Starbucks creates olive oil coffee to conquer the Italian market


Italians have long been known for their love of coffee and olive oil. Starbucks now hopes to attract more of them to its chain stores by combining the two — a move that is already polarizing potential customers.

Starbucks announced Tuesday that it is offering a new line of coffee in Italian stores with extra-virgin olive oil from Sicily, calling the unexpected alchemy the “Oleato” — after the Italian word for oil.

The world’s largest coffee chain, like other American restaurant groups, has struggled to break into the Italian market. When it launched its first Italian coffee shop in 2017, Starbucks said it entered the Italian market with “humility and respect” and has since carefully expanded to 25 stores in northern Italy.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he came up with the idea of ​​putting olive oil in coffee after experimentally mixing a spoonful of the green-gold liquid with his own morning brew while in Sicily. “I was absolutely blown away by the unique flavor and texture that was created,” he said in a release, announcing the new olive oil range as a “transformative innovation” for coffee drinkers.

Starbucks baristas mix the oil with oat milk, either by steaming it or shaking it, before pouring the resulting mixture into a shot (or two) of espresso coffee or cold brew to create a flavor that will carry through the menu. developers is described as “caramel-like”. ”

Many on social media seemed skeptical about the concoction. “Olive oil coffee! I’ve never seen an Italian drink their espresso with olive oil. passage,” one replied.

Another called the idea one “cruelty.” One person responded to the news with an emoji for one confused face.

The coffee will make its debut in Italy before rolling out later this year in Starbucks stores in Southern California and elsewhere internationally, the company said.

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The range that Starbucks describes as “buttery” includes three olive oil-infused variations of familiar hot and cold coffee drinks; lattes, iced espressos and cold brews. Customers who opt for the oil-blended cold brew will taste “a silky smooth infusion of Partanna extra virgin olive oil with vanilla sweet cream foam, slowly flowing through the drink to create a smooth, yet rich texture,” Starbucks promised in an accompanying description. the menu.

The new range will use oil pressed from a variety of Sicilian olives known as Castelvetrano – described by Starbucks as sweet and reminiscent of some of its syrup options. “I think of all the buttery caramels we mix into our coffee,” Amy Dilger, a Starbucks beverage developer, said of the new flavor in a press release.

It’s not the first time the beverage giant has incorporated oil into its coffee drinks, though it may be the first time it’s been advertised so prominently as an ingredient in marketing campaigns. For example, oat milk, which is often used as a dairy-free alternative in coffee, already contains vegetable oil — and some Starbucks menus list sunflower oil as an ingredient in the non-dairy milk options.

Italian coffee drinkers are known for their traditional preferences: drinking a cappuccino before noon and preferring a quicker espresso later in the day, often while standing at a bar. The coffee giant even designed its Italian stores with a bar for customers to stand by – following the Italian tradition – and developed a bean blend specifically designed to cater to the tastes of Italian coffee drinkers.

It’s notoriously difficult for U.S. food chains to break into the overcrowded Italian food and drink market, where consumers seem content with what’s already out there on local menus. 2022, the pizza giant Dominos announced the closure of its Italian franchise stores after poor sales. “Italians don’t like pineapple pizza,” headlined an Italian daily.






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