Starbucks' Oleato Drinks Aren't Agreeing With Some Customers' Stomachs

In March, Starbucks' Oleato line of olive oil-infused coffee beverages debuted at select U.S. Starbucks venues in the Seattle, Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. These Starbucks coffee-based beverages, each featuring a spoonful or so of Partanna brand olive oil in some form or another, were received well in Europe earlier this year. Accordingly, many in the U.S. anxiously awaited their arrival. And for some, it was everything they could have hoped for. "I love it!" wrote one straight-talking Twitter user after trying their first. "These new Oleato coffees from Starbucks are fire," tweeted another.

But this novel line of coffee beverages has also had its share of detractors, including a Twitter user who said their Oleato was the "worst thing they'd ever tasted." But that seems almost inconsequential when compared with claims made by some that their Oleato made their stomach churn, literally. As one put it, "That Oleato drink from [Starbucks making] my stomach speak."

Indeed, a Redditor who says they work at Starbucks started a thread in r/Starbucks to address the effect the Oleato beverages have been having on various members of their team. Suffice it to say, there were multiple trips to a single-stall bathroom by multiple baristas. "I'm honestly scared to try it because I already have stomach/bowel problems," the OP wrote.

So, unless this is some kind of prank, it would appear that Starbucks' Oleato drinks are not agreeing with some customers' stomachs. The question is why.

Olive oil has certain properties...

When Starbucks' now-former interim CEO, Howard Schultz, first tried olive oil in his coffee, he's said to have discovered an "unexpected alchemy." Presumably, he was referring to the buttery flavor and velvety texture that olive oil is said to impart in coffee. But since he's the one who brought up alchemy, it seems appropriate to mention a 2015 study published in the Journal of Renal Nutrition, which found olive oil to have a noticeable laxative effect — one comparable to that of mineral oil, which is known to be very effective as such, according to UCLA G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience.

Pediatricians and other medical professionals have long been recommending mineral oil for their patients who seek relief from constipation. If you take a spoonful now, you'll want to be sure to be near a restroom in about eight hours. Of course, you don't have to be constipated for mineral oil — or its apparent equivalent, olive oil — to work its magic.

In other words, it is actually a scientific fact that the olive oil in your Oleato beverage may be quite effective at getting things moving in the right direction, so to speak, whether or not that's your intention. Now, add to that the fact that coffee, itself, is known to have a laxative effect. So, it would appear the only question remaining is why it is that only Americans seem to be posting about it?!