MILAN – Starbucks is rolling out today in the U.S. it olive oil-infused Oleato coffee line, which first debuted in Italy last month. The launch will initially take place in a few select locations, including the iconic Reserve Roasteries in Chicago, Seattle and New York. Then on March 27, nearly 600 stores in Seattle and the greater Los Angeles area will start serving the beverages.
Former CEO Howard Schultz previously described the new beverage platform as an Italian-inspired “game-changer” for Starbucks when he first hinted at the launch during his final earning call on February 2.
The line-up includes the Oleato Caffè Latte, which retails for $6.75, the Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew, $6.45, and the Oleato Iced Shaken Espresso, $6.75, though prices at Reserve locations could be slightly higher. At the Reserve locations, customers can also try the olive-oil infused iced cortado and an espresso martini topped with golden foam.
Starbucks is also offering The Oleato Tasting Experience: a barista-led, multi-sensory experience that showcases the alchemy of aroma, flavour, and texture unique to Oleato, at prices that range from $50 to $60.
This immersive experience is only available at Starbucks Reserve Roasteries in Seattle and Chicago, the Starbucks Reserve store Empire State Building, and reservations can be booked in advance.
Allison Arnold described Starbucks’ Oleato on the Delish food site as “one the best things they’ve launched in years” adding that the Oleato Golden Foam Espresso Martini was the best espresso martini she had ever had.
The reviewer Louella Berryman wrote on the same site “On first sip, you’ll get a rich, nutty espresso hit, made all the more nutty and smooth by the shaken-in cold pressed olive oil and oat milk.” “The texture is more creamy than your usual iced latte, and the savory hit of the olive oil with the sweetness of the oat milk and coffee is unusual but keeps you going back for more — sort of like an olive oil ice cream or olive oil chocolate brownie.”
One analyst on the Street is sceptical, though, that customers will get an olive-oil infused coffee habitually.
“While the beverage is distinctive and nods of olive oil were subtle, our base case is the market for the beverage will be niche and embed no sales lift,” said in a note to investors, Andrew Charles of Cowen.
He went on saying that “the beverage could ignite trial when launched in the U.S., though we have a hard time envisioning how the unorthodox pairing could lead to habit.”
Starbucks plans to bring the Oleato drinks to Japan, the Middle East and the United Kingdom later this year.