ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Starbucks unveiled what it is calling “a transformational innovation in coffee, Oleato—a line of coffee beverages that brings together the unexpected—Starbucks arabica coffee deliciously infused with a spoonful of Partanna cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil.” The company says that the result is “velvety smooth, delicately sweet and lush coffee that uplifts each cup with an extraordinary new flavor and texture.”
The new beverage platform, which launched in Starbucks stores in Italy on February 22, includes Oleato versions of caffè latte, cold brew, iced espresso and more.
Starbucks will begin to introduce the beverages in select markets around the world, starting with Southern California in the United States this spring. Later this year, Japan, the Middle East and the United Kingdom will launch the beverages.
In select markets, customers will also be able to add a press—the equivalent to a spoonful—of Partanna extra virgin olive oil as a customization to select beverages. The press will then be infused (steamed, shaken or blended) as a customization into select drinks such as espresso beverages and tea lattes.
Partanna, an Italian extra virgin olive oil brand, created “a highly curated blend of extra virgin olive oil from the finest Mediterranean olives, including the high-quality Nocellara del Belice (also called Castelvetrano) olives from Partanna, Sicily. The blend was thoughtfully selected to pair perfectly with Starbucks coffee, which is then skillfully infused in the beverage to unlock a smooth and delicious experience like no other,” the press release says.
“One thing that’s special about Partanna’s olives is their uniquely nutty, slightly sweet flavors—think of that rich smoothness of a buttery caramel, it’s a natural complement to our coffee,” said Amy Dilger, principal beverage developer for Starbucks. “Whether you enjoy Oleato hot or cold, you get this really luxurious, textural experience.”
According to CNN, Starbucks interim CEO Howard Schultz started adding olive oil to his coffee last year after he was introduced to the practice by olive oil producer Tommaso Asaro, who is sourcing the olive oil for Starbucks through his company’s Partanna brand.
CNN interviewed Brady Brewer, Starbucks’ chief marketing officer, who said, “It is one of the biggest launches we’ve had in decades. Rather than a flavor or a product, it’s really a platform,” which CNN says means that customers will be able to use olive oil to customize some drinks.
Starbucks recently announced plans to open more than 400 stores in Asia-Pacific.