Starbucks launches its olive oil-infused Oleato beverages nationwide

ByJordan Valinsky, CNN, CNNWire
Tuesday, January 30, 2024
Starbucks launches its olive oil-infused Oleato beverages nationwide
Starbucks is taking its extra virgin olive oil-infused drinks, called Oleato, nationwide beginning Tuesday.

NEW YORK -- Starbucks is taking its extra virgin olive oil-infused drinks - which some customers previously complained of sending them straight to the bathroom - nationwide beginning Tuesday.

The lineup, called Oleato, launched in a few US cities last year before slowly expanding to more stores. Tuesday's launch across its US and Canada locations signifies that the chain stands behind the beverage despite subpar reviews from customers and critics.

On the Oleato menu are two drinks: An oat milk latte infused with the extra virgin olive oil; and a new toffeenut iced shaken espresso with golden foam, which is vanilla sweet cream infused with extra virgin olive oil into a cold foam.

The drinks debuted in Italy in 2023, with a Starbucks executive previously telling CNN that it's one of its "biggest launches we've had in decades."

Starbucks Oleato drinks are made with extra virgin olive oil.

Oleato is the brainchild of former CEO Howard Schultz, who announced the new line of drinks with much fanfare before he handed the reins over to the current CEO, Laxman Narasimhan.

Schultz met olive oil producer Tommaso Asaro, who introduced him to the practice of consuming a tablespoon of olive oil each day. Schultz picked up the habit himself, wondered if he could combine it with his daily coffee routine, and asked Starbucks' beverage team to see if they could pull it off.

Once people had a chance to try the drinks, opinions poured in. One pair of reviewers posted a video titled "We Tried Starbucks Olive Oil Coffee Drinks and Seriously Regret It."

Others had mixed feelings but concluded that the drinks seem more like a stunt - something worth trying but not necessarily worth coming back for.

"We feel this line of drinks is more for the headlines than the longevity on the menu," Tasting Table noted in its review. A Bon Appétit reviewer wondered if the drinks will "turn into a 'secret' menu item, with stores outfitted with carafes of extra virgin olive oil in case someone wants a pump of it."

Some customers say it's making them have to run to the bathroom, with social media abuzz with complaints.

During an analyst call last year, Narasimhan described the beverage launch as "highly successful," calling it "one of the top five product launches in the last five years in terms of brand awareness and excitement."

Starbucks reports earnings Tuesday after the bell, with the chain potentially reporting a rocky quarter due to various reasons, including protests and softer holiday sales.

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