For extra healthy coffee, add a spoon of olive oil!
ONCE upon a time, going to a coffee shop involved a few quite simple choices: black or white, strong or weak, sugar or ‘I’m sweet enough already’.
The dazzling array of choices available these days will soon include adding olive oil.
This is the brainchild of Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks.
Last year he learnt that many Italians routinely drink a tablespoon of olive oil in the mornings for the health benefits. He took it up — but as he also drinks coffee every morning, he mixed the two. And so the ‘Oleato’ (‘oiled’, in Italian) was born.
It’s currently only available in Starbucks branches in Italy, but there are plans to roll it out in the UK later this year.
Olive oil is not only delicious but is rich in polyphenols, plant chemicals that help protect our cells.
The oil, particularly extra-virgin, is also rich in oleic acid, a fat with powerful antiinflammatory properties — chronic inflammation is thought to be a driver of many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers.
And, contrary to popular myth, olive oil is a stable fat, so is safe to cook with.
Coffee, too, is rich in polyphenols, which could explain a recent study of 450,000 people, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, which found that those drinking two to three cups a day lived longer and had lower rates of heart disease than coffee avoiders. But do coffee and olive oil go well together? I made a strong espresso with a dash of milk and a teaspoon of olive oil — the oil certainly made the coffee taste creamier, but also more bitter.
Call me old- fashioned, but I reckon I am going to stick to traditional cappuccinos.