Starbucks has presented a new line of olive oil-infused coffee at its locations across Italy. The company plans to introduce the beverage in California in the spring and the United Kingdom, Japan and the Middle East later in the year.
Howard Schultz, the company’s interim chief executive, said five new hot and cold brewed beverages would be made with Nocellara del Belice extra virgin olive oil sourced from Partanna, Sicily.
I was absolutely stunned at the unique flavor and texture created when the Partanna extra virgin olive oil was infused into Starbucks coffee.
The Brooklyn native said the inspiration for the new olive oil coffee line came after a trip to Sicily. He was introduced to the custom of drinking a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil before his morning coffee. Soon after, he started mixing the olive oil with the coffee.
“I was absolutely stunned at the unique flavor and texture created when the Partanna extra virgin olive oil was infused into Starbucks coffee,” Schultz said. “In both hot and cold coffee beverages, what it produced was an unexpected, velvety, buttery flavor that enhanced the coffee and lingers beautifully on the palate.”See Also:How to Mix the Perfect EVOO Cocktails
Amy Dilger, the company’s principal beverage designer, was charged with creating the new olive oil-infused drinks.
After researching extra virgin olive oil, she blended the oil with the company’s blonde espresso roast, which the company describes as having “smooth, well-rounded flavors that are delicious both hot and iced.”
Italy is Europe’s third-largest coffee market, with an annual per capita consumption of 5.3 kilograms.
However, there has long been plenty of antipathy toward Starbucks. In 2018, Starbucks announced plans to open its first store in Milan, the country’s second-largest city and economic hub.
In protest, Italians set fire to some of the palm trees in the Piazza del Duomo, an iconic city landmark where the first store was set to open. Eventually, there was a gradual acceptance of the chain.
The decision to launch an olive oil-based line of coffee comes after a flurry of other olive and olive oil beverage infusions.
Last March, an entrepreneur in Liguria, a region of northern Italy, launched an olive oil-infused vodka. Like Schultz, he said adding olive oil gave the vodka a velvety texture.
In Spain and Italy, two separate companies recently introduced olive-infused beer.
Producers in Lazio added olive leaves obtained from pruning to the traditional brewing process, resulting in a smoky taste in the beer.
Meanwhile, an award-winning Spanish beer uses Empeltre olive extract, which infuses the flavors, aromas and colors of the olives into the beer.
While all three of these products have won regional and international acclaim, it remains to be seen how Italy’s coffee-enthusiastic public takes to the new drinks.