. It gives me hope that these drinks might actually taste good.

I drank all three of Starbucks' new Oleato beverages and ranked them, starting with my least favorite.

Third Place: Oleato Caffé Latte

To create this latte, Starbucks' blonde espresso roast is infused with Partanna olive oil and steamed with oat milk. The taste is rich and velvety, yes, but there is something wholly unpleasant about a warm and distinct olive oil flavor in my coffee. It makes me think of a dish of warm Castelvetrano olives served as an appetizer at a restaurant, which is a great snack, but something this savory is just not what I'm looking for in my coffee. I want olive oil and coffee to merge together like a dessert, because that's where Starbucks excels: making coffee taste like a grocery store sheet cake. This Caffé Latte is not what I want Oleato to be.


Second Place: Oleato Iced Shaken Espresso

This iced and shaken espresso features oat milk and hazelnut. It's slightly sweet, rich, and has a very strong olive oil flavor. At first, I thought that I hated this, but the more I drank it the more it grew on me. It's a jolt of savoriness that surprises me every time I take a sip.


Here's the problem, though: I don't go to Starbucks to be surprised. I'm there because I want to get high on caffeine. Typically, I appreciate it when companies take big swings with their flavors, but I don't think this whole olive oil thing works. It's a forced concept, and given the price of the drink (about six bucks), I just don't see myself spending any more cash to drink something that feels so aggressively novel.

First Place: Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew

Now this is more of what I was expecting. The Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew has the strongest olive oil taste of all three, with olive oil in both the foam and the coffee itself. And while the beverage is quite bitter and has a pronounced olive oil taste, it's also creamy, rich, and velvety, with a hint of sweetness.


Still, even this drink is something of a letdown, as I wish it were just a bit sweeter. I was hoping that one of these drinks would at least taste like olive oil ice cream or olive oil cake, but it seems that Starbucks is leaning into the more adult flavors of its new Oleato beverages. That's a mistake, because Starbucks is at its best when it serves up several ounces of slightly bastardized nonsense and insists that it's sophisticated.