Olive oil in coffee? New line a curiosity in Italy
Putting olive oil in coffee is hardly a tradition in Italy, but that didn’t stop Starbucks interim CEO Howard Schultz from launching a series of beverages that do just that in Milan, the city that inspired his coffee house empire.
The coffee-olive oil concoction — echoing a keto-inspired trend of adding butter to coffee, only with a sugary twist — has provoked both amusement and curiosity among Italians.
Gambero Rosso, an Italian food and wine magazine, called the mixing of olive oil with coffee “a curious combination” but said it was reserving judgment, having not yet sampled the drinks.
It did praise featuring the staple of Italian kitchens as a main ingredient, not just a condiment. The magazine also noted the health benefits of consuming extra virgin olive oil, which some Italians do habitually straight from the bottle.
“Did we need coffee with extra virgin olive oil and syrups? Maybe yes, maybe no,” wrote the magazine’s Michela Becchi. But the chance to promote Italian excellence is a valuable one, she added.
Italy’s olive oil producers’ association, ASSITOL, welcomed “the daring innovation,” saying the line of drinks could “relaunch the image of olive oil, especially among young people.” The association has been promoting adding olive oil to cocktails.
Martina Lunardi, a student of cultural mediation, was sticking to her standard cappuccino on a recent Starbucks visit but said she wasn’t offended by the olive oil combos and might even try one someday.
“Anyway, I know where to get a regular cup of coffee,” Lunardi said.
Schultz came up with the notion of adding olive oil to coffee after visiting an olive oil producer in Sicily and teased the idea as a game-changer in his last earnings call. He worked with an inhouse coffee drink developer to come up with recipes, the international coffee chain said.