The Simple Mistake That Could Ruin Olive Oil Coffee

Olive oil coffee has become exceedingly trendy with the release of Starbucks' new line of drinks called Oleato. These olive oil-infused concoctions debuted in Milan, Italy and are on the menu at most Starbucks Reserve Roasteries and other retail locations.

If you are intrigued, you don't actually need to go to Starbucks to enjoy this blend as you can make it from home. When done right, olive oil coffee has a fragrant complexity and rich texture. However, there is a simple mistake that can ruin the drink, and it all comes down to how exactly you mix in the oil.

Olive oil is a fat, and coffee is pretty much flavored water — and as many know, oil and water do not unify very easily. So, if you just dump olive oil into coffee, you will be left with a greasy pool floating on top of your morning brew. Instead, you'll need to create an emulsion to reap the benefits of the creamy decadence. At Starbucks, for example, oat milk and olive oil are combined in a milk steamer to create an emulsion before being poured over coffee, so if you have this set up at home, that's a great way to incorporate the olive oil. But there are other ways, too.

Ways to create an olive oil emulsion for your coffee

If you don't have a milk steamer, you can still combine olive oil and your milk of choice using other kitchen gadgets. Some options include a handheld milk frother, standard blender, bullet blender, immersion blender, or a good old-fashioned whisk and some elbow grease. 

You'll also want to opt for low-fat dairy or plant-based milk, since it's an extra fat, and add in the olive oil little by little. Somewhere between a teaspoon and a tablespoon should do the trick for a single cup of coffee, depending on your preferences. But, it's best to start with a little and go from there just in case you want a milder taste or texture. Pour the combo liquid over your hot or cold coffee and stir to combine. Or, you can add it to a blender with ice, sweetener, and cold brew concentrate to make an at-home Oleato Frappuccino.

If you don't usually enjoy milk with your coffee, you can still give this trend a try. To add olive oil to plain black coffee, pour it in slowly while stirring or whisking vigorously, or use one of the electronic tools mentioned above. This will create a temporary emulsion, but because there is not an emulsifier present — like milk — the blend will separate fairly quickly.

The best type of olive oil to add to coffee

To make olive oil coffee at home, you'll want to consider how the flavor profiles of olive oil and coffee will work together. Both have lots of complex tasting notes that can range from toasty and nutty to bright and citrusy. Olive oil can sometimes have a very strong taste, which pairs well with red meats and bitter greens, but would probably be unpleasant to drink on its own. So, opt for a mild, fruity, citrusy, caramel, or buttery olive oil and pair it with a coffee with similar flavors.

Since you'll be drinking some of the olive oil, you may want to opt for a higher quality brand. Cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil goes through the least amount of processing and is never treated with heat, so it retains the most robustly fruity flavors. Olive oils from Liguria, Italy and Spanish olive oils made from arbequina olives are good options too, and French and Californian olive oils also tend to be on the milder side. 

If you want to use the olive oil you have on hand, give it a taste by itself before blending it into the milk or coffee. If it is palatable, go ahead and give it a try, but if it is overwhelmingly bold, grassy, or bitter, save it for a savory preparation instead.