Is Starbucks New Oleato a Laxative? Here's the Scoop. | Dallas Observer


Starbucks New Drink: Three Shots of Espresso and Olive Oil — What Could Go Wrong?

Cup of coffee, anyone?
Cup of coffee, anyone? Lauren Drewes Daniels
Starbucks recently released a new line of olive oil espresso drinks called Oleato in the Dallas market. Starbucks says it's legal. What could possibly go wrong with three shots of espresso and a tablespoon of olive oil?

The idea of adding olive oil to coffee came to thrice-former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz as he was visiting Sicily in 2022. The New Yorker got the full story on the experience, which simply involved an olive-oil producer telling Schultz that "many Sicilians are wont to take a tablespoon of olive oil each morning for their health," per the article.

We love it that Italian farmers throw around the under-appreciated word "wont," which in Italian is non. Maybe something got lost in translation?

Alas, Schultz adopted the practice and thought the rest of the world would be giddy, saying, "Oleato represents the next revolution in coffee that brings together an alchemy of nature’s finest ingredients – Starbucks Arabica coffee beans and Partanna cold pressed extra virgin olive oil."

He told CNN, "We've discovered something quite extraordinary," which made keto-Reddit feeds chuckle. Fans of the eating lifestyle have added butter to coffee for some time.

I recently tried the Oleato Iced Shaken Espresso. A medium comes with three shots of espresso, oat milk and a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil. There's also a toffeenut syrup, but being somewhat of a purist I eighty-sixed the syrup. The olive oil of choice here is Partanna, from Sicily, which is kept in a pump bottle by all the other syrups at Starbucks.

After the first few sips, there was an odd burning sensation at the back of my throat, which apparently is a sensation others have experienced, according to Consumer Affairs. I couldn't finish the drink and later, after removing the lid to pour it down the sink, I noticed small, yellow-ish, oleaginous pools of olive oil at the top of the drink. Seven dollars of espresso and olive oil down the drain. So dumb.

Alas, dieticians are saying you may want to tap the brakes on sipping espresso and olive oil together. Dr. George Sanchez, a gastroenterologist with Gastro Health in Miami, told HuffPost that olive oil has historically been used as a laxative to relieve constipation, but too much of it can cause malabsorption, potentially leading to diarrhea. Add shots of espresso to that, which stimulates the gastrointestinal tract, and the response is amplified. Maybe they could ponder a rename: instead of Oleato, Oil Change.

But if a farmer told Howard that they've been doing it for years in Italy, then it must be great for everyone.

A tablespoon of olive oil adds 120 calories to your coffee.

Who's ready for pumpkin spice latte season to return? 
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.

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